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Dr.-Ing. E. h. Hermann Kronseder, 85, died in his home near Regensburg, Germany, on July 9. The founding father of Krones AG was frequently, almost up to the very end, to be found at the group’s headquarters in Neutraubling. Hermann Kronseder came from a family of craftsmen in the Upper Palatinate. The son of a blacksmith, he served an apprenticeship in the late 1930s as an aircraft production mechanic at the Messerschmitt company in Regensburg after which he was drafted into the military and finished up in a prisoner-of-war camp. These grueling times reinforced his determination to learn more and be master of his own fate. In the late 1940s, he qualified in Regensburg as a master machinist and then as a master electrician. In 1951, at the age of 27, under less-than-easy conditions, he set up his own company in Neutraubling, a “craft enterprise for making electrically powered machines.” He was soon producing semi-automatic labelers from drawings he created at his kitchen table. The first semi-automatic machine was rated at what was then the proud speed of 1,500 labeled bottles an hour.
In 1996, Kronseder moved to Krones’ supervisory board as chairman, and a year later stepped down from this post for health reasons. He saw himself as more of an inventor than an entrepreneur, as he describes so vividly in his autobiography My Life, which has been translated into five languages. His 630 personal patents bear eloquent witness to this. The technological leadership enjoyed by the company he founded, which has evolved into a global leader in the packaging machinery sector, is evidenced by more than 1,600 registered full and utility patents.