Across the north with a wide range of services
Competition 60 years of edge banding machine - We visit the winners on site.
The Papcke carpentry business is a winner on many fronts! Not only was the company the winner of the recently announced HOMAG competition — it also boasts a thoroughly impressive range of services, an extensive machine pool and positive interpersonal skills. Klaus Papcke and his son Phil have a great deal of foresight and, in addition to customer satisfaction, also keep the dominant themes of our time in mind, such as energy efficiency and the conservation of resources.
The HOMAG Group organized a competition in its customer magazine "Maßarbeit", which was published in spring 2022. To mark the anniversary of the edge banding machine, which celebrates its 60th year at HOMAG in 2022, customers were asked about the oldest machines they have that are still active. Phil Papcke immediately thought of the company's T-50 table edge banding machine from 1978. A photo was quickly taken and sent in, and, as you can see, they won. A visit to Wilhelmshaven was arranged for an official award ceremony, in order to inspect the machine, hand over the certificate and simultaneously to get to know the owner-managed company Papcke on site in their workshop.
Wide range of services offered — from furniture construction to dry wall construction
The North German people are generally seen as rather cold and direct, but this is not the case with the Papcke family at all. During the first telephone call, there was an extremely cheerful "Good morning," which made initial contact very simple, and this continued throughout the entire visit. The Papcke company is proud of its own products, its perspective and its forward-looking ideas. The company's solutions cover all the needs that a classic carpentry business can offer: furniture construction, interior fittings, store fittings, and hotel and restaurant facilities. But the Papcke carpentry business also includes classic joinery activities in their field of work, such as windows, doors and even drywall construction.
"Planks for a pier are just as much part of our services as individually trimmed serving boards for a Spanish restaurant in Wilhelmshaven."
The local area and proximity in Wilhelmshaven and Friesland forms the customer base of the Papcke carpentry business. Its catchment area includes the city of Wilhelmshaven and reaches 100 km into the surrounding area. Whether it's a classic private household, the public sector, business or gastronomy — the customers are highly diverse.
A special feature in comparison to inland Germany is undoubtedly the large number of contracts awarded by the German armed forces at their location in Wilhelmshaven. "The naval squadron in Wilhelmshaven is the largest German armed forces location in Germany, and has awarded us an increasing number of contracts, especially recently," says the son of the owner of the Papcke carpentry business, Phil Papcke.
A permanent fixture in Friesland-Wilhelmshaven since 1985
The Papcke carpentry business has now been located in the southern city of Wilhelmshaven for almost 40 years. This area is characterized by its high variability. It has a mix of residential and commercial premises, which in part presents a very beautiful picture, with historical buildings from the years of rapid industrial expansion in Germany. And right in the center of this is where the Papcke carpentry business has called home since the mid-1980s. Back then, Klaus Papcke had begun with two employees. Due to the excellent services performed, the order book and, in turn, the need for machines and employees have grown significantly within a short period of time. The first customer request that Klaus Papcke received was for a restaurant extension. In addition to furniture, the customer also wanted interior fittings and bar elements. Together with the team he had at the time, Klaus Papcke fulfilled this wish and was also able to offer drywall construction to complete the solution. Over the years, the company has developed into a near-complete supplier that covers every aspect, far beyond simply the planning, production and assembly.
Manufacturing and production take place on a floor area of 3250 m², spread over 1000 m² for production, 550 m² for a warehouse and 200 m² for office space. The Papcke carpentry business currently employs 35 people, who are actively supported by three trainees.
Promoting young talent is an integral part of the business
Training is particularly important to the company and has been actively promoted for decades. Three cohorts are usually equipped with up to six apprentices. Since 1985, 58 apprentices so far have completed their training to become qualified carpenters! By providing this support, Klaus Papcke wants to promote the structurally weak region of Wilhelmshaven in order to give young people prospects at the start of their professional life. With its high training quota, the company is one of the largest industry training facilities in the Wilhelmshaven-Friesland region. The way in which young people are promoted is very well illustrated by the example in their own business. The second generation is already on the starting blocks and working in the company. Junior manager Phil Papcke still currently visits the vocational academy in Melle and would like to take over his parents' business in the future.
