Any manufacturing company that has survived more than 120 years knows how to get through a downturn in the economy. With Hein, Lehmann Trenn – a screen manufacturer from Krefeld, Germany – it is a matter of being flexible and responding to global customer demands as their needs change. “We are selling technical solutions, so we assist our customers by increasing efficiency or by going into the field,” says Klaus Westerkamp, director of sales and management for separation technology and marketing.
Since its founding in 1888 by Max Hein and Anton Lehmann, Hein, Lehmann Trenn has manufactured separating technologies for a variety of industries, especially mining. According to Westerkamp, the company’s founders ran a factory that manufactured corrugated iron sheets in Berlin-Reinickendorf. By 1889, the company relocated to Düsseldorf, Germany, to be closer to the coal mining industry there.
After this move, Westerkamp says, the company became known for its relationship with Germany’s coal industry. In Western Germany, fields of lignite coal are mined to fuel power plants. It was this industry that led Hein, Lehmann Trenn to develop the first generation of its LIWELL screening machines, which are still in production today.
Along with coal separation, the company’s screening products have applications in a number of other industries. Hein, Lehmann Trenn’s machines can be used to separate recycled materials, compost, glass, plastic and aggregates, as well.
As Hein, Lehmann Trenn continues its expansion outside of Germany’s borders, the company has had to learn how industries in other countries function and what their needs are.
Instead of attempting to cater to this vast variety of applications out of its main production facility in Germany, Hein, Lehmann Trenn is creating a worldwide network of licensed manufacturers of its products. This allows the company to better cater to the specific demands of clients through a manufacturing partner that understands the needs within its region.
“We have been known in the European market for 50 or 60 years for these kinds of screening technologies,” Westerkamp says. “What we do now is promote these machines through our partners, find customers on the Internet that are searching for the right technology, then try to offer our assistance.
“Our focus is to reach the specification required for each customer, thereby trying to find the right machine within our program,” Westerkamp adds. For instance, South Africa does not have enough potable water to spare for any type of wet separation systems.
“In the past, water was not an issue and mud was not an issue,” Westerkamp says. “Everything was more or less controlled. Nowadays, there are influences on the environment, so we ask, ‘Why do we screen it wet instead of using technology that can do it dry?’”
Reputation for Quality
As Hein, Lehmann Trenn expands its international outreach, the company is making sure quality remains intact. That is why it partners only with manufacturers who genuinely are committed to corporate responsibility in their regions.
“We have a worldwide network [of] people who care about the country or territory,” Westerkamp says. “We have an international sales organization that takes care of each country or territory.”
Also, Hein, Lehmann Trenn offers extensive training programs for these manufacturers. The company maintains a database of information accessible through an intranet system for every manufacturer throughout the world.
“They have all the same information worldwide to check while in front of a customer to see if we have a similar application somewhere else in the world,” Westerkamp says. “This is something that works very well because those of us based in Germany have the know-how, and we can transfer this know-how to all salespeople worldwide.”