Doubling Production Capacities
In order to be able to cover the constantly growing demand for corrugated packaging and to continue to meet customer requirements, we invested in a second corrugator in 2022. With a push of a button by senior manager Magda Zerhusen, the WPS "Vicky" ceremoniously starts production on 09.06.2022. As early as October 2022, our team sets a new world record on the machine: 196,299 linear meters are run in an eight-hour shift!
Since March 2022, we have literally been equipped for the big tasks: The new container line CL 20/55 finds its place in Hall 11. As the largest inline system in Zerhusen's machine park, it processes formats with a 2-meter infeed and with a working width of up to 5.5 meters. The high-performance machine completes all steps from printing, die-cutting, folding, taping, gluing and stapling in one line for the production of very large packaging made of heavy quality up to triple flute. The production volume is 20 million m² per year - 1500 sheets per hour. In the summer of 2022, the commissioning of the Emba 170 will add additional relief in the area of folding boxes.
The construction of a transport bridge from the corrugator to Hall 11 will further optimize processes and workflows. Since the fall of 2022, the raw material has been transported directly from production to processing at the machine. This will eliminate shuttle traffic site.
However, due to the significant increase in production capacities from 250 million m² to now 500 million m², we are almost reaching our capacity limits in the center of Damme. For this reason, we will start construction of a second production plant in the regional "Niedersachsenpark" industrial area on the A1 in fall 2022. This step will also strengthen our market position in northern Germany.
Growth Needs Space
Several major investments will be made in 2021 to reduce delivery times for our customers from four to two weeks. These include the extension of Hall 11 by 2600 m² to a total of 15,000 m², the expansion of the Minda conveyor system in Hall 11, the Powerpacker behind the Jetbox, and another MuK robot behind the Turbobox XL.
However, investments are not only being made in processing, but production is also being expanded: a second corrugator with boiler house, glue kitchen, workshop and paper press is being planned and must be accommodated. At the end of July, the critical phase of the construction work necessary for the installation of the new "Vicky" corrugator will begin. The corrugator hall will be considerably enlarged to accommodate the machine including equipment, but also the old paper roll store and new social rooms for our employees. In addition, the road for bypassing the hall will be adapted to the new conditions.
And finally, investments will also be made for the health and satisfaction of our employees. In addition to many small purchases, a soundproof chamber will be built around the laminating plant in the spring of 2021, particularly in the corrugator, which will not only have a positive effect on noise pollution but will also curb heat generation. From April and October respectively, the Powerpacker and the new MuK robot will provide relief in processing, as manual bundling and stacking will now be eliminated.
New Development Center and New Hall 11 Create Strong Prospects for the Future
With the growing packaging market, the requirements and wishes of customers are increasing at the same time. To meet these, Zerhusen Kartonagen is investing in a new development center, which will be ready for occupation in March 2020 after a one-year construction period. For the employees of the development department, it offers optimal conditions to design innovative and creative concepts for new cardboard boxes. The new premises will house, among other things, the design offices, a production hall for manufacturing the sample boxes, and modern presentation rooms where the prototypes will be attractively presented to customers. This is a point to which customers are attaching increasing importance. With this investment of around 2 million euros, Zerhusen Kartonagen is ideally equipped not only to meet the increased demands of customers, but also to respond to requests for increasingly specialized packaging.
Another step towards meeting future challenges will be taken during the production expansion with the construction of Hall 11. The new production hall is 11,000 m² in size, connected to both high-bay warehouses and to production hall 10, and provides space for various new processing machines. These include the Evolution 2800 rotary die cutter, which was invested in due to the increased demand for die-cut articles and folding-bottom boxes. The 60-meter-long system from Göpfert will start work in the summer. It is equipped with two printing units and can process all corrugated board grades up to a maximum size of 2,800 x 1,660 mm. The processing capacity is 25 million square meters per year. The mechanical speed is 10,000 pieces per hour.
In addition to this 4th rotary die-cutter, Bahmüller's new state-of-the-art Turbox XL folding bottom gluing machine will go into operation in Hall 11. The 30-meter-long machine is able to process sheets with a working width of up to 3,200 mm, previously the maximum was 2,300 mm. Now Zerhusen can cover the entire spectrum of multipoint glued folding boxes. These are being used in increasing quantities in the e-commerce sector and by furniture manufacturers. The third machine to complete the machine park is the Trayline converting machine. All machines are integrated into the intralogistics system: Via, the newly installed strapping lines 4 and 5, the finished pallets from these machines run into the high-bay warehouses or into the shipping area of Hall 1.
The Second High-Bay Warehouse Begins Operations!
