Rene Pankoke

Dr. Rene Pankoke, CEO and President of Hymmen, discusses about the company’s various product lines, its strengths and future market expansions. Know more.

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woodandpaneleurope What are the main strengths of Hymmen?

Rene Pankoke : Hymmen is a medium-sized mechanical and plant engineering family-company with over 120 years of tradition with its headquarters and production site in Bielefeld, Germany. Hymmen predominantly deals with industrial production technology for the large volume production of board materials or the surface finishing of board or roll materials. The products and can be divided into the following areas: Double Belt Presses, Multi Opening Presses, Laminating Lines, Lines for Liquid Coating incl. Direct Printing, Industrial Digital Printing Lines, Automation and Control Technology and Service.

Hymmen is a highly innovative and forward-looking high-tech company. It continuously develops and manufactures state-of-the-art machines and plants. With roundabout 180 employees worldwide, Hymmen works on investment projects for our customers in the following industries: Furniture, Flooring, Doors/Gates, Decorative Laminates, Building Materials, Steel &Aluminium, Composites & Technical Laminates
Hymmen operates a spacious technical center and laboratory for its customers in which Hymmen can test and optimize all production processes with customers’ original materials. Hymmen sees itself as a problem solver for customers so that it is possible to enhance its customers’ business with its plants, know-how and innovative strength.

Hymmen´s long-standing relationships with customers speak for themselves. Every customer seeking high-quality mechanical engineering combined with profound technological know-how, innovative strength and development potential for its own products within our industry, comes to Hymmen with these challenges. Hymmen is proud of the support that the Hymmen-team provides to its customers around the world with its state-of-the-art technologies.

woodandpaneleurope Since 1892, you have been in the field of Industrial plants and machinery of woodworking industry, what are the major changes you have observed in the recent years?

Rene Pankoke : The mayor changes in the recent years go along with the mass customization of the products for the final customers. “Mass” because large scale production is what enables the companies in the woodworking industry to establish a highly efficient production process and get along with the price competition. And “customization”, because each customer wants to get the feeling that he buys a product (e.g. laminate flooring) that is designed especially for his individual needs.

Hymmen is able to cope with these changes, because the company is specialized on production technology for the large scale production. And at the same time the latest development of Industrial Digital Printing makes it possible, that Hymmen´s customers produce and finish surfaces with decors of the batch size of one. And this without any efficiency losses in the large scale production.
At the meantime you can also see a trend to two price policies of the mayor players of the woodworking industry: On the one hand there is for example the very cheap laminate flooring you can buy at any supplier of building material.And then there are the high-end design-floorings that persuade the customers with their high end optical solution of the décor print and synchronous structures. You can hardly see the difference between real wood and this kind of flooring any more. And for this product the customers are willing to pay a much higher price.

Hymmen supports its customers with both strategies: Double Belt Presses, Multi Opening Presses, Liquid Coating Lines Lamintating Lines and the Digital Printing Lines offer the best technology to produce highly efficient and cost reduced in large scale production. At the same time this technology supports any production process for highest surface quality. And since the invention of the Single Pass Industrial Digital Printing, Hymmen-customers can print the décor of their choice in the highest quality from roll to roll and on board material.

woodandpaneleurope How is the market in Europe faring as of now?

Rene Pankoke : Our home market Germany is doing quite well – more or less constant on a high level. The same is true most parts of Western Europe with still existing difficulties in the Southern European countries.

Most of the investment projects for Hymmen are taking place in Eastern European countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

woodandpaneleurope What is the current market strategy of Hymmen in Europe?

Rene Pankoke : We are in regular contact with our key account customers for the traditional market segments in the wood-working industry such as Double Belt Presses and Liquid Coating Lines.

For our new market segments in the Digital Printing area we are target the major players in each field. We are focussing especially on digitally printed décor paper for the laminate industry as well as the laminate flooring industry.
Another new segment which is growing in Europe but also in the US is the flooring product know as “LVT” (luxury vinyl tiles). This market segment is taking away a market share from the traditional laminate flooring. The production processes are quite diverse at the moment which leads to different machinery concepts supported by Hymmen. The main component of these machinery concepts is also our industrial Digital Printing Line, in most cases directly on the LVT-board.

woodandpaneleurope How is the market for Double Belt Press Lines?

Rene Pankoke : With more than 200 lines sold Hymmen is the world leader of Continuous Double Belt Presses especially for the woodworking industry. Hymmen double belt press lines produce continuously – around the globe. Our customers benefit from significant savings in personnel, material and energy costs. Hymmen as a specialist for continuous and environmentally friendly presses provides flexibility with isobar and isochoric press systems.They are engineered for the continuous coating of HDF/MDF boards with melamine films, for the continuous manufacture of decorative and technical laminates and for rubber and plastics (e.g. transport bandings, PVC-Flooring).

Hymmen targets a number of approx. 4-5 complete Double Belt Press lines to be sold per year. As the production capacity of each line is relatively high, this figure corresponds to a production volume of approx. 50 million square meters (500 million square feet per year).

woodandpaneleurope Being the expert manufacturer of PVC Flooring, what are the primary things you are looking for while preparing a project?

