It is Kässbohrer’s mission to maximise ‘Enginuity’ to spread the highest level of innovation to every sector of the industry. With strict adherence to lean manufacturing and operational excellence, the OEM eliminates everything that does not provide added value to its customers, while innovating in a way improves operations and industry.
In the last few years, the world has gone through, and continues to go through, many unprecedented experiences. In the period that started with Covid-19, Kässbohrer has always been the most reliable of partners with continuous production, flexible responses for supply chain reliability as well as a rapid adopter of structural changes such as working from home. Simultaneously, Kässbohrer is a reliable business partner for its customers and stakeholders with the same adaptable, resilient approach.
The trailer builder with the widest product portfolio has always maintained consistency with manufacturing, offering industry the fastest delivery timeframes and a stable policy in the face of fluctuating market prices also providing the highest benefit to its customers.
“For the current state of the industry and its sustainability goals requiring a major transformation, we at Kässbohrer are working together with our customers, suppliers, associations, and universities in our largest ecosystem,” said Kässbohrer Deputy General Manager, Ahmet Yilmaz. “At Kässbohrer, we value long-lasting and strong collaborations with all our stakeholders to accomplish this change.”
Operational excellence and manufacturing power
With its engineering excellence, Kässbohrer manufactures not only for geographical climate regulation and operational habits of its customers from all sectors of transport business but also – inclusive of feedback and the needs of all of its stakeholders including fleet owners, commercial and technical managers and drivers.
“With four mega factories on our unique campus and in our factories in Germany, each vehicle is always finished and delivered to our customers with the highest quality,” said Yilmaz. “This is the cornerstone of everything. Quality is a culture, and Kässbohrer consistently, and successfully, implements it in both processes and products. Process quality and product quality go hand in hand. With the involvement of all employees, our lean production philosophy, and our PDCA cycles, we ensure continuous improvement. We are always improving our manufacturing and service processes. We always deliver to our customers the most innovative, highest quality products designed according to their latest needs.”
The OEM’s lean culture and related quality and operational excellence goals enables it to manage every condition in the most flexible and consistent way.
“With our competency in all sectors, including dangerous goods transportation, general cargo, cool freight, heavy haulage, and intermodal transportation sectors – and with the underlying competency in successfully manufacturing for the differences in these sectors as well as customer requests – we have always stood by our customers, suppliers, and all our stakeholders during the pandemic,” said Yilmaz.
“With the agility our competence equips us with, we will continue to provide the maximum benefit to our customers and all our stakeholders in any future development.
“At Kässbohrer, we continue to invest in infrastructure as well as safety and efficiency. We have completed our state-of-the-art lowbed factory operating with Europe’s highest capacity, latching cranes, and RIFD system according to industry 4.0 prescriptions in 2019. In the past five years, our infrastructure and manufacturing modernisation investments alone reach more than 40 million euros and we will continue with our investments in the future.
R&D ecosystem and continuous innovations
The awards and nominations Kässbohrer has received over the years reflect its innovation competence. In 2017, it received an award for safety by automating the unloading operations of a bitumen tanker controlled and operated via remote control enabling operators a safer operation.
“Our safety bitumen tankers have been used in Europe’s specialised fleets for years,” said Yilmaz. “Likewise, in the intermodal sector, where we are unrivalled, we won first place in the chassis category with our novel octagonal chassis frame design by solving the problem of torsion and damage to the vehicle during extension operations of multi-functional container chassis which could not have been solved for 30 years.
“This product is currently the most preferred product in Europe. Our recently launched container chassis range at IAA, presents the octagonal structure as standard to provide efficiency and longevity to the operations of a wider customer base.
“Our Multifunctional Rear Underrun Protection Device, which won first place in the component category in 2021, is a multi-dimensional solution that prevents damage to trailers during operations, especially in intermodal ferry and train loading.
“Moreover, the swap body innovation we realised for our intermodal range, received an award in the body category in 2021. With the first 45’ coil swap body developed based on our lightest chassis structure, we both increase our customers’ solutions in intermodal transportation in the safest way and contribute to their operational efficiency by offering the option of general cargo transportation. Our coil swap bodies are enhancing the operations of our customers Europe-wide.”
Kässbohrer’s digital developments started with DTC in 2014 and continue to develop with K-ADAS, for which the OEM received an award in the smart category in 2021. K-ADAS featured five new innovations for the first time in all truck or trailer ADAS systems, contributing to the development of future autonomous operations.
“All of this, taking Engnuity to the maximum is achieved by the research carried out with more than 150 competent engineers in our R&D operations,” said Yilmaz. “In our prototype centre, we test our vehicles with both component and all vehicle perspectives for strength, acclimatisation, vibration, fatigue, torsional, corrosion, rigidity and pressurisation for hydraulic and pneumatic life tests accompanied by load and road test and data collection studies offering our customers the guarantee that our vehicles are the safest and lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in compliance with all regulations. In addition, with our in-house heat test cabin, we carry out the ATP certification process of all kinds of vehicles, including refrigerated vehicles and tankers, with international standards.
“Since 2009, our R&D and Test Centre has completed more than 250 R&D projects and published 108 international academic articles.”
Investing in people – eight headquarters in Europe
Kässbohrer continues to invest in becoming a true multinational manufacturing company. In the last five years, the OEM has been continuously growing to better serve its customers with its local organisation in Europe.
