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50 Jahre hotset

The Ger­man fam­i­ly-owned com­pa­ny hotset is one of the lead­ing com­po­nent sup­pli­ers and de­vel­op­ment ser­vice providers in the field of in­dus­tri­al heat­ing tech­nol­o­gy. Its cur­rent port­fo­lio ranges from the pro­duc­tion of heat­ing el­e­ments and sen­sors to the re­al­iza­tion of com­plex sys­tem prod­ucts and cus­tomized project so­lu­tions. Read the in­ter­view with com­pa­ny CEO Ralf Schwarzkopf to find out where the com­pa­ny ranks in its 50th year of ex­is­tence and what its long-term goals are.

Ralf Schwarzkopf interviewed about hotset as an outsourcing partner

Ralf Schwarzkopf: “Based on our growth course to date, we want to es­tab­lish hotset as a brand for first-class tem­per­a­ture con­trol tech­nol­o­gy solutions.

Pro­vid­ing ex­act tem­per­a­ture val­ues at the right mo­ment — un­der this premise, hotset has been re­al­iz­ing heat­ing el­e­ments, ther­mal sen­sors and sys­tem so­lu­tions for tem­per­a­ture con­trol tech­nol­o­gy for 50 years now. In your opin­ion, which ear­ly de­vel­op­ments in the company’s his­to­ry still shape your ac­tions today?

Schwarzkopf: When my fa­ther Eu­gen Schwarzkopf in­tro­duced our first high-per­for­mance heat­ing car­tridges for use in die cast­ing and plas­tics tech­nol­o­gy in 1973, the cap­i­tal goods sec­tor was just un­der­go­ing a change from a re­quest mar­ket to a sup­ply mar­ket. This meant that sup­pli­ers now had to ac­tive­ly ap­proach cus­tomers and fa­mil­iar­ize them­selves with their ap­pli­ca­tions. This meant that sup­pli­ers had to ac­tive­ly ap­proach cus­tomers and fa­mil­iar­ize them­selves with their ap­pli­ca­tions. They had to build up their own tech­nol­o­gy and en­gi­neer­ing know-how, ac­quire cross-in­dus­try prob­lem-solv­ing skills and con­stant­ly ex­plore new spe­cial­ist ar­eas. Main­tain­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty, re­struc­tur­ing one’s own core process­es and chang­ing one’s own mind­set — these are un­doubt­ed­ly key fac­tors in hotset’s suc­cess­ful de­vel­op­ment to this day.

Where in the port­fo­lio is this ev­i­dent in the here and now?

Schwarzkopf: To­day, we cov­er the en­tire range from com­po­nent pro­duc­tion and sys­tem de­vel­op­ment to in­di­vid­ual cus­tomer projects. We are there­fore both a sup­pli­er and an en­gi­neer­ing and val­ue-added part­ner for cus­tomers in a wide range of in­dus­tries — from plas­tics tech­nol­o­gy and foundry en­gi­neer­ing to flu­id, process and elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing. What be­gan in the ear­ly hotset years with the ex­pan­sion of the range of ac­ces­sories, the ex­pan­sion of in­stal­la­tion tech­nol­o­gy and the de­vel­op­ment of de­sign com­pe­ten­cies is con­tin­ued to­day in a con­stant­ly grow­ing pool of ex­per­tise in mea­sure­ment and con­trol tech­nol­o­gy, process op­ti­miza­tion, en­er­gy man­age­ment, dig­i­ti­za­tion and automation.

How do you man­age to im­ple­ment this range of ser­vices in or­ga­ni­za­tion­al terms?

Schwarzkopf: I like to sum it up in the terms learn­ing, struc­tur­ing and in­ter­na­tion­al­iz­ing. By the for­mer, I mean in par­tic­u­lar the con­stant ac­qui­si­tion and ap­pli­ca­tion of new knowl­edge in the ar­eas of tech­nol­o­gy, en­gi­neer­ing, qual­i­fi­ca­tion and man­age­ment. Learn­ing process­es are im­por­tant stages in the his­to­ry of hotset. They were and are the ba­sis for struc­tur­al mod­ern­iza­tion and ground­break­ing knowl­edge gains at all lev­els of the company.

