Kaiser+Kraft manufactures transportation devices internally - and makes sure that production is particularly environmentally friendly. And not just that: With the "Active Green" line, it also offers products for which the CO2 emissions have been offset.
A visit to their internal production facility in Haan illustrates how this works. A large, white production hall on the outskirts of an industrial estate in the centre of Haan, a tranquil town approximately 20 kilometres east of Düsseldorf. Here, 70 employees develop and manufacture a total of 500 different transportation devices in 200 versions for the proprietary brands Eurokraft and Quipo on an area covering 10,000 square metres. The product range extends from the simple pushcart and specialist transport trolley for bottles to the height-adjustable work desk. Only in Haan does the company manufacture products itself; it obtains the rest of the products in the catalogue from suppliers. "Internal production and development helps us to improve our understanding of suppliers and their processes," explains Karl-Friedrich Sandmeier, the head of the Internal Production division. "However, it serves as a role model for other manufacturers at the same time, offering swift service, high quality and sustainability."
KAISER+KRAFT has set itself the goal of being the industry's role model in terms of sustainability and therefore makes sure to conserve resources throughout the entire production process. This applies to the coating procedure in particular during which the products are given their colour. "That's our core competency," explains the division head. The individual components are therefore purchased and then assembled and welded in Haan. Before they are coated, the parts still need to be cleaned and degreased; otherwise the colour will not stick. "The cleaning system works like domestic dishwashers," says Sandmeier. "However, we have been able to continuously reduce the temperature over the past few years. The parts are now cleaned at 40 degrees Celsius, which allows us to save energy. That is something a normal dishwasher is not yet capable of." Kaiser+Kraft also saves water: Every part is washed four times, but the water is only completely replaced once every six months. Fresh water is only added for the final clean to compensate for evaporation and displacement losses.
Now for the colour
For coating, the unfinished parts are transported through a cabin in which coloured powder is blown through nozzles. All colours are possible, with blue being the standard colour. The metal parts are earthed, and the powder is charged electrostatically to ensure that the colourful cloud sticks to the components. This way, the colour is attracted to the parts like a magnet to a refrigerator. This makes powder coating more environmentally friendly than paint since it does not contain any solvents and excess powder is reused. The powder melts in a curing furnace at a temperature of 170 degrees Celsius, forming a continuous layer. After coating is complete, the welded parts are assembled and then packaged.
Offsetting CO2 emissions
In its function as a role mode, the optimisation of production is not enough for Kaiser+Kraft. "We asked ourselves: What actually constitutes a green product?" explains Sandmeier. With a view to discovering how sustainable the product range is, the company worked together with TÜV Rheinland to draw up a life cycle assessment for certain products. This illustrates what resources are consumed, such as steel, and what emissions are generated in the process. "The life cycle assessment covers the product's entire life cycle. In the extraction of raw materials, processing, transportation and finally disposal - CO2 emissions are always generated. As a result, recording these emissions is a highly complex procedure," says Sandmeier. For example, a pushcart emits a total of 16.8 kilograms of CO2 throughout its lifetime, which is equivalent to the exhaust gases of an average car over 90 kilometres. A shelved trolley even accounts for eight times this amount: 139 kilograms. For this reason, Kaiser+Kraft launched the new "Active Green" line at the beginning of the year, which sees these emissions being offset by Kaiser+Kraft acquiring CO2 reduction certificates. The money goes to the Yuntdag wind farm in western Turkey. It satisfies the requirements of the strictest international standard - the WWF "Gold Standard". "None of our competitors offset their CO2 emissions," says Sandmeier. In sales, the products from this line are no more expensive than comparable products - something our customers are picking up on as well.
Employees at KreAktiv für Ruhrort are also on duty as school crossing patrol officers. Elena Brenk went along to see how they safely guided pupils of Ruhrort primary school across the road.
A glance at the clock shows it is now shortly after 7 a.m. Bodo Adam hastily takes one last gulp of coffee. “Time to go,” he says, hurriedly rising from the table. Adam stops again in the foyer of the parish hall to pull on his jacket, the reflectors gleaming in the light. Adam looks at the clock again. “We have to be at the school before the first children arrive,” he explains, leaving the parish hall with his colleague Freimuth Stüber.
