1968 An early information service for the Plastics Industry (Kunststoff Wochen Dienst)
In Germany the period starting roughly in of the Mid-Sixties was the climax of the economical post-war recovery. TV and car-ownership had almost reached saturation point.
House-building was still in full swing and lots of new materials and systems were being used.
Central heating and underfloor systems were about to enter the market, favoured by the development of new plastics materials which made installations cheaper, faster, and easier to make. Trade magazines were hungry for news items to fill editorial space between all those adverts by builders and tradesmen.
Therefore, in 1969 Winfried Hamich (1938 – 2009) set up an information service by the name of Informationszentrale Kunststoffe with the aim of collecting and supplying market data about plastic materials in buildings.
After Winfried Hamich had graduated at Civil Engineering he studied Geography and Political Sciences at Darmstadt University and then became a teacher. Besides, he was part of various professional committees, looking after their public relations as a journalist.
Winfried’s ongoing co-operation with the Institute for Building with Plastics inevitably led to the birth of a huge archive on companies, products and markets. He wrote and published well over 100 news-items on related issues and subsequently established very close relationships with the pioneers of systems with plastic materials for building, as well as with countless manufacturers of domestic installation pipes.
1974 Regular Newsletter and Market Surveys
Winfried soon realized that there was a wider market for his data than for just filling editorial space in trade-mags so he set about to publish a regular newsletter himself. The first issue of the weekly KWD newsletter was published in September 1974; it will celebrate its 40 years anniversary later this year. Originally printed on its trade-mark green paper it was taken digital and distributed via e-mail in the late Nineties.
Coverage of more products was added in due course, such as windows, foils, doors, and insulation. Some were later spun off into a separate news service, some others were simply shed.
It soon became a popular forum for the HEVAC industry to present novelties, discuss market trends, and comment on certifications.
During those years of relentless growth the data-publishing business was conducted as a family affair in the basement of Winfried’s house at Darmstadt. Every family member had to contribute their share to the almost weekly task of assembling the countless piles of green sheets into newsletters, enveloping them, adding the addresses and stamps, and then carrying them to the post office.
Within 20 years this activity had grown to become a fully-fledged business in its own right so that Winfried decided to leave his teaching job altogether in 1995.
Drawing on ample material from a rapidly growing data-bank he started issuing market surveys on national and global usage rates of pipes and fittings for Plumbing & Heating systems. The late Nineties were also marked by the rise of installation systems using aluminium composite pipes and countless coupling systems. The plastics had by then overtaken metal as the material of choice for installation pipes.
2001 KWD launches English language “KWD-globalpipe”
As KWD’s publishing service grew into the leading source of reference for decision-makers in the Plumbing & Heating as well as Air Conditioning Industries (HEVAC) the need for an international edition in English became overwhelming. Therefore, KWD – globalpipe was launched in spring 2001, via e-mail only.
Together, the two newsletters have become the benchmark standard for their industries.
At the same time, KWD started publishing their market surveys in English as well. Supported by an immaculately up-dated data-bank, KWD can now offer global statistical and market data on most aspects of hot-water, heating, drainage, and air conditioning systems and break them down to suit individual requirements re. countries, products, suppliers, etc.
When Winfried died in June 2009 his daughter Jutta Hix (née Hamich) who had joined the business in 2005 swiftly moved to the helm of KWD. She is helped by her sister Michaela Hamich-Helbrecht and her brother Ralf Hamich as well as by several more employed resp. free-lance staff members.
The company continue publishing KWD SHK i.e. HEVAC, KWD-globalpipe, KWD-Windows (in German only) as well as numerous market surveys for the pipes & fittings industries.
The second generation have introduced a few optical changes to the outward appearance of KWD products but the founding principle remains unchanged :
To supply neutrally reported and unbiased news by not accepting paid-for advertising and thus not having to do the advertisers’ bidding.
For any further information, please contact Mrs. Jutta Hix E-Mail
(Author: Dieter Finkenstedt, Sandizell/Germany. Co-Author of KWD-globalpipe from 2001 – 2006)