Tremendous changes are shaping our world: Climate change and environmental pollution are having a significant impact on our society.
As a thermoforming and joining technology company, we are therefore taking an active role in helping to shape a better future for us all by fully exploiting sustainability potential and achieving increased efficiency.
We rethink materials, products, processes, and machines with the aim of developing the best and most sustainable solution for the respective application - in the medical field, the refrigerator or packaging industry – and optimizing resource-saving technologies & processes.
With investments in our own technology and Material Center, research activities and collaborations, we go the extra mile and support our customers, as experts in close partnership on the path to more sustainable solutions.
At Kiefel, we evaluate the impacts of our activities and align those actions based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Since 2023, Kiefel has been committed to the UN Global Compact corporate responsibility initiative and its principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
Our permanent striving for future-oriented acting in all our activities is among the most important ingredients for being the leading solution provider for the development and implementation of the most sustainable technology.
EcoVadis places Kiefel among the top 25% of companies
We have reached another milestone on the way to more sustainable business processes: The world's largest provider of sustainability ratings, EcoVadis, has awarded the company, consisting of the Freilassing-based KIEFEL GmbH with subsidiaries in Micheldorf (Austria) and Sprang-Capelle (Netherlands), a silver medal in the overall ranking. This places the mechanical engineering company for thermoforming and joining technology among the most sustainable 25% of all companies audited by EcoVadis and even among the top 10% of the industry.
The EcoVadis certification is based on an extensive questionnaire on the four categories of "Environment", "Labor and human rights", "Ethics" and "Sustainable procurement". Only adequately documented responses and data are included in the assessment. The results are presented on a scorecard and can be shared with customers. According to the provider, they already certify more than 90,000 companies in over 175 countries in a wide variety of industries worldwide.
As part of the plastics and packaging industry, Kiefel will continue to drive forward its responsibilities in terms of environmental protection and climate change together with its organizational and systemic development of the company during periods of strong growth.
Together we will accelerate our growth trajectory and further advance our international business development with regard to sustainable turnkey solutions for the plastic and natural fibers packaging, as well as for the healthcare and appliances sectors.
The Initiative Blue Competence
We are Alliance Member of the Sustainability Initiative Blue Competence. Blue Competence is an initiative of the VDMA for promoting and communication of sustainable solutions for the Mechanical Engineering Industry. By using the trademark “Blue Competence”, we commit ourselves to these twelve Sustainability Guidelines of the Mechanical Engineering Industry.
Trust is the cornerstone of our business. Compliance with applicable laws, responsible conduct, and ethical behavior are all integral parts of our value system.
The centerpiece of our corporate culture and our internal compass is our Code of Conduct. It gives us guidelines and is an expression of our ethical and social responsibilities.
Our commitment to transparency of Kiefel activities and management behavior:
Sustainability guides our path when it comes to innovation. We rethink product design and functionality, materials and composition with a view to a more sustainable product. Correspondingly, we adapt manufacturing processes and optimize machines and tools for production.
You can choose to use classic, recyclable plastics such as rPET, bio-based materials such as PLA or natural fibers – Kiefel has the machine solution. Your sustainable product can thus more easily be recycled and returned to the circular economy, be biodegradable or even compostable.
Never before has this choice had such a big impact due to the increasing desire of end users for sustainable and eco-friendly packaging. Kiefel offers you tomorrow’s solutions today.
NATUREFORMER KFT 90 as Advanced Version receives Gold Award in the German Packaging Award 2023 in the Packaging Machines Category
Kiefel's NATUREFORMER KFT 90 as Advanced Version, which allows customers to reduce cycle times by up to 30% in fiber-packaging production, was further honored with the Gold Award for particularly groundbreaking innovation among the winners.
Our winning entry earned praise from the panel of judges for its cutting-edge technology coupled with quality features and current technical processes aimed at providing holistic solutions for natural fiber-based packaging requirements.
NATUREFORMER KFT 90 Speed machine receives WorldStar 2023 Awards
The innovations and commitment of Kiefel for creating packaging solutions of the future and in responding to new challenges and global trends such as sustainability, hygiene and other trends, have been recognized by the WorldStar 2023 Awards.
