Gerhard Schubert GmbH

Growth, innovations and major investements

Peter Gabriel, Ralf Schubert and Marcel Kiessling (from left), the Managing Directors of Gerhard Schubert GmbH, are confident that the packaging machine manufacturer is very well positioned for the future.

Despite the adverse market conditions in the mechanical engineering sector, Gerhard Schubert GmbH achieved remarkable growth in 2023. With an overall performance of 320 million euros and an increase in turnover of more than nine per cent, the German packaging machine manufacturer is proving to be extremely resilient. As part of its Mission Blue Sustainability Initiative, the company is now focusing even more strongly on the research and development of environmentally friendly packaging technologies. The largest investment in recent years has been the completion of the new building complex at its headquarters – a showcase project not only in terms of climate protection, but also in terms of workplace design.

Picture: Peter Gabriel, Ralf Schubert and Marcel Kiessling (from left), the managing directors of Gerhard Schubert GmbH

Despite the adverse market conditions remarable growth

“Our Vision 2050 and Mission Blue initiatives are without a doubt the right forward-looking strategies for Schubert. We have defied the trend and achieved a very good annual result. It’s a team effort we can be proud of,” summarises Marcel Kiessling, Managing Director Sales and Service at Gerhard Schubert GmbH. Schubert is clearly maintaining its leading role in the packaging industry – with steady growth for the thirteenth year in a row, even under very difficult market conditions. The Schubert Group has also continued its growth trend with an estimated overall performance of 400 million euros. The Group now has around 1,700 employees, of whom some 1,200 work for Gerhard Schubert GmbH in Crailsheim. Despite a shortage of skilled labour, the company succeeded in increasing its core workforce and, with the help of increased productivity, successfully processed 2023’s high order volume. Production and assembly capacities have also been fully utilised so far this year and the order books are full until 2025. This is an extremely favourable starting position for innovative product developments, especially as the budget for research and development in 2024 is once again the largest single budget, representing nine per cent of overall performance.

A production worker pushing a pallet of cardboard blanks to the line.

Key future technologies include the resource-saving TLM Comfort Feeder in conjunction with the A3 carton erector for feeding cardboard blanks.

The two parts of the Dotlock joint cannot be separated even by pulling.

One of the new Schubert technologies for sustainable packaging solutions is Dotlock which enables the creation of strong joints for cardboard packaging without the need for hot glue.

Cutting-edge technologies strengthen market position

Ralf Schubert, Managing Partner and Head of Technology, reports: “This year, we will continue to invest in digitalisation and the expansion of our existing product portfolio. Our key future technologies include the resource-saving TLM Comfort Feeder in conjunction with the A3 carton erector for feeding cardboard blanks, as well as the Dotlock technology for creating strong joints in cardboard packaging without using hot glue.”

The tog.519 Cobot picks up small pumps from above a conveyor belt.

The tog.519 collaborative robot automates feeding at the packaging machine and is ready for series production.

The tog.519 collaborative robot was prepared for series production

Also on this list are the expansion of Schubert Motion technology to other robot units to optimise path planning, the production-ready tog.519 collaborative robot and the 4YOUconnect service platform. Research activities in the field of robot technology will be further intensified in order to secure the company’s future viability through AI projects in robotics and image processing. Work on the new TLM 7 machine generation is also progressing. Additional success factors in the company’s current business development profile are the establishment of industrial on-demand 3D printing processes for additive manufacturing and the systematic further development of sustainable packaging solutions with the Schubert Packaging Perspectives services.

High vertical integration, increased capacities

Another decisive advantage for Schubert is its high in-house production rate of 53 per cent. Peter Gabriel, Managing Director Finance and Supply Chain, adds: “With Schubert Fertigungstechnik GmbH, which produces mechanical components and assemblies made of aluminium or using the 3D printing process, and Schubert System Elektronik GmbH, which develops and supplies electronic components, we are covering important areas of our production in-house – and making them less dependent on global supply chains.” At the same time, the manufacturer benefits from short transport routes, as both subsidiaries are also located in Baden-Württemberg. On average, some 140 packaging machines are built and delivered every year at the main site in Crailsheim – almost two thirds of these are for the food industry alone (39 per cent) and the confectionery industry (25 per cent). A further 17 per cent go to manufacturers of pet food. Schubert machines are also used to pack beverages, cosmetics, cleaning agents and pharmaceutical products.

