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Thomas Hartkämper is new COO of Kautex Maschinenbau
For many years now, Mr. Hartkämper has held managerial positions in mechanical and plant engineering companies that operate on the global stage. The 50-year-old champions sustainable business dealings, ensuring that they are aligned consistently with customer requirements. He knows the plastics industry inside out thanks to his many years of experience, particularly in manufacturing machines and tools for plastic packaging.
Dr. Olaf Weiland (CEO and Partner) is delighted with the new addition to the company. “Here at Kautex Maschinenbau, we are going through a process of radical change which will affect all divisions of our company. The keywords are packaging focus, the circular economy, and digitalization. Thomas Hartkämper is an excellent team player. He can contribute the necessary expertise and long-standing experience to manage and structure our change process successfully – particularly in operations. Being lucky enough to now count him among our team is a very good move for Kautex Maschinenbau and a great pleasure for me personally.”
Hartkämper himself believes that the company is on the right track: “With the slogan for this year’s plastics trade show being CREATING CHANGE TOGETHER, Kautex is already alluding to forthcoming challenges. I am looking forward to helping this fantastic company become a self-learning organization that generates sustainable added value for its customers.”
Creating Change Together – Kautex Maschinenbau to present sustainability concepts at K 2019
Live demonstration of highly efficient bottle production with PCR
The sustainable aim while developing the new extrusion heads was to enable significantly quicker color and material changes, as laborious purging or cleaning not only takes time but also consumes material. At the Kautex booth in Hall 14, visitors will be able to see for themselves how the new generation of extrusion heads work and where the potentials for saving are. To serve as an example, an all-electric KBB60 blow molding machine will demonstrate the production of a sustainable three-layer bottle containing PCR in live production. The materials processed are supplied by the renowned manufacturer Braskem. To reduce the consumption of raw material, a mixture of polyethylene (I’m green™) and PCRis also foamed in the middle layer. Kautex, together with the Brazilian plastics material manufacturer, selected the raw materials to achieve a significantly improved carbon footprint as an additional benefit. What’s more, the bottle has a neutral odor despite the use of PCR. To complete the production cycle, the company Erema will recycle the bottles produced during the trade show. The location of this live recycling demonstration will be the Erema “Circonomic Centre” in the outside area where the circular economy will be brought to life for the trade show visitors.
New digital services at the Service Point
At the “Service Point,” Kautex will present its new digital solutions in customer service. With the new augmented service, Kautex customers will have the opportunity to examine machinefaults together with Kautex service technicians within the shortest time possible. This means that teams of experts all over the world can directly examine the machine in a virtual environment in order to solve a problem. Kautex has also set up a new portal for ordering replacement parts. In future, customers will be able to identify the replacement parts requiredfor their machine online via “Kautex Spare Parts” and immediately check availability and prices, making the order process and re-ordering significantly easier. Visitors to the Kautex booth will have the chance to familiarize themselves with these new digital services at the Service Point. What’s more, there is a new development for Kautex virtual machines – first presented at K 2013 – which are digital twins of machines used as simulators. The virtual machines are now interactive and require machine operators to react appropriately to changes in machine process settings. An error-free article is only displayed if the settings arecorrect.
Shuttle service to plant tour in Bonn
Kautex will offer individual plant tours in the company’s Bonn headquarters during the trade show. A shuttle service will transport visitors who are interested to visit the company’s facility in Bonn in around 50 minutes. Here, Kautex runs one of three global development centers, known as Technikum. Machines for the entire range of applications are available at the Kautex Technikum, some of which can be seen in live operation. At the Technikum, Kautex presents various bottles made from PCR materials sourced from different manufacturers that are undergoing testing as part of long-term experiments with PCR processing. In addition, there will be a demonstration of a new approach for creating a barrier layer on the inner surface of hollow containers by plasma coating. In this way, the CoEx process that would otherwise be necessary is avoided. Visitors will also have the chance to see a variety of machines types in the assembly halls. A personal guide will take guests on the tour and provide detailed information. Visitors to K 2019 can find out more about services and book plant tours at the Kautex booth.
