Obituary: Heinz Helmut Kempkes

8 September 2020


We regret to report that Heinz Helmut Kempkes, owner of crane manufacturer Kuli Hebezeuge and a managing partner in since 1982, has passed away at the age of 72.

Kuli was founded in Remscheid in 1922 and was acquired in 1957 by Kempkes’s father Helmut Kempkes, who had founded Helmut Kempkes ten years earlier. Heinz Helmut Kempkes becoming a managing partner of Kuli in 1982 after completing his studies in mechanical engineering and his scientific work at the chair of materials handling at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

Kempkes was an active member of a number of committees: he was a member of the main board of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) since 2004; and a member of the board of the Association of Materials Handling and Intralogistics since 1990, including a spell as chairman from 2003 to 2010. Kempkes played a major role in the creation of the Cranes and Hoists Department in 2004, formed from two divisions, becoming chairman of the new department. He was also involved in the creation of the Research Association Intralogistics / Conveyor Technology and Logistics Systems (IFL) e.V. in 2005.

Kempkes was also a member of the Presidium of the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF); a member of the Presidium of CeMAT and the Logistics Advisory Board of the Hannover Messe; first deputy to the President and latterly a member of the Honorary Senate of the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) in Berlin; and President of the European Materials Handling Federation (FEM).

Kempkes was awarded the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2013, for his outstanding commitment.

As well as working with the VDMA, Kempkes was the founding member of the RAL Gütegemeinschaft Kranservice (GKS) in 1999, which oversees the qualification of services and companies across all crane applications.

The VDMA said in its obituary: “In addition to [Kempkes’s] regional engagements such as spokesman for the Junior Chamber of Commerce, head of the Remscheid District Committee and Vice President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Wuppertal-Solingen-Remscheid as well as his appreciative commitment to the common good as honorary commercial and financial judge, he has been appointed to numerous nationwide and European honorary offices. His extraordinary commitment to the industry was mainly represented by his involvement in the VDMA.”

The commemoration of his work is connected with great thanks and recognition, added the organisation.