Safely through the darkness
The two KreAktiv employees stride towards Ruhrort primary school where they will be on duty today as school crossing patrol officers. Since November last year, the team at Ruhrort citizens’ initiative KreAktiv has been helping school children safely cross König-Friedrich-Wilhelm-Strasse – every morning and in alternating teams of two. The idea for this came from Dirk Peters. The head of Ruhrort primary school was desperately searching for a replacement after the city was stripped of its long-standing school crossing patrol officers shortly before the dark winter months set in. “Even though the road passing by the school is traffic-calmed, many drivers don’t stick to the speed limit,” explains Peters. This can be extremely dangerous, particularly in the winter, as it can be difficult to see the children. For example, a few weeks ago, a former pupil was hit by a car and suffered minor injuries on Eisenbahnstrasse, which isn’t far from the primary school. “It is without doubt thanks to the school crossing patrol officers that similar accidents have never occurred at our school,” says Peters. Stüber and Adam work in close cooperation with the police when performing their morning traffic duties. “If we see that drivers here are driving too fast, we report it to the police.” This is because the school crossing patrol officers themselves are not allowed to reprimand speeding drivers, even though they often find it difficult not to.
Making their presence known
Meanwhile, Adam and Stüber have arrived at the primary school. “Everyone has their own fixed position here,” says Adam. While the former cemetery gardener takes up his position on Fürst-Bismarck-Strasse directly opposite the schoolyard, Stüber stands on König-Friedrich-Wilhelm-Strasse. Right on time, the first pupil shows up. The approximately 10-year-old boy looks at the two officers and stops at the crossing. Even though there isn’t a car in sight, he first looks left and then right before crossing the road – a typical textbook approach. However, the situation at the school doesn’t stay this calm for long. The rush sets in at 7:45 a.m. Approximately 200 school children now flood from all directions and head towards the primary school – either alone or with their parents. With rush-hour traffic starting to pick up, more and more cars drive past the school. This means that Adam and Stüber need to keep their wits about them at all times. As one driver – unnoticed by a group of children – shifts into reverse outside the school, Adam is on hand straightaway. He intercepts the children and does not let them cross the road until the car has turned around. “Seemingly harmless situations like this can change course quickly,” explains Stüber. Since this isn’t only the case during winter, Peters has now extended the contract with the employees at KreAktiv für Ruhrort for the entire year.
More about KreAktiv
KreAktiv für Ruhrort is a joint project of the city sport association Stadtsportbund Duisburg, the Jobcenter Duisburg and Haniel, with the aim of revitalising the urban district. The project was officially launched in spring 2012.
Since then, the ten citizen workers with headquarters in the Ruhrort parish hall have been maintaining the recently opened Ruhrort bookcase [Link: Bücher für Alle!], handing out flyers and brochures for sport and leisure offers in shops and patrolling through Ruhrort in order to pass on information of any disturbances or offences to the authorities. The KreAktiv team’s key tasks include regularly preparing and holding events – organised by Kreativkreis Ruhrort – in the parish hall.
Good from experience
The history of electric vehicles stretches back more than 150 years. As early as 1839, the first electric vehicle was constructed by Robert Anderson in Aberdeen. The first German electric car was built by Coburg-based machine works A. Flocken in 1888. What many people do not know is that even Ferdinand Porsche’s first car was operated by electricity, while German Emperor Wilhelm II’s fleet of 15 cars included three electric cars. Especially at the turn of the century, electric cars had an extremely large presence on the roads. Their decline began from the decade of 1910. This was mainly due to the invention of the starter for petrol-fuelled engines, which made driving much more comfortable. Moreover, oil was very cheap in those days.
Rising petrol prices and the impact on the environment and climate pose the question of an alternative to the combustion engine – especially in the transport industry. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, approximately 30% of traffic-induced CO2 emissions are caused by lorries.
So it is no wonder that CWS-boco, too, has thought about how to make driving more environmentally friendly. With its participation in the “ELMO – Elektromobile Urbane Wirtschaftsverkehre” (Electromobile Urban Commercial Traffic) research project, the company has taken on two electrically operated 7.5-tonners in its fleet. They were manufactured by the British company Smith Electric Vehicles. However, what are the exact differences from a traditional lorry?