Rene Pankoke : The main focus of Hymmen in PVC-Flooring is machinery for surface technology. This includes the decoration (digital printing) as well as liquid coating of wear layers and liquid structuring and embossing.

As investments for PVC-Flooring production are typically very high (several million up to 2-digit million US-$) we are always preparing customized solutions for each project. In order to make an investment decision for our customers it is of high importance that we can offer them new production innovations with which they can gain competitive advantages. This means that we typically prepare a lot of test runs with the board material of our customers in our technology centre and present the results to the customer. At the same time the project prepares the corresponding plant layout and calculates investment as well as capacity of the new plant.

woodandpaneleurope Can you brief us on OFS Liquid Coating Line and PFC Coating Line?

Rene Pankoke : : Hymmen liquid coating lines range from an efficient one-man coating line to complete coating lines and from simple manual operation through to higher-level electronic control systems.

Different coating media, such as stain, UV- and water-based lacquers, filler and printing inks can be processed in working widths of 400 – 2,800 mm. Special filler and smoothing machines and appropriate drying technologies create an efficient coating and a high-quality surface.
Individual solutions for all customers – from skilled crafts and trades through to industrial manufacturing, we look forward to your challenge.

In consultation with our customers, we will engineer an OFS Liquid Coating line for them that is tailored to their requirements with our components: Coating lines – rolling, printing, moulding – with working widths of 400 to 2,800 mm. Possible Coating Mediaare Stain, Oil, UV lacquer, water-based coating, filler and printing inks. Samples for applications are furniture, doors, wooden flooring, wood-based boards, panels and sheets. Many customers that use the Hymmen JUPITER Digital Printing Lines cannaot do without our Liquid Coating Lines. This is because these machines prepare the surface of the substrate for the digital printing and put a finishing on it after the Digital Print – all in one Line.

Besides the large and often plant filling OFS Liquid Coating Line Hymmen has the compact ProfiCoater in its product programme. Hymmen ProfiCoater is the complete one-man coating line for the use of solvent-free UV lacquers. Key Benefits are the following: The top qualitythat can be reproduced in seconds, up to 70% cost savings compared to casting and spraying through the use of solvent-free systems and a one-man operation, high level of flexibility through the choice of a low-cost one-man operation with a reverse operation function or a continuous process in a two-man operation and the high level of adaptability, add-ons with rolling units, smoothing units or a grinding machine possible. Customers that benefit from the Hymmen ProfiCoater are furniture manufacturers in trade and industry, joineries, Contract fitters, including banks, hotels and nursery schools, door manufacturers, exhibition stand builders, suppliers to the furniture industry, pharmacy fitting, flooring manufacturers, staircase manufacturers, glass decoration, ship outfitter, kitchen manufacturers and metal coater.

woodandpaneleurope What sets CCI(Calendar Coating Inert) apart from other similar coating available in the industry?

Rene Pankoke : Our CCI-technology is focused on achieving high-end quality for mirror high-gloss as well as matt surfaces. We see the main advantages in our technology especially in:

• best-in-class optical performance (mirror high gloss)
• high scratch resistance
• no “yellowing effect”
• no time delay after curing in the production process

We have sold in total 5 complete production lines with a length of up to 300 meters each. The last project took our customer more than 3 years of intense market research comparing all available technologies. We are very proud that the customer decided for our CCI technology in the end.

woodandpaneleurope How JPT-WS – Digital Printing Line fulfill the needs of edge banding material?

Rene Pankoke : As machine- and plant building company Hymmen is in continuous interaction with the customers from the woodworking industry. Over the years we got deep insights into the production processes of our customer and gained a great process-know how. Customers producing furniture parts want to produce the decoratively fitting edge-banding material themselves. That is why Hymmen early realized the need for an industry proved solution for digital printing on edge banding material.

As established partner for industrial inkjet Hymmen has the necessary know-how for the single pass-digital printing technology. We also mastered the technical challenge to cope with the special features of the substrate (ABS/PP or PVS): The material is fixed with vacuum to ensure a high-precision transport on a curved band. All these innovative developments were done by Hymmen itself.

woodandpaneleurope What are the demands of your products in USA?

Rene Pankoke : Traditionally, Hymmen has a lot of customers from the furniture industry looking for roller coater lines (liquid coating lines) as well as roll-lamination lines.
For the future we see a shift towards our Double Belt Press equipment and our newly developed Digital Printing equipment. As the average production lot sizes are decreasing worldwide, this being true also for the US market, we expect a growing demand especially in this field.

woodandpaneleurope Do you have any plan to extend your market in Middle East as well?

Rene Pankoke : Our main market right on the edge to Middle East market traditionally was Turkey. Unfortunately, we will have to follow the political and economic developments in this area very closely in the future.

Apart from that there are several single projects which we are following. Depending on the future developments in the Iranian market we see a certain chance that this market may recover and become more interesting for Hymmen in the next few years.


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