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New pilot line, offices and modernized manufacturing plant

Roll to roll coating, laminating and drying machinery specialist Max Kroenert, of Hamburg celebrated its first century in style in November with the opening of what it claims to be the world’s fastest production scale coating and drying pilot line. The RECO 800 A is designed to cater for the developing technologies of Maschinenfabrik Max Kroenert and wholly owned Bachofen + Meier and Drytec.

The line and the new office and first modernized manufacturing building were officially opened by joint managing directors Burkhard Meyer and Walter Reiter on November 18 in front of guests and customers from around the world.

The new pilot machine offers more than 60 different application methods, including curtain coating. Modularly designed, the drying system allows a choice of IR, UV and convection drying with independent air circulation and heating of upper and bottom zone according to the customer’s requirements. In addition a new re-moisturization technology has been introduced, described by Kroenert as a worldwide innovation. And a newly implemented turret unwind and rewind will allow flying splices up to production speed, it says. Production speed is up to a claimed 1,610m/min (one mile per minute) at a maximum web width of 1,300mm (up to 2,000m/min with a future upgrade). The line offers “highest possible process security with respect to quality and quantity” and, by utilizing and combining all partners’ technology available in the market, substrate and coating materials are available for optimization to specific requirements of winding, coating, drying and remoisturization systems including gauging components. The pilot line also offers development possibilities on new and state of the art products, for example of water based lacquers and solvent-free silicones.

Following consultation, conducting of trials on the line in the Technology Centre and establishing a machine concept, the group will guide customers through the application engineering phase of each project. Then the machine will be manufactured to the customer’s specification and Kroenert will provide turnkey installation ready for production and a competitive after sales service.

One hundred years on, today the Kroenert Group comprises Maschinenfabrik Max Kroenert GmbH & Co KG, Hamburg, Germany, Kroenert Corp, Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA, Bachofen + Meier AG (BMB), Bulach, Switzerland (acquired in early 2003 from Jagenberg), Drytec Trocknungs- und Befeuchtungstechnik GmbH & Co KG, Hamburg-Norderstedt, ZAE Antriebssysteme GmbH & Co KG, and Altonaer Technologie-Holding GmbH (ATH), also both in Hamburg. With a turnover of €120M the group employs more than 500 people. Each enterprise operates independently, but at the same time customers benefit from the joint know-how, expertise and product transfer within the group.

Before acquiring BMB, Kroenert had already targeted the world market leadership for tailormade machinery for coating, laminating and drying of paper, board, plastics films and foil substrates. With the consolidation of the annual turnover of BMB and Kroenert, any doubt about this achievement has been removed, claims the company.

Managing director Burkhard Meyer said: “Our group offers to all our customers the most in performance and services compared to our competitors. The consolidated know-how of all single members of the Kroenert Group ensures the greatest competence with respect to all types of technical and technology questions.”

In 1919, following the end of World War I, the founder of Maschinenfabrik Max Kroenert sold his shares in the company. His former partner, Hans Jens Meyer, continued leading Kroenert until his death in 1954. His son, Dr Hans Erich Meyer, then took over and a great part of entrepreneurial responsibility as well as shares were handed over to his chief mechanical design engineer, Hans Reinhardt.

Following the death of his father in 1981, the position of managing director was taken over by Burkhard Meyer. In 1983 Hans Reinhardt departed and introduced his sons, Hans-Georg (who left in the mid nineties) and Klaus-Dieter who left in 2001, selling his shares a year later.

Burkhard Meyer now holds the majority of shares in the Kroenert Group and intends to keep all the key competencies within the company. He believes that in order to remain successful the majority of manufacture and the complete assembly process should be kept under one roof.

And the future? The recent building of a new administrative and manufacturing building is just the first part of the multi-stage ‘masterplan’ for re-construction of the initial plant site, reveals the company.


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