Current press releases of the BHS group of companies

September 7, 2023 | BHS-Sonthofen receives order for BASF battery recycling plant

September 7, 2023 | BHS-Sonthofen receives order for BASF battery recycling plant

BHS-Sonthofen is supplying a battery recycling plant for the production of black mass at BASF's Schwarzheide site - for BHS this is already the third large-scale plant for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. ©BASF SE

September 7, 2023 | BHS-Sonthofen receives order for BASF battery recycling plant

BHS-Sonthofen is supplying BASF with a plant for the mechanical reprocessing of lithium-ion batteries into black mass. This marks the third large-scale plant for BHS, with the first one having operated successfully for over a year. As a result, customers can benefit from the combined experience and know-how of this machinery and plant manufacturer from the South German Allgäu region, providing them with increased investment security.

”In the period of just over two years, we have successfully implemented two large-scale plants in Europe in addition to two pilot plants in the field of battery recycling. With the third large-scale project, we are now reaching a high degree of maturity of a still very young, novel recycling process,” comments Daniel Zeiler, Vice President in the Recycling Technology Business Unit at BHS-Sonthofen. “We are particularly proud that we have been able to secure another renowned and innovative customer like BASF.”

At the end of June 2023, BASF, together with partners and customers celebrated the opening of Europe's first co-located center for battery material production and battery recycling. A significant component is the plant supplied by BHS for the mechanical processing of lithium-ion batteries. This plant is seen as an important step towards closing the loop for the European battery value chain and raw material supply, ultimately reducing the CO2 footprint.

Scheduled to commence operations in 2024, the plant will have a processing capacity of 15,000 metric tons of spent lithium-ion batteries and scrap from battery production per year. The BASF facility is currently under construction in Schwarzheide, Brandenburg, where it already produces cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries. The black mass produced at the plant contains valuable metals such as nickel, cobalt and lithium, which undergo chemical extraction in a subsequent processing step at BASF. These metals are then utilized in the production of new battery materials.

Recycling plant meets the high safety standards of the chemical industry

BHS-Sonthofen and BASF both equally benefit from this extensive cooperation. ”The plant in Schwarzheide is being constructed to the highest environmental, health and safety standards. To meet our customer’s stringent requirements, we have developed tailored solutions for our machines and components in close coordination with BASF,” Daniel Zeiler explains, reflecting on the results of the first year of cooperation.

Knut Zöllner, Senior Vice President at BASF, confirms, “In BHS-Sonthofen, we have chosen a partner who seamlessly combines the worlds of classic recycling technology and chemical process technology particularly well, complementing BASF's own experience.”

Exceptional material disintegration

In 2020, BHS-Sonthofen introduced its innovative and safe process for recycling lithium-ion batteries. The mechanical process consists of the main stages of crushing, drying and screening. Crushing takes place in two stages, enabling exceptional material disintegration and yielding the valuable black mass as the main product. This process achieves high recovery rates, depending on customer requirements, while maintaining the highest quality standards. Moreover, the continuous gas-tight process from shredder to dryer, ensures a safe evaporation of electrolytes, meeting BASF's stringent criteria for plant safety and environmental compatibility.

BHS vacuum dryer extracts electrolytes

The heart of the plant is the vacuum dryer of type HTC, which gently heats the crushed batteries. Here, too, BHS utilizes its in-house technologies and expertise: through its Process Technology business unit, the company is a leading global supplier of process technology components and systems for the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food industries.

During the heating process, the electrolyte remaining after crushing evaporates, while the material is gently homogenized and further broken down autogenously. The electrolyte components can be recovered via the multi-stage condensation unit. As a key element of this innovative recycling process, BHS has already supplied the vacuum dryer to market companions and customers with large-scale battery recycling plants.

Over the past two years, BHS-Sonthofen has further optimized the technologies and process parameters used in the process, focusing on material selection, work safety, and ease of maintenance. “For example, operation of the shredders is now easier and safer. Additionally, enhanced accessibility allows for better cleaning and maintenance of the machines,” says Zeiler. Furthermore, BHS incorporated valuable operating experience gained from pilot and large-scale plants into the Schwarzheide project, ensuring efficient scaling.

