Hans-Peter Kohlmann: Tradition, innovation and cooperation – Investment decisions by SME

For small and medium-sized companies today, innovation means constantly tap­­ping into new applications and introdu­­cing new manufacturing technologies. The rapid development of new technologies has shaped the activities of many industrial companies throughout Germany and Europe in recent years. Trades and me­­ch­­­anical engineering are now called high-tech. Companies who want to hold their own in the marketplace have to adjust to these circumstances. In this, flexibility, initiative, creativity and the ability to innovate are indispensable for modern companies on their way to open­­ing up international markets. This is a great challenge, and one which many companies will have to face up to today and in the future, not only in the Rhine-Neckar region.
Because regional small and medium-sized businesses and family-run companies think across generations, they are often less vulnerable to short-term shortages. Their corporate objective is not the next quarter, but the next generational succession. Many of them have a simple formula for success: short, non-bureaucratic decision-making procedures, flexible reactions to changes in the market, low employee turnover, close relationships with customers and suppliers, and sustainable reactions to new trends. The success of Albert-Frankenthal GmbH has also been “cooked up” with these “ingredients”.


As an independent limited liability com­­pany, embedded in the Koenig & Bauer AG group of companies, we are well aware of what small and medium-sized companies need. 150 years of experience in the printing industry guarantee all of our wide range of customers a high degree of quality and reliability. The production of technically sophisticated roller types has been the core competence of the group for many years now. With 55,000 units per year, we are one of the leading companies in the sector. This position is secured by our 250 employees, our modern machinery and the manufacturing standards that have been traditionally high in the print­­­ing industry. The manufacturing spectrum of the GmbH includes not only parts with rotational symmetry but also prismatic parts. Many regional suppliers and cooperation part­­ners greatly appreciate the diversity of this corporation, which is now firmly posi­­tioned among small and medium-sized companies. We attach particular importance to co­­operation with small and medium-sized regional businesses. Through this, we try to support our local partners so that we can all benefit from a fast and flexible infrastructure.

But local presence and cooperation are not the only things important to us. We have always focused on training and promoting young people. Modern training centres, qualified trainers and employees and new professions all help to prepare the professionals of the future ideally for the manifold re­­quirements of their later careers. It is therefore of crucial importance to the company’s future that we have employees who are motivated, who assume re­­sponsibility, who work independently, and yet who are also flexible enough to be able to adapt to the requirements of rapid technical development.

Another major focus of the corporate strategy is to enhance contract manufacture for companies from other sectors – even those outside the printing industry. Even today, we already deliver technically sophisticated manufacturing parts to known and renowned local and national corporations. We are fortunate to have machinery that meets the strict and narrow manufacturing tolerances of a range of market segments.

Small and medium-sized corporations always build on a long-term and trusting relationship with a high level of customer proximity. Flexibility and tailor-made prod­­ucts are part of everyday business here. These are key components of our in-house trade fair, the “Technology and Service Forum”. During this event, over 100 par­­ticipants from the region discuss the main topics of manufacture and mounting, as well as service in the field of mechanical engineering.

The event aims to present our diverse and broad range of services to our guests. We hope that manufacturing oppor­­tuni­­ties will be presented and discussed openly, and networks maintained and expanded. All participants have the oppor­­­tunity to exchange views and to address their ques­­­tions directly to the relevant experts.

Visitors to last year’s trade fair saw for themselves what successful cooperation could look like based on the example of the companies located in Franken­­thal, Albert-Frankenthal GmbH, KBA-FT Engin­­eering GmbH, and their cooperation part­­ner Hoffmann Göppingen Quali­­täts­werk­­zeuge GmbH & Co. KG. On extensive tours of the production facil­­ities, visitors had the chance to see the manufacturing and assembly services live and under normal business conditions and to expand the network of partners and customers.

A decline in the traditional printing ma­­chinery market will force companies in this sector to face up to new challenges in the years to come. Albert-Frankenthal GmbH has developed a comprehensive range of measures and concepts in order to retain its successful position in the market. We will pursue our strategy con­­­sistently and, in doing so, focus on long-term cooperation, highly skilled professionals and tailor-made products.


KohlmannHans-Peter Kohlmann was born in 1966. Following training as technical draughtsman, he began de­­gree studies in me­­ch­­­an­­­ical engineering in 1990 at Kaisers­­lautern University of Applied Sciences, focusing on pro­­duc­­tion technology. Hans-Peter Kohlmann has held various man­agerial positions at Koenig & Bauer AG and became managing director of Albert-Frankenthal GmbH in November 2011.