In contrast to hybrid vehicles, Smith’s electric vehicles require no petrol at all. They are powered by a lithium-ion battery. The vehicles have up to three batteries: one to operate the engine, a starter battery and an extra battery for the electric tailgate. The capacity of the main battery is variable. The Newton model, which is being used by CWS-boco, drives with an 80 kilowatt battery. The battery is to last 10 years, in which time it can be charged up to 2,000 times. Every evening, the lorry must go to the socket, which was built in on the company site especially for this purpose. In six to eight hours, the vehicle is then ready for use again. And so that the CO2 balance can really be seen, CWS-boco has obtained electricity solely from renewable energies since the start of 2013.
The Newton’s small cab reminds one a little of an aeroplane. Searching for a gearstick here is in vain and even the handbrake is recognisable as such only at second glance. Instead there are joysticks in the centre console, red toggle switches and above the driver a monitor where the battery charge status is displayed. “The vehicle actually drives like an automatic vehicle,” driver Ingo Müller vom Berge tells me. “I have an accelerator pedal and a brake pedal and as soon as I release the brake, the lorry starts moving. Otherwise, the lorry is no different from others.”
According to the manufacturer, the lorry has a range of up to 120 kilometres. However, the performance is heavily dependent on external influences. Load weight, driving speed, uphill gradients on the route and ambient temperature impact on the range. “Now, in the winter, we stop after an average of 80 kilometres,” Ingo Müller vom Berge tells me from his daily experience. “I always make sure I drive energy-efficiently so that I can deliver to all customers on my round.” This means that Müller vom Berge rarely drives more than 35 km/h in urban areas, while even on motorways he reaches a maximum of 80 km/h. And not just that: similar to a hybrid car, the electric lorry also drives with braking-energy recuperation. This means that the battery charges up again a little bit more in each braking procedure. Up to 20 additional kilometres can be gained by driving in a corresponding manner. So, driving with an electric vehicle is something that has to be learned and requires the driver to think. Especially for this purpose, Smith offers its customers training that is designed to familiarise them with the peculiarities of an electric drive. Nevertheless, the vehicles are only suitable for users that always travel the same routes, since charging up in between is not possible.
The background noise
What probably differentiates an electrically-operated lorry most obviously from a traditional lorry is its noise volume. One notices this right from switching on the engine: a short “tick – tick – tick,” then a brief hum like when closing a metro door – that’s it. And in fact, not only in the passenger cell does one hear nothing, but also on the road the electric lorry is barely noticeable. “Because the vehicles are so extremely quiet, care must be taken in pedestrian zones in particular,” believes Ingo Müller vom Berge. “Artificial sounds really ought to be incorporated.” Especially at low speeds is the lorry barely audible, since then not even the sound of the wheels rolling can be heard.
March 2012: Schewa van Uden has her hands full. In her and Antje Burs’ office in the building of the “regional workplace for the support of children and youths from immigrant families” (RAA) in Ruhrort, she is checking the school marks in the first year of the Aletta Haniel Programme. The year 10 pupils of Aletta Haniel Comprehensive School are soon to complete their school education. “In three months, we will see how successful our work was,” she says. Suddenly, there is a knock on the door. Van Uden looks at her watch in bewilderment. “I actually don’t expect anyone else today.” While she is still saying that, the door flies open and 13 youths step into the office. Very loudly and in a highly disorderly manner, they congratulate van Uden on her birthday, which is today. Still surprised but visibly proud, she accepts the congratulations. The congratulators are almost already part of her “family”. They are the year ten pupils of the Aletta Haniel Comprehensive School – the first generation to take part in the Aletta Haniel Programme.
Coordination and cooperation
One of these congratulators in March was 16-year-old Dilara. At the time, the German-born Turk was completing a one-year internship at the Duisburg branch of the logistics company DPD – every Tuesday, she helped out there in the commercial area. “I’ve always liked organising and definitely wanted to work in an office,” Dilara tells us, looking back. “Ms van Uden then suggested to me that I become an office administrator and that I start at DPD.” The logistics company is part of the pool of Duisburg companies that cooperate with the Aletta Haniel Programme. For this, van Uden and her colleague Antje Burs had to do a lot of “canvassing”. “At the beginning, our programme was still completely unknown and it was not easy to convince companies to take on weak pupils,” remembers van Uden. Today, the companies have recognised the advantage of the Aletta Haniel Programme for themselves: in the one-year internship, they can test the pupils before the apprenticeship and work them in. Furthermore, in van Uden and her colleague Burs they have direct contacts if something should go wrong.
