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Kautex Maschinenbau is celebrating 25 years of machine production in China
Around 200 invited guests from China took up the invitation from Kautex China. In addition toa factory visit with presentations, the program of events also included various specialist lectures and insights into the recently announced product campaigns. The event started in the morning with the Kautex New Machine & New Technology Forum. Kautex employees reported on new “Made by Kautex” technological developments and the imminent product campaigns.
New machines and application solutions were presented and guests were informed about the comprehensive range of services offered by Kautex. CEO Thomas Hartkämper presented the new Kautex vision and mission “BeOne – with customers and partners” via video stream.
The core of the Kautex mission is the development of intelligent and sustainable production solutions to enable customers to benefit from the highest article quality together with the lowest production costs. The official anniversary celebration with guests and employees took place following the Kautex New Machine & New Technology Forum.
Kautex in the southern Chinese region of Guangdong is a 100% subsidiary of Kautex Maschinenbau GmbH and it was founded in 1995. Kautex employs around 170 people in China.
Kautex Maschinenbau: Product initiative in the packaging sector focuses on smart solutions and sustainability
With its new strategy, the company is aiming to developsmart production solutions for articles, which can be produced at a reasonable cost while adding value and providing the highest quality. The topic of sustainability will also have a decisive role to play.
The extension of the portfolio is guided by customer requirements even more than previously.Kautex Maschinenbau combines well-proven components from existing product ranges for various areas of application and complements them with new technologies. This results in smart production solutions which may be hydraulic, hybrid or fully electric, depending on the article and the specific application. ‘Made by Kautex’ will also mean that the same components are installed at all global production locations with uniform quality standards. All product ranges will also be equipped with the same, smart operating system.
“The product initiative is our response to global customer and market requirements”, ThomasHartkämper, CEO at Kautex Maschinenbau, explains. “Production efficiency throughout the extrusion blow molding process, the highest article quality and sustainability in production have priority in this measure, which will last several months.” Important drivers include the highest melt quality, maximum energy and material savings, plus PCR processing.
As a global Kautex team, the company is working on expanding its leading role in transition and in the creation of added value together with customers and partners as part of this strategy. This also includes aspects such as maximum output capacity, high availability, shortset-up and servicing times, plus straightforward operation. “We live the new ‘BeOne’ culture throughout the Kautex Group. The global team has demonstrated tremendous passion over the last few months while doing an unbelievable job of rolling out this product initiative”, Thomas Hartkämper explains.
Kautex Maschinenbau appoints a new head of Global IT
Robert Kubotsch will harmonize the existing IT systems and optimize them for cooperation between the global Kautex team, customers and partners. Isolated solutions which have been used to date will be replaced with a uniform IT structure at all locations, and the availability of IT services and infrastructure at crucial points will be improved.
Robert Kubotsch previously worked for an international plant and machinery manufacturer. In this role he was responsible for the maintenance and further development of IT at various locations. His experience of various projects across different sectors has given him a keen understanding of the business processes involved in running a machinery manufacturing enterprise, and its ever-expanding IT requirements.
Kautex Maschinenbau has been involved in a process of strategic realignment and restructuring for over two years. The company is bringing about harmonized processes and standards in line with the BeOne motto, as well as placing even greater emphasis on customer focus in all business areas. The production solutions are becoming more intelligent, modular, and flexible, and the aim is primarily to generate added value for customers.
These changes are accompanied by increasing digitalization in communication, production, and service. Data management, communication systems and comprehensive remote services place high demands in terms of the efficiency, standardization and global availability of IT. Kautex announced enhanced investment in this area some time ago. Robert Kubotsch and his team will now put the philosophy into action.
CEO Thomas Hartkämper has great hopes for his new colleague: “We are delighted to be able to welcome an experienced IT specialist for our global Kautex team in Robert Kubotsch. He is very process oriented and he has demonstrated what may be possible in the future. The huge investment in IT is an additional element for sustainable implementation of our new vision - BeOne Global Kautex Team.
Robert Kubotsch is looking enthusiastically at the pending projects in the Kautex team. “IT is the backbone for changes at Kautex. It is not just a matter of providing optimal support for processes; it is also about anticipating developments. Setting the right course is an extremely challenging task. I am looking forward to playing an active role in shaping the transition at Kautex while establishing a high degree of service quality throughout the group.”
