Sales Director, HDG – Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH, Germany
Lars Bergerhof was born 1970 in Ründeroth, Germany. He joined the packaging business in 1988. His core area of business is flexible packaging, bags and pouches, mainly primary food packaging. Today, He is a key account manager for many multinational customers as he sees himself as partner for customer to find perfect technical solutions for each application. E is currently the Sales Director for HDG, Germany.
You have a career that spans two decades in the industry, what initially led you to get into this field?
Well, the Packaging machinery industry is a very exciting playground. We frequently come deal with changes in industries, pack styles, etc. Also, HDG’s technology is requested worldwide, so you can work with all cultures around the world. It is safe to say that these are some of the factors that made me interested in the industry.
In recent years what are the most critical technological developments that you have witnessed in the sector?
I think the current key request from all over the world and one of the most critical developments within the industry is sustainable packaging. This is closely followed by reducing down times on equipment during production process, Format change overs etcetera. We have been able reduce down time from 1.5 hours down to 20 minutes. Downtime for maintenance could be reduced by new technologies. Currently we are working on a new technology for sealing the pouches and reach up to 30 percent energy saving.
Are there any emerging opportunities for the introduction of innovative solutions that can support industry operatives in achieving the current packaging industry sustainability standards?
Currently there is a massive trend to replace nonrecyclable laminate film by full recyclable mono materials. For the packing industry this is a huge challenge, as these materials show completely different sealing and stretching performance on the packaging machines. Fortunately, HDG have been working on this for many years already, since we saw the trend coming quite early. Due to this now we have the full technology set up to run these materials on our machines. Even retrofit kits for existing equipment are available.
Going forward, what aspects of packaging and production would you like to see addressed and why?
Well in my opinion, the packaging industries and recycling technology industry to work closer together. Another aspect in the industry that I look forward to is good marketing strategies for the consumer on how to handle the waste. There is a lot of horsepower available, we just need to get it on the ground.
Environmentally there is need to reduce the amount on non-biodegradable plastics. What is the industry doing to minimize plastic entering the environment?
The industry is moving to recyclable materials at presence, and the investment for this change or development is very high. But, to make this venture more successful we also needs the people to be more aware and to be educated better on how to handle the materials when wasting.
Where do you think the packaging industry be in 2050?
Wasted Packaging is one of the biggest problems we have. The world will never be able to avoid this completely, but the industry has to offer solutions which reduce the packaging material per product and ensure this is full recyclable. Flexible packaging like pouches, probably has the smallest material impact. More products will move from cans or glasses to pouches. This is reducing transport costs and will reduce the traffic on motorways drastically.