Goal always in sight
Once or twice during her internship at DPD, even Dilara was close to throwing in the towel. And that even though everything was going well: her superiors and work colleagues were enthused by her. Dilara herself liked the work – but sometimes, she just did not feel like it: “I wanted to spend time with my friends instead.” In numerous conversations, van Uden reminded the 16-year old why she wants to become an office administrator and re-motivated her again and again – that paid off, because she was invited to attend an interview with DPD. “The interview went brilliantly. After finishing school, Dilara began her office administrator trainee programme there,” says a visibly proud van Uden.
Just like Dilara, three other “Aletta pupils” have also begun a vocational trainee programme straight after finishing school. However, participation in the Aletta Haniel Programme has paid off for the others as well. They have gained their school-leaving certificate and have also acquired a large amount of “soft skills”. For example, in a two-day manners course the pupils learned how to behave when having a meal with their boss and what clothes they should wear in what situations. The Aletta Haniel Programme has also allowed them to develop new, close friendships. All agree that they should keep in touch after the school has finished as well – especially with their mentor, Schewa van Uden.
About the project coordinators
“Something with people”
Antje Burs was born in the city of Detmold, in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia. After finishing school, in 1999 she decided to do a Voluntary Year of Social Service – in a home for mentally disabled youths. At the time, it was already important to her to make a difference and provide help. At the end of the 12 months, it was clear to Burs that she definitely wanted to do “something with people”. In 2000, she went to the speech and language therapy school in Münster. Afterwards, she first worked for two years as a speech and language therapist at a large specialist practice for phoniatrics and paediatric audiology. However, the work did not really satisfy her. “The work with the patients was great. However, I was increasingly interested in the background to health and social services. I wanted to occupy myself with scientific theories, to organise as well as write concepts, while keeping an eye on the business aspect.” In 2005, she resigned from her permanent full-time position in order to study social management in Mönchengladbach. During her four-year course of study, Burs continued to work as a speech and language therapist at the same time. That changed when she completed her studies. In 2009, she began working for the City of Krefeld as a coordinator of the project “Zusatzjob U25”. In this role, Burs was responsible for obtaining job opportunities for adults under 25 years of age with a poor school education or a criminal past, with the aim of – ideally – integrating them into well-paid jobs. “At the time, we managed to get a 21-year old with a drugs past a job in a nursing home. Without this programme, he probably would have had no chance,” says Burs, proudly. Since April 2010, she has been one of two project coordinators of the Aletta Haniel Programme. Regarding her work in this pilot project, Burs says that it allows her to combine the educational and coordinating tasks in optimal fashion. “It is exactly what I have always wanted.”
“Role model for migrant children”
Schewa van Uden was born in Northern Iraq in 1980. At the age of 15, she came to Germany with her family. At that time, she could not speak a word of German. However, so that she could also complete school in Germany, her parents saw to it that she learned the language. For this purpose, she attended special German courses at her school and at the adult education college. Van Uden worked hard; she was in no doubt that she wanted to take on the school-leaving examinations (Abitur) and study later on. She succeeded: in 2001, she did the Abitur. She then went to Essen to study business administration. At the same time, from 2002 she worked as an intercultural consultant in work with parents at preschool and primary level for the RAA in Duisburg. Very quickly, she realised that she found the work there more fun than what she was learning in her course. She wanted to support and motivate people who had experienced what she had experienced. For this reason, after her basic studies, van Uden switched to social sciences. At the same time, she remained at RAA and also trained further to be a conflict manageress and a mediator. After her course, the social scientist first worked as a project coordinator at the integration agency of the German Red Cross. Then, in 2010, she received an offer to become a project coordinator in the Aletta Haniel Programme. She accepted the offer without hesitation.
Van Uden describes what exactly she likes about this work in this way: “I really enjoy taking on new challenges and putting new ideas into effect in projects. My biography makes me a role model for the migrant children and I encourage them that you can achieve anything you want. Only, of course, if you are willing to do something for it and also receive the right support.”
March, 2013. Christoph Böninger and Stephan Gemkow discussed the topic of “corporate responsibility in family companies” with the scholarship holders of the Haniel Foundation. Our reporter, Friederike Andrae, was there.
