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Better futures

Cornelia Frank, Head of Sustainability at Kiefel, on the company's award-winning sustainability achievements and the contribution of machine engineering on environmental standards.

Congratulations on winning the ABB European Value Provider Award for Kiefel’s ongoing sustainability efforts. What does the award mean for you as an industry-based sustainability officer'We are very pleased with the award, as it shows that we can be a role model in the mechanical engineering sector by actively contributing to greater sustainability. This is possible thanks to our innovative team and reliable partners. Our goal is to constantly improve ourselves and to set new standards as pioneers in the industry.


Better futures Cornelia Frank

How could this achievement help boost your own profile in the thermoforming machinery sector and among fellow sustainability leaders'Our vision is to become a leading solutions provider for the development and implementation of the most sustainable technology. Successes like this award show us and the market that we are on the right track. However, it is important that as many players as possible in the market (including consumers, companies, and policy-makers) contribute to becoming ever more sustainable – only together can we ultimately make a significant difference for our environment and society.

What advice would you give to fellow machinery manufacturers that are perhaps skeptical about incorporating smart manufacturing and automation solutions'We believe that intelligent solutions and automation are essential for modern, future-oriented mechanical engineering. It is important to keep developing smart technical solutions in order to make production ever more energy efficient and resource-friendly.

Is reaching sustainability targets as simple as smart manufacturing and bio-based materials alone'These are of course important steps in the right direction, but not exclusively. It is also important, for example, to develop solutions for local value chains, to improve the circular economy, to further optimise energy inputs and, of course, to do this all in an ethical, humane way as far as working conditions are concerned. A key prerequisite for all of this is that the organisation as a whole commits to sustainability. Furthermore, we, as an industry player, have to support Research and Development initiatives along with the supply chain and industry. This is very important to Kiefel so we established co-operations and partnerships with several academic institutions. 

Is the plastics supply chain as a whole doing enough, in your opinion, to meet the agreed sustainability and environmental protection standards'The awareness and determination that there must be more sustainable and better solutions is palpable everywhere. Fortunately, there are already numerous initiatives and movements to drive improvement throughout the plastics supply chain. At Kiefel, for example, we are also involved in the PrintCYC initiative to develop better solutions for a circular economy of printed PP-based packaging films, and in HolyGrail 2.0 to contribute to better sorting and higher recycling rates for packaging in the EU with the help of digital watermarks. But of course, it is always desirable to accelerate the implementation of our endeavours.

Finally, what advice would you offer to young engineers/entrepreneurs interested in a career in machinery manufacturing, particularly with regards to sustainability matters'The requirements that arise in the area of sustainability are broad and diverse. Mechanical engineering plays a key role, because only suitable machines can ultimately create sustainable products such as packaging. For engineers and entrepreneurs, many opportunities open up where one can actively participate in work for a better future and develop advanced solutions. Never stop working towards a better future.

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Publication date: 15/02/2022

European Plastic Product Manufacturer

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31