Consumers aren’t the only ones who value one-stop shopping. The manufacturers who place the products on store shelves appreciate the convenience as well. That’s why many major food and beverage companies turn to KHS, Inc. Dan Harvey reports how the Wisconsin-headquartered company represents a single source for manufacturers.
KHS USA Inc. recently underwent a substantial realignment. First of all, and most evidently, it legally changed its name last year to its current title, as a means to better define its corporate identity. More significantly, the Waukesha, Wis.-based company revamped its organizational structure in North America, following the merger of its Klockner Bartelt and Kisters Kayat businesses (located in Sarasota, Fla. and Edgewater, Fla., respectively). The consolidation of the two entities into one Sarasota facility, the company explains, was accomplished to ensure greater economies of scale and foster synergy with the machinery manufactured by each company.
In certain public relations sectors, such activity would be termed “reinventing oneself,” but despite the changes, KHS retains the integrity of its essence. That is, it remains essentially the same leading provider of filling and packaging systems that has well served customers in the beverage, food and non-food industries.
“We serve customers on a global basis, and that includes all of the major Fortune 500 companies in the food and beverage market,” says Samantha Bishop, KHS USA’s marketing manager.
A subsidiary of KHS AG, KHS designs and manufactures filling and capping systems, process equipment and pasteurizers at its Waukesha headquarters, which is located on a 13-plus acre property that includes six buildings that have a combined 250,000 square feet. At the new 100,000-square-foot Sarasota facility, the company fabricates pouchers, cartoners, case/tray packers, shrink packers and shrink wrappers.
KHS AG itself is a subsidiary (of Klöckner-Werke AG), an international leader in providing solutions for the packaging industry, particularly for beverage applications and turnkey solutions. Besides the KHS facilities in the U.S., KHS AG has production sites in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Zinacantepec, Mexico, and Ahmedabad, India.
According to Bishop, KHS is quite comprehensive when it comes to providing solutions to its various customers. “The machinery we build starts at the process stage, or production line, and then goes all the way down the line,” she indicates. “We do process engineering and filling and capping, and we also provide equipment for aseptic filling. In addition, we offer all kinds of equipment that perform cleaning, inspection, labeling, and pasteurization.”
Further, she continues, KHS provides all kinds of packaging (such as case and shrink-wrap), cartoning technology (such as robotic cartoning), as well as pouching, conveying, and palletizing.
“We’re like one-stop shopping for our customers, because we can take all of the equipment we make and put into a complete turnkey line,” says Bishop.
The company’s innovative process engineering solutions are designed to meet specific requirements, as KHS becomes intimately familiar with customers’ various processes. It can
design solutions for an entire plant or for different plant areas. Employing its Innopro concept, KHS first analyzes the entire customer process and the design and construction of process components. The concept can include anything from optimum process integration of components and engineering and assembly and then extend all the way through process visualization and process data acquisition. Solutions involve mixers, de-gasers, heating, filters, cleaning, syrup and juice, sugar dissolvers and
KHS’ solutions for filling and capping meet the ever-changing trends relating to bottles of different sizes, shapes and materials. As the market leader in the beverage-filling sector, the company has installed nearly 6,000 filling lines throughout the world. Boasting a multitude of technical innovations, KHS addresses customers’ functional needs in reliable and cost-effective fashion. Again, solutions are tailored to customers’ specific needs, and these include bottle fillers, can fillers and cappers.
For plastic bottles – containers especially prevalent in the health and diet consumer market sectors (think sports drinks and energy beverages) – KHS provides aseptic cold filling, a solution that helps these specialized products retain their naturalness and quality. Leading the way in aseptic cold filling, the company provides a range of process equipment and design features that, in turn, enables its customers to maintain their competitive advantage in a particularly aggressive market.
KHS not only focuses on the container but the label, too. The company offers flexible labeling technology applicable to any container size, shape and material.
When it comes to packaging and cartoning products, KHS provides appropriate and innovative technological solutions that exhibit a modular concept flexible enough to anticipate the changes in consumer habits and marketing trends that significantly impact package design and, in turn, packaging methods.
As far as pouching, KHS customers benefit from the KHS Barlelt machinery, which has proven itself over the course of 60 years as top-line equipment for horizontal form/fill/seal applications. The pouchers create a variety of pouch styles including fin seal, gusset bottom, tandem, frangible seal and Delta-Pac stand-up pouches with resealable zipper.
The company’s conveyor systems can proficiently interconnect all parts of a line – an important consideration, as conveyors typically involve many different processes and components within a plant, and can make or break the efficiency of an entire product line. KHS’ conveyor offerings include container conveying systems for bottles and cans, air conveyor systems, pack conveyors and pallet conveyors.
In the area of palletizing, KHS can offer companies a unit for every conceivable application including palletizers for cartons, trays, crates and kegs. It also offers depalletizers, frame- and pillar-based designs and frequency-controlled drives. The company’s palletizing and crating technology employs modular construction that results in more flexibility, thereby reducing operating costs and eliminating interface problems.
Meeting Customer Needs
One of the ways that KHS is able to fulfill customers’ needs is by staying abreast, in a technological sense, of the last industry trends. Take handling, for instance. “In recent years, the big trends were shrink film and plastics. But now, many of our customers are using PET containers, so the plastic keeps getting thinner and thinner,” says Bishop. “As a result, as far as bottle handling, you have several issues that need to be addressed when you handle such ‘squishy’ type of material.”
Another trend involves the increasing prevalence of the “superstores” such as Wal-Mart. “As a result, many companies, whether they’re large or small, are looking for low-cost, low-speed packaging equipment.”
Ironically enough, this helps those companies get their products to those stores much faster. “Previously, everything was going at high speed, but now many large customers are looking at going a little bit slower and a little bit less expensive,” says Bishop.
Besides addressing such trends, KHS stays in front of the competition by coupling its comprehensive equipment offerings with quality customer service. “We find that the biggest thing that companies want is one supplier for all of their equipment needs, as opposed to having 10 different machines from 10 different suppliers. So, they only have to call on us.”
And when these customers do call, they can be assured optimum levels of quality service. KHS’ highly trained service personnel provide customers with 24-hour quick-response, and the company offers value-added services such as sales, equipment servicing, training, and spare parts.
But comprehensiveness is the key. In the marketplace, there are many different companies that specifically target many different services, such as filling or capping or labeling. But KHS does it all. Such one-stop convenience is becoming extremely attractive to more and more manufacturers striving to get their products
out the door.