Can you give some prac­ti­cal ex­am­ples to il­lus­trate this?

Schwarzkopf: In the re­cent past in par­tic­u­lar, we have suc­cess­ful­ly im­ple­ment­ed a large num­ber of struc­tur­al in­no­va­tions. I am think­ing, for ex­am­ple, of ad­di­tion­al en­gi­neer­ing and process com­pe­ten­cies for the de­vel­op­ment of in­no­v­a­tive prod­ucts and sys­tems, re­fined lean man­age­ment process­es in pro­duc­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­creased avail­abil­i­ty, short­er lead times in or­der pro­cess­ing, au­toma­tion of our pro­duc­tion, and the in­tro­duc­tion of new ser­vices. The es­tab­lish­ment of SIT, our new sys­tem cen­ter for in­dus­tri­al tem­per­a­ture con­trol tech­nol­o­gy, al­so falls un­der the head­ing of learn­ing and struc­tur­ing for me.

The System Center for Industrial Temperature Control (SIT) at hotset

Cus­tomer-ori­ent­ed: At hotset’s Sys­tem Cen­ter for In­dus­tri­al Tem­per­a­ture Con­trol (SIT), in­jec­tion mold­ers and mold mak­ers can find out about the per­for­mance of the DH sys­tem for par­tial-cy­cle cav­i­ty tem­per­a­ture con­trol, among oth­er things.

And what about the in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion of the company?

Schwarzkopf: To­day, hotset has a glob­al pres­ence — among oth­er things through for­eign sub­sidiaries with their own as­sem­bly plants. Soon af­ter the com­pa­ny was found­ed, my fa­ther es­tab­lished the first agen­cies in Spain, France and Scan­di­navia. At the be­gin­ning of the 1980s, the Hotset Cor­po­ra­tion was found­ed in the USA, fol­lowed by branch­es in Asia, New Zealand, Aus­tria, Turkey, South Amer­i­ca and In­dia. In­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion was giv­en a strong boost in 2001 with the es­tab­lish­ment of our plant in Mal­ta and in 2010 with the launch of the in­de­pen­dent Hotset Amer­i­ca Cor­po­ra­tion. 2014 saw the es­tab­lish­ment of HIPL In­dia Pvt Ltd, which man­u­fac­tures our heat­ing ca­bles. The Mal­ta plant has since moved to larg­er build­ings and has been an EU En­er­gy Ef­fi­cien­cy Part­ner since 2016.

You took over the man­age­ment of the com­pa­ny from your fa­ther at the turn of the year 2001…

Schwarzkopf: …right, that was an event­ful time. We al­ready had over 100 em­ploy­ees in spi­ral car­tridge pro­duc­tion alone, and the de­vel­op­ment of the hot­flex for heat­ing 3D molds and new con­trol equip­ment was al­ready in full swing. Short­ly there­after, we ex­pand­ed Mal­ta and put our cur­rent main plant in Hueck­straße in Lü­den­scheid in­to operation.

How did the gen­er­a­tion change take place at the top of the company?

Schwarzkopf: There were a few dis­putes be­tween fa­ther and son, but in con­trast to oth­er com­pa­nies, the tran­si­tion from the first gen­er­a­tion of founders to the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of boss­es was quite suc­cess­ful for us. Es­pe­cial­ly since the flow pro­duc­tion for the HHP and LHT car­tridge heaters in­tro­duced un­der my fa­ther and a mod­ern PPS sys­tem en­sured high pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and avail­abil­i­ty. In ad­di­tion, our de­vel­op­ers were able to im­ple­ment fur­ther in­no­va­tions year af­ter year — for ex­am­ple, new hot­spring vari­ants, new hot­con­trol con­trol units, or even new hot­cast gat­ing noz­zles for mag­ne­sium die cast­ing. All these so­lu­tions are still part of our port­fo­lio to­day and have set stan­dards in the in­dus­try in many places. From the very be­gin­ning, my pri­ma­ry goals were to strength­en the in­no­v­a­tive pow­er of the com­pa­ny, to fur­ther in­crease our qual­i­ty lev­el, to ex­pand hotset’s en­gi­neer­ing com­pe­ten­cies, and to push ahead with internationalization.