In 2019, the construction of the second high-bay warehouse will take place. With a height of 36 meters, a length of 153 meters and a width of 31 meters, it is identical in construction to the dimensions of the first high-bay warehouse and stands parallel to it. The new building will increase storage capacity from 20,000 to 42,000 spaces. On the north side, the logo "Vernarrt in Damme" once again a tradmark and is visible from afar, adorning the new building. The extensive project is being implemented with Hörmann Logistik, whose expertise and experience Zerhusen Kartonagen already relied on when building its first high-bay warehouse. The new warehouse is equipped with three storage and retrieval machines and a separate conveyor bridge, via which the boxes are transported from production to HRL 2 for storage. In addition, the new U3 strapping line ensures that the increased storage capacities can be used effectively, guaranteeing a continuous flow of material from production and making bottlenecks and even machine downtimes a thing of the past.
The machine park will be strengthened by the third Mastercut in October. The Bobst flat-bed die-cutter mainly produces corrugated packaging for the food industry in a three-shift operation. The Mastercut is the heart of the entire Masterline processing line, which also includes the Masterflex-HD printing unit with three colors. In just one pass, this processing line can produce finished packaging in long runs and in first-class quality. At the end of the year, the new Jetbox BJX 1700 folder gluer (FKM) from the manufacturer Bahmüller will also go into operation. It complements the existing Domino, Starfold and Turbox gluers and increases capacities for folding-bottom cartons. Thanks to its modular design, the Jetbox offers a high level of flexibility overall and is also very compact with short set-up times.
The investment in a second SRE from Göpfert also serves to better manage the work volume. SRE stands for " slitting-creasing-electronic". In the corrugator, the new high quality converting machine, also called "Boxmaker" and equipped with an automatic feeder, starts its work. This location is associated with a reduction of internal transport routes, which in turn means an optimization of work processes. The SRE performs all processing steps in one: creasing, cutting, slitting, die-cutting and printing. It mainly produces large formats, for example packaging for e-bikes.
The new apprentice workshop will be put into operation in the spring. Here, apprentices can learn basic metalworking skills such as sawing, drilling, and filing on the lathe and practice machines. In addition, the basics of electrical, pneumatic, and mechanical training are taught, everything is practiced in practice and the apprentices are ideally prepared for their examinations. The apprentice workshop also includes a small room equipped with computers where the apprentices can write their daily reports and final thesis.
In view of society's increasing demands for responsible, sustainable business practices and the need to disclose these transparently, Zerhusen will publish its own CSR sustainability report for the first time at the end of 2019. The main person responsible is Linda Zerhusen, who is instrumental in getting the CSR report off the ground and is leading the entire implementation process. The term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) describes the voluntary contribution of business to sustainable development. The core of the 80-page sustainability report, which is available in print and online on the website, is made up of four chapters: corporate culture, employees, production, and ecology.
It is Built and Celebrated!
In 2018, everything worked out well, so that the corrugator is now producing raw sheets in a three-shift operation. The increased size of the company requires organizational action, which includes the construction and commissioning of a gatehouse. It is manned 24 hours a day and employees effectively coordinate truck traffic from here. Modern IT software is used to control the loading and unloading of trucks, ensuring smooth workflows that benefit everyone involved. The new gatehouse also houses offices for goods receiving, pallet management and mail services. In addition, break and social rooms including modern sanitary facilities are available for the external truck drivers.
Another construction measure is the roof renovation of production halls 1 and 2. After 30 years, it is unavoidable in order to reliably guarantee one hundred percent water protection again. With the installation of new light panels, new smoke heat extraction systems that can be opened electrically, and additional pressure drainage, the roof renovation will bring everything up to a modern standard and improve working conditions with more light, a better supply of fresh air, and new insulation that provides a cooling effect in summer and keeps the heat in the hall in winter.
One of the challenges in 2018 is - once again - to create space. From August, for example, the shipping hall will be extended by 755 square meters and the conveyor system expanded. In addition to the four existing loading lanes, two new ones will be installed so that after completion six trucks can be loaded at the same time, which will reduce truck waiting times and optimize workflows. The extended section will be used for block storage of the large sheets that do not fit into the HRL.
The high-capacity utilization of existing machines and the continuously growing order situation led to another investment in 2018: In December, the new Turbox BTX 2300 from Bahmüller will be installed. The high-performance folding bottom gluing machine not only allows to cushion order peaks, but also to produce larger formats than before with its maximum working width of 2,300 mm. Thanks to its innovative folding technology concept, faster work processes are also possible.
There is also cause for celebration: on June 26, senior CEO Günter Zerhusen will be celebrating his 90th birthday with family, friends, acquaintances, and numerous invited guests. His wife Magda also celebrates a round birthday: She turns 80! Günter Zerhusen is still at the company every day, taking care of the mail and inquiring about the well-being of the employees during his daily walk through the halls. His operational commitment and his services to the company will be honored in a very special way on November 30: to a standing ovation, Günter Zerhusen will be presented with the Entrepreneur Award for his entrepreneurial life's work by the Oldenburger Münsterland Association. In the Rasta Dome in Vechta, around 400 guests from business, administration, and politics from the districts of Vechta and Cloppenburg attend the gala evening of the 16th Entrepreneur Award and are delighted with Günter Zerhusen about his award, which honors defining characteristics of the regional economy such as the courage to be independent, entrepreneurial skill and continuity. "I share the award with my wife Magda, to whom I have been married for 60 years, with my four children and their spouses, and with the staff of our company!" Günter Zerhusen said happily in his acceptance speech!
