"We nurture and care for our customers!"

Interview with Christoph Henze, Executive Board Member of Henze Boron Nitride Products AG

Christoph Henze, Executive Board Member of Henze Boron Nitride Products AG
Christoph Henze, Executive Board Member of Henze Boron Nitride Products AG

Hardly anyone knows it, yet it is an important material. Boron nitride is used in many industrial processes and is found in numerous applications due to its specific properties. Henze Boron Nitride Products AG, based in Lauben in the Allgäu region, supplies its customers with precision components made of sintered boron nitride as well as suspensions, sprays, and lubricant additives - all of first-class quality.

"One of our great strengths is the advice we offer our customers," says Christoph Henze, who is co-chairman of Henze Boron Nitride Products AG with his brother Matthias. "This is important because we want the customer to get exactly the product they need to solve their problem. Added to this are the quality we offer, a fair price, and our service around the products."

Boron nitride is most often used as an intermediate in industrial manufacturing processes and can be applied at temperatures up to 900 °C, or up to 2,000 °C under a protective gas atmosphere. The range of applications is broad and includes aluminum extrusion, aluminum and metal casting, construction of high-temperature furnaces, production of thermally conductive plastics, PVD and plasma facilities, sintering technology, powder metallurgy, solar technology and photovoltaics, as well as welding and brazing technology, and lubricant and forming technology.

Henze Boron HeBoSint®
Custom-fit solutions: HeBoSint® components made of sintered boron nitride

Versatile in Use

“We source boron nitride as a powder,” explains Christoph Henze. “From this powder, we produce suspensions that have a consistency similar to wall paint and are used, for example, for coating casting channels. In addition, we also have sprays made according to our recipes, which are used as a separating spray in welding, for example. Our other activities include the purchase and production of sintered bodies. These sintered bodies are made of boron nitride powder compacted under pressure. From these sintered bodies, we manufacture machine parts by sawing, turning, and milling. Boron nitride is generally used whenever other materials fail. Thus, our customers include manufacturers of machinery and plants as well as automotive suppliers and industrial companies. We deliver wherever production takes place, where there are, for example, sintering ovens and coating plants.” Most customers are located in the countries of the European Union, and occasionally there are also orders from Asia or the USA.

AG in Family Hands

In 1993, Peter Henze, the father of the current board members Matthias and Christoph Henze, founded the company in his own house. “Our father not only had the courage to take the step into self-employment, but also the patience to withstand dry spells with low order volumes,” emphasizes Christoph Henze.

In 2004, the first own products were developed, in 2012 the two sons joined the executive board, and in 2014 they moved into their own company building with today around 3,500 m² of space. The most recent investment is the purchase of a hot press, which is used to produce customer-specific materials. The shares of the company, set up as a corporation, with 57 employees and an annual turnover of 14 million EUR are all held by the family: 25% are owned by the founder Peter Henze, and 15% each by his wife and the four children. “It was important to us that the siblings, who are not in the executive management, have the same company shares and no one feels disadvantaged,” underlines Christoph Henze.

Henze Boron HeBoFill®
Raw material for many applications: HeBoFill® boron nitride powder

Consultation-intensive Products

In sales, the technical consultation of customers plays a very important role. Christoph Henze: "We have products that are not available everywhere and that are very consultation-intensive. We cherish and care for our customers and offer them different qualities for different applications with our extensive know-how."

Since this is a very specific market segment, interested parties also approach the company on their own, some also after recommendations from satisfied existing customers. In addition, Henze Boron Nitride Products AG also presents itself via its website, on social media such as Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as through advertisements in trade magazines. Moreover, the family business is represented with a booth at the Munich trade fair ceramitec and at other fairs.

Sustainable and Social

For years, Henze Boron Nitride Products has been increasingly focusing on digitalization and New Work. "Our employees can access our servers from anywhere and all relevant data is directly accessible on our machines as well," the board explains. "In addition, we have developed a cockpit solution for a Business Intelligence System in cooperation with Kempten University of Applied Sciences."

The company's officials also pay great attention to the issue of sustainability in a comprehensive sense. This concerns ecological, economic, and social sustainability, as well as the common good with values such as human dignity, solidarity, justice, and transparency. Against this background, a five-year plan has also been developed, in which various future scenarios are considered, forming the basis for decisions on products, markets, and personnel management. However, the top priority is to maintain the social character of the company in the future.