Interview with Renzo Davatz, CEO of KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG
Since the summer of 2019, Netstal has been renamed KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG. We asked Renzo Davatz – almost 30 years in the company and CEO since 2016 – about the background to this. We were particularly interested in the prospects for the future. Here, Davatz tells us of the development of a new product range with lateral removal – a new approach for the Swiss company, which has previously preferred removal from above.
PETplanet: Mr Davatz, these days it is increasingly rare for a man like you to work his way up from apprentice to CEO in the same company. Today, companies seem to be relying more on trained managers and less on technical expertise.
Davatz: There are three factors at play here; the theoretical toolkit, practical experience and the personality of the person involved. People can be skilled in these three areas in different ways. The valuable building blocks of theory are definitely helpful provided they are combined with practical experience, but personality might be most important. When managers move company every six months, I don’t think that continuity can be sustained.
PETplanet: Netstal is now no longer Netstal; since last summer Netstal has become KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG. What has changed for customers?
Davatz: Our parent company KraussMaffei is repositioning itself by bringing together under the umbrella of a single brand, KraussMaffei, the various business areas and previous brands of KraussMaffei, KraussMaffei Berstorff and Netstal. The strong name of Netstal lives on as a product brand for our machines. The change of name is happening without any restructuring, which demonstrates the stability of the company and shows our commitment to the Näfels site. We invest a lot in our product pipeline. In addition we will build a new competence center.
PETplanet: Yet didn’t KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG immediately start working reduced hours in the summer?
Davatz: This applied last year to all of plastics engineering and especially to sales involving systems for automotive engineering which suffered a spectacular collapse. We weren’t able to dodge that trend, but the issue of reduced hours is last year’s issue. We’ve moved on.
PETplanet: Are you thinking of the product range for preform injection moulding machines with lateral removal? That would be a minor revolution for Näfels people.
Davatz: Not only that; we are in the process of developing such a machine equipped with a 4,000 kN clamping force. In terms of investment, it is one of the largest development projects in the entire KraussMaffei Group and the biggest in the history of Netstal. Rather than thinking about physical solutions or machines, we are instead focusing principally on the product which will be produced on our systems. So we are thinking about the bottle itself and offering our customers complete solutions for this application. This means that we are often able to offer a turnkey package with mould, removal device, dryer and cooler, including a service package.
PETplanet: So what was the trigger point for developing lateral removal?
Davatz: Despite all the advantages of overhead removal, we had to recognise that the factory layout for many of our customers is geared towards systems with lateral removal. So the systems and moulds are built and installed to meet this requirement. We have listened to what our customers are telling us and we are co-operating with our mould partners on these systems. This means that moulds for lateral removal can also be used on our systems and the new product range fits in with existing factory layouts. This is delighting our existing customers and will also be interesting for customers who have previously ordered from other providers.
PETplanet: Systems from Näfels have a well-known reputation for sturdiness and long-lasting construction.
Davatz: And that’s how it will stay. The new Netstal PET-Line will still be a true Netstal: precise, fast, sturdy and reliable. We intend to bring further improvements to the existing product range in terms of energy consumption and cycle times reduction.
PETplanet: Why have you singled out the 4000 as the first model in the new product range?
Davatz: The 4000 will certainly be the flagship model within the new Netstal PET-Line family.
PETplanet: Many thanks, Mr Davatz.