Günter Zerhusen Becomes Honorary Citizen of Damme
In January 2017, both the Automatic Format Warehouse (AFL) and the new 220 m long conveyor bridge will be commissioned. The output of the new corrugator will be slowly ramped up from the beginning of the year. Per minute, the plant can produce 400 meters of corrugated board or, in other words, 40,000 square meters per hour. The aim is to switch from two-shift to three-shift operation from the summer of 2017 and then produce 750,000 square meters of corrugated board per day with around 50 employees instead of the initial 30. If successfully implemented, this will mean an annual output of 200 million square meters or 100,000 tons of corrugated base paper.
On June 23, 2017, the official inauguration of the new corrugated board plant will take place during a festive ceremony with around 500 invited guests. In the morning, the Catholic priest Heiner Zumdohme and his Protestant colleague Pastor Uwe Boening will jointly bless the corrugator. After lunch, the official welcome by Roland Zerhusen is followed by a speech by Olaf Lies, Lower Saxony's Minister of Economics, as well as other greetings and speeches. Finally, there is a big surprise: without having known it before, Günter Zerhusen is awarded honorary citizenship of the city of Damme by the mayor Gerd Muhle. The award, decided by the city council, is the highest honor that citizens who have done outstanding service for the city can receive. Günter Zerhusen receives the honorary citizenship for his social and honorary commitment, for example, in politics as a long-standing member of the town council, as a celeb councilor in the carnival or as chairman of the sports club Rot-Weiß Damme. Of course, the award also honors his achievements in the founding and development of Zerhusen Kartonagen. Günter Zerhusen is very touched.
In August, the new Flexpicker 2200 goes into operation, with its help, up to 200 cardboard pallets for IKEA are produced in one hour, which serves as a replacement for Euro pallets. The line, which is operated by three female employees per shift, is also used to glue soft fiber strips into base cabinet trays. Also in August, the new 2nd flat die cutter "Mastercut" starts work and after a short time is running in two shifts. Zerhusen invests around three million euros in this new machine, the purchase of which is urgently needed as the capacities of the Vision flat die cutter, the DRO and the first Mastercut are completely exhausted. In the record time of two weeks, the Mastercut II is installed in the corrugator hall and connected to the Minda transport system a short time later, thus increasing production capacity in the short term and eliminating supply bottlenecks.
Construction of Our Own Corrugator
In 2016, everything revolves around the new construction of the company's own 17,000 square meter corrugated sheet plant. In January, the extensive foundation work for the investment, which will cost around 33 million euros, will begin. As construction is running smoothly, the start-up originally planned for spring 2017 can be brought forward. Thus, the starting signal for the new corrugated sheet plant is already given on December 6, 2016. Senior CEO Günter Zerhusen presses the button that sets the 150-meter-long plant of BHS Corrugated Maschinen- und Anlagenbau in motion. The result is convincing: from the start, sellable goods are produced - and an output of around 250,000 square meters of corrugated board per day is already achieved in December.
While the construction work for the new corrugated board plant is still in full swing, the construction of the Automatic Format Warehouse (AFL) is started in parallel from August. After completion, it will serve as an intermediate storage facility with a short dwell time for the goods. Before the technology from Hörmann Logistik can be installed, warehouse 4 must be converted accordingly. As the sheets generally do not remain in the AFL for more than 24 hours, the design of the warehouse size of around 700,000 square meters is based on the daily requirements of the finishing operations, which are between 500,000 and 600,000 square meters.
The third construction phase, which is directly related to the corrugated board plant, is the construction of the 220-meter-long conveyor bridge. It can be used to transport the raw sheets from the new corrugator hall directly to the production hall for further processing or to the AFL for intermediate storage. There is an additional cross-branch into the high-bay warehouse for finished goods.
The Year of Expansion
The focus in 2015 is on creating space, and this is being done through several extensions. Until June, the spotlight will be on extending the high-bay warehouse. The distinctive building, which now dominates the Damme townscape as a trademark recognizable from afar, is being extended by 33 meters. An additional 5,000 storage bays will be created, bringing the total capacity of the high-bay warehouse to 20,000 bays and creating new free space.
In addition, Hall 10 and Hall 12 will be extended and a new truck access road will be created via Borringhauser Straße. For the expansion of production, investments will be made in the new innovative FFG 8.20 Expert inliner machine from Bobst. It is used for the production of corrugated folding boxes and is equipped with two printing units, a prefeeder and an optimized M.U.K. packing robot.
Furthermore, the acquisition of 35,000 m² of land literally lays the foundation for the new corrugator plant.
Due to the new machine capacity and the expanded product range, the business is developing very well. Sales and production volume could be increased by 10 % this year.