WPO annually recognizes the best of the best in packaging innovations from all around the world, and in 2023 the NATUREFORMER KFT 90 Speed Machine has been one of them. This machine can process various kinds of natural fibers (renewable, CO2-binding, biodegradable, or disposable via the paper cycle) into high-quality sustainable packaging with the highest surface quality to achieve the hygienic standards of the foodstuffs, pharma and cosmetics industry. Additionally it has a low CO2 footprint.
Among the finalists for German Sustainability Award 2021
With our NATUREFORMER series, machines for the production of packaging from natural fibers, we are among the 82 finalists for the German Sustainability Award in the "Design" category. Out of originally more than 1,000 applicants, we have been able to fight our way through.
The coveted national award recognizes excellence for a sustainable future. Now, our NATUREFORMER KFT one of them, impressing with thermoformed packaging made from renewable, biodegradable raw materials while making efficient use of energy and resources. The result: High quality product for the food sector, but also for cosmetics and electronical goods.
ABB Sustainability Award
Automation group ABB presented Kiefel with the international European Value Provider Award in the "Sustainability" category yesterday. This recognizes the development achievement of the NATUREFORMER KFT 90 machine, on which products made from natural fibers can be formed.
"We are very pleased to be the first company to win an award in the sustainability category," emphasizes Thomas Halletz, CEO of KIEFEL GmbH, at the award ceremony in the company's own technology center. "This underlines the great innovative strength that underlies our technologies." Andrea Cassoni, Managing Director of the General Industry division at ABB, adds: "As a mechanical engineering company, Kiefel is exemplary in terms of sustainability. The technology of the KFT 90 is an example of this, because the machines can be used to produce packaging from renewable and biodegradable raw materials or plant waste - combined with the highest possible energy and resource efficiency."
Kiefel Supplier Award
With our regular international "Kiefel Supplier Awards", we reward outstanding performance in services.
We look for consistant excellence in the areas of quality, service and technical support. Sustainability also plays a decisive role in the supplier evaluation.
A long-term and sustainable partnership with our suppliers is important to us, which is why we honor the best suppliers with the Kiefel Supplier Award every year.
In addition, we have determined the Product Carbon Footprints (PCF) for our machines and reference customer products in accordance with the DIN ISO 14067 and GHG Protocol Product Standard. The PCF is subject to an annual review process.
The Kiefel Material R&D and Technology Center deepen our materials expertise and allow us to support our customers ever more closely in the development process for everything related with materials, products and machines.
Here our customers receive solutions that are optimally tailored to their individual requirements. These centers enable us to meet the demands on a holistic solution provider and to develop and use even more sustainable technologies, processes and materials for our customers in the future.
Material R&D Center
Our Material R&D Center - specializing in natural fibers - and the Applied Polymer Research Center - focusing on recycled and bio-based plastics - are starting points for our customers' product development.
We research, analyse, develop and test materials, for the business areas of Medical and Polymer and Fiber Packaging.
Digitalization is continuously making processes more efficient and, most importantly, more sustainable.
Digital platforms and processes have long since been used as internal tools for shaping and supporting day-to-day operations. These are being successively expanded through the use of cloud technology. For machinery and equipment, the Group companies rely on intuitive human machine interfaces (HMI), enabling, among other things, resource-efficient control of the various processes as well as decentralised maintenance.
We received the red dot award design in 2020 for the design of our HMI.
Our after sales services are also performed remotely. Not only do they help you reduce time when unexpected technical problems or doubts arise, but also save travel costs and prevent C02 emissions.
Kiefel Portal: All digital services at a glance
The Kiefel Portal is a secure, personalized, online platform.
And it’s for more than just spare parts. Extensive training programs, detailed assembly drawings, exploded views and up-to-date operating and maintenance instructions help you save valuable time operating your machines.
The people who work together at Kiefel are the cornerstone of our success.
Therefore, we do everything for a healthy working environment, from state-of-the-art work clothes and shoes, to related accident prevention equipment (such as eye protection glasses, ear plugs, gloves, etc.). In addition, annual occupational safety training, adapted to different job profiles, is mandatory for all employees.
In addition, we cooperate with appointed company doctors at many sites and an occupational safety specialists. The company doctor carries out occupational medical check-ups for employees and advises on all medical issues associated with work, the workplace, and occupational medical precautionary measures.
