The packaging specialist Karl Knauer has successfully expanded its portfolio with the development and construction of packaging machines. For several years now, packaging customers of the company can contract the development and manufacture of custom automated packaging solutions from Karl Knauer.
The company is currently focused on the machine construction business segment: At the information event attended by top-class customers on April 24, 2012, the guests had the opportunity to obtain and exchange information on the packaging and machine construction expertise of Karl Knauer. “A company like Karl Knauer that knows exactly what requirements are placed on packaging is literally an ideal partner for us regarding the manufacture of special machines for packaging”, said Thomas Grossmann, Head of Packaging Development at the Grohe AG and a Karl Knauer customer.
The Karl Knauer company introduced a new series of events with its first “More Than You Expect” day. This events title says it all as guests were invited to these days for specific topics that point out to the market the additional value to the classic core competency of packaging. This was apparently very popular with the experts: “In the presentations and the company tour, it became very clear how a machine from the packaging specialists optimizes packaging processes. An unusual aspect that not only distinguishes a packaging service provider like Karl Knauer as a renowned mechanical engineering company, but in particular as a process optimizer”, meant Birgit Degeler-Weitbrecht, responsible at the Brita GmbH for packaging development.
“The decisive advantage for customers is clear: packaging and machines from a single company. We are the ideal partner for customers from the industry since we can install a thoroughly efficient process using our knowledge of the product and the machine”, said Richard Kammerer, Managing Director of the Karl Knauer KG.
Process optimization using automated packaging solutions from packaging specialists – a textbook example of lean production, which is why Karl Knauer also invited a consulting expert from the Porsche Consulting Group as speaker of the day.
The extent to which packaging is integrated into corporate areas and disciplines such as quality management, process optimization, marketing, and branding was particularly well demonstrated on the “ More Than You Expect Day”: “As customers, we appreciate the fact that Karl Knauer also provides an impulse to think outside the box through machine construction and, in particular, practices this over the long term”, stated Jan Fischer, Head of Quality Management at the ESTB GmbH.
Ideal Partner for Small and Medium-sized Businesses
The packaging specialist is able to utilize its numerous years of experience with the properties and requirements of completely different packaged goods for the development and construction of a machine so that the customer benefits from an optimal and efficient packaging process for its goods. The speakers from the field of machine construction were something else. Kodak, for example, contracted the development of a complete packaging solution for X-ray folding cartons - the machine automatically positions the outer and inner sections and then glues them together. The packages are also automatically filled with Kodak films. For the Gütermann company, Karl Knauer constructed a special machine. It performs all steps in the process; from the automatic folding of foldable cutouts to fully automatic filling of packages with rolls of sewing thread. Connection to an upstream labeling machine as well as the ability to retrofit the machine fully automatically to meet the requirements of the old machine ensure especially efficient workflows at Kodak.
Siemens highly regards services “from a single company”
Werner Kürzinger, responsible for packaging automation at Siemens, has worked together with Karl Knauer for over 20 years. At the present time, seven of the Simatic machines designed and manufactured by Karl Knauer are in operation at the Siemens site in Amberg. “The many years of collaboration with the Karl Knauer KG has been ‘impressively different”. The continuous advancement, the perpetual improvement process, and the will to always present the most optimal product are what make our collaboration different. I appreciate this greatly.” Kürzinger is especially confident in Karl Knauer’s ability to provide everything he needs: packaging solutions, special machines, and operating supplies. “It is very important for me to be able to obtain special machine constructions and materials from a single company. When I have a problem in one of these two areas, I still only need to contact one company, and it then finds an overall solution. This makes our collaboration effective and engaging.”
The benchmark data of the Simatic S7 reflect the efficiency of the machine: its annual capacity is 2.6 million pieces. The cycle time for a carton is 2.3 minutes. Carton conveying and discharging are performed automatically, and only requires the deployment of 0.15 persons per shift. The estimated cost of this machine is about 600,000 Euro. This includes the automatic packaging machine, connection to the lifting machine, and initial operation. The standardized modular design allows for optimal integration into existing systems.
Lean Management - The Path to the Optimal Process
With the integration of machine construction into the core competency of the company, the manufacture of folding cartons, Karl Knauer demonstrates in its own company what its customers profit from. The method of lean management was introduced at Karl Knauer to continuously improve its own processes. In collaboration with the Porsche Consulting Group, the company started on the path to consistently lean, optimized processes, and naturally then to higher cost efficiency. With success, since Karl Knauer now has its own CIP manager to perform these tasks. Stephan Lechel, Head of the Packaging Industry Division at Porsche Consulting, provided support to the company at the beginning of the lean production process: “In my opinion, the Karl Knauer KG is an excellent example of a traditional company that has handled its modernization perfectly. The lean management process has the full support of all levels of management and is fully implemented in all levels. It has become part of their corporate culture, and every single employee contributes to the success of the company through their commitment.”
Lean production in the packaging industry actually means higher flexibility and the ability to quickly adapt to the requirements of the market and of the customers. “Karl Knauer is way ahead with its lean management. Little has been done in general by companies in the packaging industry to develop themselves further. Their lead in this area is enormous”, according to Stefan Lechel. The specialists from Biberach are happy to hand over the lead directly to their customers in the form of their expanded portfolio.