Gottfried Mehnert passed away peacefully on 1 August 2022 at the age of 87 surrounded by his family. The Bekum Group mourns the loss of its company founder and the plastics industry is losing an outstanding personality who, with his inventiveness, has decisively changed and sustainably shaped extrusion blow molding over decades.
Gottfried Mehnert is a pioneer of plastics technology. At the age of 21, he developed his first blow molding machine and, with his inventiveness and visions, has since decisively contributed to the history of blow molding technology. As the founder of Bekum Maschinenfabriken GmbH (1959 in Berlin), he built up a globally successful group of companies. This is evidenced by more than 18,000 machines delivered in over 100 countries around the world as well as groundbreaking innovations that have resulted in over 40 patents.
Mr. Gottfried Mehnert
At the time of Bekum's founding, it was customary to inflate and shape the extruded hose from below. Probably the most remarkable inventions of Gottfried Mehnert, which represent today's industry standard, are the development of a process for blowing the bottle from above and the first ring surface calibration in the world, which made the tight closure for bottle caps possible in the first place.
His inventiveness paved the way for further trend-setting developments in the extrusion blow molding machine sector. These include PVC blow molding for edible oil and water bottles in the 60s and the invention of the world's first double-sided shuttle machine, which was presented for the first time at the plastics trade fair "K" in Düsseldorf in 1963. In the 70s, the hitherto well-known co-extrusion, consisting of 3 layers, became a 6-layer co-extrusion through a further development of Mehnert. Only the 6-layer co-extrusion opened up new markets for oxygen-sensitive liquids and diffusion-tight fuel tanks. Other inventions, such as the tie-bar-free locking system at the end of the 80s, make Bekum a world leader in blow molding technology. Thanks to his unparalleled achievements for the plastics industry, he was honored to be inducted into the Academy Plastics Hall of Fame in 2006.
Six years ago, Gottfried Mehnert placed the management and shares of the group of companies in the hands of his youngest son Michael, who has since given the company new impetus, such as the new machines of the all-electric 8 Series, the award-winning machine design, energy-saving extruders and a modern Industry 4.0-capable control system.
Since then, Gottfried Mehnert has advised his son with his decades of experience and was until recently a dynamic and tireless pioneer in the service of the plastics industry, to which he dedicated more than 60 years of his life. It was difficult for him to withdraw from active day-to-day business because Bekum was one of his children, as he recently noticed again. He was a hands-on managing director who set many impulses with his competence and broad knowledge and took time for the interests of his employees.
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