Cats-Haensel Management interviewed by Packaging Europe Magazine
Cats-Haensel Management interviewed by Packaging Europe Magazine

 

Cats-Haensel has its origins in two companies: Rotterdam based  Cats, which was founded in 1904, and Hänsel, based in Freital near Dresden, which would be celebrating its centenary this year. In their own right, both firms were significant players in the confectionery, bakery and dairy markets with the sort of in-house know-how that is accumulated over decades of innovation. Indeed, Hänsel was distinguished as the inventor of the twist wrap technology back in 1937. The two came together in 2000, with the Cats Group’s acquisition of Hänsel, forming a new company with formidable strength and two sites bringing additional capacity to offer greater flexibility and support for big customers. Just a year after that, Cats-Haensel became part of the global Clondalkin Group. Today the company employs a staff of 97 in its 11,000 m the Rotterdam docks and a further 38 employees in the 5000 m Freital facility, achieves an annual turnover of over 30 million Euro and supplies leading brands across the whole of Europe, North and South America and parts of Asia. Cats-Haensel enjoys a leading position in its core markets of wax paper, aluminium laminates and twist film, reflecting Clondalkin Group's broader strategy of taking leading positions in relatively niche markets.

Customers as partners

Cats-Haensel endeavours to bring a lot to the table as a specialist, offering a customised service that in many cases goes far beyond merely supplying packaging materials. “When we speak with a customer, we do so on a commercial level, a marketing level, and a manufacturing level. Looking at the commercial side, we have the right equipment to manufacture at a competitive price. On the marketing level, we work closely with the brand holder on design requirements to make sure their brand is well represented in the market, and brand holders trust us with the stewardship of their brand. In terms of manufacturing, we can offer bespoke solutions to optimise run-ability on the high-speed machines used by big brands.” Charles van Reij continues: “We have strong, in-depth knowledge of our customers’ machines and we know how to fine-tune them for use with our material. We can bring our experience and knowledge to achieve maximum production speeds. Some of these machines are running at 2300 parts per minute, and in such cases you have to be very precise in your specifications. For example, we use around 25 different blends of wax to suit the circumstances, the machine and the customer’s requirements.”

Quality and innovation

Cats-Haensel is the only converter offering the whole range of twist film packaging, as well as offering extensive international experience in the segment. The company is able to offer a one-stop-shop, thanks to in-house extruded twistable cast polypropylene by sister company Wentus Kunststoff GmbH. “Twist film today is a modern solution for packing hard-boiled candies and chocolate pralines,” explains Mr van Reij. “Expensive, traditional cellophane is replaced by CPP twist solutions, which can run on the packing machines like wax paper at speeds of up to 2300 parts per minute. A critical aspect of CPP twist film is the static loading during the packing process; to prevent this, Cats-Haensel applies anti-static lacquer. In addition, friction surfac level and anti-slip lacquers are used for efficient running.” Meanwhile, Cats-Haensel’s aluminium laminates are suited to a variety of chocolate applications, from pralines and tablets to sticks and bars. Its glossy appearance allied to strong barrier properties makes this ideal for premium products. Again, a wide range of solutions is available and Cats- Haensel has on-site facilities for stripping of aluminium on film and aluminium on paper. More recently, the company has introduced a new technology, a premium alternative called strip aluminium foil (SAF). “Thanks to this technology, we have picked up significant new business for double and single twist packaging in the last six months,” says Mr Marron. Based on a Polypropylene film with a wax laminated aluminium strip, it has proved a fantastic alternative to PVC twist for premium brands. It enables customers to go from two layers to one layer of packaging material while at the same time improving machineability, saving costs and optimising brand appearance.’’

For the wax paper segment, Cats-Haensel produces both twisting and fold wrap solutions. Boasting state-of-the-art coating facilities, it services a combination of global and local brands and private label customers. Wax paper, which delivers excellent run-ability on high-speed machines, is available as a standard paraffin-based product, but this is now supplemented by biodegradable EcoWax. Further advances also include the use of Easy Release Under Coating for sticky, chewy products like gum.

Biodegradable solutions

Responding to rising demand for biodegradable solutions that has been principally driven by retailers, Cats-Haensel has been developing some notable solutions. The first of these is ‘EcoWax’, which differs from most environmental friendly packaging in that it can degrade in nature at a rate comparable with organic substances such as tree leaves. “EcoWax, which has really started to take off since 2009, is a biodegradable, vegetable-based wax that replaces more commonly used mineral hydrocarbon waxes,” explains Mr Marron. “In combination with paper packaging, it presents a viable, green solution to customers. However, in addition to its green credentials, it offers some interesting performance characteristics. It delivers first rate run-ability on machines and exceptional gloss. Even in the last six to eight months a number of customers have moved over from conventional waxes to EcoWax.” Another innovation is Cats-Haensel’s biodegradable CPP and, as part of a Clondalkin Group initiative, the company is developing a  
biodegradable twist film. Clondalkin Group, through Cats-Haensel’s sistercompany, will be a leading producer of this, and following successfulmachineability trials with customers, the product it close to launch.

Targeting growth

Having followed a successful strategy over the last decade that hasseen the company grow in correlation with the confectionery marketas a whole, Cats-Haensel has its sights on further development. Inaddition to maintaining market share across all regions and marketsegments, Mr van Reij says “we see further development potential inthe premium sector of the chocolate business, and geographicallyspeaking, we see growth potential in central and eastern Europe, theformer Soviet Union and the Americas.”

