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A pressing issue


The core competence of KBA-KAMMANN is machines for printing on hollow containers such as bottles, cups or flacons made from glass, plastic or metall.

“The basic technology is screen printing, but we have consistently developed the technology further, particularly due to the increasingly demanding geometry of the products to which the print is to be applied,” explains Matthias Graf, Managing Director of KBA-KAMMANN since 2005. “While we have a rather low vertical range of manufacture, the percentage of in-house developments is quite high, and both final assembly and quality control are in our own hands.”

High speed and precision are main features of KBA-KAMMANN’s machines. Founded in Bünde, Northrhine- Westphalia in 1955, the original focus was on printing machines for glass bottles for pharmaceutical products.

Over the following decades the company continuously expanded its portfolio to include printing solutions for the packaging of shampoo and washing-up liquid containers emerging in the 1950s and for CDs and DVDs in the 1980s, which, nowadays, only make up around 5% of its turnover.

After some turbulent years at the beginning of the new millennium, KBA-KAMMANN made a new start with a new investor in 2009. In 2010 it pooled its activities, previously spread over different sites in Bünde, at one new location in Bad Oeynhausen.

In 2013 it was acquired by König & Bauer AG, which is now the proprietor of the company. The synergies within the group are a major success factor for KBA according to the Managing Director.

Today, KBA-KAMMANN is the worldwide number 1 in the area of printing machines for the direct decoration of glas products and among the top 3 players globally concerning printing on plastic. It has subsidiaries in Shanghai and the USA.

“At our headquarters we employ around 150 members of staff and 20 trainees,” says Mr. Graf, who shaers his position as Managing Director with Dr. Christian Maas, who is in charge of the technological aspects while Mr. Graf’s expertise lies in the commercial field. “We are an apprenticing company traditionally and have always recruited our own new staff in this way.” This approach is particularly important regarding the coming decades of cohorts with low birth rates.

The current annual turnover amounts to about 30 million EUR with a slight tendency of increase. About 80% of this is achieved through export to the EU, particularly France and Poland, the former CIS countries as well as North America and Asia.

KBA-KAMMANN’s key target audience consists mostly of contract decorators who make up around 70 to 80% of the company’s customers.

“These customers are service providers who exclusively apply prints to their customers’ products using our machines,” explains Mr. Graf. Other target groups are glassworks and bottlers at about 10 to 15% respectively.

“In order to approach potential customers we participate in trade fairs such as the Glastech or the K, and we have our own showrooms,” the Managing Director says. “However the best marketing means is always good references from within the market.”

KBA-KAMMANN can boast various USPs in order to set itself apart from its competitors. “Besides our enourmous power concerning developmend and assembly, we are also highly innovative,” highlights Mr. Graf. “We are able to implement specific customer specifications even on short notice. At the same time, we offer a high degree of precision and have comprehensive possibilities to intervene in the production process and the properties of the metal components, particularly through suitable software. As most of our competitors are medium sized companies, they tend to specialize in standardized machines and are not able to cater to individual customer requirements.”

In the past few years, KBA-KAMMANN has also begun to offer digital printing machines. “These machines offer a high level of flexibility,” explains the Managing Director. “However, what is interesting for us is the idea of a hybrid, that is, a machine which combines screen and digital printing.”

The company intends to further develop this approach in the near future and has already been able to sell a notworthy number of these new hybrids.

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