Norbert Steinkemper

Production technology from aviation in the fight against corona – Broetje Automation and Klünemann Tie Factory launch innovative pilot project


Turning the crisis into an opportunity – this is the motto under which two unusual partners have joined forces to make their contribution to the fight against the corona pandemic: Klünemann Krawattenfabrik and Broetje-Automation have started to develop an automated mask production with the support of the state of Lower Saxony. MdL and Minister of Science Björn Thümler presented the funding decisions for the “AutoMASK” project in Rastede today.

AutoMASK project

Rastede. In the course of the corona pandemic, mouth and nose protection masks have become an everyday object. The demand for reusable and high-quality protective masks, which are now almost exclusively handmade, has literally exploded within a few weeks. This has brought together two very different partners: Klünemann Krawattenfabrik – a family-run medium-sized manufacturer of ties, bows, tuck-ins and accessories and Broetje-Automation, a leading expert for production processes in the aerospace industry, are joining forces to pave the way for automated production of reusable mouth-nose protective masks.
In the joint project “AutoMASK” – Automated Mask Production from Lower Saxony”, established manufacturing processes from aerospace production are modified and transferred to the textile industry. The project is funded by the Ministry of Economics of Lower Saxony within the scope of the aviation funding guidelines of the state with almost 190 TEUR.
“The aviation industry is particularly affected by the effects of the corona pandemic. This makes it all the more important that our companies actively use their outstanding technological expertise to emerge from the current crisis stronger than before. We are pleased to be able to make a contribution here with the state’s own aviation research program,” explained Minister of Economic Affairs Dr. Bernd Althusmann.

New market opportunities through automation

For the participating companies, the project offers the chance to develop new market potentials.  “The market analysis has shown that the textile industry today is almost entirely based in the Far East with manual production. The production technologies we have developed in recent years, e.g. from the continuous production of CFRP semi-finished products, and our experience in linking complex process steps into integrated machines and systems, offer us the opportunity to enter a completely new industry,” explained Lutz Neugebauer, CEO of Broetje-Automation. For the aerospace specialist from Rastede, the project that has now been launched will therefore serve as a pilot application, also for further steps towards more automation in industrial textile production.
Alfons Klünemann, founder and CEO of Klünemann Krawattenmanufaktur, confirms this potential: “We have the ambition to implement the label “Made in Germany” through a mix of high quality manual work and modern machinery. The fashion house and the end consumer are provided with a high-quality product at a fair price. Further steps towards automation will offer the chance to bring more textile production to Germany in the future, thus securing jobs and creating new ones.

Strengthening the innovative power in the northwest

The two managing directors also expressed their thanks for the support of politics and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which established the contacts between the companies and played a decisive role in bringing about the cooperation with unbureaucratic help and very quick approval of the funding. For the local member of the state parliament and Minister of Science Björn Thümler, who presented the notice of funding, it was a matter of course: “One must seize such opportunities to help the companies quickly and as unbureaucratically as possible. I am proud that we have such innovative entrepreneurs in Lower Saxony,” Thümler emphasized. “The pilot project also shows how important networking within a region is. Thanks to the smooth coordination with the companies, we were able to set the course for the start of the project in a short time together with the Oldenburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the NBANK and the Ministry of Economics”, Thümler said.
During the concluding tour, the guests were given an insight into the latest production technologies in the aviation industry, and especially the innovations developed at Broetje-Automation in the course of the Corona crisis, such as a disinfection robot or a system for rapid body temperature measurement.

About Klünemann

The Klünemann Krawattenfabrik GmbH, located in Essen (Oldenburg), was founded in 1991 by Alfons Klünemann and produces ties, bows, tuck-ins and other accessories. The family-owned company specializes in delivering all articles to retailers just-in-time within 24 hours. The company continuously invests in the most modern equipment from Germany and Italy to meet the characteristic of “Germany’s most modern tie manufactory”. The in-house photovoltaic system and the plastic-free, environmentally friendly presentation packaging round off the sustainable orientation.
Further information is available at

About Broetje-Automation

Broetje-Automation is the world’s leading expert for production processes in the aerospace industry. At 23 locations and service centers worldwide, we plan and implement machines and systems for aircraft assembly. Building on more than 40 years of experience in the integration of production lines in the aerospace industry, Broetje-Automation has developed a concept for the continuous forming and processing of fiber composite structures, which is now the basis for the step into the automation of textile production.
Further information is available at


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