Christoph Böninger and Stephan Gemkow were on good form last Thursday evening. They wanted to contribute something to the scholarship holders of the Haniel Foundation. Something about values in corporate activities. Something about the difference between a family company and a stock corporation and what it means to be “enkelfähig”. The Haniel Foundation supports particularly successful students as the “managers of tomorrow”. As part of this year’s scholarship holders’ meeting, they learned about what corporate responsibility means in practice.
Family ties vs. corporate identity
Christoph Böninger is the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Haniel Foundation and Chairman of the Advisory Board of Franz Haniel Cie. GmbH. Right at the beginning of the discussion, he made one thing clear: he does not like the term “corporate responsibility” (CR). He considers it a buzzword – which always gives the impression that it describes something completely new. However, in his eyes, CR stands for what Haniel has been practising since it was established: responsibility is in the company’s DNA. After all, Germany’s first company health insurance fund was founded at Haniel. According to Böninger, Haniel has two opposing value systems. On the one hand is the company with a hierarchical structure and expectations for employee performance. On the other is the family whose members treat each other as equals and are loyal to one another. This results in a tense overlap of values.
In response to a question from a scholarship holder on how the growth of the family is balanced with the growth of the company, Böninger explained that this is not at all what the company aims to do: “Family members do not have a fundamental entitlement to benefits from the company.” For example, a dividend will not be paid out to the family this year. However, Böninger explained that this has not resulted in any major discussions as the family has agreed that the long-term success of the company takes priority. Later, Böninger talked about how the younger members of the family are being introduced to the company purposefully. They learn about “what makes Haniel tick” through Youth Meetings.
One scholarship holder from Austria dug deeper, wanting to know about the disadvantages of a family company – surely it is difficult to make decisions with so many shareholders? Böninger explained the function of the Advisory Board and the Small Circle to him. He emphasised how important it is for everyone at the regular family meetings to be able to express their opinions and for them to be discussed seriously as well – “Yes, we let off some steam too.” He values the familiar atmosphere and feeling of unity at the meetings. This is partly due to the fact that all shareholders have a common role model – that of the “respectable salesman”. When asked exactly what this means, Böninger referred to the company magazine “Enkelfähig”: This term ideally illustrates the company’s aim to always act in a way that will benefit future generations as well. It is important to Böninger to achieve a balance between the interests of the family and the company. The company should draw strength from the family, not the other way round.
Advice from the expert
The family members are also unanimous on the fact that Gemkow is the “right man” for Haniel. But what made the former Lufthansa employee change companies? “I wanted a bit of peace and quiet,” replied Gemkow, laughing. “No, I still don’t have that now.” He thought more about the question and explained that he began working at Lufthansa during a time in which the company was considered prestigious and glamorous. However, there is now destructive competition with state-owned airlines from the Middle East, discriminatory air traffic taxes and problems with small yet powerful craft unions: “There is always someone in the value chain on strike.” Furthermore, Gemkow explained that citizens are increasingly turning against airports and train stations as they do not recognise the importance of infrastructure and mobility for our country. Gemkow calls this “weariness with civilization”. These challenges would pose a huge danger for air traffic in Germany. Gemkow believes that new strategic concepts are required for this reason. However, he admits: “I was no longer able to enjoy success with my ideas and took appropriate action.” A piece of advice that he bestowed upon the scholarship holders as well.
Unlike Lufthansa, Haniel has a portfolio that consciously avoids synergies: “You do not want to have all of your eggs in one basket.” At the same time, Gemkow illustrated how important change has always been for the company: Current profits come almost exclusively from divisions that were not set up until after 1982. That evening will not be the last time Gemkow emphasizes that quarterly results are nowhere near as important to Haniel as long-term, sustainable success. In this context, even the founders persistently stood up for their ideas, which they thoroughly believed in. In his view, success still depends on the people’s commitment today: “We have small, highly professional teams. It is fun working with these teams.”
An alumna of the Metro Haniel China Programme came forward and thanked Haniel for the sponsorship, which Haniel had provided completely by itself after Metro’s financial exit. However, the student was interested in the long-term financial security of activities, which ultimately depends on the success of the company. As the third CEO in four years, what is Gemkow going to do differently from his predecessors? “Due to various developments in recent years, we really have gotten ourselves into a difficult situation,” summed up Gemkow. “We are compensating for this by selling part of our assets in order to reduce our debt – and enable us to invest in growth business again in the future.”
