According to the Germany-based company, the main thrusts in innovation are functional optimisation, increased performance capabilities, expansion of the handling spectrum and packing automation.
For example, Krones claims to have radically redesigned its range of continuously operating Wrapapac wrap-around machines. The results of the revamp are smoother operation, easier reproducibility of settings, and improved human engineering.
In addition, the Wrapapac W on show at the Interpack show can also handle solid board at 60 cycles/min., creating what are called "Fridge Pacs", i.e. fridge-friendly convenience packs.
For the first time since its market launch, Krones will also be exhibiting the redesigned Variopac tray-packer/shrink-wrapper. The company claims that the user-friendliness of this Variopac generation has been substantially improved, and the speed range significantly increased.
With its innovative machine design and multifarious technical enhancements, the new Variopac TFS easily reaches a speed of 100 cycles per minute. Krones claims that the reliable operation enables users to make optimum use of this fast-running machine's advantages.
Krones has also completely redesigned the pack grouping station, whose job it is to provide a flexible choice of layers to form for palletising. The diversity of packages and packaging sizes is steadily increasing, and thus need to be properly accommodated at the palletiser.
Layer pattern creation capabilities therefore have to be as flexible as possible. For this reason, Krones has developed a layer designer, which enables users to program their own layer patterns at will.
German gross domestic product (GDP) grew by a meagre 0.1 per cent in the period from July to September, the federal statistics office Destatis calculated, much slower than the growth of 0.4 per cent seen in both of the preceding two quarters. The 0.1 per cent increase was in fact the slowest rate of growth of the German economy since the second quarter of 2003, the final quarter of the last recession.
But Krones, which claims that its expertise lies in Germany, is confident that it is well placed to survive the current difficult market conditions. As the world's largest manufacturer of beverage filling and packaging machinery, it achieved an increase in order bookings of 12 per cent on a like-for-like basis for the first nine months of 2004.
From January to September 2004, the Krones Group achieved sales revenues amounting to €1.1 billion, a rise of 5 per cent. Orders were up by 13 per cent at €704 million on 30 September 2004, which the company is believes suggests sound prospects for further growth in 2005.
The group's goal for 2005 is to enhance productivity still further by improving its processes and cutting costs relative to sales.