Samuel Tevosyan is new CEO of Kautex Maschinenbau in Russia
Samuel Tevosyan has many years of management and sales experience and knows the plastics industry and the Russian market very well. Most recently, he was sales director in North Russia in the non-PET division of one of the world's biggest system providers for injection molding technology and he succeeded in acquiring significant contracts in the non-PET sector in Russia.
Together with the Russian Kautex team, Samuel Tevosyan will expand the sales of Kautex products and services in Russia and neighboring countries. In future, the specific circumstances, requirements and products of the individual customers will be even more in focus than before. Kautex Maschinenbau has recently made successful advances in the packaging sector with the development and expansion of individual machine solutions.
Thomas Hartkämper, CEO of the Kautex Group, believes the new appointment offers the opportunity of further extending business in Russia: "Kautex is one of the world's most important providers of system solutions in the field of extrusion blow molding technology. We construct highly efficient and sustainable machine solutions that provide our customers with important competitive advantages. Their success is our endorsement. Russia and the neighboring states are a particularly important future market for us. We are happy to have found in Samuel Tevosyan a dynamic head of our Moscow subsidiary who has the necessary market and product knowledge as well as many years of sales experience."
Samuel Tevosyan is looking forward to his new challenge and being part of the international team of experts at Kautex. "It's a great honor for me to lead the Russian Kautex subsidiary into a strong, stable and successful future."
Jorge Cuevas Martín appointed head of Global Service
Jorge Cuevas will be responsible for the key interface to the customer. He is due to coordinate and ensure customer-focused expansion of the company’s comprehensive service provision worldwide. In addition to the coordination of the decentralized service teams and parts centers, it also includes further expansion of the service and parts provision using digital technology such as remote services, digital spare parts ordering and remote servicing.
CSO Andreas Lichtenauer is looking forward to working with his new colleague: “Customer focus and service play a key role in our process of change. Our aim is to achieve even greater decentralization of our global service provision and continue to consolidate our high standards. Jorge Cuevas brings the experience and seniority needed to accelerate this process and develop even closer customer focus.”
Kautex Maschinenbau is a global leader in the supply of extrusion blow molding machines. The company HQ and central product development is in Bonn, subsidiaries and branches in China, USA, Italy, Russia, India, Mexico and Malaysia. An international team of trained service technicians advise and support customers worldwide without any language and technical barriers. The decentralized warehousing of parts and accessories enable fast response times and short delivery channels.
Cuevas: “The plastics market is constantly developing, and requirements change quickly. Our job is to offer our customers the best possible support for adapting their production to the current market conditions. Customer service is a crucial factor here. I’m looking forward to be able to drive forward this mission as part of the global Kautex team together with our customers and partners.”
Kautex Maschinenbau appoints Michael Müller as new global sales manager for the packaging division
Since 2019 Kautex had already begun to expand the packaging division in addition to the automotive division, and to offer more customer-specific solutions. In order to be able to optimally raise the market potential of both segments, the company had also converted the sales organization to a division model.
CSO Andreas Lichtenauer is pleased to have the new colleague on board: "The distribution of complex customer-optimized machines and systems requires a high product and market knowledge and requires a holistic understanding of the different requirements and needs of the customer. Michael Müller has the best prerequisites for this.“ As a mechanical engineer with a focus on construction technology, he has excellent technical knowledge in mechanical engineering. Over the course of his professional career, he has also acquired decisive knowledge and Insights in PET production, most recently as sales manager at a leading supplier of injection molding technology. He knows the international packaging market very well and has valuable contacts.
The acquisition of the position of global sales director packaging closes a circle for Müller. After completing his studies in 1995, he took up his first job at Kautex as a designer. This makes him all the more pleased to be able to bring his experience gained from a rapidly changing market environment and application-centered customer focus, to the team at Kautex Maschinenbau. Michael Müller is looking forward to his new job: "The plastics industry is facing major social, technological and economic challenges. As a system provider, we have the opportunity to be an important part of the customer's value chain, from granules to the finished product.“
Kautex produces 320-liter hydrogen liner in blow molding process
Hydrogen presents considerable challenges in relation to the liner material’s permeability. Being the smallest molecule in the periodic table, hydrogen can diffuse through virtually every plastic material. Special polyamides (PAs) have the best barrier properties. However, due to their low melt rigidity and complexity, they have previously been difficult to process on this scale by blow molding. Newly developed polyamides and a special extrusion technique have now made this possible.