“Battery recycling is a crucial prerequisite for fostering the circular economy and meeting EU quota requirements,” Zeiler concludes. "We are currently witnessing substantial investments in battery recycling on a global scale, and recycling technology is continuously improving. The process from BHS-Sonthofen has now more than proven itself in practice."


January 19, 2023 | BHS-Sonthofen announces leadership changes in the Recycling Technology division

January 19, 2023 | BHS-Sonthofen announces leadership changes in the Recycling Technology division

Former Director of Sales for Recycling Technology at BHS-Sonthofen Alfred Weber (left) standing together with Daniel Zeiler, who is taking over as Vice President of the division.

January 19, 2023 | BHS-Sonthofen announces leadership changes in the Recycling Technology division

The Recycling Technology division at BHS-Sonthofen is reporting a personnel change. Daniel Zeiler has taken over as the head of the division. Alfred Weber, who had successfully managed sales for the company’s Recycling Technology division since 2007, retired at the end of last year.

Alfred Weber has witnessed a number of milestones at BHS-Sonthofen. The Recycling division was still in its infancy when Mr. Weber started working in sales at BHS 20 years ago. At that time, he was in the construction machinery and special mixing technology sales area. Starting in 2007, Mr. Weber was put in charge of sales for the Recycling division. “The initial challenge was to build the sales network for recycling machinery and associated solutions from the ground up. Back then, it was about machines and plants with impact crushing, which were already used for the processing of residual materials containing metal. It was only years later that the tearing and cutting technology was added,” reports the skilled chemical worker and process engineer. BHS now offers complete plant solutions, including control and sorting technology, all from a single source. BHS has developed proprietary innovative processes such as the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, keeping in tune with the times. “Mr. Weber has been instrumental in making BHS an established brand in the recycling industry today. We sincerely thank him for his work and commitment over the past 20 years,” says Dennis Kemmann, Managing Director of BHS-Sonthofen, summing up Mr. Weber’s career with the company.

BHS continues to grow with recycling expert Daniel Zeiler

As BHS moves into the future, it will be Daniel Zeiler’s task to further establish the company’s foothold in this market segment. Hailing from the Rhineland, Mr. Zeiler, who is 48 years old, has worked closely in the area of machinery and plant engineering for the recycling industry for over 20 years. He spent more than ten years in a management position with an international equipment supplier for the scrap processing industry and most recently he spent five years as head of sales at a plant manufacturer in the plastics recycling industry. Mr. Zeiler joined BHS-Sonthofen in September 2022. “We have exciting tasks at BHS, as we will continue to build up the new market segments, such as battery recycling, and at the same time grow with the established products, such as the processes for fine processing of metalliferous wastes. I see great potential in this intersection of proven products and new ideas – and at BHS, the necessary know-how and innovative spirit to develop new solutions for the industry,” says Daniel Zeiler, pleased about having switched to BHS now.

Future-oriented strategy and new point of contact – with a sense of assured continuity

There have been several new developments at BHS-Sonthofen in recent years. One of these developments included a focus on individual business areas, which are now even more closely aligned to the specific needs of the respective customers. Another change involved a consistent expansion of the product and service portfolio. Mr. Zeiler now heads the Recycling Technology division. His position as Vice President combines the responsibilities for sales, project engineering, process development, and the test center. “We are delighted to welcome Mr. Zeiler into the fold – a colleague who will maintain continuity in the Recycling Technology division with great pleasure and commitment, while at the same time working with us to further expand the market position of BHS,” remarks Dennis Kemmann on the choice of the new Vice President.

“I am looking forward to continuing the BHS success story as part of a strong team with flat hierarchies. The proximity to the mountains is a clear advantage after having relocated,” says Zeiler, who enjoys pursuing various mountain sports in his spare time, explaining his decision for the new position with a little smile. Alfred Weber confirms the positive working atmosphere and looks back with gratitude on his time at BHS: “It was a nice time: the great colleagues, customers and partners, the short decision-making processes, and an employer who always supported my further personal development. I’ve been able to drive many things forward at BHS over the last 20 years, but now it’s time for me to just drive my Harley instead.”