“In addition to our headquarters in Germany and the Netherlands, we have opened offices in Italy and France, and later also in Poland and Spain,” said Yilmaz. “With a young, talented, and energetic team and an organisation that meets the needs of our customers more flexibly and quickly, we are constantly developing both locally and globally. As a company, we benefit greatly from the cultural diversity that follows the expansion of our organisation.”
Investment in services and facilities
In the last four years, Kässbohrer has grown its aftersales network by more than 100 per cent.
“Our entire aftersales network, which goes through a detailed search and audit process, is growing confidently to servicing the vehicles of our diverse customer base operating in all transport sectors, including dangerous goods transportation, general cargo, cool freight, heavy haulage and intermodal transportation,” said Yilmaz.
“For customer satisfaction, their operational efficiency, 97.6 per cent of our aftersales network is established with the competence to serve our customers’ unique needs. With constant improvement and operational excellence targets, we are moving forward in this process to provide maximum benefit to each of our customers.”
Similarly, the trailer builder strives for continuous development and operational excellence in its spare parts operations.
“In April 2022, we shared with you the news of the renovation of our spare parts warehouse in Goch,” said Yilmaz. “Our main warehouse is expanded by 2,160-square-metres, operating with 156,000 parts. Each customer’s request is answered personally. Since 2009, the Electronic Parts Catalogue (EPC), which supports our aftersales services, is constantly updated. Under all circumstances, our goal is 95 per cent availability and delivery within 24 hours.”
Taking Enginuity to the max: New products in tank & silo and lowbed segments
With competency in dangerous goods, chemical food and bulk transportation, Kässbohrer is among the top choices in Europe for tanker and silo vehicles – and in the top three in Germany. This success is based on continuous development with Enginuity and lean principles.
Since the last IAA, Kässbohrer has made 13 innovations in its tanker series ranging from modular chassis design for chemical and food tankers to new light waste tanker series and electrical heating for our Bitumen tankers. At this year’s IAA Transportation in Hanover, Germany, the OEM launched a stainless pressurized food tanker K.STL P which is developed for efficiency in operations through its 32,000 litre tank capacity with three compartments for the transportation of different foods.
Moreover, Kässbohrer manufactures the lightest silo vehicles to reduce the TCO for its customers in terms of both lightness and operational efficiency. The K.SSL 45 vehicle, which brings safety, durability, and operational ease-oriented innovations such as new manhole designs, and new discharge cone designs, was introduced to its customers at IAA Transportation.
“As market leader in select Europe countries, in the low-bed segment, Kässbohrer is the proud manufacturer of K.SLL with the lowest platform height, K.SLS for the lightest weight, K.SLA for the most loading options and K.SPA for the most flexible loading,” said Yilmaz. “Through continuous development, Kässbohrer has achieved 24 innovations for better load safety, and more flexible operations as well as a complete option range for meeting the versatile needs of its customers since IAA 2018 alone. According to the demands of its customers, this year at IAA, Kässbohrer launched two new vehicles, its K.SLA RJ with its 770mm loading height, 205 tyres and special chassis design combined with mega fifth wheel height alongside the K.SPH M with double extendable chassis and hydraulic steering axles with turntable mechanism.”
Sustainability, meeting all unique transformation needs, and the ‘unrivalled’ intermodal range
The road ahead is a long one that must be pursued with determination according to Yilmaz. “Transformation to more sustainable operations will require a combination of many solutions,” he said. “With our engineering excellence and innovation competence, Kässboher offers every solution to meet the unique transformational needs of our customers.
“Stemming from our extensive experience in longer and heavier vehicle permitting countries, we developed K. SCS X+L, our 14.980mm vehicle which offered from its conception, the dynamic wheelbase application ensuring manoeuvrability in existing infrastructure. K.SCS X+L with the first application of dynamic wheelbase was a nominee in the category ‘Concept’ for Trailer Innovation awards 2021.
“Kässbohrer is able to meet all combinations in the LHV concept, from type 1 to 5. An example is our 32-metre combinations used in Scandinavian countries; two semi-trailers can be combined in a single truck with our two-axle dolly vehicle.”
Kässbohrer also claims to be proudly unrivalled in the intermodal product range.
“We are the most reliable manufacturer, especially when the new EU green deal targets that 75 per cent of all road traffic should switch to intermodal operations,” said Yilmaz. “With the entire Kässbohrer container chassis family, swap bodies, and the most robust and long-lasting huckepack products developed with Enginuity, we offer our customers the highest quality, longest lifetime as well as low TCO solutions.
“Thanks to our competence, our 45’ swap body, which was the lightest swap in the market when it was launched, has always offered the most load advantage to our customers. The 45’ coil swap body vehicle was designed and awarded with the lightest chassis design with a coil carrying capacity of 30 tonnes. The test we carried out during the development of our 45’ swap body vehicles are now mandatory tests for certification of all swap bodies, increasing the loading safety of all swaps today and leading the industry in general to a better standard.”
In container chassis, the OEM’s octagonal chassis design which received an award in 2019, is a revolution.
“After 30 years after the introduction of extendable container chassis, we have made the structure operational,” said Yilmaz. “We eliminate torsion and fracture problems in all extensions and at the same time extend product life. With this structure, we have also improved load stability and ensured load-road safety. Our new series of container chassis, which we launched at IAA Transportation, are now presented with an octagon structure. We ensure that our customers carry out all kinds of container transportation operations in the safest and longest-lasting way.
“Kässbohrer’s competence can also be seen in silo container vehicles. With Enginuity, meeting the needs of our customers when we launched our silo containers, they were already the highest-volume equipment in the industry, again engineering from the start the product that offers the lowest TCO.”