Blend of experience and intuition
He works at the Kautex Technikum and his official job title is ”Process Engineer”. But Rudi Küpper is much more than that. He has been working at Kautex Maschinenbau for 35 years now and is considered the expert for everything to do with suction blow molding. Nobody has installed and managed as many systems with this technology as he has. We talked to him about his work. .
Mr. Küpper, the demand for air-flow systems from suction blow molding is currently on the upswing. Why do you think that is?
RUDI KÜPPER The development of heat-resistant materials increases the potential for engine compartment air-flow systems produced using the suction blow molding process. In connection with turbo-charged engines, this leads to increased demand primarily in the Asian and American market, while Europe is at the front of the market.
What are the advantages of the suction blow molding process and how exactly does it work?
RUDI KÜPPER Suction blow molding is a very efficient and material-saving process which is especially suitable for the production of longer pipes. First, the parison is sucked through the mold with a vacuum and only then blown into the final shape. This saves costs for molds as well as time. Since there is no flash, there is one less work step and the regrind percentage is very small.
What is especially important when performing suction blow molding? Are there any tips which you as expert give your customers?
RUDI KÜPPER The most important parameters to pay attention to are melting point, suction power, optimized profiles of the radial wall thickness control, and the inflation air during the blowing process. In addition, the degree of dryness of the material is important for consistent quality. If all of this is right, you should pretty much always get an optimal result. But I decide many things based on my gut feeling. In the end it is the same as with all professions: an expert is 50 percent experience and 50 percent intuition.
And if there still is a problem with one of the machines you manage all over the world, what do you do?
RUDI KÜPPER Fortunately, a majority of problems can be resolved over the phone or online. As for the rest, our regional service technicians can handle it. In difficult cases I have a network of specialists I have built up over the years which I can fall back on. And if none of this helps, then I just travel to the customer and take care of it on-site.
What do you like the most about your work?
RUDI KÜPPER It is never boring. It keeps you on your toes. Everything changes all of the time. Customer requirements change. Materials change. Technical features change. Working on new solutions here in the Technical Center or on location at the customer and installing machines is very inspiring and I still find it a lot of fun after all these years. I could imagine nothing greater than being able to continue this job for as long as possible.