KURZ stands for the technology of tomorrow. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to inspire future generations and share our knowledge. Two of our employees have put this into practice and each have been part of a jury that sets out to honor technical and creative developments and innovations.
The Automotive Award of the Society of Plastics Engineers, SPE Award for short, was presented this year for the 21st time. Participation is open to all companies from the fields of vehicle construction and system suppliers, plastics processing and plastic production, tool and mechanical engineering, and engineering and construction - i.e., anyone involved in the development and production of a part or a component. The awards are then given to the most innovative ideas from seven categories. This year, the Award Night will take place on October 17, two days before the K 2022 trade fair kicks off.
Martin Hahn, who has a lot of experience in the plastics market as Head of Application, Technology & Innovation Business Area Plastic Decoration at LEONHARD KURZ, has been a permanent member of the jury since 2021. In our interview, he talks about the day-to-day duties of the jury and what particularly challenged him in this task.
Martin Hahn (MH): The Society of Plastics Engineers, SPE (international company for plastic technology), has set itself the task of promoting communication between scientists and engineers involved in the development, manufacture, and processing of plastics. The international organization awards the Automotive Award annually to stakeholders in the automotive industry, and the best design and the best product are recognized.
A record 44 components were evaluated in seven categories: Body Interior, Body Exterior, Power Train, Chassis Unit, Electronic/Optical Part, Structural Component, and Enabler Technology. This year, there were also awards in the area of sustainability: The Sustainability Award, an Innovation Award, and the Grand Innovation Award. One highlight is the Grand Award, which is given to the component that received the most votes from the jury.
We look forward to this year’s winners being announced at the gala - two days before K 2022 in Düsseldorf.
MH: I was surprised at how innovative many of the developments were and what new ways of thinking they offered. The challenge is to reward the best performance from so many technically high-quality submissions. You have to go into great detail during the evaluation.
This year, the Sustainability Award will be presented for the first time, as sustainability now also plays a major role in vehicle construction. Some of the components were made entirely of recycled material. The well thought-out and optimized concepts were really impressive.
I’ve known the plastics industry and the developments in this area for many years, and I think it’s fantastic what has happened here over the years. Helping to choose the technologies of tomorrow is really an exciting and challenging task.
The SPE Award stands out from the crowd. This becomes clear when looking at the professional composition of the jury and, above all, the many impressive entries. When awarding the prize, objectivity and the product are evaluated, proving the technical value of the SPE Award.
I also recommend that our customers enter their innovative components into this competition. Participation next year is also possible via joint developments with KURZ.
Julia König has been with the KURZ design team for over six years. She is a Senior Designer and therefore the contact person for anything related to paper packaging, labels, and plastic packaging, for example, for the cosmetics sector. She has joined the jury of the EPDA FUTURE PACKAGING AWARD™ for the first time. The competition has distinguished innovative and functional packaging design since 2011 and is aimed at young design creators. Supporting partners are companies such as KURZ, whose material developments also serve as a basis for inspiration for the designers. Julia König discusses in the interview what she particularly appreciated about her role and areas which were focused on when choosing the winners.
Julia König (JK): Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the jury did everything online. We received all the design concepts and then evaluated them according to the following criteria: Branding, Design, Production, and Sustainability Approach. So, it was about how innovative the brand concept is, how coherent the material selection is, and how well the graphic design conveys the brand message. Of course, we took a special look at the design of the product. How does it fit the brand, does it attract the customer’s attention, and what effects have been used? One focus was also on the sustainability aspect of the packaging design. The main focus here was on the origin and recyclability of the materials used and/or whether work was carried out in a resource-conserving manner.
I found it very exciting to be part of the jury and to analyze the concepts of young, creative talent. The competition is unique in the industry across Europe, and the entries are very diverse. I was particularly impressed by this. It was also exciting to see that sustainability is a high priority for the young generation. Here at KURZ, we’re also keen to continuously develop and expand our sustainable solutions. It’s nice to see that all areas of the industry are involved - from the brainstorming to the material, and production of packaging.
JK: Such a prize places additional demands on us but also encourages us. As a young designer, you very much grow when tasked with developing a holistic concept in a team and being able to present your creative ideas in a professional environment. The award enables design creators and brands to improve communication between product and consumer with their innovations. This is exactly what we at KURZ pursue with respect to design: Allowing products to communicate with the consumer more in-depth, faster, and in a more targeted manner through finishing.
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