“Producing a liner of this size from polyamide has been a major challenge. The work we are doing here is truly pioneering”, said Abdellah El Bouchfrati, Head of Kautex’s Composite Business Development, where the new hydrogen liner was developed.
For some time now, Kautex has been putting its efforts into on-going development of composite pressure vessels (CPV) for various applications such as hydrogen, CNG and LPG tanks. Composite tanks consist of a thermoplastic liner, a boss part, to which the valve is connected, and a fiber winding which adds mechanical strength. The internal liner is produced by blow molding. CPV high-pressure containers for hydrogen are generally designed for an operating pressure of 700 bar and a burst pressure of 1750 bar. The liner is a core component of the container. It is the inner skin of the tank. It absorbs the gas, surrounding the contents and sealing them off from the outside. The liner is subjected to high mechanical stresses and temperature ranges from -60 °C to +120 °C. Now, for the first time, the method developed by Kautex in cooperation with a plastics manufacturer enables hydrogen liners in sizes with industrial applications to be produced by blow molding.
“The liner size we have now achieved is just the start. We are confident that, in future, we will also be able to use this method to produce considerably larger liners for hydrogen pressure vessels”, said Abdellah El Bouchfrati.
The technology developed by Kautex Maschinenbau for producing large-volume liners for hydrogen containers means that a cost-effective solution for transport and infrastructure requirements is now within reach. Experts have long considered sole reliance on battery technologies to provide a solution to tomorrow's mobility problems will not achieve the long- term goal of mobility that is as carbon-neutral as possible.
While fuel cell technology in the passenger car sector does not yet appear to be economically viable, due to production costs and a lack of infrastructure, hydrogen-powered drive and production technologies are already being successfully implemented in other areas. This technology currently appears to be of particular interest for heavy goods transport, local public transport, shipbuilding, and the aircraft industry. In those sectors, the primary demand is for safe, lightweight and leak-proof tank systems. CPVs are not only significantly lighter than steel tanks, but also completely resistant to corrosion.
Hydrogen is also a first-class energy storage medium, especially if it has been produced using renewable energies. Here, too, tank systems that can withstand the associated pressure, and still store the extremely light gas safely, are needed.
Alongside high-tech machines for packaging and automotive products, the company also develops systems for producing thermoplastic pressure vessels. Kautex Maschinenbau’s portfolio ranges from the development and production of prototypes and small series to the construction of complete production systems for manufacturing composite pressure vessels. Working together with its customers and materials manufacturers, Kautex continues to advance developments in CPV technology. The hydrogen liner that has just been unveiled is the latest fruit of this cooperation.
Julia Keller is Kautex Maschinenbau's new CFO
Keller is a proven expert in process optimization and lean management and was most recently head of finance and authorized signatory at a company in the construction engineering sector. She has been working with Frank Röhrlein at Kautex Maschinenbau, to prepare for taking over from him, since September 2019. She already took over management of the Human Resources division in January of this year, and will also continue in that position. With these two positions, she is taking on a central role in the company management.
Thomas Hartkämper, Kautex Maschinenbau's CEO, is pleased to have gained another change expert for his management team: "Personally, I am convinced that our team is massively strengthened by being heterogeneous. This is essential in company management, in particular. Julia Keller's experience in change management, gained over many years, is just one aspect of that. Another is that she can demonstrably lead improvements in a finance and HR department via her process management skills and exceptional ability to focus on customers. All that makes her a unique person to take on the role of CFO. For this reason, we are extremely pleased that we have been able to convince her to join Kautex's management team."
Julia Keller has set herself some clear objectives: "Stable funds, transparency achieved through clear processes and a consistent focus on customers and service are decisive factors in achieving a successful change process. Staff development and open communication create room for a changing corporate culture. In my opinion, listening, inspiring, supporting and challenging are core factors in successfully implementing change in the company."
Kautex Maschinenbau strengthens its supply chain management
Mulyanto has many years experience in process and supply chain management and in-depth expertise in customer-to-customer supply processes. His most recent job was as head of supply chain management at a manufacturer of medium-voltage power-distribution substations. Kautex is currently in the middle of implementing a change process. The decisive factors in this process are a consistent focus on meeting the specific requirements of individual customers, speed, reliability and service. To ensure these requirements are met effectively, the supply chain must also be organized accordingly.
Dhanny Mulyanto is happy to take on the new challenge: "Kautex is changing and moving forward, and is a pioneer in many areas. I find the opportunity to work in this kind of environment extremely exciting and inspiring. I am pleased that I can share my knowledge and experience with the team at Kautex and will do my best to help the company progress."