Kautex at K 2019: Hall 14, booth A16/18
Partnership during K-2019: Braskem, Kautex Maschinenbau and Erema will demonstrate a closed plastic loop
Instead of handing them out to visitors and finally producing “waste”, the bottles will be handed over to Erema for recycling. With this initiative the three companies will demonstrate their responsibility to participate in the circular economy by helping to achieve future goals with environmentally friendly solutions.
Kautex Maschinenbau, belongs to the world's leading manufacturers of extrusion blow moulding machines. Their customers include major automobile manufacturers and suppliers, as well as companies working in the packaging industry. Their machines process thermoplastics which are completely recyclable. Kautex’s efforts towards contributing to the success of the Circular Economy comes from the company’s understanding of their responsibility to promote the recycling of plastics, and to work with partners to optimize material cycles. The further development of the use of recycled materials plays an important role for the company. "We regard the promotion of plastics recycling and working with our partners to optimize material cycles as an important responsibility of our company", explains Managing Partner Andreas Lichtenauer.
Kautex Maschinenbau decided to process the Braskem material solution due to a better processability, less odour development and because they could offer their PCR and renewable material in a more sustainable way than conventional solutions, which is in line with their Circular Economy commitment. The raw material which is used for the demo bottles is derived from sugarcane, and the PCR material comes from already recycled material. By using Braskem’s technology, Kautex will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of those bottles as well as the use of fossil resources. For every kg of I’m green™ Polyethylene used more than 5 kg of CO2 is saved. In addition, the material usage is reduced by the use of foam technology and thus an additional optimization of the CO2 footprint is achieved.
By joining forces with Erema, who will also be present at K-2019, the loop will be fully closed as they will showcase solutions for every single step within the plastics recycling process. This includes recycling technologies as well as software tools, and engineering and integration services for plastics recycling projects. Kautex’s bottles made of Braskem’s material will be collected by Erema and fully recycled in order to avoid any waste; showcasing the true objective of the Circular Economy.
At the Erema Circonomic Centre (outdoor area between hall 11 and 15) very tangible lighthouse projects will be displayed. The name Circonomic Centre,a word composed of “circular” and “economics,” refers to integrating recycling know-how into the plastics value chain providing both, economic and ecological benefits.
Recycling will be demonstrated in several live-performances, processing different plastic input material. In total more than 30 tons will be recycled during K-2019, including HDPE-bottles produced by Kautex.
According to Kautex’s exhibition motto “Creating Change Together” the German blow moulding machine manufacturer will collaborate with Braskem, the leading producer of biopolymers in the world, who strives with “Passion for Transforming”. Erema, the global market leader in the development and production of plastics recycling machines, offers its customers not only technologies and components but also consulting, engineering and planning services, as well as the expertise and dedication of its employees. All of these are success factors contributing to the performance of the customers, which is why Erema Group appears at K-2019 under the motto “Seeds for your performance”.
Chinaplas 2019 – Kautex presents a blow molding machine with a new 6-layer extrusion head
The new 6-layer head can be used to produce multi-layer hollow plastic containers with a volume of between 500 and 1500 ml. These are mainly used for packaging applications in the food sector. The new extrusion head has been jointly developed by German and Chinese engineers at Kautex. It will be in operation at the trade fair on a 3rd-generation KCC10S blow molding machine, so that visitors can see its functionality and performance for themselves. This machine range, which is made in China, is used as a laboratory machine at all Kautex technical facilities around the world.
