(f. l. Michael Seelert, Director Market Segment Process Belts, Dominik Braun, Sales and Applications Manager)
Revolution in the corrugated board industry – GKD, the global market leader from Germany, is honored for its innovative BLUEBACKER process belt.
On May 23, GKD – Gebr. Kufferath AG received the prestigious 2023 German Innovation Award in Berlin.
The family-owned company won over the jury with its innovative BLUEBACKER process belt for the corrugated board industry. Its revolutionary mesh technology reduces energy consumption by up to 40 percent compared to conventional process belts. At the same time, production speeds can be increased by up to 50 percent. GKD received a special mention in the German Innovation Award, placing the company among the three winners in the main category “Excellence in Business to Business”, sub-category “Machines & Engineering”. The distinction from the independent jury of experts confirms GKD’s innovation-driven vision of making the world safer, cleaner, and healthier.
With this innovative solution, GKD is supporting the worldwide boom taking place in the corrugated board industry in achieving its sustainability goals. Dr. Stephan Kufferath, who runs GKD together with his brother Ingo Kufferath and his daughter Lara Kufferath, says, “This award makes us proud. It shows just how much potential for innovation there is in small and medium-sized businesses and family-run firms. As experts in weaving technology, we have always been committed to solving tomorrow’s problems today. BLUEBACKER and its contribution to sustainable production is an impressive example of this.” Lara Kufferath says, “We consider it our responsibility to support customers in their aims to establish efficient, ecological, and safe processes. We do this by consistently driving forward innovation and sustainability ourselves.”
The German paper industry is one of the largest in the world. In the last few years, production has increasingly shifted from graphic papers – papers for printing, writing, and copying – to packing papers and cardboard. While 1.61 million tons of corrugated paper (manufactured from recycled paper and used to pad packaging and boxes) was produced in Germany in 2010, the figure for 2020 was 4.36 million tons – an increase of 170.3 percent (source: Destatis). Where packaging is unavoidable, packing material made of paper, carton, and cardboard fits with the central premise of sustainability and the circular management of raw materials. Yet it is still important to further reduce the consumption of resources such as water and energy in production. The recent steep increases in energy costs alone are forcing the industry to focus on maximum energy efficiency in order to remain profitable in the market.
GKD applied its expert knowledge of the industry and exceptional manufacturing skills to develop the best solution for the corrugated board industry. In a development process lasting approximately ten years, various mesh elements and their basic properties were combined and the advantages united in a multilayer mesh – the result is GKD BLUEBACKER.