Inventiveness is one thing, putting ideas into action is quite another. Combining both skills has always been one of the many strengths of company founder Gerhard Schubert. And one that made him a pioneer who has been shaping the packaging industry with his developments to this day. As a trailblazer, he began making his mark in the world of packaging in 1966 with his modularly designed, flexible packaging machines, and he was in fact one of the first to begin working with digital technology. This exceptional ingenuity has paid off. Today, Gerhard Schubert GmbH is the recognised world market leader in CNC-controlled top-loading packaging machines (TLM). The visionary who made this success possible is celebrating his 80th birthday in July 2018.
Gerhard Schubert, as founder of the packaging machine manufacturing company that bears his name, is one of the most influential developers and thinkers in the packaging industry. With his idea to handle complex packaging tasks with modularly designed, flexible machines, he initiated the successful growth of his company, which continues to this day. This is based on his tireless drive and his very unique ability to always think one step ahead of the market.
Gerhard Schubert was born on 16 July 1938 in Crailsheim in Baden-Württemberg. He began his professional career at the age of 15 as a mechanic at packaging machine manufacturer Strunck in Crailsheim. Following his apprenticeship, he worked first as a designer at Strunck, then at the Kugler company in Schwaebisch Hall. In addition to his daytime employment, he began working for himself during the evenings. Finally, in 1964, he founded his own engineering and design office and then in 1966, Gerhard Schubert GmbH Verpackungsmaschinen.
In the same year, in his father’s sculptor’s studio, he developed the first carton erecting and gluing machine (SKA), which packed the world-famous gingerbread at the long-established Weiss company from Nuremberg. Gerhard Schubert continued along his forward-thinking path, and in 1972 he achieved his breakthrough with his modular system for top-loading packaging machines. Still perceived with skepticism at the time, this invention ultimately shaped the entire packaging industry – laying the foundations for today’s state-of-the-art machines.
What didn’t yet exist, he designed himself
Gerhard Schubert is a visionary with great perseverance. And this is exactly what continues to make the company so successful. In 1981, Schubert introduced the world’s first packaging robot at the interpack fair, revolutionising the packaging industry. “I wanted to develop a machine built according to human principles: simple mechanics, high-level intelligence and the use of tools. That is how we built our machines.” Perhaps above all, Gerhard Schubert saw the long-term success of packaging robots as based on balancing out more control with less mechanics. Since in the 1990s there wasn’t any software on the market that could take on the task of packaging machine control for him, he developed his own control system. In 1996, the company launched the first machine with a control system developed by Schubert.
Gerhard Schubert’s innovations, such as modular and intelligent top-loading packaging machines, are being adopted by packaging machine manufacturers around the world. Flexible and modular: the secret behind the success of TLM technology is the simple mechanical design of the packaging machines and the associated clarity and accessibility of all their functions. This principle continues to guide the decisions of the company, which today in its second generation is run by Gerhard Schubert’s son Ralf Schubert. Johannes Schubert, Gerhard’s grandson, is also now working at the company.
Even today, Gerhard Schubert, in his role as Managing Partner, comes to his company every day and is involved in new developments and the planned company expansion at the Crailsheim location.
Awarded the Federal Cross of Merit
The pioneer of the packaging industry also continues to play an active role outside his company. In 2016, on the occasion of the company’s 50th anniversary and in recognition of his achievements, Gerhard Schubert was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for his life’s work and his social commitment to the region. Additionally, Gerhard Schubert’s exceptionally charitable, social and voluntary work has been honoured with the Economic Medal of the High-Tech State of Baden-Württemberg, the Media Prize from local newspapers and the Medal of Merit of the District of Schwaebisch Hall. Gerhard Schubert is deeply rooted in his homeland and is clearly committed to Germany as industrial location. In Crailsheim, he provides secure employment to a staff of 900 within the Group of companies. And, last but certainly not least, the company is one of the most popular employers in the region, where enjoyment at work and pioneering developments go hand in hand – precisely the values that Gerhard Schubert has embodied for over 50 years.