An all-new assembly hall and office complex were built Schubert’s headquarters

With the completion of the new assembly hall and office complex at the main site, Schubert has once again significantly expanded its production capacity. On a total area of 13,000 square metres, 30 per cent more space has been created for final assembly, as well as workspaces for 300 employees. The design and assembly areas are now located even more closely together, which fosters direct feedback, creative technological advances and the ongoing development of energy-saving machine components. The state-of-the-art working environment also supports the company’s long-term goal of becoming one of Germany’s best employers and therefore attracting sufficient skilled labour in the long term. The new buildings’ energy concept also has a positive impact on sustainability: Equipped with one of the largest ice storage systems in the world, heat pump technology and photovoltaics on the roof, the buildings are operated 100% climate-neutrally in accordance with Scope 1 and 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. “With our Mission Blue Sustainability Initiative, we have set ourselves very ambitious environmental protection targets. We are delighted that we have come a step closer to achieving these goals with the new buildings,” reports Gerald Schubert, Shareholder of the Schubert Group and Managing Director of Schubert Business Development GmbH.

A bird’s eye view of the Schubert site in Crailsheim.

Schubert has once again significantly expanded its production capacities with the construction of a new assembly hall and office building at its main site in Crailsheim, Germany.

Two employees work across from each other – separated by a partition wall.

The design and assembly areas are now even closer together, which fosters direct feedback and encourages the development of creative technological advances.

Internationalisation as a strategy for further growth

Sustainable growth remains Schubert’s number one goal and the strategy for achieving it is clear: “We are convinced that continued growth is only possible in the long term through the further internationalisation of our business activities,” explains Marcel Kiessling. 83 per cent of Schubert’s overall performance in 2023 was achieved through the export of packaging systems and services, including indirect exports through the Schubert Packaging Systems GmbH subsidiary. With the expansion of the North American site in Charlotte, North Carolina, Schubert is laying a strategic foundation for strengthening its international business division: An assembly hall with approx. 2000 square metres, a larger office building with a training centre, more customised service offerings and a targeted expansion of expertise and personnel, combined with flexible machine solutions, will increase the potential in the North American market.

A welcoming seating area with comfortable chairs, a sofa, table and lamp.

The state-of-the-art working environment supports Schubert’s long-term corporate goal of being one of Germany’s best employers.

Investments in Germany

Ralf Schubert highlights that further investments are also being made in Germany: “Our goal of building cost-effective machines and systems of the highest quality for our customers requires continuous investment in effective production and assembly methods, which we are constantly reviewing and improving. With this in mind, we have kept the investment budget for 2024 at the same high level as the previous year.” Even if the market as a whole has not yet shown a positive turnaround, Schubert will no doubt know how to exploit the opportunities arising from the trends of digitalisation, automation and sustainability in the future.

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More trends & news

The new buildings at Schubert’s headquarters in Crailsheim embody a forward-looking concept offering an increase in assembly capacity, state-of-the-art working environments and climate-neutral building operation.

Schubert ideally positioned with state-of-the-art new buildings at its headquarters

Schubert has been promoting its sustainability activities for the past two years with its Mission Blue Initiative. However, the packaging machine manufacturer has been thinking and planning with sustainability in mind for much longer. Visible proof of this is the new building complex at the company headquarters in Crailsheim: A forward-looking concept consisting of increased capacities in assembly, state-of-the-art working environments and climate-neutral building operation.

The Schubert Days agenda included many expert presentations on topics such as packaging of the future, packaging automation, e-commerce and the shortage of skilled labour.

The Schubert Days 2024 premiere

For the first time ever, Gerhard Schubert GmbH invited customers and press representatives to its exclusive Schubert Days event at company headquarters in Crailsheim on 5 and 6 June. Due to the very enthusiastic response, the packaging machine manufacturer plans to establish this event as an ongoing, thought-provoking industry platform. A total of 110 participants from 14 countries attended the many expert presentations given by high-calibre speakers. They also had an opportunity to take part in a tour of the new assembly hall – offering a wealth of information about packaging automation. The TLM packaging systems in operation were also on display with special lighting and music. There were many opportunities to discuss current developments, trends and challenges in the consumer goods industry.