Supervisory Boards and owners
The benefits of being a family company were also mentioned again and again. Gemkow lamented that it is quite common in stock corporations for employer representatives on the Supervisory Board not to hold any shares in the company. In his eyes, this means that they are not really affected by company issues, which is to the detriment of discussions in the Supervisory Board committees. “I wonder whether employee representatives wouldn’t be more relevant dialogue partners in this respect,” he postulated. After all, they are often better informed about the issues affecting “their” company. He sees Haniel as the exact opposite of this. At Haniel, given that Supervisory Board members are also company owners, this means that they are directly invested in all decisions and have a genuine interest in sustainability. The approach taken in the face of a dry spell for the business is completely different; discussions are more geared towards business models and risks: “I consider this to be a much more exacting and honest way of doing things.”
One scholarship holder was interested in how Haniel Holding is implementing the CR strategy across the divisions, to which Gemkow responded: “All divisions have acknowledged the importance of this issue. With respect to reporting, some divisions have even gone one step further than the Group Holding Company, which is nonetheless providing the general framework.” Another scholarship holder asked about the ambitions of the CR actions beyond Ruhrort. Böninger and Gemkow agreed that the company wants to focus on projects “on its doorstep”. This is where the outcome and effectiveness of the measures taken are most visible. It fills the family with pride and brings emotional added value. Action is taken in areas where the need is the greatest and not where the most media coverage will be generated. Bearing this in mind, during the 2013 budget meeting, cuts were only made in areas that were likely to find other sponsors quickly, such as sponsorship for sporting events. Hafenkids and schools are not affected by budget cuts.
To wrap up the discussion, Gemkow was asked how he would get a successor enthusiastic about Haniel. He responded: “I would explain to them the difference between a family company and a stock corporation.” This brought a smile to the scholarship holders’ faces. This is precisely what Böninger and Gemkow had been doing for over an hour.
The CWS range of dispensers ParadiseLine Stainless Steel has been awarded the “Design Plus powered by ISH 2013” at ISH, the international sanitary and heating trade fair. Read here what makes the stainless steel range so special and why else CWS-boco “mesmerised” the trade fair visitors.
Messe Frankfurt, shortly before two. Maximilian Teichner, CEO of CWS-boco International and his colleague Ralf Biese, National Head of Sales for Partner Sales, push their way through the packed corridors. They are about to receive the design award “Design Plus powered by ISH 2013”. In the sanitary, heating and air-conditioning trade, the award is considered a seal of approval for above-average quality. The award is granted for environmentally friendly building services technology, innovative bathroom design or sustainable sanitary solutions. Among these is CWS-boco’s stainless steel dispenser range CWS ParadiseLine Stainless Steel.
The label goes to ...
The award ceremony begins. Two jurors, members of the German Design Council, call the winners onto the stage one after the other. CWS-boco is the fifth to be called. “ParadiseLine, washroom range,” says the juror. “Manufacturer: CWS-boco International GmbH. Designer: Jens Pattberg.” Then every thing goes very quickly: Teichner and Biese accept the congratulations and the award – a glass plate with engraving – and smile for the photographers. Having come back down, they clink glasses with their colleagues from Public Relations and Product Development – after all, everyone has contributed
to the success of the range. “The award means a lot to us,” Teichner says proudly. “It is issued by the leading trade fair that caters to what are traditionally our most important industry customers, those in the sanitary, heating and air-conditioning trade.”
Why do CWS-boco’s stainless steel dispensers deserve an award? The trade fair visitors find out why at a special exhibition for the design award. In a reproduced washroom, they can see towel, soap and fragrance dispensers made of matt brushed stainless steel. Compared to their plastic “siblings” from the ParadiseLine, which has also won several awards for design and user-friendliness, the dispensers seem even more elegant – a modern five-star hotel could hang them up in its washrooms without any problem. However, the stainless steel rang
e does not just look good, it is also particularly hygienic. Stainless steel does not rust and is highly scratch-resistant. Moreover, bacteria can barely gain a hold on the smooth surface. This allows effortless and quick disinfection. “Our stainless steel range is the ideal solution for washroom operators who place particular value on hygiene but do not want to sacrifice good design,” says Rolf Biese. The products are also particularly environmentally friendly. The concentrated soaps used are biodegradable and the fragrance systems work without a propellant.
