75 und kein bisschen leise EN 75 and still going strong

Kallfass celebrated its 75th anniversary with a two-day event at the Klosterreichenbach, Germany plant and gave its employees the opportunity to visit the factory of its long-standing customer best wood Schneider in Meßkirch, Germany.

On June 7, the mechanisation specialist Kallfass, Baiersbronn-Klosterreichenbach, Germany, had reason to celebrate: The company has been in existence for 75 years. This anniversary was taken as an opportunity to invite employees, suppliers and customers as well as the residents of Baiersbronn to a party in the new factory building. In the morning, a company outing led to best wood Schneider in Meßkirch, Germany, where Kallfass can now rightly call itself a vendor of choice.

This year Kallfass celebrates 75 years of success in mechanical and plant engineering. Today, the third generation – represented by Ernst and Volker Kallfass and Hans Haist – is managing the company. Since its foundation, the company has completed well over 1,000 complex projects for the timber processing industry. The long-established Black Forest company has made a name for itself worldwide, particularly as a mechanisation specialist and solution partner.

For the 75th anniversary celebration, which welcomed around 450 guests, Kallfass transformed the production hall into a “party mile”. A music band, various food trucks and a cocktail bar provide the perfect setting for an exuberant evening event. An open house day was held on June 8, during which interested parties were able to take a guided tour of the plant and gain an impression of the machine manufacturer's production volume.

Kallfass anniversary 2024

Volker Kallfass welcomed the guests to the 75th anniversary celebrations, including colleagues from the town of Wernigerode, Germany.

Kallfass anniversary 2024

Matching frame: The new factory hall was inaugurated as part of the celebrations

Kallfass anniversary 2024

Joyous atmosphere at the party with the band Fatcat

Kallfass anniversary 2024

The music quickly turned the factory hall into a dance floor

Successive expansion

Founded in 1949 by Ernst Sr. and Frida Kallfass as a small workshop in Klosterreichenbach, Germany, the company initially carried out repair work for the local timber industry. However, the resourceful company founder soon developed his own machines, such as the groove and dovetailing machine or the plasma burner. The machine programme took a pioneering direction in 1965 with the development of the multiple circular cross-cut saw: This cutting system was developed due to the market maturity of Euro pallets for the mass production of fixed lengths. As a result, Kallfass launched the first automatic stacking machines for sawn timber on the market. Thanks to continuous further development, also for untrimmed goods, this multiple circular cross-cut saw is still the market-leading machine.

The founder's son, Ernst Kallfass, joined his parents' company in 1975 at the age of 24. Nine years later, he was handed the company’s reins and acting as Managing Director. With the constant support of his wife Ursula, he was then able to initiate a remarkable development of the company. With the entry into the construction of planing and sorting systems, he opened up new customer groups and switched from pure processing to the sawmill sector, where the first cross-cutting and stacking systems were used. In 1992, he founded a branch factory in Wernigerode, Germany to cope with the increased production capacity. The head office in Klosterreichenbach has also been continuously expanded. Following the acquisition of the former BRAUN Maschinen Fabrik in 2019, which is now used as a temporary warehouse and for test installations, Kallfass expanded its production by 750 m² in 2023. Now, the facility houses the final assembly line and a new paint shop. The latter was designed as two cubicles, one behind the other, each 10 m long. If necessary, the cubicles can be opened to paint particularly long machine parts.

Kallfass currently employs around 140 people The system technology is developed, planned, designed, manufactured, painted, and pre-assembled entirely in-house. In the electrical department, the control cabinets are manufactured in the in-house control cabinet construction department and here, the comprehensive programmes are written. Over the years Kallfass has successively expanded its product range. Today the company offers systems and complete mechanisations with integrated safety and control concepts for the production of construction, packaging and garden timber as well as glulam products.

Six years ago, Ernst Kallfass set his company up for the future. He appointed his son Volker Kallfass and his long-time companion Hans Haist as additional managing directors. Ernst Kallfass gradually withdrew from the operational business in order to concentrate on the strategic direction.

Kallfass GmbH

Honoured by the IHK Nordschwarzwald and presentation of the certificate at the Open House Day (Picture Kallfass)

Complex mechanisation

Kallfass is known in the industry as a machine supplier who pragmatically harmonises the customer's requirements with the available space and develops the best technical solution for the situation. In addition to maximising production output, the focus is also on the highest possible degree of automation for the customer. Some process solutions for automation were so unique that they were patented. In the 1980s, for example, Kallfass was granted the patent for the first layer-by-layer processing of sawn timber and in 2019, Kallfass was granted the patent for its robotic handling system.

But the Kallfass portfolio is not limited to mechanisation: in 2019, the plant manufacturer also launched a cross laminated timber press onto the market.

Vendor of choice

One customer who has already utilised Kallfass' diverse solutions on several occasions is best wood Schneider. At the Meßkirch site, Kallfass supplied the complete mechanisation - from the fresh and dry sorting and the connection to the channel dryer to the feeding of the goods via the pre-planing to the cross laminated timber plant - as well as the CLT press itself, including numerous detailed solutions. To give all employees the opportunity to see “their” work live, Kallfass organised a company outing to best wood Schneider before the party on June 7. This event was also attended by colleagues from Wernigerode and their partners. In addition to Meßkirch site manager Andreas Schilling and junior manager Max Schneider, managing director Ferdinand Schneider also took the opportunity to take a group on a tour of the plant and point out the special production features.

Holzkurier (a German-language special interest B2B-magazine) has already reported on the sawmill and the Kallfass sorting plant as well as CLT production in Meßkirch (see Holzkurier issue 14/2024, p. 22 to 23, and 10/2023, p. 12 to 13). A rather smaller, but nevertheless very important part of Kallfass concerns the pre-planing process: After drying, all boards are transported online via conveyor belts to a cupping scanner, where the timber is turned to the correct side, if required. In the next processing step, the planer infeed, also made by Kallfass, accelerates the goods up to 250 m/min before they are levelled and scanned, and defects are marked. Kallfass then packs the goods crosswise, straps the wood packages and use roller conveyors to transports the wood packages to a high-bay warehouse which includes 1,450 storage locations.

Ferdinand Schneider (left) personally guided Kallfass’ employees through the plant, pictured with Hans Haist

Kallfass sorting line

Of course, the Kallfass installations at best wood Schneider, such as the fresh and dry sorting here, attracted a great deal of interest...

... the in-line feed of the dried boards and the turning device ...

Kallfass Planing Feeder

... and the high-performance infeed into the pre-planer

Other current projects

Haist's current planing mill projects include deliveries to Rettenmeier Baltic Timber in Latvia with a maximum planing feed rate of 400 m/min and the complex planing mill from Dold in Buchenbach, Germany, which will be installed on two floors.

best wood Schneider, Rettenmeier Baltic Timber, and Dold are just a small selection of on-going projects. Kallfass reports that the current order situation is favourable and demand remains high.

Text and images: Martina Nöstler, Holzkurier
Issue 17/2024