For Markus Stein and Jens Welzel, packaging is a commitment, as well as their profession and vocation: They develop and integrate packaging for BU Industry’s products. Their focus goes far beyond making sure everything looks good, as they seek to protect the product, deliver functionality and optimize processes. “
“The product always includes the packaging, both have to be in perfect harmony with each other,” says Markus Stein, who has worked developing packaging at several DMK locations, as a trained dairy engineer and packaging developer. He is now responsible for BU Industry’s major players: From the smallest unit, a 2 liter bag-in-a-box, to a 24-ton tanker that carries sweetened condensed milk. There is plenty in between, too, such as 25-kilo powder bags, for example, or the 1,000 kilo Pallecon.
These containers have to be shaped in such a way that they can protect the contents and keep them stable, even if they contain a high level of acid or fat. Full-fat cream, at 70 percent, is the most challenging product when it comes to packaging: “You could say we need a packaging vault that prevents any light, oxygen or aroma from entering,” says Stein. They also need to be able to integrate any processes at customer sites, the area overseen by Jens Welzel in Packaging Application Technology. A qualified packaging engineer, he has spent the past two and a half years at BU Industry, traveling out to customer locations to provide technical advice, as he is best able to address their individual requirements when he is on site. Packaging, for example, has to match certain pallet sizes, fit into automatic highbay warehouses or suit any pump that is in use. “We do not always find the solution by altering our packaging,” says Jens Welzel. “Sometimes it makes more sense to optimize the customer’s process in order to achieve our goal. That might mean buying a piece of additional equipment or altering a particular process, for example.”
“I can’t walk past a package without taking a closer look and analyzing it.”
Markus Stein, Verpackungsentwickler bei DMK
With all the different customer requirements, which include specific national and legal guidelines in each country, Markus Stein and Jens Welzel have to maintain a balance: On the one hand, they need to fulfill all of the customer’s wishes. On the other hand, it is not economical for DMK to have too many different packaging variations. “Often, the solution is to bundle different customer requirements to a standardized packaging solution. Then we can use that for as many customers as possible,” says Markus Stein. The team creates special documents to list the properties of each form of packaging, describing the technical parameters such as its dimensions, film thickness and the colors used to print it. “This is our packaging library and an important foundation of our work.” With all the meticulous care and passion involved, you might imagine they would both enjoy gift wrapping and perhaps take presents to a new level? “I have to admit that the job has affected me,” says Markus Stein. “I can’t walk past a package without taking a closer look and analyzing it.”