Page 37 - Packaging News Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 37

KHS celebrates 150 years of innovation
From Dortmund equipment trader to global turnkey supplier in 150 continuous years, KHS is continuing to pioneer innovative solutions. The company’s Australia managing director Kurt Hofmann talks to PKN associate editor Wayne Robinson.
In the distant past – before the car, the phone, the radio, penicillin – on 1 October 1868 to be exact, Carl Kappert and Louis Holstein founded the Holstein & Kappert equipment trading company in Dortmund, Germany, laying the foundations for KHS. It took several decades, however, for the enterprise to become a worldwide manufacturer of turnkey systems – many years of expansion, fusions and continuous development of products geared to the future.
Today, the KHS Group is one of the market’s leading systems providers for the beverage, food and non-food industries. For years the company has increasingly focused on sustainability in the development of new plant engineering.
KHS has been operating in Australia and New Zealand since the 1930s, and as a direct subsidiary for the past 30 years, with its managing director Kurt Hofmann joining the company as service director in 1989, and then stepping into the top job in 2001, now overseeing some 21 staff. The company has enjoyed steady growth for the past 30 years in the region.
that their equipment is looked after by a professional full trained team.
“If we get the service right we get everything else right. We invest in sending our entire service staff to Germany at least once a year for training, to make sure our clients are receiving the highest levels of support,” Hofman says.
Today KHS has a market share in filling and packaging of more than two thirds of the Australian beer and soft drinks market, in fillers it dominates completely, with around 90 per cent of the market.
Customers include the giants of the industry, as well as the smaller craft outfits. It is also a major player in wines
Digital future: KHS has been setting standards in 3D line design for over ten years – now with an expert system which covers all stages in the process from the initial concept to final production.
shorter runs and be nimble, which in turn will present challenges to packaging solutions developers including KHS. However, Hofmann welcomes the trend. He says, “For KHS it means the opportunity to show the market how flexible we can be, and it will mean line upgrades and new machines.”
Hofmann is also excited about the continuing KHS commitment to innovation, pointing to the new Nature MultiPack, a sustainable packaging solution which sees Carlsberg beer cans glued together in a multipack, rather than using shrink wrapping, hi-cone rings or other plastic packaging. KHS estimates that some 76 per cent of plastic can be saved, equalling a whopping 1200 tonnes of waste plastic a year being taken out of circulation from just this one job. Hofmann says, “KHS has built its business over the past one and a half centuries on continual innovation, NaturePack shows that strategy is alive and well, and will continue into the future.”
Showing that with a 150 year heritage KHS is always embracing the modern, Hofmann points to the new energy solution in the new building, which is powered by 35kw of solar power, stored in a decent array of batteries, and providing all the energy KHS Australia needs to keep its plant humming along. In addition, all the lights in the building are LED which take ultra low levels of power. Hoffman says, “KHS is clearly taking its environmental responsibilities seriously, new solutions such as NaturePack, and using solar power in our building, these are the outcomes of our commitment to the future, coming from the platform of the past 150 years.” 
“I came here to build the service and spirits, the 42,000 glass bottles an
division, which has always been key to the success of KHS, and is still at the core of our business.”
hour Casella winery line for instance is the world’s biggest KHS wine industry filling and packaging line.
Two years ago KHS invested in its own building, in Tullamarine, Victoria, and has just completed the installation of a fully automated warehouse for spare parts.
In fact KHS was already successful here before 1988, for instance it had five of the biggest can fillers in the world installed here, as well as ten bottling lines and various packaging systems, including half a dozen turnkey lines.
Hofmann says, “I came here to build the service division, which has always been key to the success of KHS, and is still at the core of our business. We do our own installations and our own maintenance. Customers enjoy a great level of security knowing
“The new warehouse carries all the essential parts, who else can do that? Our customers depend on us for the optimum performance of their equipment, and we make sure we have everything we need deliver. The automated warehouse means no waiting for parts to be flown in from Germany.”
As the beverage market particularly continues to fragment, evidenced already by the stellar growth for instance of craft breweries, it will present challenges to the brands, who need to have multiple SKUs, in

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