KIWO Factory Tour: The Ink Kitchen Goes to Deutschland
The Ink Kitchen visited the KIWO in Wiesloch, Germany. Wiesloch is a nice little town just outside of Heidelberg, probably the most beautiful city in Germany. I’m going to just say a few words about the company and then let the photos do most of the talking.
I have worked with KIWO for over 20 years and the reasons I started working with them are, if anything, stronger than ever and were clearly present in our Ink Kitchen factory tour of KIWO’s world headquarters:
- They have an unwavering commitment to producing emulsions, adhesives, screenprinting chemicals and machinery that is not only the best, but often is specifically made for their customers’ particular needs.
- They treat their customers and their employees with respect. That goes from resolving problems to being some of the most fun people to have a drink with. On our unscripted tour we were witnessing how they not only took their employees safety into account in the factory, but how hard they work to make a pleasant atmosphere with natural light, good ventilation and good working conditions. This is at the core of how they retain customers world-wide, how they retain some of the best people in the business who are working for them, and how they are always attracting new customers whether in Texas, Singapore, Germany, or Brazil.
- They have a huge R & D section to their business, so there is constant improvement and innovation. The photo below of the lab shows their high-power 3D microscope and I hear it now has a big brother: a full-on scanning electron microscope (SEM.) I was so impressed that an establish company like KIWO has an unwavering commitment to technological improvement.
- We were blown away at the incredible systems for quality control that they have in place.
- They not only produce chemicals and products so that we can all be better environmentally speaking, they walk the walk in their own facility. Those “buffalo chips” in the photo below are the end product of some pretty extensive water treatment going on in the plant.
- Richard Eisenbeiss took over the company in the 50’s and although he passed away a couple of years ago, I can tell you that his spirit lives on. He had the drive to expand the business in terms of product offerings, product refinement and innovation, in terms of mergers (Ulano, Albert Rose Chemical), and by geographic expansion. Despite that drive, he was a delightful man to chat with and a great guy to have a glass of wine with. He was the perfect gentleman. His son David carries on the family tradition both as a true international leader in the industry (he speaks about a dozen languages) and a visionary, and also one of the most fun guys to have a beer with on the planet.
- Their graciousness runs strongly through the company. David didn’t have to be present for our tour of the factory and offices in Germany for us to be treated patiently and kindly by every single employee we met during the whole fascinating and delightful day we spent there.