New extrusion head enables production of multi-layer bottles
At the show, the KCC10S MK3 will be producing a 1000 ml 6-layer milk bottle. The single station machine has a CP50 extrusion head, the first 6-layer head for consumer packaging made in the Chinese factory. The heads of this new series have a minimum center distance of 140 mm and will be available with up to six parisons. CP50 heads are compatible with Kautex machines of the KCC and KBB series, and in some cases can also be retrofitted on other machines. The extrusion heads are made at the Chinese Kautex plant in Shunde. That not only means better value for money but also reduces delivery times.
Mastering production processes in real-life conditions on a simulator
As well as exhibiting its KCC10S MK3 machine, Kautex will also be demonstrating its virtual training simulator at Chinaplas. These virtual machines are used in the same way as flight simulators to train employees in the various production processes on Kautex machines. First introduced in 2013, virtual machines are now available for the, KBS, KBB and KCC series. The compact work stations are equipped with a powerful computer simulator, two monitors, and a projector. They are used for training and demonstration purposes at the Kautex locations in Bonn (Germany), Shanghai, Shunde (China) and New Jersey (USA). The virtual machines enable employees to be trained on Kautex machines in realistic conditions but without the risk of causing any damage due to incorrect operation, and without consuming any materials. The devices are mobile, plug into any standard domestic electrical socket and can be rented to customers for training purposes.
New Kautex Technikum opened in Shunde
Kautex now operates three technical research centers called Technikum around the world. In addition to the main technical facility in Bonn (Germany) and another in New Jersey (USA), at the end of 2018 the company opened a third technical center at its production site in the city of Shunde. At the decentralized lab sites, new applications are developed, prototypes and pilot molds are produced and materials and production processes are tested. The testing is led by process engineers with years of experience.
You will find Kautex Maschinenbau at Chinaplas 2019 in Hall 5.1, booth number C41.
Kautex Maschinenbau suffers from economic downturn
Decline in sales due to global risks
For some months now, global risks such as Brexit, US trade policy and the diesel crisis have led to a downturn in the global economy. In 2018, car production in China alone, the world's largest automobile market, declined for the first time in 20 years. In January of this year there was a 14.4 percent decline compared to the previous year (according to CAAM). Due to its high export share of more than 90 percent, the mechanical engineering company, with its headquarters in Bonn, is clearly feeling the effects of these negative developments. "Some of our customers in the automotive segment now have surplus capacity," reports Andreas Lichtenauer, Managing Partner at Kautex Maschinenbau. "Some machines are not in production."
Personnel adjustment at the Bonn location
As part of new drive concepts for passenger cars, Kautex Maschinenbau began investing early in the development of alternative energy storage systems. The development of composite pressure vessels plays a major role here as an additional source of revenue alongside the fuel tank business. However, this will not compensate for the decline in incoming orders. The company is therefore forced to adjust the sharp increase in the number of employees at the Bonn site in recent years. "This adjustment is expected in the near future," says Dr. Olaf Weiland, CEO of Kautex.
Realignment of the sales organization
"The current economic changes, as well as changing customer and market requirements, require Kautex to rethink many areas," says Dr. Weiland. "Our first priority is a comprehensive program to increase efficiency in all business processes. We will also revise our sales strategy to a more focused approach.” Sales, which previously operated across all industries, will be realigned and divided to focus on the packaging and automotive divisions. The aim is to specialize sales activities to meet customer needs. "With this step, we are creating the conditions to respond more quickly and more consistently to the division-specific requirements of our customers," says Dr. Weiland.
Investing in sustainable solutions
Another important step for the manufacturer of plastic processing machines is the further development of the use of recycled materials. "We regard the promotion of plastics recycling and working with our partners to optimize material cycles as an important responsibility of our company," explains Andreas Lichtenauer. Technical solutions are currently being worked on at full speed in order to secure and expand the company's leading technological position also in the field of recycled material processing for high-performance machines used for the manufacture of plastic packaging.
Our aim at Kautex, is to join our customers and partners in assuming a pioneering role in transition and the creation of added value with smart production solutions for extrusion blow molding.
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