The year offers the opportunity to take a deep breath and recharge our batteries. It is all about optimizing work processes and in addition the next construction measures can be prepared.
The High-Performance DRO Opens New Markets
To remain an attractive and competitive business partner for customers, the next measures will be implemented in 2013. Zerhusen is entering new waters with the acquisition of the new DRO 16 28 NT RS six-color rotary die-cutter. The high-performance machine is the key to opening up the market for rotary and high-quality printed packaging. Retailers have high demands in this respect, which can now be met with the help of the new machine. It will be installed in Hall 3, which has been converted for production, and connected to the existing conveyor system.
Investments are also being made in a head pallet robot, the automation of both folding bottom gluing machines, the expansion of the maintenance department, and the establishment of an IT department.
A Year Dedicated to the Anniversary
A quarter of a century after the company was founded, there is no time to rest. Instead, Hall 3 is converted into a production hall, which entails an expansion of the production area by 2,000 m². It is imperative to eliminate bottlenecks in the conveyor system. With the help of the second strapping line installed in August, a second delivery point for the transfer cars is created and the previous strapping line 1 is relieved.
The new investment of materials handling technology is linked to extensive conversion and renovation work in Hall 3, which was originally built as a warehouse in 1991.
There were also innovations in the machinery in 2012: A second wastepaper press ensures that paper jams that could interrupt production are avoided. The development department is pleased with a new plotter. Due to increasing new customer business, the demand for initial samples is rising, so for capacity reasons a new G3-Zünd plotter is purchased, which not only works faster but also scores with larger dimensions. The commissioning of a further taper with additional glue equipment at the beginning of the year also serves to increase productivity.
After extensive preparations, the 25th anniversary of the company is celebrated on September 7 in a festive ceremony with around 350 invited guests in the festively decorated shipping hall. Roland Zerhusen asks the guests to donate money to the Dammer Civic Foundation instead of gifts. During the celebration, St. Viktor's pastor Christoph Winkeler and his Protestant brother Pastor Uwe Boening also inaugurate the high-bay warehouse that went into operation in 2010. The lnstrumental Musikverein Neuenkirchen provides musical entertainment.
New Year – New Projects
Zerhusen acquires the former Schwertmann farmstead with a size of 14,000 m² from the city of Damme. Extensive demolition and renovation work takes place. A large part of the stables is demolished, and initially it is planned that this fate will also befall the barn. But during the renovation work, Karoline and Roland Zerhusen discover the charm and potential of the old building and decide to preserve it. While part of it is used for operational purposes - the former stable 2, for example, serves as storage for machine parts - the barn has become the heart of the farmstead. Initially, only private events are held, such as the Christmas courtyard concert in 2011. With the May event in 2012, the farm will be opened to the interested public for the first time.
New projects in 2011 include upgrading the laminating line. Having gained a foothold in this area, the plant is running at good capacity in 2011 in 3-shift operation. In order to be able to achieve higher outputs, it will be modernized to include an automatic pile turner and an automatic packing station. The miniline converting machine is also being upgraded. A third printing unit will be added. Construction work will also be carried out. Hall 3 will have to be converted for the machine investment planned for 2013. The large packs stored in it will have to move one hall further into Hall 4.
One Year with Many Highpoints
2010 goes down in the records as an eventful and significant year. After one year of construction, the high-bay warehouse with dispatch hall as well as the office and administration building can be put into operation in October. For Zerhusen Kartonagen, the commissioning of the high-bay warehouse represents a milestone. The fully automated warehouse can be seen from afar. The new high-bay warehouse not only creates sufficient storage capacity. With the new modern technology, the company is optimally positioned for future tasks and further growth. The fully automatic loading or delivery takes place quickly and flexibly via three storage and retrieval machines. Every hour, 147 pallets can be stored, and 100 pallets retrieved: up to three pallets at a time.
The "Vernarrt in Damme" logo, which adorns an outer wall of the high-bay warehouse, is also clearly visible. In consultation with the city, one detail has been added: Instead of a globe, the jester carries a cardboard box. With the logo, Zerhusen affirms the company's loyalty to the town of Damme and the region and symbolizes the family's connection with the Damme carnival. As a landscape-defining structure, it is well and gladly seen from afar.
With the commissioning of the high-bay warehouse, an additional investment becomes - once again - unavoidable: A pallet inspection system is necessary to guarantee a high-quality standard of the Euro pallets that are stored and retrieved in the high-bay warehouse via the automatic conveyor system.
At the end of November 2010, there is another highlight of the year: Roland Zerhusen is honored for his entrepreneurial achievements by the Oldenburger Münsterland in cooperation with the regional cities and communities as well as the regional business interest groups. In the ceremonial framework of the eighth "Oldenburger Münsterland Entrepreneur Evening", he will be presented with the "Entrepreneur of the Year" award in the presence of 349 invited guests in the auditorium of Vechta University.