A textbook machine pool
Customers in Wilhelmshaven have a wide range of desires. The company can rely on its extensive machine pool to fulfill these desires. In addition to classic carpentry machines, from the dresser, planer, table router and circular saw to the veneer press, production is also supported by three machines from the HOMAG Group: a KDF 650 C (now EDGETEQ S-380) edge banding machine, a Venture 2M (today comparable to the CENTATEQ P-110) CNC processing center and a HPP11/32 (today comparable to the SAWTEQ B-400) panel dividing saw.
The CNC processing center in particular is a unique selling point that is unrivaled in the Wilhelmshaven area. A second interchangeable application unit was recently added to the edge banding machine to make PUR processing easier. This means that one application unit can be easily changed and operated with EVA and the other with PUR glue.
The panel dividing saw is now 25 years old but still does its job steadfastly and with absolute precision. This is also the area in which Papcke is thinking of adding a saw-storage combination for the future.
Originally, contact with the HOMAG Group came almost by chance. At the time, the Papcke carpentry business was looking for a reliable processing center, and the solutions from HOMAG came highly recommended to them. The company trusted the recommendation and has been thoroughly impressed with HOMAG ever since. The company can almost be considered a fan of HOMAG.
In addition to purchasing a new saw with a connected storage system and the Edgeband Management Set for managing edgebands, the company is also thinking about networking the individual machines. This is just one of the reasons why the company is happy to have acquired so many machines from HOMAG. "The handling of these machines is similar; they work in the same way. They can also be easily connected in terms of their control systems," says Klaus Papcke, convinced.
Production area extended — the unusual sub-tenant
It is not only the digitalization and networking of the machines that make it clear that the next generation of the Papcke family is growing into the tasks and the company. Interacting with customers and prospects is very important, and so Phil Papcke proudly and meticulously takes care of the company's Facebook and Instagram accounts, which provide regular updates. In the spring of 2022, for example, these accounts reported an opportunity to acquire a building directly adjacent.
Added value was created in two ways — by improving the company's own production processes and by loading trucks and vans at the side of the building. The company's own production area was increased by 250 m².
As already stated, Klaus Papcke is passionate about supporting and promoting young people at the Wilhelmshaven location, and a startup at the Wilhelmshaven University of Applied Sciences was therefore persuaded to take up the remaining 750 m² of space. A small local brewery is currently under construction and hopes to open in the directly neighboring building by the end of the year. The large steel tanks and filling plants are already on display. With a view to the future, Papcke is speculating on interior fittings. Seating furniture or a counter for enjoying a meal after visiting the brewery would be a good option here.
A brewery in its own building, even if this space is rented externally, will be without doubt a unique feature for the company in this way.
Always enough water under the keel
In addition to promoting a regional startup, the Papcke family also has a large private connection to the region. Senior manager Klaus and junior manager Phil enjoy sailing, but Phil is active not only on smaller ships, but also on large three-masters, on which he sails the world's oceans. Aboard the Alexander von Humboldt II, one of the largest traditional German sailing ships besides the Gorch Fock, he sets out on behalf of youth development programs and sailing schools. Since private and professional worlds also sometimes connect, occasionally during these sailing trips, small jobs are also completed on a voluntary basis. "Working at sea with different materials also brings with it new experiences," says Phil Papcke.
A view to sustainability and resource conservation
In addition to the technical equipment of the workshop, Phil Papcke is already thinking about how the company can be more resource-efficient and energy-savvy in the future. He has already had some initial thoughts about equipping roof surfaces with a photovoltaic system and has already held discussions about this. A small stumbling block is the outstanding renovation work to be performed on the company's roof surfaces. However, this work will be implemented and completed soon, so that this project can also be implemented successfully, states senior boss Klaus Papcke, showing great optimism about the prospect.
The Papcke carpentry business from Wilhelmshaven is perfectly equipped for its journey into the future. The second generation is already on the starting blocks, the equipment of the machine pool is advancing, and the dominant theme of our time, working in a way that is energy-efficient and conserves resources, is firmly in focus.
Just like in their journeys at sea, Klaus Papcke and his son Phil are forward-looking and maintain a great deal of foresight.