19 May 2022 | BHS-Sonthofen acquires Eurostar Concrete Technology

19 May 2022 | BHS-Sonthofen acquires Eurostar Concrete Technology

19 May 2022 | BHS-Sonthofen acquires Eurostar Concrete Technology

The Italian manufacturer of planetary mixers Eurostar Concrete Technology S.p.A. and BHS-Sonthofen have joined forces as of March 18, 2022. With the sale to a highly recognized partner, Eurostar’s Managing Director Mario Zaccaron is strengthening the company’s position and ensuring its further development. At the same time, BHS-Sonthofen is expanding its own portfolio of twin-shaft batch concrete mixers to include high-quality planetary mixers for building materials applications for batch sizes up to 6,000 liters. The added solutions will offer customers of both companies additional equipment and service flexibility.

Planetary mixers are widely used to produce precast concrete parts, such as concrete blocks and pipes, as well as special concrete designed for environmental purposes and in the glass industry. By purchasing the Italian manufacturer, BHS-Sonthofen acquires a key technology in the building materials industry, which expands the existing mixer portfolio with another widely used mixing method. In this way, BHS-Sonthofen aims at consolidating its position as a technical expert for quality mixers in the long term. “The combination of twin-shaft batch mixers and planetary mixers as well as other types of mixers enables us to respond more specifically to our customers’ demands,” emphasizes Dennis Kemmann, Managing Director at BHS-Sonthofen. These requirements not only include a flexible choice of equipment for a wide range of tasks, but also a reliable and vast service network. Thanks to the integration of both companies, Eurostar customers will benefit from several additional BHS service hubs and a thorough spare parts management across the globe. “For plant manufacturers and sales partners, the expansion means an even more attractive product portfolio at a high technological level and with robust drive technology.”

March 22, 2022 | BHS-Sonthofen receives record number of incoming orders in the Process Technology division

March 22, 2022 | BHS-Sonthofen receives record number of incoming orders in the Process Technology division

March 22, 2022 | BHS-Sonthofen receives record number of incoming orders in the Process Technology division

Sonthofen, Germany, 22 March 2022. BHS-Sonthofen closed the 2021 financial year with a record number of incoming orders in the Process Technology division. Despite the pandemic, the company saw incoming orders in this business unit increase by 26 percent year-on-year. The process technology experts are optimistic about 2022, as this year, BHS-Sonthofen Process Technology is introducing new, digital features for its rotary pressure filter. Another milestone will arrive in the form of modularized, standardized product range for filters, mixers and dryers.

It has been one year since the BHS-Sonthofen Group repositioned itself with its Building Material Machinery, Recycling & Environment and Process Technology business units. As of 1 January 2021, its process technology expertise has been bundled under the BHS-Sonthofen Process Technology GmbH & Co. KG name. In its first financial year, the newly founded company recorded incoming orders of just under €100 million.

“Despite the international restrictions and uncertainties caused by the pandemic, we exceeded expectations for 2021,” says Volker Spies, Managing Director of BHS-Sonthofen Process Technology, speaking about the very high number of orders. “We see this success as confirmation of our strategic direction.” In the field of process technology, BHS-Sonthofen primarily serves customers from the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. BHS is constantly developing its product portfolio so it can offer them the process technology solutions they need, when they need them. 2022 will also see the company present a series of new products.

Comprehensive process monitoring with advanced rotary pressure filter

These include modifications to the proven rotary pressure filter of type RPF that enable comprehensive inline process monitoring. BHS has revised the continuously operating filtration machine in terms of efficiency and operation, thus making it easier to integrate into the digital processes at the user’s site

A continuous cake thickness measurement allows the filling level in the filtration cells to be recorded during operation. The process parameters are continuously transmitted to a higher-level control system as part of this. If there are fluctuations in the product feed, the filter can automatically adjust the speed to ensure the filtration cells are filled to the optimum level. The measurement is performed using laser technology, which eliminates the need to calculate the cake thickness using the mass balance of the filter. The user benefits from efficient cake washing, consistent product quality and a higher throughput. The cake thickness measurement can also be retrofitted to machines that are already in operation.

