Kautex history: What started as a family business evolved to global market leadership

December 20, 2021

Kautex dates to 1935, when engineer Reinold Hagen founded the galvanic workshops in Siegburg, Germany.

Through the exploration of galvanic work Reinold Hagen was able to produce stamped and drawn articles, being the first company in the world to produce a container larger than ten litres through the development of the blow molding process that we see today. The quick growth of Kautex lead to the employment of 230 individuals by 1944.

During the second world war (1945) the initial plant located in Siegburg was destroyed.

Hagen took the opportunity to start from scratch, building a new plant on a property in Bonn-Hangelar, Germany, which kickstarted it’s production with 47 employees in 1946. The company was named Kautex; symbolizing the renunciation from rubber “Kautschuk-Ex”, leaning towards the usage of new, innovative materials.

Fast forwarding 10 years from the rebuild, over a thousand individuals were employed by Kautex and was the largest European manufacturer of thermoplastic hollow bodies. The rapid growth within Europe lead to the expansion of a further plant in Bonn Duisdorf, Germany; then by 1960 the first branch was established within the US laying the foundation for international expansion and the establishment of machine production facilities in China.

Since then, Kautex no longer produces exclusively for its own use, rather supplies the plastics processing industry worldwide with extrusion blow molding and screen-printing machines.

In 1964, Kautex built the prototype of a plastic fuel tank made of polyamide for car manufacturer Ford. By 1972 Kautex attracted attention through the development of  the first plastic fuel tank made of HDPE for Volkswagen. With the purchase of a plant in Waldkirch, Germany in 1992, Kautex expanded its packaging segment; at that time, barrels, canisters, and bottles were produced in Waldkirch. Today the plant specializes in the manufacture of plastic canisters and bottles for the chemical, agrochemical, pharmaceutical and food industries.

In 1976 the mechanical engineering division was sold to Krupp and was given the name Krupp Kautex, whereas the Kautex AG expanded into Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Canada, the United Kingdom with further plants across Germany in the upcoming decades.

In 1994 Kautex pioneered with manufacturing multi-layer vehicle tanks using the coextrusion blow molding process developed by Kautex. Until then, the wall of plastic tanks was a single layer.

The expansion into Asia began in 1966 and a year later was acquired by the American multi-industry company Textron, followed by further expansion in the Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Romania and India as well as the establishment of further plants in the USA and China in the coming years.

In 2003, Kautex incorporated CWC, a camshaft production plant located in Muskegon (Michigan, US).

One year later (in collaboration with Bosch), the company started developing an ammonia tank for diesel vehicles with an SCR catalytic converter. Then by 2006, Kautex Textron began developing a tank system called NGFS, in which all parts are attached to the interior of the tank. The first series orders for NGFS and SCR followed in 2007.

By 2011, the first PHEV plastic fuel tank system that complies with California Air Resources Board guidelines was produced. Following the continuous development and innovation strategy at Kautex a further industry premiere was achieved in 2015 with   the creation of a hybrid fuel tank made entirely of plastic. This made Kautex the first provider on the market with two plastic tank solutions that met the industry requirements for pressurization.

Innovation in the automotive sector was not the only area of focus, Kautex plastics began serial production of a 5-liter canister made from 100% recycled plastics in 2019, showing commitment in the innovation of products and the sustainability features of its manufacturing processes.

About Kautex

At Kautex, we are driving the future. As a Tier One automotive supplier with more than 30 plants in 13 countries, Kautex designs, develops and manufactures traditional and hybrid fuel systems, advanced cleaning solutions for assisted and autonomous driving, engine camshafts and plastic industrial packaging solutions. A pioneer in the design and manufacture of automotive plastic fuel systems, Kautex is expanding its portfolio to offer smart products and data-driven services to our customers, including thermoplastic composite and composite-metal hybrid battery systems. From a lightweight battery system to a hybrid fuel system to autonomous drive vehicle cleaning systems, Kautex is committed to pioneering solutions for the era of new mobility.

Our employees are part of a global community committed to solving customer needs, leveraging diverse skillsets, making sustainability a differentiator, embracing the diversity that is part of a global, multi-industry leader and creating an environment where employees can build a dynamic career. Together, we are reimagining the future of mobility.

About Textron Inc.

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, and Textron Systems. For more information, visit: www.textron.com

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

Contact details

Related topics

Receive exclusive insights

Are you a journalist or do you work for a publication?
Sign up and request access to exclusive insights.

Request access

Receive Kautex insights on your RSS reader.

Or subscribe through Atom URL manually