Schubert offers key update on its Mission Blue sustainability drive

Gerhard Schubert has offered a key update on its ‘Mission Blue’ project, which has aimed to enhance its sustainable packaging machinery solutions, and further improve its environmental performance, writes Neill Barston.

The company has established a core reputation for delivering equipment for a number of sectors including confectionery, snacks and bakery that is efficient, fast, and hones in on the potential for robotics within its operations.

But its Mission Blue drive has taken its focus to another level, and four months on from the announcement of its strategy it has continued to make gains, though as the business explained, the company had  already initiated high investments in sustainability and forward-looking restructuring. Now the changes are beginning to reveal their economic potential.

The high production capacity utilisation the 1,503 Schubert employees have achieved so far in 2022 also confirms that Gerhard Schubert GmbH is doing well with its progressive business strategy.

Ralf Schubert, Managing Partner at Schubert, sums up: “We owe this stability most of all to our qualified and highly motivated employees, without whom our continued growth would not be possible.” The family-owned company has always been aware of its social responsibility which, especially in the case of the packaging industry, arises from the great challenges of advocating an intact environment and a future worth living.

This is one reason why the R&D budget is the manufacturer’s largest single investment budget, in keeping with a long-standing tradition. Eight to 10 percent of the company’s annual turnover is invested in this key area on a regular basis, totalling some 22 million euros in 2021. Currently, close to 50 employees in R&D are working to secure the family-owned company’s position as a leading manufacturer in the packaging industry and to further strengthen it for a more sustainable future for the entire industry.

Ralf Schubert explains the development focus: “The targeted expansion of our portfolio prioritises the further development of key technologies for the future. Today, digital solutions such as our GS.Gate industrial gateway enable a comprehensive exchange of data between the machine, the customer and us, and are therefore enabling very efficient and more sustainable process optimisation.” This technology can also be used to integrate the Titan digital twin – a 3D model of a Schubert packaging machine that is controlled in real time – and can be extensively tested before new process steps are implemented. The company is also ramping up its research activities in 3D-printed parts manufacturing and robotics technology. AI projects in robotics and image processing are intended to ensure the future viability of Schubert’s systems and to advance the development of the tog.519 collaborative robot to market maturity.

Advances in digital services, such as virtual machine approvals, AR-supported processes and digitally supported commissioning at the customer’s site, have proven their worth and will continue to be a focus in the coming years.

Moreover, the establishment of industrial, on-demand 3D-printing processes for additive manufacturing and a consistent focus on sustainable packaging solutions with a strong consulting component strongly favour positive business development.For some time now, the company has been setting the course for its comprehensive Mission Blue Sustainability Initiative, which was officially launched at the end of May this year, by consistently developing sustainable, future-proof packaging solutions with and for its customers. Schubert is focusing its actions targeted to climate protection even more strongly than before in four key areas: sustainable corporate management, climate-neutral production, environmentally friendly machinery and services, and sustainable packaging.

Marcel Kiessling, Managing Director Sales and Service, explains the initiative’s huge significance as follows: “Four strategic fields of action, four coordinators and behind them the entire Schubert Group – our Mission Blue runs like a common thread through all areas. From personnel and building services to construction and compliance, the coordinators and their teams will put everything to the test and work hard to achieve our goals in their respective fields of action.”

Two of the four are to be one of the best employers in Germany and to become climate-neutral in Scope 1 and 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol by the end of 2023. This will be followed by achieving the target of a reduction in Scope 3 emissions. In keeping with these objectives, Schubert is currently expanding its human resources department and has been creating state-of-the-art working conditions to meet the needs of a further 300 employees. A new state-of-the-art assembly hall will represent the largest investment in the company’s history to date.

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