Kautex Maschinenbau continues its strategic reorganization – Change process now finalized

The mechanical engineering company, based in Bonn, Germany, has announced additional investments to extend its Packaging, Pharmaceuticals, and Healthcare Packaging businesses for 2020. This will be achieved using funds worth double-digit millions of Euros, provided by the majority shareholder. The measures concerned will see the reallocation of human resources from the Automotive division to these other businesses. The reduction in staff levels announced in 2019 should be completed by the end of this year.

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.

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