Koehler Paper celebrates 20 years of production line 2

Paper machine 2 is used for the production of thermal paper

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.


2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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