Zerhusen Delivers High Performance - Start of Construction of the High-Bay Warehouse
Decisive course is set in 2009. After long negotiations with the neighboring property to the east, an agreement has been reached in cooperation with the city of Damme, clearing the way for the new high-bay warehouse. The storage capacities are more than exhausted, so that the building application for the planned new high-bay warehouse is submitted immediately. The new high-bay warehouse will enable the company to achieve maximum storage capacity. A decisive factor for success is that the high-bay warehouse can be placed in the immediate vicinity of production. The distance is only 30 meters, which guarantees a direct connection and an optimal flow of goods.
One reason for the extraordinary warehouse utilization is the constantly driven production expansion. Often, one investment leads to another. In this case, the commissioning of the Mastercut leads to the acquisition of the Starfold gluing machine. The higher order volume thanks to the Mastercut results in an extreme utilization of the existing Domino gluing machine, up to its load limit. It is even in operation on Sundays. Relief is provided by the Starfold gluing machine from the Swiss company Bobst, which, like the Domino, produces three- and four-point glued packaging.
Not only is the volume of orders increasing, but so are the demands on quality. External appearance is becoming increasingly important for successful product sales. The desire for high quality printed packaging can be met with the so-called offset printing process, which is the best and highest quality on the market. The demand from large discounters such as Aldi and Lidl to supply offset-printed packaging is leading many processors to upgrade - including Zerhusen. Around 200,000 euros are invested in a used laminating line.
Investment into the Future – the Mastercut
After a short break, 2008 will once again be dominated by expansion. The first step will be to roof over the loading zone between Hall 4 and Hall 9. The new roofing makes shipping independent of weather conditions. Instead, in the optimized loading zone, finished goods are guaranteed to be dry and undamaged when loaded onto trucks, speeding up processes overall.
Everything has to grow with it: The enormous leap in production in recent years requires adjustments not only in the logistics area but also in the administrative area. To cope with the increased workload, new tasks and the overall increase in requirements, the operating offices are being expanded to create a suitable, up-to-date working environment.
Furthermore, as part of quality management, a test laboratory is set up in which the technical values can be precisely checked. This is a service that was previously provided by upstream suppliers.
Zerhusen demonstrates continuity in the expansion of production. In 2008, the two-color "Mastercut 2.1" flat-bed die-cutter from Bobst is purchased. It is equipped with a prefeeder that inserts the goods. After processing, the fully automatic "Multipal" packing machine ensures that the goods are properly packed onto Euro pallets. Two employees are sufficient to operate the entire line.
Time to Take a Breath
After the eventful year 2006, 2007 brings a little peace and quiet. The new machines are running and the budget for new acquisitions is exhausted for the time being. Only a new taper is purchased, which is used to seal or glue the cartons.
Even in this relatively quiet year, the local press reports on news at Zerhusen. One example is how the new EuroCombi truck is welcomed by Zerhusen employees after its maiden voyage from Schüttorf to Damme. The large-capacity vehicle used by the SLK-Kock forwarding company is used to transport raw materials from the Schüttorf-based corrugated board manufacturer Prowell to Damme every day. Truck trips to Zerhusen could be reduced from an average of 25 to 20 per day thanks to the EuroCombi, which means a reduction in diesel consumption of around 100,000 liters per year. Savings in carbon dioxide emissions during downtime are further benefits.
After the company has been officially certified according to the DIN ISO 9001:2008 quality management system since 1998, certification for hygiene management followed in 2007. The high standard of hygiene and the strict guidelines guarantee an extraordinary level of cleanliness and safety.
New Conveyor System Steers Production in a Safe Direction
2006 goes down in the company's history as a turbulent year with serious changes. Production is expanded and the building is extended. The positive company development with more and more new orders leads to the fact that the existing raw material hall 2a reaches its limits and is no longer sufficient. The decision has been made to remedy this situation by building Hall 10. The new raw materials hall is built on the site of the former sports park, which burned down in 2001. The hall forms the gap between the Nyhuis hall (H12) and the production hall (H1).
The size the company has reached requires an optimization of workflows and processes. The new raw materials hall clears the way for the introduction of the automatic transfer car system from Minda in the summer. Its installation causes a great boost in the production area. Up to this point, the raw material pallets from the original raw material hall 2a are moved to the individual machines by forklift. This is not only relatively time-consuming, but also brings a lot of unrest into the work processes. Action has to be taken, and with the new raw materials hall, the stage is set to reorganize. So, there is no longer any hesitation, and the new conveyor system is installed. A milestone: Production becomes forklift-free, because with the innovative technology, the goods are conveyed fully automatically from the raw materials warehouse to the respective machines via transfer carts and plastic chain conveyors. A clear structure, order and cleanliness in the entire workflow are the positive effects of the conveyor systems. At the same time, there is more peace and quiet, and safety is increased because forklifts no longer have to drive through the production area.
