Chair of Technology and Innovation Management

Rastal - How tradition meets innovation

In the virtual guest lecture, Thomas Nieraad (CEO) and Carsten Kehrein (Chief Designer) gave an insight into the exciting history of the digital transformation of a company that is over 100 years old.

Thomas Nieraad (CEO) and Carsten Kerhein (Chief Designer) gave an impressive presentation to the more than 100 participants in the "Innovation Management" lecture in the WHU Bachelor of Science Program, demonstrating that a glass is not just a glass and, above all, can be cleverly digitized.

The family-owned company from Höhr-Grenzhausen, which can be described as a hidden champion, is considered a market leader when it comes to the design and production of branded glass. Since 1964, the company has been producing branded glasses for all beverage industries, manufacturers and service providers, which are associated with an inimitable design. The Bitburger Cup or the Warsteiner Tulip serve as examples. In total, the glasses have already won over 200 design awards. Rastal covers the entire value-added process from technical and creative development to production and delivery. 

Inspired by the megatrends of digitalisation and the Internet of Things (IoT), Rastal has developed new printing processes to permanently bond so-called NFC (Near Field Communication) chips to a glass. As a result, each glass receives its own identifiable code. The Rastal "Smartprint" process allows digital content to be called up with an end device, such as a smartphone. This solution was developed as a "white label", so that any manufacturer or brand can use this technology.

Rastal's "smart" glass offers a variety of new applications and business models, such as the identification of samples in laboratories, the dosage of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry, the optimisation of ordering processes and entire supply chains in the hospitality industry, as well as new communication and advertising formats for manufacturers. With its "Smartglass", Rastal is creating a platform which supports the topics "Track & Trace", "Payment", "Inventory", "Deposit Management", "Digital Laboratory" and many more across all industries. 

Rastal's example impressively demonstrates how tradition and innovation can be successfully combined. Rastal's success is reflected in numerous awards, such as the "German Innovation Award" in gold, the nomination for the "Digital Champion Award", as well as the distinction as "Digital Pioneers" in medium-sized businesses or the winning of the "Innovation Award Rhineland-Palatinate". 

We thank Mr. Nieraad and Mr. Kehrein very much for this inspiring presentation!