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Niederrheinische Formenfabrik Janssen from Krefeld Honored with their First iF Gold Award

It was their first shot at an international design award and it was promptly sealed with the highest of recognitions! The Niederrheinische Formenfabrik Janssen was honored with an iF gold award 2020 for their F450 Cookie Former! The molding machine for the food industry was designed for the individual and efficient shaping of biscuits and endless dough sheets for cake trays. The design of the mashine was a joint project of all team members with much effort on a consistent design language. The iF jury was impressed:

"The design team put great effort into every detail, while ensuring a consistent design language for the entire product series. Proof that design elegance and beauty are not just for consumer devices."

To hand over the iF gold trophy, Andrea Schmidt of the iF award team visited the family-owned factory in the German Krefeld. We talked to the owner Andreas Kalweit and the managing director Dr. Petra Gersch about their family business, the meaning of industrial design and their take on innovation and tradition.

Congrats to Janssen - iF visits the Design Award Freshmen with Gold Status

Since there was no award night this year, due to Covid-19, we at iF either send the gold awards to all winners via mail or, as far as we can reach them without a plane, hand them over personally. In June, our iF colleague Andrea Schmidt visited first-time gold award winner Niederrheinische Formenfabrik Janssen in Krefeld and handed over the iF gold trophy! The team of Janssen was so happy, they compiled a short video of the visit and their joy!

You participated in the iF DESIGN AWARD for the first time and received the special award directly. How did the team react? What significance does the award have for you?
We were all thrilled and touched at the same time, as we did not expect to receive such a great prize as a small manufactory. Since we have taken a participatory approach to this new development and have involved all employees from production, development, sales and management from the very beginning, the sympathy, the joy and also the pride is great. Above all, because we manufacture the machines completely in the Lower Rhine region and have been doing so since 1872! The award is significant for our employees as well as for our corporate strategy, as we are able to further establish ourselves as a niche supplier with the high-quality and durable machines and to transfer the manufacture into the next generation.

„Design plays an essential role here, as design can make the implementation of the requirements visible and understandable. In this respect, good design can also convincingly convey the functionality of industrial machines to laymen.“

The Industry/Tools category is one of the most exciting and innovative at iF. It is also, in a sense, design that is not always accessible to people not familiar with the industry. Can you describe the special significance of industrial machine design?
First and foremost, industrial machines must function well. The fact that many demands are placed on the construction and design of such machines is more likely to be understood by experts. Design for X is representative of the numerous requirements that are placed on machines, some of which are not all compatible in one solution and can only be implemented with carefully considered compromises. Design plays an essential role here, as design can make the implementation of the requirements visible and understandable. In this respect, good design can also convincingly convey the functionality of industrial machines to laymen.

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There are strict guidelines and specifications in food production. To what extent does design subordinate itself?
The particular challenge as a machine manufacturer is to find the right balance between meeting different requirements, such as cost optimisation, simple machine operation, achieving high-quality results and hygiene in the production process. Particularly the hygiene in companies is increasingly in focus, which confronts machine manufacturers, operators and users with new tasks. As a machine manufacturer, we have had a very good insight into bakery and confectionery operations for many decades and have observed that in many areas constructive solutions of machine components are required in order to comply with the constantly developing guidelines and standards and that the production conditions and processes are thus noticeably changing. Design is of particular importance here, so that the design does not degenerate into a medium-term emergency solution among the many requirements. "Nothing lasts longer than a temporary solution" is true, but it is rarely compatible with well thought-out and good design.

Janssen is a family business! Innovation and tradition are equally as important as international success. Their machines, even the older ones, are still in use worldwide. How does this work so successfully? And why do you think customer confidence is so high?
Janssen pastry makers are extremely robust machines designed for a long service life. Niederrheinische Formenfabrik Janssen GmbH has been operating successfully in a niche market since 1872 and customers expect the low-maintenance and easy to operate biscuit moulding machine. The long service life and high quality have made the Janssen company unique in this niche market over the decades. This has spread beyond the borders of Germany and Europe in recent decades. Due to the long service life, the availability of all spare parts and the personal, direct service, the Janssen company enjoys the highest confidence of its customers worldwide.

Last but not least: Are you already working on the next innovation?
Traditionally, every generation at Janssen has produced a new development. And with good reason: not only the functionality of our machines is designed for durability, but also the construction and design. This is the only way we have been able to provide such reliable service for our customers over the last decades. However, this does not exclude the possibility that we will be tackling further developments in our generation. Traditionally, we come from the craft of mould engravers with an artisan training and have become versatile qualified developers and manufacturers with state-of-the-art production processes. With the new development we have become enormously specialized in the last three years in the knowledge regarding the requirements in the food sector. At the moment we are busy with the worldwide introduction of the new biscuit shapers and new challenges are certainly waiting for us afterwards.

(published in July 2020)