Thomas Hartkämper, Kautex Maschinenbau's CEO, sees Mulyanto as support for his Change Team: "Here at Kautex, we have set ourselves ambitious goals. To achieve them, we need people who will actively drive forward the company's transformation, also in key positions. I am very happy that Dhanny Mulyanto has now joined the global management team. In particular, I value his positive attitude towards challenges and his extensive methodological expertise. Thanks to his personal knowledge of local culture and society, we will be able to build up even stronger cultural links between Kautex Germany and Kautex China."
Admir Dobraca is new CEO of Kautex Machines Inc. (USA)
Dobraca has many years of experience in the plastics industry and is a proven packaging specialist. Most recently, he worked for Retal PA LLC, a supplier of packaging products and solutions to the food and beverage industry. He began his career in the plastics industry at Husky Injection Molding Systems in 2002. He held various different positions there, with placements in North America and Europe, until 2016.
With Dobraca in the lead, Kautex aims to strengthen its strong market position in the North American packaging segment and expand into new markets. To achieve this, the company will improve its product and service offerings for current and future customers.
Thomas Hartkämper, CEO of the German parent company, Kautex Maschinenbau, is confident that Dobraca is the right person for the job: "Admir brings a lot of experience from the plastics industry and is a complete specialist in the packaging sector. He has a clear vision of how we can strengthen and expand our position in the North American market". Andreas Lichtenauer, CSO of the Kautex Group, agrees with the decision to select Dobraca, but is also grateful for Bill Farrant’s efforts when he was in the job: "We appreciate his profound knowledge of the industry, gained over many years, and are pleased with his achievements".
Dobraca is optimistic about his new task and working with a dedicated team of experts: "The Kautex Group shows a great development, especially in the packaging segment. I am glad that I will have the opportunity to make a personal contribution to the success of this innovative company and grow its strong market position in North America. But of course, that must not be at the expense of the other important segments".
Kautex Maschinenbau continues its strategic reorganization – Change process now finalized
Kautex Maschinenbau is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of extrusion blow molding machines for plastics processing. The announced measures are a further, consequent step to build on the reorganization and restructuring initiated by the company last year. This involves organizational restructuring and shifting of focus to packaging solutions. Kautex has seen strong growth in this sector in the last few months. This growth cannot entirely compensate for the sudden drop in new orders in the automotive business, but does show that the company has taken the right approach. Despite the current downfall in the automotive sector, Kautex expects that demand in the automotive market will recover over time. The company will, therefore, remain committed to developing composite applications in this business as well.
The outlined structural adjustment became necessary due to a noticeable, worldwide reluctance of automotive suppliers to invest. However, by implementing the planned measures, Kautex is also reacting to fundamental changes in the plastics industry. Alongside the digitalization of production and service processes, the dominant issues that affect the future direction of the company are waste prevention and the processing of recycled, raw materials. Thomas Hartkämper, who became COO in October 2019 and assumed the position of CEO in February 2020, has been decisive in leading the company's change process.
In this context, Hartkämper has also announced additional decisions affecting staffing: "In recent months, we have launched a large number of initiatives in the company. These will help Kautex Maschinenbau secure and extend its excellent position in the worldwide plastics market in the long term. We have created and approved the strategic road map for the future, and informed the worldwide Kautex organization about it. We have delegated responsibilities to exceptional talents from within our own ranks and will bring in external experts to join our global team, to further strengthen it."
The changes, which were primarily implemented in Operations, are already showing a positive impact on the entire company structure. "We see this as just the start of a wide-ranging product campaign, which we plan to run in the next few years", explained Hartkämper. The industry has already seen the first results at the K 2019 (the plastics trade fair, in Düsseldorf, Germany). Alongside other innovations, the company presented a new generation of extrusion heads, developed in-house. These new heads speed-up color and material change-overs considerably, and significantly increase melt quality and material-flow rates. The company's patented RapidXchange technology is the benchmark for weight reduction and recycled material usage worldwide.
In another business, Kautex is currently putting its efforts into further developing processes to produce composite pressurized containers, especially for transporting and storing hydrogen.