Of course, CWS-boco also has its own stand at ISH. In hall 4, the Haniel division presents professional clothing for rent for the sanitary, heating and air-conditioning trade and for electricians as well as innovations in washroom hygiene. That the focus is on the ParadiseLine – both in plastic and in stainless steel – is already clear before entering the exhibition area. At the entrance, trade fair magician Niko Walter – an old acquaintance – enchants the visitors. He makes tables float, shortens long ropes and conjures forth the freshly awarded stainless steel dispensers behind cloths. “With the ParadiseLine Stainless Steel soap dispenser, anything is possible,” he tells his viewers. “It has just been given the trade fair’s own design award. Find out about it yourself!” It works. Having just watched Walter’s tricks, the visitors now go to the trade fair stand. There, representatives from Sales present the steel dispensers to them and provide them with information on the service that can be expected from CWS-boco – including about how often a service assistant supplies fresh towel rolls. The “Design Plus powered by ISH 2013” hovers above. The representatives have mounted it on the wall above the dispensers.
What is ISH?
ISH, the international sanitary and heating trade fair, is the world’s biggest exhibition for the combination of water and energy. Whether it be sustainable sanitary solutions, innovative bathroom design, energy-efficient heating technology or environmentally friendly air-conditioning technology: the world’s leading trade fair covers all aspects of future-orientated building solutions.
More than 2,300 exhibitors, including all market leaders from Germany and abroad, present their world firsts in Frankfurt every two years. Over five days, the trade fair attracts approximately 200,000 international trade visitors.
What is the “Design Plus powered by ISH”?
The award is among the leading design awards in Germany. It is considered a seal of approval for future-orientated products that combine innovative design with energy-efficient technology. Alongside design quality and the overall concept, innovative content and technical and ecological aspects form the central assessment criteria.
Purchasing, quality control, recycling and the correct combination of raw materials for the stainless steel industry – the main business of ELG. But the Duisburg company does more: it refines stainless steel plates. Read how that works here.
Sorted in different piles, stainless steel parts sparkle in the sun. Perhaps it is the sight of these imposing piles of scrap that most distracts from another business sector that is located in a modern warehouse at the ELG site in Duisburg: Plates and Coils. Since as early as 1981, ELG has traded in new stainless steel plates along with stainless steel scrap. Today, having started with 3,000 tonnes, ELG sells approximately 8,000 tonnes of plates per year. Heike Broda-Wörpel, Head of Department at ELG responsible for the Plates division, explains on a tour how the process of refining the bare stainless steel plates works.
At the beginning of the refining process are the scales. “As with the scrap,” says Broda-Wörpel, “right at the start it is important to check whether we have even received the desired amount.” For this reason, the loaded truck drives to scales embedded in the ground. It calculates the weight – at least very roughly. Today’s delivery came from a German supplier. “We have been delivering our stainless steel scrap to this steel mill for a long time. In turn, we then buy again from there newly rolled stainless steel plates,” says the Head of Department.
As smooth as glass
After the plates have passed the first control point, they go into the warehouse. There, the employees examine the articles very closely once more. They check whether the stainless steel has the right quality and whether the surface finish corresponds to the quality requirements. Despite many years of customer relations, checking is necessary. After all, ELG only offers its customers the best quality. “If the plate is completely smooth and the surface does not have even the slightest hint of roughness,” says Broda-Wörpel, “then the quality is just right.” Only such plates can continue to be processed in the surface treatment stage.
In addition to the ready-cut standard plates, ELG also processes coils at the Duisburg location. With a coil, the stainless steel plate is rolled up like with a kitchen roll. “Some customers require plates that do not correspond to the standard sizes. For such customers, we cut the stainless steel to size on request,” says Broda-Wörpel. That does not happen on site. The stainless steel is first uncoiled by an external company and then cut to size as requested.
Off we go
After a further employee again makes sure of the quality of the newly delivered plate and has rid its surface of dirt particles, it can now be processed. For this purpose, a special suction device first lifts the rolled plate onto a conveyor belt. From there, it enters the actual surface treatment stage, which is known as grinding.