The original raw materials hall 2a, which has been freed up, is converted into a production hall, and provides space for the "Evolution". The three-color printing and die-cutting machine can be used for large-area packaging. As is so often the case at Zerhusen, one thing leads to another: To complement the Evolution, a new ink mixing system is being purchased. With the new possibility of printing in three colors opened up by the Evolution, the demands on the ink supply increase enormously. This is therefore adapted and brought up to date. There are now 15 printing units in operation.
Positive Future Prospects Lead to the Next Property Acquisition
There has been no standstill in 2005 either. Ever better positioned and with an ever more extensive range of services, the company can look to the future with optimism. With foresight, the company tries to keep all options open for further growth. In 2005, the 15,000 m² site can be acquired from the neighbor Schmiesing on the western side. To date, the site has been used as a holding area.
Logically, the dynamic development is also associated with an increase in administrative tasks. A new administration building with modern offices is being built to ensure effective work and optimization of all administrative processes.
Small-scale Processing Will Be Relocated as a Separate Area in Hall 12
The dynamic development of the company takes up adequate space. In 2004, Hans Nyhuis, owner of the company Gestellbau Nyhuis and neighbor to the property to the north, closes his business. Roland Zerhusen does not have to think twice when Hans Nyhuis offers him the site for sale. He seizes the opportunity to reorganize the small-scale processing business. Up to now, small-scale processing has run alongside and been in different areas of production. Now it is established as a separate area, and the Nyhuis Hall is converted into a small processing hall. The numerous small machines that have accumulated over time are placed in the hall. The employees start their work.
New Halls, New Machines, New Customers
After several years of focusing on the expansion of production, another expansion of the company is planned for 2003. Hall 9 was built on the property acquired in 1998. The new building created additional storage capacity. The hall was officially opened as part of the celebrations for Günter and Magda Zerhusens’ birthday. A company outing was organized as a bicycle ride with all employees and their families. Afterwards, the company invited the employees to a get-together. The so-called “family day” is held on a regular basis in the summer and always ensures a lot of fun and good spirits.
In addition to the Vision die-cutter installed in 2001, a Domino gluing machine from Bobst is purchased. This investment allowed the company to supply three- and four-point glued packaging for the first time, thus acquiring a new customer base. There was also potential for new orders in other areas. The demand for folding boxes has increased and their production has become one of the focal points in converting. To be able to handle the volume of orders, the Martin miniline is ordered. It completes the inline machine park and puts Zerhusen in a position to cover the entire product range of folding boxes.
A rotary die-cutter is also good for new business. The "Rota Stanze Klett" produces two-color printed die-cut packaging. It opens up new production possibilities, as it can also be used for rotary die-cutting, which was not possible with the existing Vision die-cutter.
Solving the Parking Problem
Following the acquisition of the site of the former sports park, lightweight halls were initially erected on this site to serve as storage facilities. This was a provisional measure, as the long-term use of the site had not yet been determined. In addition, the adjacent property to the west was purchased from neighbor Benno Krümpelmann. The new 8,000 m² area is to be used as a parking lot to alleviate the parking problems that have arisen in the meantime in Industriestrasse. Some of the Zerhusen trucks are parked right up to the neighbor Robert Krebeck. At the same time, the continuously increasing number of employees has led to an increased demand for parking spaces. Thanks to the new area, space can be created again in this area in the truest sense of the word.
The senior boss leaves the helm more and more to his son: In 2002, Roland Zerhusen receives 91% of the business shares. Günter Zerhusen continues to hold the remaining 9%. Even though he relinquishes responsibility and leaves the main work to his sons, Günter Zerhusen is still actively involved in the company's activities. To this day, he spends several hours a day at the company.
Die-cutting "Vision" Opens up New Business Vision
During the expansion of production, the first flat-bed die-cutter named "Vision" is purchased in 2001. This was the first machine manufactured by Bobst. The flat-bed die-cutter can be used to produce complicated die-cut packaging, which opened up new business opportunities.
At the same time, the ever-improving technical possibilities also increased the expectations and desires for high-quality packaging. Zerhusen responded to this development by expanding its development department. After laboriously creating the first prototypes by hand in the early years, the equipment in the development department gradually became more modern. CAD software and a high-quality cutting plotter were purchased. Thus, the initially somewhat provisional design department became a professional development department.
Growth in all corners and requires sufficient space. And once again Zerhusen benefits from a coincidence that could not be foreseen and is anything but positive at first glance. The neighboring "Sportpark Damme", formerly Holz Weber, burns down. Fortunately, no people are hurt, but the gym that had been located there until then was never rebuilt afterwards. Luck of the draw for Zerhusen: The vacated site becomes company property.
As the saying goes: work is only half the battle. And so not only does the business develop well, but extra-company activities also increase. The company's own soccer team, for example, is active in tournaments. The team benefits from the support of a very experienced coach with a great deal of expertise: Günter Zerhusen always supports the team with expert advice.
