Ruth Koppenberger
Vacuum press PIONEER
everyone said it doesn't work -
I believed in it

The modular system of a vacuum press

The idea of a modular vacuum press has been floating around in my head for many years. My producer at the time, my former technicians, i.e. everyone around me, didn't think this idea could be implemented.

When my sales partner retired in 2019 and I took over again, Columbus' product range included almost 15 machines, some in different sizes. A machine was offered for each application. The result was that production could only be made to order, which meant that the result was correspondingly high production costs combined with long delivery times. A situation that I no longer wanted to put up with.

The patent application

My first path led to a renowned patent attorney who didn't think my idea was patentable. Since I didn't want to accept that, I went to the patent office in Vienna with my father (who already had a lot of experience in registering patents). Our contact person there was immediately impressed by my idea and outlined the path we should take. The first step was taken.

A high price

Looking back, the path that ultimately led to the implementation of the Pioneer modular system was the hardest in the company's history. I'm glad I didn't know what to expect. Court proceedings, human disappointments and huge amounts of lost money are just the tip of the iceberg. But - and I agree with this 100% after these experiences - "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

No stone is left unturned

EVERYTHING has changed during this period. The team, the production, the location, the logo, the appearance - and me. The complete restructuring meant that I went into sales after three decades in the company. A big step for me at the time, which I am incredibly happy about today. The contact with my customers and their wishes and needs has never been so close.

New production - implementation of the modular structure of the vacuum press

Finding a partner who not only implements my idea of the modular structure of a vacuum press, but also delivers an extremely high level of mechanical engineering quality that was previously unknown to me, is the best result of the hard path. Finally, the user can start with a simple vacuum press with a flap opening and, if necessary, expand it with a vertical opening mechanism (for taller workpieces and effortless and all-round operation) or a heater for the deformation of plastic sheets. And the best thing is - the machine does not have to go back to the factory; the modules can be assembled by the customer themselves. Just as I imagined.
In addition, Pioneer can now be produced in series in 3 sizes and is usually available from stock. A benefit especially for my customers, who often only decide to purchase a vacuum press when they have an order for curved parts.

A thank you to all companions and the new team

At this point I would like to thank the people who have walked this path with me from the bottom of my heart. Above all, my father, who has been behind me 100% for many years. Just as important are my customers and dealers, whom I was able to inspire with the new modular system. And of course a big thank you to the new production, the development department, but also to everyone who builds these high-quality vacuum presses today and ensures that my customers can enjoy the machine for a very long time and produce great workpieces with it.

Ruth Koppenberger (CEO), Linz/Austria, December 2023
the vacuum press modular system
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