What com­pet­i­tive strengths would you cur­rent­ly at­tribute to hotset?

Schwarzkopf: As a man­u­fac­tur­er of com­po­nents for in­dus­tri­al heat­ing tech­nol­o­gy — here we are talk­ing about tem­per­a­ture con­trol chan­nels, heat­ing el­e­ments, re­sis­tance ther­mome­ters and ther­mo­cou­ples, for ex­am­ple — we score points with a large se­lec­tion of qual­i­ty prod­ucts for many ar­eas of ap­pli­ca­tion. As a de­vel­op­er of flex­i­ble sys­tem so­lu­tions, we of­fer a grow­ing range of in­no­v­a­tive and en­er­gy-sav­ing process so­lu­tions with the P‑System heat­ing plates, the D‑System da­ta log­ger and the DH-Sys­tem for the high­ly dy­nam­ic tem­per­a­ture con­trol of in­jec­tion molds. And in the project busi­ness, we take over en­tire val­ue chains for our cus­tomers ¬- such as con­trol cab­i­net as­sem­bly. From a tech­no­log­i­cal point of view, we have po­si­tioned our­selves strong­ly, and in our de­vel­op­ment work we can con­vince with high in­no­v­a­tive strength and short in­no­va­tion cycles.

DH-System: Optimization of surface quality and process optimization in plastic injection molding

Dy­nam­ic tem­per­a­ture con­trol in in­jec­tion mold­ing: Com­pared to the var­io­ther­mal method, the DH sys­tem from hotset is more ef­fec­tive and en­er­gy-sav­ing. It op­er­ates at a fast heat­ing rate of up to 60 Kelvin per sec­ond, acts specif­i­cal­ly on­ly on a min­i­mum mass and us­es 50 times less en­er­gy in the heat­ing phase.

Ver­sa­tile: With its mo­bile D‑System HT for mon­i­tor­ing flu­ids at tem­per­a­tures of up to 180° C, hotset of­fers a flex­i­ble mea­sur­ing de­vice for in-situ analy­sis of the en­er­gy bal­ance of wa­ter cycles.


As a tech­nol­o­gy part­ner, hotset to­day as­sumes re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for com­plete val­ue chains for its cus­tomers in the project busi­ness ¬- such as con­trol cab­i­net assembly.

Where do you see hotset in five to ten years?

Schwarzkopf: I have clear ideas about that. Based on our growth to date, we want to es­tab­lish hotset as a brand for first-class so­lu­tions in tem­per­a­ture con­trol tech­nol­o­gy. And not on­ly for in­dus­tri­al heat­ing and cool­ing tech­nol­o­gy, but al­so for re­frig­er­a­tion and cool­ing tech­nol­o­gy. Both as a sup­pli­er and as a sys­tem de­vel­op­er and project part­ner, we will con­tin­ue to in­crease our avail­abil­i­ty, our cus­tomiz­ing com­pe­ten­cies and our qual­i­ty lev­el. In do­ing so, we are dri­ven by three ma­jor guid­ing prin­ci­ples: First, to im­prove the customer’s added val­ue. Sec­ond, to sup­port our cus­tomers’ fu­ture-proof trans­for­ma­tion process­es — such as the switch from gas to elec­tric heat or the achieve­ment of CO2 neu­tral­i­ty. And third­ly, to in­ter­na­tion­al­ize the re­al­iza­tion of new com­po­nents more strong­ly by con­sis­tent­ly in­volv­ing our for­eign sub­sidiaries so that we can im­ple­ment im­por­tant in­no­va­tions even faster.

Mr. Schwarzkopf, thank you for the interview.

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