Dr Tim Wolf, CBDO Koch Pac-Systeme / Editorial Staff
Interview with Dr Tim Wolf, CBDO Koch Pac-Systeme
Since October 2022, Dr Tim Wolf has been strengthening the top management of Koch Pac-Systeme GmbH. The editorial team had the opportunity to talk to the new Chief Business Development Officer (CBDO) about current developments and the highlights of Interpack.
interpack NEWS: Dr Wolf, in the official mission/vision Koch-Pac Systeme puts a lot of emphasis on sustainability. Now you offer packaging solutions for very different goods. For products such as razors, sustainable packaging is comparatively easy to implement, but for sensitive goods such as those in the healthcare industry / medical technology with their uncompromising demand for product protection, things are a little different. How sustainable can healthcare product packaging actually be?
Dr. Tim Wolf: The observation is correct in the first place. Any further development must meet the high requirements. These include GMP requirements, sterile barrier systems and also the processes to be validated. Compared to other industries, this limits the speed and possibly the general feasibility of sustainable solutions. Nevertheless, with our machines, technologies and expertise, which we also bring into packaging development at an early stage, there are approaches to designing environmentally friendly packaging and packaging processes.
This starts with the use of materials when it comes to forming, sealing and die-cutting. Here we use so-called smart forming technologies to produce very precisely formed blisters – and at the same time with reduced compressed air consumption. Another example is that we keep the sealing quality very high and thus minimise the reject rates. And there are intelligent cutting processes that ensure that we can achieve significant material savings and thus also make optimum use of the machine format. And we contribute to sustainability by designing efficient, energy-saving packaging processes with smart optimisation solutions.
What differentiates us is that we don't just present and offer a machine concept in a catalogue, but enter into dialogue with our customers as partners in the early project phases. Because this is how we can leverage the most synergies together with our customers and thus achieve the best sustainable effects.
interpack NEWS: When your customers approach you, are they generally still very open about the use of packaging materials and technology, or do they generally have quite precise ideas in the form of specifications about what they want KochPac to deliver?
Wolf: As so often in life: It depends. There are customers who come to us with very precise expectations, and there are also sector-specific requirements, as we mentioned at the beginning, that simply apply. Most of our customers involve us in their project planning at a very early stage and we develop the specifications together. It is our integrative competence in packaging development, packaging material knowledge and experience in packaging technologies and processes that is highly valued by our customers. At the end of the day, investing in automated packaging solutions is a business case for our customers that must pay off. And therefore it is even more important to find the best solution for the respective situation. From a highly customised special solution to platforms, modules and kits, everything is possible with us. As a partner, we think long-term with our customers. And this must pay off for our customers over the life cycle of the machine.
interpack NEWS: You just spoke of solutions that fit the situation perfectly. Now sometimes situations change and suddenly it is necessary to be able to react flexibly, for example with regard to the packaging materials used. What role does this topic currently play for your customers?
Wolf: This is indeed an exciting question at the moment. Basically, there are various ways to enable the necessary flexibility. We now build many solutions that allow you to work with different formats, sometimes even with different formats within one format set. The decisive factor here is how quickly format changes are then possible, since set-up times are not productive times. Our customers sometimes have very different strategies and thus requirements. For example, there are packaging processes that are designed more for mass and standards - the machine concepts are then also designed accordingly, and less for flexibility. And for others, the focus is on being able to switch quickly between formats or packaging materials to enable smaller batches and high flexibility.
interpack NEWS: Now the main reason for our conversation is Interpack. Where on the stand can we actually see concrete solutions that pay towards your mission/vision?
Wolf: Our mission statement is reflected in the entire stand. Perhaps the best way to start is with the topic of innovation: As a premiere, we will show a KBS-PT packaging machine with the so-called Cycleform technology as well as an alternative Cyclepac solution. Cycleform is about forming sustainable paper-based packaging that allows for sophisticated geometries and rounded shapes. The technology is new in combination with the material and has already been awarded the German Sustainability Award as well as the German Packaging Award in earlier development phases.
This is complemented by the second theme, Cyclepac. This is also about paper-based, attractive packaging solutions. However, these are not celebrating a premiere at Interpack, but have already been established on the market for many years - for example in packaging for batteries or toothbrushes. We are also presenting our new Packaging Competence Center – a unit of experts to jointly develop innovative packaging solutions.
interpack NEWS: Another big topic for Koch-Pac at the fair is digitalisation. What solutions do you have in store here? And what concrete advantage do I actually have as a user from a digital twin?
Wolf: In short, with our so-called K 4.0 solutions, we can make the packaging process along the value chain more efficient, simpler and ultimately more economical. In concrete terms, this means, for example, that we offer a so-called Predictive Maintenance Pack. This is a digital equipment package to, as the name suggests, avoid machine failures as far as possible and to trigger the procurement of spare parts at an early stage. A second pack, the so-called OEE Pack, which we are showing at the trade fair, focuses on partnership with our customers. We are not only interested in selling a machine, but also in optimising it together over the years and thus – to put it bluntly – getting everything out of it that is possible. There is then also a pack that concentrates purely on the energy consumption of the system - energy savings of up to 20 % are definitely achievable here.
In my view, the topic of the digital twin is an innovation that still holds undreamt-of potential. Today, we are already using the possibilities in selected projects in all project phases: In machine development, for the installation, qualification, validation and training phases. This enables us to noticeably shorten the lead time of projects and increase the quality of cooperation. And if, in the course of time, you are thinking about converting a system, we can simulate this at the desk without taking the machine out of production.