Proof of concept – a customer journey
KIEFEL GmbH, with its modern headquarter, is located at no. 3 Sudetenstraße in Freilassing / Germany. The imposing main building is inviting, despite its size. The foyer is open and multi-storey, decorated with wooden panels and occasional moss walls. As a customer however, it is not the architecture that welcomes you warmly. It is the people that you first get to meet. Like Sonja Mayer, who works at reception. Over a nice chat and a small coffee, she shares information on the location and the buildings on the premises.
Although interesting and worth knowing, there are also other reasons why booking an appointment at Kiefel’s headquarter is worthwhile. If you have a specific packaging request, Kiefel knows exactly how to answer it. Whatever product it may be, one requirement always stays the same. The product needs to be packaged correctly, i. e. efficient and sustainable in production, appealing and resilient in practice.
Challenges and requirements result from these main goals. During a personal chat, they can be identified within the framework of a feasibility analysis, a so-called Proof of Concept (PoC). Thanks to the large expertise of our staff, they can be incorporated into a subsequent project in the best possible way.
The possibilities are almost limitless
The next step on the journey is to find answers to important questions. What material should the packaging be made of? Which natural fibers should it be made of? What functions must the packaging fulfil? What sources of supply are available? Recovered paper is one option. In addition, wood from sustainable forest plantations and even straw residues are possible. This raw material can be prepared with the help of our experts. Both engineering services and the necessary tools are available. There is no question that our Natural Fiber Specialists, such as Olga Sieve in the Material R&D Center, have not already thought about. During this discussion, even experienced customers realise how comprehensive and diverse a solution approach is offered here.
For us, this project phase is called Proof of Concept. How can the customer’s goals be translated into a product and a product range that can be implemented? Which machine setup is the best to produce the product with the required properties efficiently and in the long term?
There is always a specific goal – to perfectly implement the customer’s requirements with the help of the NATUREFORMER KFT 90 – underlying the material analysis and the feasibility check. Of course, this process does not take place behind closed doors, but in cooperation with our customers. How well do the produced fiber products and the further processing such as coating, filling, punching, etc. complement each other? Which steps require special care? After talking to the product manager, Richard Hagenauer, many customers are impressed by the fact that advice and active implementation are pursued in such a thorough way.
Everything from a single source
Our experience in conducting feasibility analyses/PoC has the added advantage of already having established solutions and materials available for many products. This means that the realisation of a packaging solution made of natural fibers can be addressed quickly. However, the Kiefel solution not only covers the machine, but also considers the associated tools and automation. “Everything from a single source”, as they like to say at Kiefel.
However, anyone who wants to break new ground will find in Kiefel a capable and committed partner who is willing to take on new challenges.
After one or two months of close cooperation, coordination, trials and analyses, however, the moment is reached when the Proof of Concept phase is completed and the first still warm product (e.g. a food tray made of unbleached kraft pulp) is taken from the KFT and held in one’s own hands. The expert analyses, the expertise, and the cooperation with Kiefel have resulted in something tangible that is modern and useful while saving CO2.
The path from ambitious goal setting to tangible sustainable natural fiber packaging has become a reality.