It takes many individual steps to make sure that beverages safely reach their point of sale – and therefore the customer: From designing a suitable container shape and size, to production, filling and labelling and, finally, the packaging process. That is the core competency of KHS GmbH, a global provider of filling and packaging solutions. Since 2008, the Hamburg-based mechanical engineering company has been part of the Dortmund-based KHS Group and specialises in the development and production of PET bottles. Some of these ten-metre-long machines can manufacture up to 81,000 bottles per hour – that means two million bottles daily.
Individual components of the stretch blow moulders are built externally by different service providers, which also coat and pre-assemble them at their respective facilities. The machines are then assembled in Hamburg using these individual parts. «An expansion of the procurement structure to all of Europe and an intensification of our multi-supplier strategy meant that we had to simultaneously adapt our coatings», said Hans-Jörg Heidsiek, who is responsible for the procurement of the assemblies at Corpoplast. «At the same time, we had to ensure consistently uniform optics». Because, even though each of the manufacturers used a «traffic white» (RAL 9016) coating, Corpoplast kept encountering significant differences with regard to colour shade, gloss and surface structure. The reason was the different coating systems from different manufacturers that the production companies used for colouring the surfaces. It is important to the suppliers to choose the type of coating – wet or powder – themselves.
In order to standardise the quality of the surfaces, Corpoplast conducted market research, which resulted in an initial contact to FreiLacke. With its system coating concept consisting of UV, powder and wet coatings, the coating specialist from the Black Forest focuses on uniform surfaces in spite of different systems, types of application and facilities. Customers with multiple production sites, sometimes even located on different continents, are already using them with great success. This includes a well-known mechanical engineering company from Stuttgart, which is also working with pre-fabricated components and therefore has similar production structures as Hamburg-based Corpoplast.
In May 2019, Corpoplast initially reached out to Tobias Cordes of FreiLacke’s northern German sales team. Following positive test results, the initial assemblies were coated at two suppliers – one who used liquid coatings and one who used powder coatings – in a field test with Corpoplast», Cordes said. «And Corpoplast gave it positive reviews throughout».
Another presentation at KHS GmbH in Dortmund also convinced the parent company – in part thanks to the sample plates coated with powder and liquid coatings that delivered an impressive optic and haptic performance with which the coating specialist convinced the decision-makers. «We created the initial test plates with the liquid coatings GS9180 and GS9141 as well as the powder coating PL9033 for the chemical tests,» Cordes said.
In March 2020, FreiLacke was chosen as the coating supplier of Corpoplast. The coating specialist supervised the conversions at the different external production companies, which took about half a year in total, and provided extensive advice until the new system was solidly applied.
Successively, the suppliers at the four other locations of the KHS Group are also supposed to switch to system coatings from FreiLacke. «The system coatings boast high quality and homogeneity and have completely convinced KHS», said Cordes. «We are currently also in the midst of the transition at the Dortmund location».
Primer FREOPOX ER1912 MRU735 light grey, matt
Top coat EFDEDUR system textured coating GS9141 HK2995 (RAL 9016, traffic white), satin gloss and EFDEDUR system textured coating GS9141H (RAL 9016, traffic white)
Top coat EFDEDUR system HS textured coating GS9180 HK2995 (RAL 9016, traffic white) satin gloss
FREOPOX powder coating: PL9033AK2995 (RAL 9016, traffic white), satin gloss