Customers also have option to add a feature to automatically monitor the amount of wear for the separator elements, providing them with data they can use to schedule maintenance windows for the machine. This can even be used to have spare parts delivered automatically.

Modularized concepts are a success factor

This year, BHS is also expanding its range of modular machine and plant concepts. The company now offers a standardized product range for common application scenarios. Predefined sizes and components enable cost-effective implementation with short delivery times. All of the components in the modular system are matched to each other and can be combined according to the customer’s exact requirements. Customers can already order standard solutions in a modular system for candle filters and dryers that cover a wide range of applications. In addition, BHS’ high level of process technology expertise means it can offer tailored customer solutions to meet special requirements. This system is available at all BHS locations worldwide.

Integrated filtration and drying systems increase added value

BHS’ broad portfolio of various filtration systems, horizontal and vertical mixing systems and horizontal and vertical drying systems means the process engineering steps of filtration, drying and cooling can be chained together to form compact and optimized systems. These turnkey “package units” – including control, installation and commissioning – can be delivered worldwide via the System Engineering department. In this way, BHS stays true to its mission of “Transforming materials into value” in every area – for the benefit of the customer.

7 October 2021 | BHS-Sonthofen wins medium-sized business award “BAVARIA’S BEST 50”

7 October 2021 | BHS-Sonthofen wins medium-sized business award “BAVARIA’S BEST 50”

Dennis Kemmann, Managing Director of BHS-Sonthofen (middle), together with Prof. Thomas Edenhofer, Managing Partner at the accounting and consulting firm Baker Tilly (left), and the Bavarian State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Roland Weigert (right).

7 October 2021 | BHS-Sonthofen wins medium-sized business award “BAVARIA’S BEST 50”

Every year, the “BAVARIA’S BEST 50” award honors owner-managed companies in Bavaria that have achieved above-average employee and sales growth in the previous five years. BHS-Sonthofen is one of the 50 most dynamic companies in the Free State. The accounting and consulting firm Baker Tilly determined BHS as the winner for the prestigious award: Dennis Kemmann, Managing Director of BHS-Sonthofen, accepted the award in person from the Bavarian State Secretary for Economic Affairs at the Munich Residence.

“In the past one and a half years, we successfully mastered the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic while simultaneously pursuing the further development and expansion of our company as a supplier of process technology solutions and machines in all divisions. This was made possible by identifying and consistently exploiting new opportunities for growth and employment,” said Kemmann, summing up the past eventful years and thanking in particular the employees, customers, and suppliers who made this success possible in the first place. “Creativity and foresight have thus contributed significantly to our economic strength. We are therefore very pleased about this recognition. The porcelain lion stands for entrepreneurial courage, responsibility for the company and its employees, and forward-looking business management.”

Acquisitions of companies and their integration into the Group to expand the service portfolio were an important growth factor. In addition, investments in the in-house test center led to comprehensive development projects and customer trials, and major international projects led to strong growth in both sales and the number of employees, especially at the site in Germany, where new jobs for skilled workers that form the foundation for Bavaria’s high standard of living were created. The owner-operated group of companies which specializes in machinery and plant engineering and is headquartered in Sonthofen, Germany boasts a global presence with 500 employees, three production sites, and nine subsidiaries and continues to grow.

January 26, 2021 | BHS-Sonthofen consolidates process technology expertise within company

January 26, 2021 | BHS-Sonthofen consolidates process technology expertise within company

Dennis Kemmann (CEO of BHS-Sonthofen)

January 26, 2021 | BHS-Sonthofen consolidates process technology expertise within company

BHS-Sonthofen is bringing together its collective process expertise in filtration, mixing, drying, granulation, sterilization and reaction in the newly created Process Technology division. As of 1 January 2021, AVA GmbH & Co. KG and the Filtration Technology division have been operating jointly under the BHS-Sonthofen Process Technology GmbH & Co. KG name with headquarters in Sonthofen and a site in Herrsching. Their activities are targeted primarily at the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

With its acquisition of AVA GmbH & Co. KG in 2018, BHS-Sonthofen expanded its range of solutions and consulting services in and around mixing, drying, granulation, sterilization and reaction. BHS is consolidating its process expertise and portfolio of filtration technology and related products in the newly established BHS-Sonthofen Process Technology GmbH & Co. KG. This marks the final step in the process of integrating AVA into the group.

