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.
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.