You have been with LENSER for many years, when exactly did you start and in which areas did you already work?
25 years ago. I started as a technical manager, worked in sales in between, did the application engineering and now have a consulting function, which makes me the interface to the ANDRITZ Group. So you got to know many different areas of the company. What makes your day-to-day work so special today? Today I essentially have a consulting job and do a lot of consulting. On the one hand for the colleagues at ANDRITZ Separation and on the other hand internally, because I have a wealth of experience.
From your experience: Is LENSER innovative?
Yes, compared to some competitors certainly. LENSER has always followed the strategy of pursuing the field of application technology, be it for a while as an independent company or as an internal department. There they were always very close to the processes and to the customers, which was then always incorporated into the development. As a rule, our competitors do not have such a department.
What is LENSER’s position within Germany but also internationally like?
This is difficult at first because we primarily supply plant manufacturers. Many of them are located in Germany, but the plants themselves do not necessarily remain in the country. You can find us from Tierra del Fuego to Tokyo, i.e. we are represented everywhere. Often we just don’t know about it because we export through plant manufacturers.
LENSER is regarded as a pioneer in the manufacture of polypropylene filter elements. Can you give us a little insight into this area of history?
This is certainly due to chemical reasons, since plastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene became available on an industrial scale for the first time in the 1960’s. For a long time, people had been looking for ways to replace the classic raw materials used to manufacture filter elements, such as wood or metal, with something better. On the other hand, LENSER was a company that manufactured presses and therefore the processing technology was already available. The next small step was the pressing of polypropylene sheets and from these sheets to filter elements it was the obvious evolution.
Can you give us a few key points on the way from the raw material to the final product?
The essential step is the pressing, which is partly ridiculed today, as it is regarded as an old-fashioned technology. For our purposes, however, it is still a good and suitable process, which also has physical advantages. This is followed by mechanical processing, which essentially takes place on CNC machines. Then the simpler products, such as the isolate chamber filter elements, are finished. The later developed and higher technological products, the so-called membrane filter elements, contain some other process steps and are correspondingly more complex. Today, there are also hybrid filter elements that combine chamber and membrane elements.
Do you see the future of filter elements here or in which direction do you think this development is going?
Originally, this was a variant, but in the end, it was never successful because it had no compelling advantage in process engineering. This is partly due to tool investment costs and other things in the background. So I don’t think this trend will spread.
Another starting point is to integrate more innovation and technology into the filter elements or to make the process technology more innovative. Do you see a promising approach?
Surely, because the filter press has been a partly „stupid“ machine for over 100 years, with which only very few parameters have been recorded. In addition, the processes and elements as such will probably not change so quickly. Therefore, it is certainly the machine that offers an approach for more innovation and efficiency.
You have told us a lot about the history of filter elements and filter presses. What made you particularly happy when you accompanied this path over such a long period of time?
Surely, I’ve been around a lot. I am responsible for process engineering and problem engineering consulting for many customers, which is why I have visited customers in Canada from Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo, from Dar-es-Salam to the Arctic Circle. This is a very nice and pleasant side effect of my professional career.
Translated from original.