 

 

 

Cats-Haensel has its origins in two companies: Rotterdam based  Cats, which was founded in 1904, and Hänsel, based in Freital near Dresden, which would be celebrating its centenary this year. In their own right, both firms were significant players in the confectionery, bakery and dairy markets with the sort of in-house know-how that is accumulated over decades of innovation. Indeed, Hänsel was distinguished as the inventor of the twist wrap technology back in 1937. The two came together in 2000, with the Cats Group’s acquisition of Hänsel, forming a new company with formidable strength and two sites bringing additional capacity to offer greater flexibility and support for big customers. Just a year after that, Cats-Haensel became part of the global Clondalkin Group. Today the company employs a staff of 97 in its 11,000 m the Rotterdam docks and a further 38 employees in the 5000 m Freital facility, achieves an annual turnover of over 30 million Euro and supplies leading brands across the whole of Europe, North and South America and parts of Asia. Cats-Haensel enjoys a leading position in its core markets of wax paper, aluminium laminates and twist film, reflecting Clondalkin Group's broader strategy of taking leading positions in relatively niche markets.

Customers as partners

Cats-Haensel endeavours to bring a lot to the table as a specialist, offering a customised service that in many cases goes far beyond merely supplying packaging materials. “When we speak with a customer, we do so on a commercial level, a marketing level, and a manufacturing level. Looking at the commercial side, we have the right equipment to manufacture at a competitive price. On the marketing level, we work closely with the brand holder on design requirements to make sure their brand is well represented in the market, and brand holders trust us with the stewardship of their brand. In terms of manufacturing, we can offer bespoke solutions to optimise run-ability on the high-speed machines used by big brands.” Charles van Reij continues: “We have strong, in-depth knowledge of our customers’ machines and we know how to fine-tune them for use with our material. We can bring our experience and knowledge to achieve maximum production speeds. Some of these machines are running at 2300 parts per minute, and in such cases you have to be very precise in your specifications. For example, we use around 25 different blends of wax to suit the circumstances, the machine and the customer’s requirements.”

Quality and innovation

Cats-Haensel is the only converter offering the whole range of twist film packaging, as well as offering extensive international experience in the segment. The company is able to offer a one-stop-shop, thanks to in-house extruded twistable cast polypropylene by sister company Wentus Kunststoff GmbH. “Twist film today is a modern solution for packing hard-boiled candies and chocolate pralines,” explains Mr van Reij. “Expensive, traditional cellophane is replaced by CPP twist solutions, which can run on the packing machines like wax paper at speeds of up to 2300 parts per minute. A critical aspect of CPP twist film is the static loading during the packing process; to prevent this, Cats-Haensel applies anti-static lacquer. In addition, friction surfac level and anti-slip lacquers are used for efficient running.” Meanwhile, Cats-Haensel’s aluminium laminates are suited to a variety of chocolate applications, from pralines and tablets to sticks and bars. Its glossy appearance allied to strong barrier properties makes this ideal for premium products. Again, a wide range of solutions is available and Cats- Haensel has on-site facilities for stripping of aluminium on film and aluminium on paper. More recently, the company has introduced a new technology, a premium alternative called strip aluminium foil (SAF). “Thanks to this technology, we have picked up significant new business for double and single twist packaging in the last six months,” says Mr Marron. Based on a Polypropylene film with a wax laminated aluminium strip, it has proved a fantastic alternative to PVC twist for premium brands. It enables customers to go from two layers to one layer of packaging material while at the same time improving machineability, saving costs and optimising brand appearance.’’

For the wax paper segment, Cats-Haensel produces both twisting and fold wrap solutions. Boasting state-of-the-art coating facilities, it services a combination of global and local brands and private label customers. Wax paper, which delivers excellent run-ability on high-speed machines, is available as a standard paraffin-based product, but this is now supplemented by biodegradable EcoWax. Further advances also include the use of Easy Release Under Coating for sticky, chewy products like gum.

Biodegradable solutions

Responding to rising demand for biodegradable solutions that has been principally driven by retailers, Cats-Haensel has been developing some notable solutions. The first of these is ‘EcoWax’, which differs from most environmental friendly packaging in that it can degrade in nature at a rate comparable with organic substances such as tree leaves. “EcoWax, which has really started to take off since 2009, is a biodegradable, vegetable-based wax that replaces more commonly used mineral hydrocarbon waxes,” explains Mr Marron. “In combination with paper packaging, it presents a viable, green solution to customers. However, in addition to its green credentials, it offers some interesting performance characteristics. It delivers first rate run-ability on machines and exceptional gloss. Even in the last six to eight months a number of customers have moved over from conventional waxes to EcoWax.” Another innovation is Cats-Haensel’s biodegradable CPP and, as part of a Clondalkin Group initiative, the company is developing a  
biodegradable twist film. Clondalkin Group, through Cats-Haensel’s sistercompany, will be a leading producer of this, and following successfulmachineability trials with customers, the product it close to launch.

Targeting growth

Having followed a successful strategy over the last decade that hasseen the company grow in correlation with the confectionery marketas a whole, Cats-Haensel has its sights on further development. Inaddition to maintaining market share across all regions and marketsegments, Mr van Reij says “we see further development potential inthe premium sector of the chocolate business, and geographicallyspeaking, we see growth potential in central and eastern Europe, theformer Soviet Union and the Americas.”