Mr Rothfuss, what was your motivation for taking over FLSmidth’s former Teutrine business?
I have long been a partner in and co-director of KFM GmbH in Ransbach-Baumbach, and have also been working with FLSmidth in the fields of production, repair and global service for cement and ore preparation plants for many years. When, last spring, the opportunity arose to acquire the whole division, complete with the relevant tools and an excellent staff team, I found myself unable to resist the challenge, even more so, because it meant we would thus be able to protect a large number of jobs.
At the same time, I was aware that a take-over of this clear focus on service and metrological inspection would make it possible to set up, quickly and effectively, a new company – KF-Montage Service GmbH – and simultaneously to realise synergies with the KFM GmbH production side. I’m especially proud of now having the colleagues of our metrological inspection team working with me. This team consists of engineers that possess abundant know-how, and works using the very latest high‑precision metrological instruments.
Mr Rothfuss, do you know why FLSmidth sold its Cement Service business, and will there be cooperation between FLSmidth and KF-Montage in the future?
FLSmidth is one of the most important European suppliers for cement industry customers. The service division needs a close regional link with its customers, which we can now generate. We are grateful to FLSmidth for taking the step of putting the Cement Service Division into the hands of KF-Montage Service. FLSmidth will continue to supply cement industry customers with FLSmidth products and spare parts and now has a flexible regional partner in KF-Montage Service, which will be able to act in the field of installation or even in providing initial sales support. To avoid misunderstandings, no cooperation agreement in fact exists between FLSmidth and KF-Montage Service, only the long years of mutually trusting and mutually beneficial cooperation between us.
What can KF-Montage Service GmbH’s customers expect?
Only benefits, that I’m sure of! We are now able to work faster and at lower cost – the new projects, which have up to now run under KF-Montage auspices, have made it clear that our customers have confidence in us to achieve much. And this confidence is also based on the successful work accomplished during the FLSmidth period. Our range of products will change a little for our customers, but we will at all times remain true to our core capabilities – maintenance – and we will now be able to expand our activities in this field. We will continue to be there, in the familiar way, for our customers. Our tool and goods warehouse remain at the same location, with the same good transport links, enabling us to react quickly and flexibly.
Did the handover from FLSmidth to KF-Montage Service run smoothly and how do you view future service projects?
Some important factors for FLSmidth were: a) continued good service for cement plants, but externally to FLSmidth, and to be continued as a new and dependable company, and b) actually the most important thing: offering our Cement Service employees prospects for their future within a stable environment. Initial projects have already been proposed by KF-Montage, only shortly after the change of ownership, and orders under the new management have already been received.
Service in cement plants is usually heavy on tools, machines and personnel – how do you tackle that, Mr Rothfuss?
The original idea was that of taking over a complete functioning unit, and this meant that we were able to get started relatively quickly, after only a few organisational changes. The fact that the package we bought included all the machines and tools was also very useful, it meant that we were able, without any interruption, to offer services such as grinding of riding rings (or “tyres”) and rollers, adjustment of rollers after grinding, and also welding work. It was a big “plus” that our metrological inspection team was able to continue its work without interruption.
In addition to visual inspection of cement plants, we also use ultra-modern metrology for a large range of work, including metrological inspection of vertical and horizontal axes, furnace radial run-out analysis, measurement of wear on drive gears and pinions, checking of drive alignment, and much, much more. Generally, I view the future very confidently, and I’m looking forward to new challenges and new business contacts.
FLSmidth is also active in the minerals sector. Do you see a potential for an extra field of activity for KF-Montage Service here?
KF-Montage Service will be primarily active in cement plant service and maintenance, and perhaps also in industries that operate similar facilities. We will certainly, in this area, regard Central Europe’s still strong chemicals industry, and the, we hope, soon to grow more significantly European lithium industry, as customers for our service activities. But here we’re rather looking into the future – for the time being, we intend to concentrate on the cement industry and will be looking for projects in other industrial sectors only if they can be implemented during the seasonal quiet periods in the cement sector. The potential and the know-how are certainly in place, and we have, in fact, already appointed several new employees, with the aim of initiating the know-how transfer necessary as our existing know-how bearers retire, and therefore also the aim of being well prepared for future years.
And your overall summary, Mr Rothfuss?
With this takeover and our strategic orientation, we have positioned the company well for the future. The links with our production division, on the one hand, and with our customers, on the other, assure a new and positive dynamism for the company’s development, as well as an excellent platform for the further evolution of our services and of our staff. Our strengths and our core capabilities have always been in the machining and metrological inspection of rotationally symmetrical machinery such as mills and rotary kilns, and that will remain true in the future as well. Thank you for the opportunity to showcase our work in this new ownership configuration.