Ground or brushed
The plate runs through grinding units, above which sandpaper is clamped. They roughen the surface. Here, the grinding pattern – that is, how rough the surface is later on – depends on the sandpaper used. The smoother its surface is, the smoother the stainless steel plate is later on as well. The range offered by ELG is between 40 (the lowest) and 400 grit. As well as ground stainless steel, ELG also offers its customers brushed stainless steel. Here, the surface is processed with special brushes.
As soon as the plate comes out of processing, it is again automatically cleaned and then reaches the automatic coating unit via the conveyor belt. There, depending on customer requirements, another protective foil is added. The foil protects the surface from damage throughout the entire remaining part of the manufacturing process. If, for example, parts from the plate are later lasered in manufacturing a kitchen, it is covered with a special laser foil. On the other hand, plates that are deep-drawn in the later process and that are used to produce, for example, thermos flasks or pots receive special deep-drawing foils. As with most plates, the plate from the new delivery also receives a laser foil.
Freshly packed, the plate now waits in the warehouse to be collected. In just a few days, it will be delivered to one of the customers across Germany. What will be made from it is uncertain, perhaps a door handle or a cooking pot. However, sometime, when it is no longer used, it will no doubt end up back at ELG – as a glittering stainless steel part in the scrap yard.
Plates and coils – a story of growth
Having started in 1981, ELG continuously expanded the trade in new stainless steel plates and coils. In 2001, the company added plate processing. Since then, the company has carried out surface treatments in its own state-of-the-art facility in Duisburg and can offer its customers ground and brushed surfaces of the highest quality. Later, these are processed into, for example, kitchen equipment or door handles. The expansion of the warehousing space to 4,000 square metres, completed in 2007, safeguards full readiness for delivery and guarantees the customer prompt delivery within 24 hours. From Duisburg, first-rate products reach the predominantly German customers. Moreover, ELG also offers seconds from various international locations. With the Plates and Coils department, ELG not only closes the recycling loop but also possesses exceptionally good information on the market overall due to the trade in stainless steel products and raw materials.
Im Februar 2013 bekamen die Flure der Gemeinschaftsgrundschule Ruhrort, Partnerschule von Haniel, einen neuen Anstrich. Auch zehn Haniel-Mitarbeiter griffen zu Farbeimer und Pinsel.
Selbst mit anpacken
Wie alle städtischen Schulen leidet auch die Gemeinschaftsgrundschule Ruhrort unter den klammen kommunalen Kassen. Geld ist nur für das Nötigste da – also für Bücher, Lernmaterial oder Lehrpersonal. Für alles andere ist Schulleiter Heinz-Dieter Peters stets auf die Initiative fleißiger Helfer angewiesen. So auch Anfang Februar, als die Schulflure an der Fürst-Bismarck-Straße 26 einen neuen Anstrich bekamen. Als langjähriger Partner der Grundschule rief Haniel seine Mitarbeiter auf, zu Farbeimer und Pinsel zu greifen. Das Duisburger Unternehmen unterstützt seine Mitarbeiter dabei, Gutes zu tun – und fördert sie: Jeder, der sich außerberuflich für ein Haniel-Projekt in den Bereichen Bildungsförderung und Standortverantwortung einsetzt, kann dafür von der Arbeit freigestellt werden.
Zehn Mitarbeiter sind dem Aufruf von Haniel in die Ruhrorter Grundschule gefolgt. Vier Stunden hat es gedauert, bis die Wände in neuem Glanz erstrahlten: Passend zum Schulstandort im Hafenstadtteil schmücken ab sofort drei Wellen in verschiedenen Blautönen die Schulflure.
„Persönlichen Einsatz finde ich besser, als einfach bloß Geld zu spenden. Da ich außerdem gerne anstreiche, habe ich mich sofort für die Aktion angemeldet. Ein schöner Nebeneffekt: Ich kann Zeit mit meinen Kollegen verbringen und Sie besser kennenlernen.“
Elke van Treek
„Ich habe zwei Kinder und weiß, wie wenig Geld die Grundschulen zur Verfügung haben. Ich finde es gut, dass Haniel die Schulen in Ruhrort unterstützt - da wollte ich auch einmal was tun.“
„Streichen macht Spaß! Wir machen die tristen Flure bunt – und die Kinder damit glücklich. Einige von ihnen sind gerade schon ganz stolz über den Flur gegangen. Das fühlt sich gut an.“