The occupational safety specialist works closely with the company doctors to provide advice and support for accident prevention and in identifying potential accident risks. Responsibility for work safety in the company lies with the occupational safety officer, the safety specialists, and the management.
Furthermore, employee benefits including discounts for local recreational facilities are offered by Kiefel.
On the way to more sustainability, the exchange with others is very important. In presentations at schools or as part of university excursions, we can pass on our experience, educate people about the use of different materials such as plastics or natural fibers, and present forward-looking technologies. At the same time, we can benefit from the feedback and jointly find future-oriented solutions, e.g. within research cooperations with universities.
Visit of the FH Salzburg | Visit by students of the continuing education module "Circular Economy" of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences: During a company tour, they were able to learn more about our commitment to a functioning circular economy and experience fiber thermoforming in our new technology center.
Lecture at an elementary school | Early practice - at a local elementary school, we were able to educate the children about the entire circular economy (production, use and recycling) of plastics and fiber products as well as the various areas of application.
Kiefel accompanies and supports its employees in their professional and personal development - in the best case throughout their entire working lives, starting as our apprentices.
Last year more than 94% of our apprentices stayed on as employees in Kiefel after finishing their apprenticeship.
Our motto is "Potential needs opportunity to become effective", and accordingly, apprentices at Kiefel are trained in social, personal and methodological skills in addition to their technical instruction.
Mastering the transition from school to working life and moving from student to apprentice is an important milestone for young people. These are important developmental steps for the young people in our company, and we support them with the help of the Kiefel Apprentice Academy.
Excellent Training Organisation
Successful young talents - as a recognized IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) training company and for the strong performance of our trainees, we have repeatedly received the IHK award. The seal stands for quality and excellence in training.
Furthermore, Kiefel offers internships for school pupils and university students. This gives them exciting insights, practical experience and opportunities to pursuing their careers at Kiefel.
Our commitment for young people also includes our participation at the MINT initiative and Girls’ Day. The aim is to introduce them to technical professions, in particular, and get them excited about STEM professions (i.e. professions related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
At Kiefel there is no room for discrimination.
Our commitment in our Code of Conduct is part of daily business for us: Nobody is discriminated because of ethnic origin, gender, religion or beliefs, disability status, age, sexual identity or any other factors.
We are proud that employees of 27 different nationalities form our Kiefel Team, creating an atmosphere of diversity, tolerance, and equal opportunity.
Around 15.3 % of Kiefel employees are women - they make up 14.7 % of top level management.
Our salary structure ensures fair and equal pay, that is determined by the position, qualification and experience. We take care to ensure that working hours do not exceed the maximum permitted under the applicable laws and regulations.
Our representative for severely disabled employees provides assistance with applications and correspondence as well as providing support options at the workplace.
And of course, we take a stand for equality and reduce inequalities as to the greatest possible extent.
As an internationally active group, Kiefel has a social responsibility that extends beyond its own employees.
Sponsorship and donations form a significant part of this social engagement. All corporate units and a large number of employees support regional clubs, cultural initiatives and organizations through donations and volunteer work.
Projects of the heart - Supporting what is close to the heart
Thanks to a newly introduced opportunity for employees to get their project sponsored by Kiefel, they were able to suggest charitable projects or non-profit organizations that are close to their hearts and to which they themselves are committed. The management then drew lots for this year's three "projects of the heart" from all the submissions.
Doctors and nursing staff in clinics, in retirement and nursing homes, outpatient nursing services, medical practices, psychologists, physiotherapists, schools and children's homes, the city administration and many more have thanked us for donating our face shields.
Kiefel on board
Teamwork, social competences and peaceful conflict resolution are joined in a unique adventure on the sea.
Friedensflotte Salzburg is part of the Mirno More Friedensflotte, the greatest sailing project for socially disadvantaged young people.
By living, working and sharing experiences together on a ship, children who suffered particularly due to the Corona crisis, learn new ways of overcoming conflict, how to strengthen confidence as well as to find hope in the future.
Kiefel has supported this amazing initiative for several years already, which has allowed children to sail, learn and grow up emotionally.
Buy Food with Plastic
The organisation Buy Food with Plastic organises events with locals in India, Nicaragua and Ghana, where the local population can buy a hot meal with plastic bottles. The collected bottles are then processed into useful products.
