The history of the Coburg compressed air specialist, Kaeser Kompressoren truly is a remarkable story. Although many a company celebrates its centenary, they cannot all boast such sustained and continuously positive development. A look behind the scenes.
Kaeser is active all over the world in its centenary year, 2019. However, the general public rarely comes face to face with the compressed air specialist’s products. Only the portable compressors catch the eye with their black and yellow livery and attractive design, when used for road construction work. Compressed air stations tend to be hidden away in outbuildings. Yet Kaeser compressors are just as likely to be found in power stations in Australia as in Peruvian gold mines, used by aerospace engineers in the US, fish farms in Norway, car manufacturers in Germany, at the Cern particle accelerator in Switzerland, on ski pistes in Austria, on Arabian oil fields or the weaving mills in Asia. Compressed air is just as vital as electricity. No company with an industrial production line can get by without compressed air. Today, Kaeser has a global presence. Its customers range in size from craftsman’s establishments to large-scale industry.
It all began in a small workshop in Coburg’s Hahnweg. The old buildings are still standing in which Carl Kaeser senior started producing spare parts and engines for cars, along with gear wheels and special machines for the glass industry, with a team of eight employees and two apprentices in June 1919. Business was booming. Within a few years, the company was to employ a 150-strong workforce. After World War II, virtually the entire customer base fell by the wayside as most were located in Thuringia and Saxony – and thus on the other side of the border. Taking advantage of the available automotive expertise, production was adapted without further ado to similar products: reciprocating compressors. Thus began Kaeser’s successful focus on compressed air. In 1948, the first reciprocating compressor rolled off the Hahnweg production line as the company continued to evolve.
Further challenges emerged during the mid-1960s. In retrospect, it may perhaps be described as the first technological shift. Screw compressors came onto the market. Once again, Kaeser spearheaded the change with its very own invention: Sigma Profile was born. Developed in-house, it is a rotary screw airend with a special energy-efficient rotor profile that was groundbreaking at the time. Since then, Sigma Profile has been the centrepiece of every Kaeser rotary screw compressor; needless to say, it is also refined on an ongoing basis. Screw rotors are interconnected spirals with helical lobes.
This innovative spirit pervades the company to this day, resulting in a steady stream of innovations in compressed air technology and applying equally to hardware, software and services. From the refrigeration dryer to revolutionary controllers (Sigma Air Manager 4.0), from the portable compressor to completely new business models, where the customer basically only purchases the compressed air, through to digitalisation and Industrie 4.0, Kaeser still blazes a trail in the industry for the cost-effective, reliable, efficient generation and use of compressed air, thanks to its innovative, top-quality products and services. Most production facilities are located in Germany, with sales and service available in every corner of the globe.
The company’s early international expansion was a vital aspect of its growth. The first branch opened in Switzerland in 1978, with Austria and France following hot on its heels. Today, Kaeser has more than 50 own subsidiaries and is represented by exclusive contract partners in over 100 countries. Kaeser Kompressoren employs in excess of 6000 staff worldwide, many of whom have been loyal for decades.
How was this achieved? The company’s secret recipe is an unwavering passion for innovation, sound engineering expertise, close customer contact and an awareness of their needs, combined with exceptional quality standards, a good dose of common sense and the main ingredients: excellent teams and strong family ties. However, family does not just refer to the owner family, Thomas Kaeser and Tina-Maria Vlantoussi-Kaeser, now the third generation to manage the company, while the fourth has also just come on board, in the form of their son Alexander Jan Kaeser. All staff are considered family at Kaeser. This is evident in the high apprenticeship rate, well above average, and the extremely long service record of the employees, usually more than 30 years. But it is also reflected in the company’s business development: for 100 years without fail, the operating result has been positive. Even in 2009, the year of the global crisis. From Anchorage to Auckland, Coburg or Kauai, Kaeser is a family-owned company with strong ties to Germany; it views the entire world as its home turf and offers ‘Made in Germany’ quality from start to finish. The next innovative chapter is just waiting to be written.
Multivac sets a course for the future
After more than 18 years as CEO of the Multivac Group, Hans-Joachim Boekstegers will hand over the business on 1 January 2020 to his director colleagues, Christian Traumann and Guido Spix, and bow out of the company. Mr Traumann and Mr Spix will manage the company jointly in future.
Hans-Joachim Boekstegers joined the Multivac Group as CEO on 1 April 2001 and has since played a determining role in driving forward the successful development of the company. Mr Boekstegers was responsible in particular for the systematic expansion of the product portfolio and Multivac’s sales and service network. With 85 of its own subsidiaries, Multivac is today one of the leading manufacturers worldwide of packaging and processing solutions. During this time the company’s turnover was more than quadrupled, reaching some 1.1 billion euros at the end of 2018, and the number of employees rose from 1,600 to around 5,900.
With effect from 1 January 2020 Christian Traumann and Guido Spix will take up dual leadership of the Multivac Group. Mr Traumann will assume responsibility for Sales and Finance, while Mr Spix will become responsible for Technology and Production.
Christian Traumann had been Commercial Head of the Multivac Group since the beginning of 2002, before being appointed as Director and CFO for the Group in August 2008. Guido Spix joined the company as Director in March 2009 and has since assumed the position of CTO/COO.
In order to ensure that there is continuity in Multivac’s strategic direction, the course is already being set with an extended planning phase for the transfer of responsibilities to Mr Boekstegers’s successors. Mr Boekstegers will continue until the end of the year to guide Multivac’s destiny as usual, and he will remain on friendly terms with the company after this period.
New gearbox solution
Efficient conveyor belt drive
New State-Of-The-Art Production
SIG announces further Asia-Pacific expansion
As the Asia-Pacific region continues to be one of the major growth engines for aseptic carton packaging, SIG has announced investment in the region with the construction of a second production plant in Suzhou, China.
To meet current and future customer demand, the new 120,000 square meter plant is expected to be operational in early 2021 and will be situated at the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), close to the company’s existing production facility and Tech Centre. With a total investment of EUR 180 million, the new plant will ensure exceptional delivery on outstanding opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, where most countries continue to grow significantly. The plant is expected to achieve world-class environmental, safety and operational performance right from the start.
The new production facility is testament to SIG’s strong partnership with SIP and the local government, as well as its unparalleled commitment to deliver world-class packaging, service and the most modern solutions to the rapidly growing Asian markets and to China in particular. SIG’s recently opened cutting-edge Tech Centre in Suzhou supports customer collaboration in the development and implementation of innovative product concepts and market-ready packaging solutions.
Across Asia, millions of people are only now starting to consume packaged food and beverages. The rise of new consumers, driven by increasing income, changing lifestyles and new consumption habits, represents a huge opportunity for aseptic carton packaging with its long shelf life without the need of a cooling chain.
At the same time, young and growing populations are adopting modern lifestyles in urban areas, with more on-the-go consumption, an increasing awareness of health and wellness, and a growing demand for high-quality nutritional food and beverage products.
“The food and beverage market in Asia has seen continuous growth and is expected to continue on that path. Our new production plant will ensure we continue to excel at bringing new and exciting product and packaging concepts to market, quickly and efficiently. Together with our Tech Centre close by, the new plant is another pivotal moment for SIG in Asia. We will grow our business in the APAC region, but also expedite true beverage and dairy innovation for our customers, so they can quickly adapt to the changing lifestyle needs of Asian consumers.”
Rolf Stangl, CEO at SIG