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‘We will offer packaging that does not yet exist’, said Koehler CEO Kai Furler in an interview with the newspaper F.A.Z. at the beginning of 2018. Some readers will have wondered where he got the self-confidence for this bold statement from.
On the one hand, it shows great confidence in the company’s research and development. But it also anticipated what was announced a year later, in January 2019: the founding of the Green Coating Collaboration, a joint laboratory between Koehler and Darmstadt Technical University. The name already hints at the institution’s field of activity. The focus is on barrier coatings that can give flexible packaging paper properties that previously only plastic could offer. These include mineral oil barriers, water vapour barriers or barriers for oils and fats, as well as aroma barriers.
‘We are conducting fundamental research in the Green Coating Collaboration’, explains Dr. Markus Wildberger, Head of Technology at Koehler. ‘Our goal is to find and test more sustainable, bio-based raw materials for barrier coating in order to ultimately use them on production line 8. It is important not to use raw materials that could potentially be used as food. After all, our packaging material should not compete with food for land.’
Koehler has found the perfect partner in Darmstadt Technical University. The research will be headed by Dr. Michael Horn who, after retiring from Koehler, has agreed to take on this demanding task and contribute his immense wealth of experience.
‘With the Green Coating Collaboration, we are taking a long-term view of the future and at the same time accelerating research periods, which would not be possible on our own as a company, since our internal research is mainly focused on applicationoriented work’, explains Wildberger. The first concepts have already been successfully implemented at the pilot plant, the place where the future is being created.
This is the ideal complement between Koehler and the Green Coating Collaboration.