“We have fully repositioned the company with three business units, Building Materials Machinery, Recycling & Environment, and Process Technology,” reports Dennis Kemmann, CEO of BHS-Sonthofen. “Each of the business units serves specific industries. We work in partnership with customers primarily from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, but also from the food production and other sectors, to develop process technology solutions.”

BHS-Sonthofen Process Technology provides system solutions as well as individual machines and components. The focus is on process engineering consulting for the customer, drawing on the company’s decades of experience acquired in a large number of different projects. One of its core businesses involves testing customer materials. BHS has recently expanded its testing capacity in target markets like the U.S. in an effort to best serve our customers where they are.

Detlef Steidl, former Senior Sales Director at Filtration Technology, and Volker Spies, former Managing Director at AVA, have been named to serve as the Managing Directors at BHS-Sonthofen Process Technology. The two will continue efforts to develop innovative processes and expand the global presence of the company in the core regions of Europe, Asia and North America.

BHS is able to offer a wide range of technologies which it can draw on to provide the ideal solution for the customer’s specific application. Its portfolio includes mixers for homogenization of materials and solutions for mechanical solid-liquid separation, drying and reaction.

“The new structures give us greater flexibility as a process technology solutions provider, which in turn makes us more competitive on the global marketplace,” Kemmann explains.

7 January 2020 | BHS-Sonthofen acquires control systems provider Thoma Elektrosteuerungsanlagen

7 January 2020 | BHS-Sonthofen acquires control systems provider Thoma Elektrosteuerungsanlagen

Dr. Steffen Kämmerer, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at BHS-Sonthofen and Managing Director of the new BHS Control Systems GmbH & Co. KG

7 January 2020 | BHS-Sonthofen acquires control systems provider Thoma Elektrosteuerungsanlagen

With the new year, BHS-Sonthofen significantly expanded its control technology portfolio: effective 1 January 2020, its newly founded subsidiary BHS Control Systems GmbH & Co. KG  acquired Thoma Elektrosteuerungsanlagen GmbH, based in Babenhausen near Memmingen, as part of an asset deal. As a result, BHS-Sonthofen considerably enhances its in-house control technology expertise. In addition to Thoma’s existing business areas, BHS Control Systems is tasked with planning and implementing plant control systems in connection with projects for BHS-Sonthofen and AVA GmbH & Co. KG, acquired in 2018.

Currently home to 15 employees, Thoma Elektrosteuerungsanlagen GmbH was founded by Ferdinand Thoma in Babenhausen in 1988. Its portfolio includes tailor-made control and automation systems (hardware and software) for grain processing and mill operations, mix-feed facilities, and recycling facilities.

“This acquisition enhances both our know-how and our product range,” explains Dennis Kemmann, CEO of BHS-Sonthofen. “At the moment, we’re partly working with external suppliers when it comes to developing control systems. That’s something we want to change step by step.”

BHS-Sonthofen’s own Control Technology division is already well utilised, producing control systems for crushing and filtration facilities. In the future, BHS Control Systems GmbH & Co. KG will provide control solutions for the combined BHS and AVA portfolio in the areas mixing, crushing, shredding, recycling, filtration, drying and reaction processes. BHS Control Systems GmbH & Co. KG will continue to support Thoma’s previous customers.

“With the help of our new employees, we’ll now be able to plan and construct complete plant control solutions - especially in the recycling segment - ourselves,” stresses Dr. Steffen Kämmerer, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at BHS-Sonthofen and Managing Director of the newly founded BHS Control Systems GmbH & Co. KG. “The extended control technology portfolio will allow BHS-Sonthofen to offer turnkey solutions, even for major projects like multi-stage recycling plants. Thus, we’ll be able to deliver BHS’ trusted quality for even more components.”

