Olaf Clemens, owner and CEO of SN Maschinenbau, is the first to step into the hot seat of the new Packaging Europe Rapid Interview, where we pose fundamental questions to uncover often surprising answers.    

With over 60 years of experience, SN Maschinenbau GmbH produces filling, forming and sealing pouch packaging machines for products of various kinds and consistencies. 

Introduce and sell us your company in no more than 280 characters.

We go the “extra-mile”. Apart from a broad range of standard machines, SN offers customised solutions tailor made to customer needs. SN takes technical challenges delivering surprising, innovative packaging-solutions.

Where are your company’s locations? Are there any specific challenges or advantages relating to your geographical location that you could tell us about? 

Our Headquarters are located in Wipperfürth, Germany close to the city of Cologne. A branch office is located in Moscow, Russia.

SN is cooperating with a broad network of highly qualified sales agencies and large re-sellers worldwide. Today we reach an export quota of almost 80%. Our roots are in Germany but our ambitions are global.

We love to serve our customers all around the world.

Tell us a surprising fact about the market you work in.

Did you know that almost every machine from SN is unique?

Pouch making and filling machines from SN-Maschinenbau are individually customised to perfectly address the particular needs of their customers, our standard is “not to have a standard”.

Be it the use of special films, eco-compliant mono-material films, special product treatment features like inert-gas injection capabilities,individual pouch shapes or spouts, or special dosing devices to fill multiple components into one bag, SN develops a customised solution that works.

At Packaging Europe we like to watch trends and areas of innovation as they evolve. Can you tell us something we might not be aware of that is driving technology in your sphere?

Apart from the well-known trends for eco-compliant packaging material or industry 4.0 and digitalization which are affecting the technical design and development of our machines, we see a massive trend for substantially higher machine flexibility paired with operational user-friendliness and reduced changeover times.

In addition, customers become increasingly aware of food-safety issues, thus the need for a proven hygienic machine design becomes even more relevant for future investment decisions.

Finally, the strong need to differentiate from competition “on the shelf” requires flexible production machines as pouch sizes may change more often and production lot-sizes become smaller year by year.

What would you say is the biggest common misconception that you encounter in your business? 

The biggest misconception is that our industry is sometimes perceived as one of the 'accelerators' of plastic consumption and therefore is indirectly supporting the growth of plastic waste worldwide.

In contrary, our target is to support the reduction of plastic utilisation by developing modern filling and pouch making machines that can process even thinner films or plastic-free sealable materials like innovative sealable papers. We are dedicated to a sustainable use of our natural resources and to the protection of the environment.

Did you know that the ratio “packaging to product” is 5-10 times lower using flexible packaging than with alternative packaging solutions? Using rigid packaging materials would require 23 mn. tons additional packaging material in Europe year by year … (source: flexpack-europe)

If the wider packaging industry could be transformed in some way, what kind of change would you like to see?...and how do you envisage your company changing the industry in the coming years?

All of us in the industry, we should communicate more actively and be self-confident in explaining the superior technical and ecological advantages of flexible packaging.

Furthermore we should be proud of our contribution to food safety and the reduction of food waste by hygienic and safe packaging solutions that enable the distribution of high-quality nutritional products at comparably low cost.