Interview with Wirtschaftsforum: Titanium for Europe – by Europeans

July, 2022

Alexey Rasskazov, Managing Director of Hermith GmbH
Titanium is a sought-after raw material that is used in many different industries. However, titanium resources are scarce. Demand in Europe is high – and growing. Hermith GmbH, based in Munich, is one of the few European suppliers of titanium. Given the shortage of the material, the company is developing a process for manufacturing of additive parts that can reduce material waste by a factor of ten. Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Rasskazov, you are one of the very few titanium producers based in Europe. What is Hermith’s core competency? Alexey Rasskazov: We originally started out just distributing and trading titanium, with sources in Russia and the United States. Then we went further and further, initially began with technical support for our customers and then developed and patented more and more processing methods. In 2015 we started our own production and since 2016 we have been supplying Europe with our own products. We now have a whole range of semifinished titanium products, with a focus on aircraft construction. In Germany and Europe we have only a few competitors. We bundle all technological solutions and patents in our Munich headquarters to react flexibly. We supply all the well-known names in the industry, such as Bombardier, Airbus, Leonardo, Pilatus, Embraer, Golfstream, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney. Wirtschaftsforum: Do you specialize in certain products? Alexey Rasskazov: We specialize in tubes. We are able to deliver the largest dimensions as well as the smallest diameters. Only a few suppliers worldwide can do that. In addition, we also have round and rectangular bars, plates and ingots in our portfolio. We cut the products individually according to customers requirements and supply them with exactly what they need. We are flexible, faster than the big companies and also work with the smallest quantities. Wirtschaftsforum: Titanium is an important raw material with limited sources. What role does sustainability play in your business? Alexey Rasskazov: In Germany alone there are already 700 companies that process the material. The supply of titanium must be secured in the long term, it is essential for system-critical areas. We are in close contact with the Ministry of Economy in Berlin and Munich, as well as the European Commission. In 2020, the European Commission added titanium to the list of critical raw materials because the EU does not have its own source of titanium and the demand for this material is very high. For the aerospace industry it is allowed to use a maximum of 20% of remelted titanium. We are one of the world leaders in development of additive manufacturing. Traditionally, titanium is forged, then milled into the required shape. You can’t cast titanium, it loses its structure. Since 2017 we have cooperation with a leading company for the production of additive parts. We generate parts from wire layer by layer. With the traditional method, there is a material loss of up to 86%. In additive manufacturing, it is just 8%. This is the method of the future. We would like to open the first factory in Europe to use it. US companies are currently dominating the market and aircraft manufacturers are dependent on them. The prices are high. Wirtschaftsforum: You have become very successful in a very difficult market. How did you manage that? Alexey Rasskazov: We observe the markets, trends and the competition very closely. The demand for titanium is high. We are fast and flexible and our international team that is open to innovations. Wirtschaftsforum: What do you expect from 2022? Alexey Rasskazov: The war was a human shock for us. The situation is unstable, the dynamics are negative. Both are bad for business. Still we get good support from the economic authorities, such as the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, the chambers of commerce and the German Aerospace Industries Association. Hermith GmbH is not on the sanctions lists, we are allowed to continue producing in Russia, while production there is completely under our control. Although the political situation is unstable, deliveries are continuing. Wirtschaftsforum: Against this background, as an entrepreneur, do you have an appeal to politicians? Alexey Rasskazov: Our company has an international team, with employees from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, India and many other countries. Today we implement projects in many countries around the world. We had big plans in Ukraine, which we’ve all put on hold for now. We need peace – as soon as possible. Link to the source: