Tillmann packaging: 79 % less fine particulate matter, 50 % less absenteeism with Zehnder Clean Air Solutions

31 Oct 2019

The health of its staff is a top priority for Tillmann Verpackungen GmbH, the market leader in customised packaging solutions. Air cleaning systems from Zehnder now provide staff with clean air, allowing them to breathe freely – not to mention significantly reducing cleaning and maintenance costs at the same time.

High-quality bespoke packaging
Tillmann Verpackungen GmbH develops and produces a wide range of packaging solutions. The family-run company specialises in delivering both standard packaging in large quantities, as well as producing sophisticated, bespoke packaging solutions tailored to the individual customer. What’s more, Tillmann Verpackungen also operates as a packaging wholesaler, with products as diverse as corrugated cardboard solutions, filling material and pallets. One of the company’s greatest assets is its site at Mühlheim am Main in Germany, which is strategically located at the heart of the Rhine-Main area close to Frankfurt Airport. Here, a dedicated team of over 80 staff works day in, day out serving customers across a range of industries. Big names in the automotive, cosmetics andfood industries form part of the company’s customer portfolio, as well as key players in the trade and haulage sectors.


Dust levels (not) to be sneezed at
The hub of Tillmann Verpackungen’s activities is a 2000 m² factory, in which powerful machinery cuts and processes corrugated cardboard. Peter Tillmann, owner and CEO of the company, describes what conditions in the factory used to be like: “Cutting paper produces a huge amount of fine dust. This build-up of dust used to be extremely noticeable and the air in the factory was really cloudy by the afternoon.” Staff would also complain of dry air at work. The consequences of this dust pollution became especially evident when staff left the site at the end of the day: when they showered, the water would turn black. Respiratory problems were also a common complaint. These were all conditions which could no longer be allowed to continue at Tillmann Verpackungen. Peter Tillmann: “Our people and their health are always our number one priority.” 

A further challenge was the intensive cleaning required as a result of the high dust level. Staff had to clean the factory every day, with an external company also called in every Friday to carry out thorough cleaning. Despite all these efforts, the basic problem proved impossible to tackle, and, crucially, valuable resources were being wasted. However, the high level of dust not only impacted on employees – it also posed a threat to the work processes themselves. Modern production machines are fitted with extremely sensitive sensor technology, and dust deposits affect the way these sensors function. Particles can also clog the mechanical components of the machines, leading to machine downtime and non-production time, and reducing the service life of the equipment. It was a culmination of these significant factors that prompted Tillmann Verpackungen to go in search of a long-term solution.


A solution to eradicate the particle danger


Michael Baumann, Head of Production and Technical Operations Manager, explains: “We’d already looked at several different systems at trade fairs, but still hadn’t found the right solution.” So when one of Zehnder’s experts contacted the company, the timing could not have been better. He met with representatives from Tillmann Verpackungen and introduced them to Zehnder’s industrial air cleaning systems. The system functionality alone was enough to pique the interests of the company’s decision makers. The Zehnder equipment traps particles while they are still in the air, giving dust and other matter hardly any time to settle in the factory or on machines, or to irritate staff. Michael Baumann and Peter Tillmann were also impressed by Zehnder’s logical suggestion to create a concept specific to Tillmann based on dust level readings at the trouble spots in the factory. The fair conditions were another strong argument. The contract with Zehnder allowed Tillmann Verpackungen to put the entire system through its paces during the initial period, meaning that the company was not tied down for years at a time. Testimonials from existing Zehnder customers also helped to seal the deal, as Baumann, who meticulously studied the website of the specialist for industrial air cleaning systems, asserts: “If Zehnder’s clean air is good enough for DB Schenker, then it’s good enough for us!”

The project could then begin. The Zehnder air cleaning systems were delivered, installed in the factory and put into operation. Owner Tillmann is full of praise for the implementation of the project: “The entire process ran and continues to run without a hitch – from the initial contact with the field team and the installation of the systems right through to replacing the filters. An expert installer was on hand at every phase and every deadline was consistently met.” And all this without any negative impact on the work processes themselves. Only one additional measure was required: while Tillmann Verpackungen’s operations only require electricity during the daytime, the air cleaning systems operate around the clock. As a result, it was necessary to install a continuous power supply to keep the systems running.


79% less fine particulate matter, 50% less absenteeism

The impact of the Zehnder equipment was evident to Tillmann Verpackungen staff right from the get-go. Employees can now see clearly throughout the whole day, and, most importantly, they are breathing in significantly lower levels of fine particles – with noticeable effects. Peter Tillmann: “Absenteeism due to colds and respiratory illnesses has reduced by 50%.” The cleaning required has also significantly decreased, by approximately 15 hours per week. Indeed, the services of the external cleaning company are no longer required. The dust build-up on machines has also been reduced, extending the service life of the equipment, reducing maintenance work and minimising downtime. In all, the entire working environment is significantly more presentable and much cleaner, as was remarked upon during the company’s annual ISO 9001 certification audit. The striking impact of the before/after effect is illustrated in an anecdote shared by Head of Production Baumann: “A former colleague came to visit us, and upon entering the factory, she immediately cried: “What’s going on here?! I can see everything!” Finally, the dust level readings following the installation speak for themselves, with the dust level in the factory reduced by up to 79%.


Not a speck of dust to be seen


Encouraged by the resounding success experienced in the large factory, Peter Tillmann made the decision to implement Zehnder industrial air cleaning systems in the custom manufacturing area. Here, filters with corrugated cardboard jackets are carefully assembled by hand. These filters later go on to be used in coating lines for cars. Impressive reductions in the concentrations of particles have been recorded in this area too. Tillmann reports: “Just for fun, we put a piece of white paper in this area, and even after three days, there still wasn’t a speck of dust to be seen on it!” Tillmann Verpackungen is planning to further expand its custom manufacturing area, with the use of additional Zehnder equipment already in the pipeline.

Summary:
By opting for air cleaning systems from Zehnder, Tillmann Verpackungen has taken important steps to protect the health and well-being of its employees, minimise equipment cleaning and maintenance costs, and increase the service life of the machines. What’s more, the company is on the right track when it comes to tapping into new business areas

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Surrey, Camberley
United Kingdom

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