ASASE has an impressive comprehensive approach: Women collect plastic waste in and around Ghana’s capital Accra, and produce regranulate in their own small “factories”. This is then sold to the local plastic recycler, who uses it to make paving stones or roof tiles.
The project also creates fair employment opportunities that enable women in the region to earn a secure and sustainable income for themselves and their families.This organisation is supported by Brückner Group.
Kiefel wants to contribute to the protection of natural resources and and reduce its negative impact and as far as possible.
The machinery manufactured by Kiefel is made mainly of metals, such as steel and aluminium, and incorporates finished parts made of these materials, as well as copper for the necessary wiring. Apart from this, they include significantly smaller quantities of plastic and laminates, oils, greases and chemicals, as well as the wood, cardboard and paper for packaging and shipping.
NEXTLOOPP - Recycling of PP for food-grade applications
The NEXTLOOPP initiative focuses on closing the loop of mechanically recycled food-grade polypropylene. The mechanical recycling of PP waste into high-quality rPP is an important step towards creating a sustainable circular economy. The circular economy can only be fully realized if plastics can be recycled back into food-grade applications. As this is not yet possible for mechanically recycled PP today, there is still work to be done here. We are convinced that NEXTLOOPP will make a unique and valuable contribution to closing the loop on food-grade PP. As part of this initiative, tray-to-tray and cup-to-cup recycling will be given a real opportunity for market introduction. We are proud to be a member of this initiative.
PrintCYC - successful recycling of printed plastic films
The PrintCYC (Printed PP films for mechanical recycling) project group is exploring ways to create circular economy solutions. The specific target of the first two project phases was to understand the impact of different ink formulations on the mechanical PP and PE recycling process. Furthermore, the re-usability of PP and PE recyclates (rPP / rPE) made from printed post-industrial film waste was evaluated in cast film, blown film, compression moulding and thermoforming technologies as well as the biaxial stretching process.
Members of this project are Kiefel, Brückner Maschinenbau and PackSys Global, the film producer Profol, the ink manufacturers Huber Group and Siegwerk, the converters Constantia Flexibles and Wipak as well as the recycling specialist Erema.
Holy Grail - digital watermarks for better sorting
In order to improve the sorting and consequently the recyclability of plastics, renowned brand owners, such as Procter & Gamble, have initiated the European “HolyGrail” project, in which Kiefel participates.
This involves using digital watermarks on packaging to obtain more material information, e.g. whether a material used to be food-safe. The printed or imprinted watermarks (largely invisible QR codes) are scanned and provide information about the material composition. More detailed sorting ensures a higher quality of recyclates and thus makes it easier to achieve recycling targets.
Another key approach is to modernise machines already in use by customers. The focus here is for customers to increase their resource savings during production, while making the lifecycle of the manufactured products more environmentally compatible.
Furthermore, Kiefel enables its customers to process alternative materials, such as natural fibres, in addition to plastics. On the NATUREFORMER KFT 90, packaging can be produced from renewable and biodegradable raw materials or plant residue, at maximum energy and resource efficiency.
Thanks to environmental site management, Kiefel guarantees energy-efficient operations, reduced carbon emissions and careful use of resources while also protecting water and biodiversity on company premises.
Responsible waste management ensures that waste is treated like secondary raw materials, i.e. sorted by type and recycled appropriately.
Kiefel’s corporate carbon footprint was first calculated for the 2020 business year. Corporate environmental management also takes into account the supply chain and logistics.
Brückner Group launched the company wide initiative "Yes, we care" in 2017. As a project that is as much an acknowledgement to our own responsibilities in the matter of plastics and sustainability, as it is a promise to the employees in all the Brückner Group companies.
The sustainability report and the sustainability magazine published by the Brückner Group in 2022 offer more details and highlights from the field of sustainability.
The Brückner Group - and thus also Kiefel - published its first report in accordance with "The Sustainability Code" (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitskodex - DNK) in November 2022.
The Sustainability Code is a cross-sector transparency standard for reporting corporate sustainability performance and can be used by companies and organizations of any size and legal form.
The 20 criteria of the Sustainability Code were defined by the German Federal Government's Council for Sustainable Development. The Code is intended to promote sustainable business practices and serve as a guide for companies. The report is publicly accessible and ensures visibility and comparability.