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Baust: awarded for its innovation

The Langenfeld company for material flow systems won the TOP 100 innovation competition in Germany

Traditional mechanical engineering paired with curiosity and drive: The Langenfeld-based family company Baust Material Flow Systems has now been awarded in the TOP 100 innovation competition in Germany. In the class of companies with up to 50 employees, Baust is one of the 100 most innovative companies. In particular, the jurors praised the company’s good external orientation.

Franz Baust took over the company from his father and uncle in 1996. At that time, the focus was on conveyor technology and punching technology. They still exist today as part of the Baust group. Precision rollers and conveyor rollers will also continue to be manufactured in Langenfeld. However, the entrepreneur looked for a market niche for his handling and control technology and then worked with his pallet changers to become the global technology leader.

“We want to be the world’s best provider of pallet changing systems,”

is how managing director Franz Baust describes his vision.

Its pallet changers are sold all over Europe, Asia and the USA. They are used to move goods from one pallet to the next – for example, from one-way to reusable pallets or when entering a food storage area on hygienic plastic or aluminum pallets.

Baust used the Internet early on to draw attention to his products. Its specialty are technical challenges. Simply exchange one pallet for the next, others can do that too. But Baust’s pallet changers also manage to process very sensitive or difficult-to-grip goods. The company has experience with the requirements of the food and pharmaceutical industries, has produced for clean rooms and tight storage facilities, for example on cruise ships.

“We are everywhere where engineering is fun,”

says Franz Baust.

For this purpose, he brings fresh know-how into the company. He regularly awards bachelor’s and master’s theses to prospective mechanical engineers and electrical engineers. He works a lot with universities and receives research grants from the federal government. Most recently, his team developed a pallet changer that automatically recognizes which goods and pallets are on it. This means that this pallet changer can independently adjust its parameters to the individual goods and carry out each change quickly. Before that, Baust designed a very compact pallet changer especially for clean rooms, which complies with the highest hygiene standards and at the same time saves a lot of energy compared to previous models.

The current topic at Baust is comprehensive digitalisation of all processes.

“This enables us to react even faster in all areas,”

emphasizes Franz Baust.

The customers’ machines are already supervised worldwide by remote maintenance from the service engineers. The sales employees have their ears “on the market” and together with the customers consider how they can make their work easier. In team discussions – also with creative methods – the engineers then look for solutions to the requirements together. As a result, more than 20 different models have been created for pallet changers, both as stand-alone models and for integration into large logistics systems. Most of the employees have been with the company for many years. This continuity combined with the new input from the students and the varied exchange at trade fairs and with customers ensures that Baust material flow systems will remain the number one for everyone who is looking for high-quality pallet changers.

Official message from the TOP100 jury:

Baust Material Flow Systems awarded innovation champion

Überlingen – Let go of the old and dare new: Innovative companies such as Baust Material Flow Systems from Langenfeld are not afraid of change, but see it as an opportunity. With this the company convinced at the 27th round of the TOP 100 innovation competition. Baust Material Flow Systems officially belongs to the TOP 100 from June 19th. In the scientific selection process, the company impressed in size class A (up to 50 employees), particularly in the category “external orientation / open innovation”.

Baust Material Flow Systems, a subsidiary of the Baust group, specializes in pallet changing systems. And there is a need for this: In many cases, goods that are delivered on pallets must be relocated to aluminum or plastic pallets before they can be used again. For hygienic reasons, there is no way around this cumbersome procedure, for example in the pharmaceutical or food industry. The pallet changing systems from Baust ensure that this process makes as little trouble as possible.

The family company from Rhineland has set itself a goal: “We want to be the world’s best provider of pallet changing systems” is the vision of the TOP 100 company. However, there are only a handful of competitors worldwide, explains Managing Director Franz Baust. This is probably also because pallet changers are not series products, but customized.
In their work, Managing Director Baust and his team of almost 50 rely on external impulses. The top innovator works with universities and other research institutions. “Our employees love to adapt to new customer needs and the associated challenges every time,” says Baust.

TOP 100: the competition

Since 1993, compamedia has been awarding the TOP 100 award for special innovative strength and above-average innovation success to companies. The scientific management has been in the hands of Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke. Franke is the founder and board member of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar is the mentor of TOP 100. Project partners are the Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research and the BVMW. As a media partner, manager magazin, impulse and W&V accompany the company comparison. More information at