Cardboard, Prince and Production Expansion
In the new millennium, things went full steam ahead. The year starts with a special highlight: Roland Zerhusen becomes the carnival prince. His "Greatness" is actively supported by the subjects of "Dammensia", in particular by the employees. The approximately 100 employees celebrate their prince Roland I. extensively and accompanied him with a self-constructed giant ship of fools through the Damme carnival.
After the carnival holidays, there is not much time to rest. The working days quickly returned - because the orders are full. So full, in fact, that the midline 924 is at its limit. It runs around the clock in a 3-shift operation. To eliminate production bottlenecks and take advantage of further growth opportunities, the company invested in another machine of the same type. However, this machine has wider dimensions and enables the production of larger-format packaging. In 2000, the largest machine to date, the Martin transline 2800, went into operation.
Meeting potential customers, exchanging experiences, and providing information about the company - this is best done at trade fairs. Together with its former business partner, the Schmutte company, Zerhusen presents itself for the first time at the EuroTier trade show in Hanover from November 28 to December 1, 2000.
Ready For the Transition into The New Millennium
In 1999, work is again carried out on the expansion of production and work processes are optimized by means of smaller acquisitions. For example, a new Paal paper press is installed to improve the disposal of paper waste. Paper waste is produced during the processing of corrugated board sheets into finished packaging. In 1999, approximately 300 tons of paper were produced each month and delivered to paper mills. New corrugated board raw material is produced from this "waste". Corrugated board - an environmentally friendly recycled product!
Eleventh Anniversary - that must be Celebrated!
The celebrations, postponed to 1998, take place on June 26, 1998 - Günter Zerhusen's 70th birthday. The new high-bay warehouse and the new shipping hall were inaugurated during a ceremony. The celebration officially began on Friday at noon with a reception to which customers, suppliers, business partners, family, friends, and representatives from public life are invited.
On Saturday, there is an extensive celebration with the employees. There is a big company party at which the show band "Binos" headed by Andreas Brokamp will play and ensure good spirits.
On the following Sunday, Zerhusen opens the company doors to the public for the first time. The interest is equally great, and the company is literally overrun on the "Open Day". An estimated 5,000 visitors took advantage of the opportunity to be guided through the company while production was running. An attractive supporting program with children's entertainment rounded off the event.
Preparation for the Next Decade
The year 1997 is marked by the expansion of the company. Zerhusen acquires land with an area of 4,643 m² and begins with the construction of the new high-bay warehouse (Hall 5) and the dispatch hall (Hall 6).
Even a decade after the company was founded, the company premises resemble a large construction site, so it is decided to postpone the 10th anniversary celebrations until the following year. Internally, this decision meets with broad approval. It is heard, for example, that because of the close ties with the Damme carnival, it is very fitting to celebrate 1 x 11 years at Zerhusen instead of the usual ten years.
Production line 3 started operation
The machine park is completed in 1996 by the third SRE processing machine from the Göpfert company, also known as the "Boxmaker". It is mainly used to produce printed large folding boxes, which are mainly required in the metal goods industry. Customers include Grimme Landmaschinenfabrik and Lemförder Metallwaren. They use the high-quality triple-wall large folding boxes for the export of bulky goods. Some of these are heavy goods packages in which products weighing up to 400 kilograms are safely transported.
With the installation of the third production line, the first phase of the production setup has been completed. The machines purchased to date - three large machines and several small ones - form a good foundation for further growth.
Creation of the Development Department
The machines are running, and production is gradually expanded and optimized. In 1995, various small machines are purchased, and a transformer station is installed to secure the power supply. Work preparation structures are created with the creation of work tickets for individual orders, the creation of pallet slips and the like. A development department is also established, where samples or prototypes of new boxes are produced before they go into series production. For them to be produced, special tools may be required, which have to be made individually depending on the order. The templates for the tools, which are manufactured off-site, are designed by the employees in the development department.
Start of the Second Production Line
After a successful launch of production, the second processing machine, the Martin midline 924, is acquired just one year later. This first inline machine marks the start of production line 2, in which slitting, printing, die-cutting and closing of the sheet is done "in one line". The result is a completed cardboard box (e.g., moving boxes or egg cartons). The entry into folding carton production opened promising prospects for successful new business. Roland and Günter Zerhusen actively pursue customer acquisition, especially in the Oldenburger Münsterland region.
A Milestone is Set
The first large converting machine, a Göpfert slotter, is purchased in 1933. This marks the beginning of the change from corrugated board dealer to corrugated board processor. The construction of a machine park is the logical next step in the company's development. This is the second step following the first step, small-scale processing. Another decisive factor in the decision to take the step into processing was Marc Zerhusen's entry into the family business in 1993. The youngest son of Magda and Günter Zerhusen had the necessary expertise and experience in handling processing machines and therefore became the production manager. It is a major advantage to have an existing customer base, as there are sufficient orders for production right from the start. Previously, the finished goods were purchased and delivered to customers, but now the ordered boxes are produced by the company itself.