85 Years in Business – Kautex Maschinenbau: Promoting Sustainability and Plastics Recycling
Kautex Maschinenbau has been a leader in the plastics industry with pioneering technologies and services. Its blow molders have such a good reputation that the first international Kautex subsidiary was opened in New Jersey, USA, in 1960. The first German-Chinese joint venture was then opened in Shunde, southern China, in 1995. Today, the third generation of the Chinese KCC series is assembled there. It is also planned to start production of other well-known machine types from the German portfolio at the Shunde facility in 2020. Today, Kautex, a leading manufacturer of high-tech extrusion blow molders, based in Bonn, Germany, is working towards shortening delivery times and supplying its machines from Germany or PRC, depending on where they are ordered. Kautex has subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and North America.
Thanks to their excellent properties, demand for the first blow-molded products grew and grew, but today, plastic products are increasingly facing criticism. There is a lack of efficient recycling concepts. For this reason, Kautex's research and development teams are focusing on hot topics such as sustainability, recycling and digitalization. The latest development in sustainability are new technologies that drastically reduce energy and material consumption, for example when there is a color or material change. Kautex has also been optimizing recycled plastics processing for some time. This is a core task for the plastics processing sector, in the opinion of Andreas Lichtenauer, Managing Partner: "Public perception of plastic products has changed considerably in the last few years. Sustainability arguments and the ecological footprint of products play an ever-greater role in their acceptance. For this reason, we deliberately promote plastics recycling and the optimization of material supply loops."
Christian Kirchbaumer, Head of Marketing and Communications, added: "We are also working on further improving the carbon footprint blow molding production with our technologies. If we want to continue actively ensuring that the positive properties of these products are associated with recycling loops that operate on a global scale, which will be a significant step towards a sustainable future for everyone."
In addition to technological innovations, Kautex is also using digital services to achieve sustainable production. For example, clients can use Kautex's augmented service to request virtual services worldwide. Using this service, teams of experts across the globe can access the machines virtually, without needing to travel, so that they can resolve problems as quickly as possible. This reduces service team air miles and therefore the CO2 emissions caused by such journeys. Kautex also uses digital simulators for training. "Digital twins" accurately mimic machine processes while saving the energy and materials required to operate the real machines.
Kautex Maschinenbau will celebrate its triple anniversary at different events in 2020. The high point will be an open house at its site in southern China in the last quarter of this year.
Thomas Hartkämper is the new CEO of Kautex Maschinenbau – Dr. Olaf Weiland joins the advisory board
Weiland brought Thomas Hartkämper into the company in October 2019 as the preferred candidate to be his successor, and initially entrusted him with responsibility for operations. The former CEO had put a succession plan into place four years ago, working in consultationwith all members of management. His 50-year-old successor is an expert in change management and organizational development. Hartkämper champions a forward-looking approach to business operations, to ensure they are consistently aligned with customer requirements. Prior to joining Kautex, he had an active role for many years in managing various companies that operate internationally in mechanical engineering and plant engineering. He also has extensive experience in the plastics industry.
Weiland himself is retiring from day-to-day operational business, for reasons of age. As a member of the advisory board, he will continue supporting the development of the company that he has guided for more than 15 years. Kautex Maschinenbau has seen massive sales growth under his leadership. With his keen sense of future market developments and his strategic skill, Weiland was able to drive forward the internationalization of the company and its transition from an automotive to a packaging-focused company at an early stage. Managing Partner Andreas Lichtenauer certainly sees Weiland in these terms and highlights “mutual trust in 15 years of cooperation, above all” as well as “continuity and fairness towards customers, employees, and partners” as the key to his success. “Weiland has not only enabled dramatic growth for many years. The fact that we ended the private equity phase two years ago and now belong to a majority shareholder, who invests in Kautex as a family business in the long term, is largely thanks to Olaf Weiland. He also took an active partin arranging his own successor for Kautex with the company’s best interests at heart”, continued Lichtenauer.
Today, Kautex is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of extrusion blow molding machines, with production sites in Germany and China as well as many international branches.
Weiland has this to say of his successor: “I’m glad that Thomas Hartkämper has accepted this challenge. Over the past few months, we have worked closely together to prepare for this succession. Above all, he stands for customer focus and strong team performance. I’m sure that we’ve made the right decision in choosing him to steer Kautex safely, and with the necessary foresight, through the processes of change that are affecting our entire industry.”
Hartkämper himself can already see a positive development: “With the motto ‘BE ONE together with customers and partners to create leading change and added value,’ Kautex hasset out to make its organization fit for the future through excellence in processes and leadership. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play a crucial role, as CEO, in shaping this process in the future.”
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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