The enterprise was founded by Torald Rohloff in 1972. “Previously, the founder had worked on hot stamping systems,” explains Oliver Volland, managing director of KBAMetronic. “Due to new regulations for the marking of potato loads, he saw his chance on the market and established Rohloff GmbH, a company that concentrated on labelling systems. In 1972, he decided to develop suitable printers and related systems himself – that was the birth of his second company Metronic.”
The latter not only created products for the food industry, but for additional segments. “By means of continuous investments, the company grew steadily and became a major player on the market,” states the managing director. “Subsequently, it was turned into a public company. In 2004 the company was purchased by KBA, one of the market leaders in printing and press technologies.”
At the present time, KBA-Metronic operates as a 100% subsidiary of the KBA group. “Our development and production departments are still located in Veitshöchheim in southern Germany,” says Mr. Volland. “Together with our team of nearly 220 capable employees, we were able to generate turnover of more than 30 million EUR last year.”
The company’s core competence is found in the provision of high-grade hardware and software solutions for the labelling industry. “Our portfolio includes printing, coding and marking systems for various segments, as well as consumables and comprehensive services,” explains the managing director. “We are able to distribute both software and hardware, most of it standardized. In accordance with the respective customer’s production processes, we have the ability to adapt our solutions to these conditions. Often, this is the case with specific inks.”
KBA-Metronic’s range of products consists of numerous qualitative systems for all imaginable customer demands and requirements. “The test of any technology is its continuous use in everyday applications,” states Mr. Volland. “For example, our alphaJET inkjet assortment can be integrated easily into any production line and offers easy-to-use and costeffective, but at the same time reliable characteristics. In addition, we focus on laser systems for industrial coding.”
Hot stamping, feeding and thermal transfer systems make for other mainstays of KBA-Metronic. “Our hot-stamping technology is suitable for automatic packagers, labelling systems and post-press machines,” says the managing director. “Needless to say, our feeding and thermal transfer systems also come with the latest and constantly improved technologies that satisfy even the most demanding clients. The latter also rely on our consumables, for example inks, or auxiliary products like brackets, as well as maintenance contracts and spare parts.”
Being a fully DIN EN ISO 9001:2000 certified enterprise, KBA-Metronic demonstrates its pursuit of highest quality and thus attracts customers from many segments.
“Our target groups are based in the manufacturing industry,” explains Mr. Volland. “Apart from the food and pharmaceutical sectors, we supply cable producers, machine builders and packaging manufacturers, bottlers of the beverage industry and chemical companies.”
Currently, the enterprise generates 50% of its annual revenues with activities on foreign markets. “Our core markets are found in Europe, the USA, Mexico, China and Indonesia,” states the managing director. “In terms of our means of distribution, we have an in-house sales team that takes care of the German, Austrian and Benelux markets. In all other countries, we make use of distributors. All around the world, our company has 42 retailers that sell our products for us.”
Despite these all-embracing strategies, the company is greatly dependent on developments on the markets at home and abroad.
“Although we offer a highly diversified range of products and are active many different industries, we were largely affected by recent economic crises,” says Mr. Volland. “This is due to the fact that we sell classic investment goods even today. Printers, for example, have a lifetime of about seven to ten years. In times of crisis, replacement products can easily be delayed.”
Still, KBA-Metronic takes an optimistic view into its entrepreneurial future. “We are a medium-sized company that is very responsive to the requirements of its customers,” explains the managing director. “Our flexible and reactive structures turned us into a technologically leading company in our sector.”
For the time to come, the enterprise is eager to expand its foreign business. “We aim to penetrate difficult markets, for example in Latin America, and open new branch offices abroad,” Mr. Volland sums up. “Another important focus will be set on modernizing our sales structures and enhancing our after-sales services. With these strategies, we will be able to retain our customers in the long term.”