Thanks to the Siemens-systems-based interface architecture used at Thoma, BHS and its customers are ideally equipped for the future – and all control systems can easily be integrated into I4.0 infrastructures.

30 October 2019 | BHS-Sonthofen launches new sales company in China

30 October 2019 | BHS-Sonthofen launches new sales company in China

Shanghai, situated on the banks of the Yangtze River, is not only China’s gateway to the world thanks to its seaport, but today a cosmopolitan city and the economic engine of China (image source: dk1234 | iStock)

30 October 2019 | BHS-Sonthofen launches new sales company in China

BHS-Sonthofen is opening a sales company in China on November 1st, 2019. The new subsidiary of the German mechanical engineering company will primarily focus on process technology solutions for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries under the company name BHS-Sonthofen Process Solutions (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

“China is already one of the world’s most important markets for our machines, systems and consulting services in process technology,” explains Dennis Kemmann, Managing Director of the BHS-Sonthofen Group. “Due to the vast present and future potential that we see, we decided to expand our market presence by opening our own sales company. BHS will take over all employees of the former sales partner Shanghai JMC Machinery & Equipment Co., Ltd. The new sales company will take up operations with a team of five employees.

The BHS Filtration Technology division is experiencing continuously increasing demand on the Chinese market. The portfolio of BHS, which was recently expanded by the products of the newly acquired company AVA with the solution ranges drying, reacting, mixing and granulating, primarily targets the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Together, the two companies are now increasingly offering technology and consulting services on the Chinese market that cover the entire process from reaction and solid-liquid separation through to drying. BHS-Sonthofen Process Solutions (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. is the second Chinese subsidiary of BHS alongside the production site in Tianjin for mixing, crushing and recycling solutions.

21 August 2019 | BHS-Sonthofen opens new, modern test center

21 August 2019 | BHS-Sonthofen opens new, modern test center

 Mit Außenperipherie befindet sich das neue Test Center am Hauptsitz in Sonthofen auf einer Fläche von mehr als 3.000 Quadratmetern.
Including the exterior, the area that the test center is housed on spans over 3,000 square meters at the headquarter in Sonthofen.

21 August 2019 | BHS-Sonthofen opens new, modern test center

On 26 July 2022, BHS-Sonthofen unveiled a new and state-of-the-art test center in Sonthofen, Germany. The investment of €3.8 million underlines the group’s leading position as a process consultant and solution provider for mechanical process technology with a focus on mixing, crushing, recycling, and filtration technologies. BHS will perform production-scale tests at the center on all machines and processes offered by the company.

“BHS-Sonthofen considers itself first and foremost a specialist that develops optimal process engineering solutions in collaboration with its customers,” notes Dennis Kemmann, Managing Director at BHS-Sonthofen. “This is where we set new industry standards with the test center. The center allows us to map various processes and chain individual machines into systems on a much larger scale than before, as well as enabling us to set up more units overall.”

For all divisions, the technology leader in the fields of mixing, crushing, recycling, and filtration technology performs tests with the customers’ material at the new test center. Compared to the old test center, the equipment was significantly expanded and modernized in all areas. The company has extensive facilities for mixing, crushing, and recycling as well as ultra-modern separation technology for the separation of various materials.

There is a separate area for filtration that features a complete system with state-of-the-art process technology and end-to-end control. The system runs self-sufficiently. In the future, BHS will be able to test customers’ design ideas independently and accurately examine the filtration behavior.

The investment also includes a highly modern dedusting system that far exceeds the requirements of the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG). The system has a suction capacity of 42,000 cubic meters per hour. All facilities are state-of-the-art in terms of their safety features. BHS worked closely with the district authorities to obtain the appropriate permits. The sewage system installed by BHS also clearly exceeds the requirements. All wastewater produced is treated in-house, and certain materials are discharged separately.

The test center is housed on an area of 1,720 square meters, and the entire lot – including the exterior – is over 3,000 square meters. In comparison, the old technical center was only 935 square meters. The new hall is also completely closed off on all sides, which means that tests can be carried out regardless of the prevalent weather conditions. The test center will be up and running at the end of September.