Koehler Paper celebrates 20 years of production line 2

Paper machine 2 is used for the production of thermal paper

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Koehler Paper celebrates 20 years of production line 2
L-R Joachim Uhl, mill director at the Kehl site, Joachim Fuchs, production manager for Paper Machine 2, Georg Streif, Kehl production coordinator, and Thomas Peter, production manager, Kehl site next to paper machine 2 Photo: Koehler Paper

Koehler Paper, a Koehler Group company, now has the opportunity to celebrate an unusual birthday at the end of this year. Production line 2, consisting of paper machine 2 and coating machine 2, was put into operation at the Kehl site at the end of 2001 and accordingly has now played a part in the Oberkirch-based family-run enterprise’s success story for a good 20 years.

Paper machine 2 is used exclusively for the production of thermal paper. With a length of 123 meters, the machine is longer than a soccer field. It is also the fastest thermal paper machine globally and is known for coupling its speed with astoundingly consistent quality. This all makes it possible to use it to produce more than 1 million checkout rolls a day, with these slips being found everywhere across the world.

Koehler Paper’s paper machine 2 revolutionized the thermal paper market

Paper machine 2 is the reason why Koehler Paper is so successful in the thermal paper market, as it enabled the company to produce lightweight thermal paper with grammages of less than 50 grams square meter. “Koehler pioneered lightweight thermal paper for POS with grammages of 48 grams square meter and less that transformed the market. Truth is, the machine was predestined to make lightweight thermal paper to this very day,” says Willy Früh, director of Thermal Paper Division at Koehler Paper. “When we talk about thermal paper production, you could say we’ve been playing in the Champions League for 20 years now.

“The fact that the machine keeps beating speed records time and time again and is one of the fastest offline coating machines of its time nowadays is something that we have the production line team to thank for in particular. The production line was also a guiding light for other investments at Koehler,” adds Joachim Uhl, mill director at the Kehl site.

 Paper machine 2 is the fastest thermal paper machine in the world which is used exclusively for the production of thermal paper Photo: Koehler Paper
Paper machine 2 is the fastest thermal paper machine in the world which is used exclusively for the production of thermal paper Photo: Koehler Paper

Continuous optimizations make the paper machine a flagship model. Employees who were to work on production line 2 received training during the planning stage already. This made it possible to smoothly put the machine into operation and quickly start making ready-to-sell paper. However, continuous optimizations were required to guarantee success in the long term.

Georg Streif, the production coordinator at the Kehl site, led the project’s implementation on the production side of things at the time. Together with Joachim Fuchs, who is the production manager for production line 2 today, he takes a look back, “Since we put it into operation, we’ve made around 3,000 optimizations to paper machine 2, and when we put them all together, that’s what has ultimately made the machine what it is today. And we’re still getting a lot of great ideas from our employees. After all, the time after optimization is also the time before the next one.”

At any rate, this has made paper machine 2 an extremely constant and reliable high-availability machine that continues to be industry-leading. We get the best results at speeds of over 1,600 meters a minute.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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