Uwe Kaufmann - Plant Manager Sankt Egidien, Germany

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Uwe Kaufmann, Knauf Insulation Germany, Sankt Edigien

Uwe is the manager of our Sankt Egidien Rock Mineral Wool plant in Germany. The site manufactures a wide range of products, offers a high capacity and is renowned for its innovation. Uwe joined Heraklith in 2001 and held various positions before becoming plant manager in 2018.

In May 2020, we achieved one million tons of product output on Line 2 just 10 years after it was commissioned.
Uwe Kaufmann, Plant Manager Sankt Egidien, Germany

What were you doing before working for Heraklith?

I was a project engineer for district heating power plants and was responsible for projects starting from layout design up to the construction management.

What were the greatest challenges of 2020?

The COVID-19 crisis started in February and we soon went into lockdown in Germany. We had planned our annual standstill for March with 85 actions — some complex projects involving 30 contractors.

How were the challenges overcome?

We started immediately to implement a four-rule COVID-19 Preventive Plan for the site focused on plant access, distancing, hygiene and quarantine. During the critical phase, plant access rules and quarantine were very important to protect colleagues and reduce the risk of infection. Defining room capacities, home working and reorganising meetings were the foundations of our distancing strategy, while the installation of partition walls, the redesign of our registration area and improved room ventilation were some of the technical measures we implemented.

And these actions have been successful.

The fact that complex actions were implemented effectively and quickly is a tribute to our team and their rapid understanding of a fast-changing situation. We have not had an infection case at the plant and all planned projects have been completed in full and according to schedule.

How has your plant environment been shaped by post-COVID-19 safety requirements?

This pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone.

Completely new rules of conduct are required leading to a new health awareness.  The word ‘care’ has taken on a new meaning in our private life and in our plant. Every employee has to assume a high degree of responsibility for their own health and the health of their team. This is the main point of change caused by this pandemic.

Can you showcase an example of Continuous Improvement?

In May 2020, we achieved one million tons of product output on Line 2 just 10 and a half years after it was commissioned. From the beginning until today this involved a process of continuous improvement that was not just linked to performance but also product range and quality. This success was only possible as a result of teamwork.

What success would you like to highlight in connection with safety?

Our safety behaviour and our level of asset safety standards have been developed step by step over the years and this is visible in the significant improvement of our key safety figures.

Which sustainability initiatives are important to the plant?

With an energy load management system we are able to limit electricity peak load and reduce our coke consumption. We are also working intensively on brick manufacturing to process waste from both the factory and external sources.

How does your plant contribute positively to the local community?

We sponsor the local sports club and support community construction projects.

What message would you have for neighbours who are concerned about the environmental impact of the plant?

We are commited to good relationships with our neighbourhood and community. We are working on further solutions to reduce the impact of emissions and logistics, for example, traffic flow was recently improved through a new ‘slot’ system.

What is your ambition for the plant?

I want to ensure that Sankt Egidien remains a key supplier of Rock Mineral Wool solutions in terms of quality and innovation, while constantly developing our health and safety standards to the highest possible level.



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