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The Koehler Paper Group is currently celebrating a very special anniversary. Paper Machine 6, which began operation in Kehl, Germany in 2000, has now been helping to write the success story of the Ober-kirch-based family business for 20 years.
"PM 6," a machine for producing decor paper, is one of the fastest of its kind worldwide: Initially producing 450 meters of paper per minute, the first speed record was set in 2003 with 731 meters per minute. Now, under ideal conditions, the machine can exceed the 1,000-meter mark. "That puts us in world-record territory," says Julia Müller, Director Decor Paper Division at Koehler.
Even when production is running at top speed, the quality of the decor paper remains consistent and strong. In fact: "Our customers value the high quality of our decor paper, which stands out in its outstanding processing properties during the printing and impregnation process. One of our quality touchstones is the paper's dimensional stability, and we've been happy to hear the very positive feedback we've received from the market in this area," says Julia Müller.
Decor printers and composite wood materials manufacturers further process this paper, and Koehler products become visible elements of interior designs. They can be used to make a laminate floor look like real wood, or to laminate the surface of furniture or kitchen worktops, giving them a refined look.
When the PM 6 was first built in Kehl, Koehler showed its pioneering spirit: "At that time, it was common to retrofit existing machines to manufacture decor paper, but we bought the PM 6 as a new machine and assembled an entirely new team," recalls Frank Heyne, Production Manager Decor Paper at Koehler and one of the first to work with the machine. "Here at Koehler, we wanted to expand our decor paper business and we were sure that white paper alone would be sufficient in the portfolio," Frank Heyne continues. The fact that the team started building its experience together from the very start enabled achievements that are still unparalleled. "We now produce a range of colors from white to cream, beige, brown and even black," says Frank Heyne. Julia Müller adds: "Our customers' requirements motivate the team and drive them on to achieve great things. This is only possible because we continually develop our machine with Koehler operating technology and do structural adjustments to perfectly meet our customers' demands, offering them true added value with a high level of quality." The team toasted the anniversary of "its" machine with a little birthday party. Joachim Uhl, Mill Director at Koehler in Kehl, had this to say: "We're proud that with the PM 6 we've been able to gain a firm foothold in the market for decor paper over the last 20 years. We owe this position to our flexibility, our motivation and our close customer relationships."
In the area of decor paper, Koehler has been successful against ever more intense competition. The range has been continually expanding over the past years, and Koehler's customer-orientated approach is highly valued among its business partners. In addition to the decor paper product portfolio, the Oberkirch plant also produces edging base paper, for which Koehler is recognized as a global market leader.