The owner of Rhenus Lub explains which two world firsts that are “made in Mönchengladbach” are developed by the company and why the lubricant manufacturer now also offers machines. He also talks about Kofi Annan’s Global Compact initiative.
Dr. Reiners, tomorrow you will be making a presentation at the KSS specialist coolants trade fair in Stuttgart on two world firsts that are “made in Mönchengladbach”. What are they?
Dr. Max Reiners: On the one hand we have developed a new type of coolant—called rhenus FU 800—that performs significantly better than comparable materials, but which contains no harmful substances. The background for this is that new labelling requirements come into force in June that apply to all chemicals. These requirements have turned out to be much more extensive than the previous requirements. However, our new coolant is produced without amines, boric-acid based additives or formaldehyde as a preservative. This is why it is not affected by the new labelling requirements, and this gives the product very good market opportunities.
And the other new product?
Reiners: The second world first is the FluidSafe diagnostic device. This is a kind of mobile test lab that monitors the bacterial content in the coolants used and immediately gives the user the level of the bacterial content. This is something completely new in the industry. Previously people had to keep taking samples and sending them off, which obviously took much longer and caused significant production losses. FluidSafe is going to be a success story and demand is already very high. Development has taken us five years, but we will rent the devices out, rather than selling them.
Is the intention of this to keep the secret of the miracle machine?
Reiners: Exactly. The expertise we have put into this is unique and needs to remain a trade secret. The device is also manufactured by a company from Mönchengladbach.
In late 2014, the Dahlener End playground got a makeover with your money. Your company has a tradition of corporate social responsibility; what does this allow you to achieve?
Reiners: When it comes to attracting new employees, it is also a question of how my potential employer is committed to the city. Can my family feel at home there? Is it a company that only takes, or does it also give? Topics like this are even becoming increasingly important when talking with customers.
What do Kofi Annan and his Global Compact initiative have to do with it?
Reiners: I met Kofi Annan in 2010 and he told me about this initiative, which works to promote human rights. Since 2011, we have been committed to following ten principles that support human
rights, workers’ rights and environmental protection, and that are against corruption. This is why we review very closely which countries we do business with, or not, for instance.
Is the plan to hand over the company to one of your children at some point?
Reiners: Yes, hopefully my successor will come from within the family. Rhenus Lub is and should continue to be a family business.
Is it getting more difficult to find suitable professionals?
Reiners: The demographic factor has really hit hard. It is and continues to be very difficult to find employees who have a technical background and to convince them to switch to sales. We prefer engineers; pure sales people would be out of place.
How do you feel about the development of Mönchengladbach — Minto, Rheydter City, Nordpark and Regiopark?
Reiners: Compared to the past 25 years, Mönchengladbach has developed very positively. It is a close cooperation. As an entrepreneur, you feel welcome in the city. The issues of safety, cleanliness and Borussia play an important role. What are referred to as “soft location factors” have a decisive significance, both in attracting new customers and new employees.
What role does Minto play in this?
Reiners: Minto plays a direct and an indirect role in improving the attractiveness of the city centre and I also anticipate a whole lot of secondary effects from this shopping centre.
What further investments does the city need to keep industry efficient?
Reiners: Overall we are very satisfied with the infrastructure. The University is and will continue to be an important partner to our company. At Rhenus Lub, we are planning to build a new oil factory along the same lines as our grease factory. The investment for the new building will be in the tens of millions. The new, fully automated factory should be up and running by 2018 at the latest.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams will be a guest at the KFH. You are a patron of the initiative group. Why do so many Mönchengladbach entrepreneurs get involved in this way?
Reiners: After Lindau, Mönchengladbach is the city that has hosted the most Nobel Prize winners. We are glad that we have such a dedicated driving force for this initiative in MGMG CEO Peter Schlipköter. This is a series of events that is worth continuing.
What awaits us with Jody Williams?
Reiners: She is a very lively, highly competent American with Italian roots and plenty of temperament. As a child she wanted to be the Pope, which shows that she has always been reaching for the stars. In 1997 she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in the fight for the ban on land mines.
Dr. Max Reiners is the owner of the Mönchengladbach family business Rhenus Lub. His company manufactures coolants and lubricant greases and also offers a fluid-management service. FluidSafe is the world first that Rhenus Lub will be debuting in Stuttgart tomorrow.