Remanufacturing of used packing machines with the seal of quality “Made in Germany”

Quality “Made in Germany” is a promise of German machinery and plant engineers that they have to prove with every single product. “Used German Machines” (UGM GmbH) from Magdeburg in the Eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt uses this as promotion in its company name. UGM specialises in the remanufacturing of packing systems for the beverage and dairy industry. Almost all the machines and systems supplied by UGM go to customers abroad. In order to serve the Asian region even better in future, UGM recently founded an independent branch in Malaysia.

A sparing use of finite resources is one of the important factors driving innovations in machinery and plant engineering.  This applies not just to technological new developments but also to the remanufacturing of used products. Repair and technical overhaul are globally in demand. A business concept has been developed out of this by entrepreneur René Schneider, the Managing Director of the “Used German Machines” (UGM), who has been based in Magdeburg since 1998. “Our main business is the import and export of used and technically remanufactured TetraPak® packing systems”, says the firm owner.

A portion of these original systems was already produced by the world market leader for Tetra Pak® over a decade ago. Not every customer can afford new modern systems that require an investment of several million euros. This is not just the case for new market entrants from emerging and developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

This is where the company UGM comes in. All over the world, it buys up used systems, machinery and machine parts for the packing of foodstuffs such as milk, soft drinks and other food products, recycles these systems according to customers’ wishes and sells them on. With this, UGM is adopting the basic concept of remanufacturing and turning it into an export hit: The remanufacturing of used machinery is regarded as a forward-looking approach to dealing with the Earth’s finite resources in an environmentally and climate-friendly way. Scientific forecasts predict that remanufacturing will play an increasingly important part in industrial production in the coming years.

The systems that UGM processes consist of up to 7,000 parts, which are disassembled, cleaned, checked and if necessary replaced. UGM buys up spare parts around the world, in order to be able to supply them to its customers straight away when necessary. This way customers can avoid unprofitable stoppages of their machinery.

UGM is not, however, in competition with the globally leading manufacturer of new Tetra Pak® systems. In the so-called emerging and developing countries, there are many interested parties who cannot afford to invest in new machines, explains Managing Director Schneider. In comparison, remanufactured originals are substantially cheaper and can mean a new beginning for some companies, something which is also followed with interest by the Swiss manufacturer of new machines. This is the reason why it supports UGM by supplying replacement parts.

The reference list of the Magdeburg-based company comprises deliveries across the globe – from Guatemala to Iran, to Zimbabwe and Tunisia. The remanufactured quality products offered by UGM to its customers are up to 60 percent cheaper than new machines.  The greatest savings potentials are to be found in the cost of materials. The company gives a 12-month warranty on all products.

With its company philosophy of “made in Germany” remanufacturing of foodstuff packing systems, UGM has now risen to become the leading European player. Every month, two plants are being supplied by “Used German Machines” to all over the world. At its headquarters in Magdeburg, the company possesses production capacities on an area of 11,000 square metres. Part of the production is outsourced to a branch in Mexico, which supplies the North and Latin American market.

With its new production site in Malaysia, “Used German Machines” aims to improve its future supplying of foodstuff packing machines and systems to the Asian region between Pakistan and Indonesia.  Managing Director René Schneider is certain that the further development of business in Asia will also strengthen the company headquarters in the area of marketing and sales.

In order to expand its field of business, the company from Saxony-Anhalt in Germany is focusing upon the further development of Industry 4.0 and the theme of sustainability in mechanical engineering.  The medium-sized company employs skilled personnel in its own IT department to attract and process orders around the world via the internet. The employees of UGM speak nine different languages.The remanufacturing of systems, machines and tools will play an increasingly important role, especially in countries poor in raw materials, but also in view of energy and raw material costs globally, which account for a growing proportion of total production costs. Remanufacturing also makes a major contribution to saving several million tons of CO2 emissions a year, which would be produced by the manufacturing of new machines.

author: Uwe Seidenfaden


From 3 to 9 September 2017, in Singapore, Germany Trade & Invest will be informing readers about the cluster SMAB (Sondermaschinen und Anlagenbau / Special-Purpose Machine and Plant Engineering) from the Eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The main focus in this will be on the network’s particular expertise in the field of remanufacturing. 

At an investor event together with the Investment and Marketing Company Saxony-Anhalt, companies and research institutions will be pointing out the special opportunities that Singaporean companies will find if they settle in Saxony-Anhalt. The region is regarded as the source of top engineering work. The company “Used German Machines” (UGM GmbH) from Saxony-Anhalt’s state capital Magdeburg wants to offer evidence of this in Singapore. In order to also be able to serve the Asian region in the future, UGM has recently founded an independent branch in Malaysia.

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