During the year, a used bandtaper is also purchased. It is used to seal the soldered sheets with an adhesive strip. The start of converting brings many changes in the day-to-day work. Structured workflows and good organization through effective work preparation became more and more important.
Changes also took place at management level. At the end of 1993, Roland Zerhusen is appointed CEO. Günter Zerhusen delegates more responsibility to his son, increasing Roland's shares in the company to 49%.
The Expansion is Progressing
A further 3,130 m² plot of land is acquired in 1922 and the new building of hall 4, the dispatch building and the workshop are constructed. The switch from block storage to rack storage represents a significant change in the day-to-day business. In the new hall 4, a racking system is installed that allows the storage to be moved upwards, which means that more storage capacity is available thanks to better utilization of the floor space. The new racking system offers 4,000 pallet spaces, has an overhead height of 10 meters and a ceiling height of 14 meters. This innovation creates sufficient capacity. By barcoding each pallet, the stock could be retrieved by EDP.
The growth of the company, the customer base and the number of employees was accompanied by an expansion of the vehicle fleet. Four trucks were proudly presented in the company brochure. Since Hoff was a company right next door and was an authorized “MAN” workshop, only MAN vehicles were purchased. The choice of the company colors yellow and green was due to the company Europa Carton, whose yellow-green trucks immediately catch the eye. This eye-catching design already appealed to Schmutte & Zerhusen, who also adopted the color combination at the time. Zerhusen Kartonagen's new company also relied on these bright colors. This could perhaps be seen today as an intrusion into the so-called corporate identity but at that time it did not lead to any disagreements. On the contrary, Europa Carton is proud that even more trucks were driving around in "their colors", freely following the motto: "Corrugated board is driven in yellow-green trucks".
A common thread running through the company's history is that it is often thanks to fortunate circumstances that necessary expansions can be realized because more than once the company reaches its spatial limits. This is also the case with the construction of hall 3 in 1991. At this time, the area adjacent to Zerhusen belonged to the Gausepohl forwarding company. It used the area to park the company's own trucks. The entire area is fenced in, and gravel had already been driven on, but no company building had yet been erected. Fortunately, an agreement is reached with Hans Gausepohl to sell his 6,206 m² plot to Zerhusen, thus clearing the way for the construction of Hall 3 and the loading area. The forwarding company moved to the Südring in Damme. Thanks to Hans Gausepohl's willingness to relocate, the necessary operational expansions could be made to eliminate existing bottlenecks in warehousing and loading.
Due to Growth, Expansion of Administration Is Necessary
The expansion of the trading business as well as small-scale processing, the increase in the number of employees and the positive development of sales required greater administrative expenditure. Therefore, the office building Is extended in 1990. The photo shows the two employees Hiltrud Niehues and Maria Hintze at work in the new offices.
Acquisition of the First Rotary Die-cutter For Small Scale Processing
In 1989, the company continued to gain momentum. Customers could be gradually acquired, so that the expansion of the company was not long in the waiting: Hall 2 is extended to meet customer requirements and to cope with the volume of orders. With new customers comes new products that require new storage capacity.
The development of a small-scale process took place at the same time, which turned out to be very lucrative. That is mainly due to the general conditions. Zerhusen receives most of the corrugated board, which is cut from large sheets to small ones in small-scale processing, free of charge or at very favorable conditions. There are surplus goods from other companies, return boxes or goods from bankrupt estates that would otherwise have to be disposed of. The cardboard boxes were cut open with the help of a band saw, which is common in a carpentry workshop. This job was also done by Günter or Roland Zerhusen. The cutting took place in unheated hall 1 between the stored boxes.
Expansion of Commercial Operations
At the beginning of 1988, Günter Zerhusen quit his permanent position at Lemförder Metallwaren at the age of 59. Together with his son Roland, he devotes himself to building up the company. His duties include sales, creating orders, customer service, and customer acquisition.
The second business year is characterized by company expansions and the expansion of trading activities. A property area of just under 3,000 square meters is acquired and hall 2 is built. With the positive development not only is the turnover increasing, but also the number of employees, which in the long run means a workload reduction for Roland Zerhusen, who in the beginning was the person for everything.
Establishment of The Company
On the first of January 1987, the official registration of “Zerhusen Kartnagen GmbH, HRB No. 1319” is entered into the Commercial Registry by Günter Zerhusen. Magda and Günter Zerhusen each hold 50% of the company’s shares. Magda Zerhusen is appointed as the chief operating officer. The 24-year-old Roland Zerhsen, who is energetic and supportive, is at his father’s side from the very beginning.
The third member of the team is Johannes Wehri, who worked as a truck driver for Schmutte & and Zerhusen and joins the new company as a reinforcement.
Laying the Foundation in the Osterdammer Industrial Park
The first warehouse is built in 1986. With the acquisition of a 4,268 square meter property in the industrial park of Osterdamme, the foundation for a new company was laid – literally.
In the same year, hall 1 is built, which stands 30 meters wide and 60 meters long. A total of 1,800 m² was available as storage for the new start.