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KRAFT is a successful, medium-sized provider of custom-engineered machinery and complete processing lines for assembly, conveying, packaging, production and storage applications and advanced automation solutions in a wide variety of industrial sectors.

The company offers everything from a single source for manufacturing doors and frames, flooring systems, insulation material and structural elements as well as packaging solutions, storage and material handling systems and diverse specially developed solutions such as flooring lines, production lines for doors, frames and building material, handling, transport, warehousing and packaging.

KRAFT can look back on 200 years of experience and technological development. The company was established as a forge for horse shoes by Franz Adam Kraft in 1816. Later, the family enterprise started to fabricate and trade agricultural machinery.

Since 1950, KRAFT has concentrated on specialist machinery and has continuously expanded the range of applications and markets.

“In the last 25 years, we have developed into a supplier of custom-engineered special-purpose machines and complete plant solutions for a wide variety of industrial sectors, ranging from furniture, doors and frames, and building material production, construction and packaging to storage systems, material handling systems and flooring production,” says Managing Partner Markus Hüllmann, who manages the company together with co-owner Ferdinand Kraft. “We provide everything from a single source and deliver equipment that covers all processing steps, from the raw material to the finished product. It is this focus on complete solutions which has made us what we are today: a leading international provider of special-purpose machinery Made in Germany.”

Based in Rietberg-Mastholte in North Rhine-Westphalia, KRAFT employs 300 people. At the beginning of the year, Markus Hüllmann acquired the majority of the company’s shares. “KRAFT is a successful medium-sized enterprise with a unique concept, supplying everything from a single source,” Mr. Hüllmann describes the motive for the major investment. “The company’s innovative capacity is extraordinary. We are a major international player and, at the same time, have strong local roots. Decision-making is very flexible and oriented towards one goal: customer value.”

As new Managing Partner, Mr. Hüllmann is dedicated to keeping the company’s basic strategic orientation while further strengthening its activities in areas where it is already doing well: internationalization, customer service and digitalization in the context of Industry 4.0.

“Internationalization and customer service are my distinct areas of expertise,” states Mr. Hüllmann, who has many years of experience as a former board member of a large MDAX-listed mechanical engineering corporation in Germany. “Another vital issue is innovation management. It all depends on separating the important from the unimportant, aligning the whole enterprise to this and continuing to improve.”

Drawing on its core competence of designing and constructing complex, special-purpose machinery for diverse industrial applications, KRAFT is particularly innovative in the packaging and material handling sectors.

“Two years ago, we started putting a greater focus on these markets,” explains Mr. Hüllmann. “Today, we offer highly complex, fully automated packaging equipment and storage and material handling solutions that meet our customers’ specific demands.”

In the future, KRAFT wants to advance automation further. “We need to adapt to the ever-shorter innovation cycles in mechanical engineering, enhance automation and control solutions in order to reduce defects in production, and make the use and operation of machinery more intuitive,” says Mr. Hüllmann. “We are currently investigating the opportunities provided by self-learning machines as part of a network including research institutes and universities. Self-learning machines, which are capable of analyzing defects on their own and initiating improvements, are still some way off, but we want to be part of this exciting development, which has the potential to revolutionize production and enhance productivity. In a few years’ time, machines will be operated in a completely different way than today. They will all be connected to each other and exchange information within a networked infrastructure. Depending on the individual enterprise, its strategic orientation and its ability to adapt to change, this can be both an opportunity and a risk. As a technology leader in special-purpose machinery, we are determined to make the best of this persistent trend. At the same time, we want to expand our competencies to additional market sectors with adequate revenue and profit and to the benefit of our customers, our suppliers and our employees.” 

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