Papierfabrik August Koehler SE, based in Oberkirch, recently celebrated the official groundbreaking ceremony for a new paper machine. Watched by some 145 invited guests, including the shareholders of Koehler Holding GmbH & Co. KG, the ground was broken by the Koehler Executive Board and representatives of the contracted construction firms Bold GmbH & Co. KG and Rendler Bau , Dr. Michael Trefz (Voith Paper Holding), the architects Alfons Burkart (archigroup GBR) and Thomas Schweiker (Schweiker Architekten), and the Kehl Building Commissioner Harald Krapp.
In his welcome address, CEO Kai Furler, who is the eighth generation of his family to lead Koehler, underlined the fact that the Kehl site, with its three paper machines, will be the largest and most modern production site for specialty papers in Europe. This investment is the most significant in the 211-year history of the company. During its global search for a perfect site for the new production facility, the company came to the conclusion that there is no need to search far and wide when the answer is so close to home.
Chief Technology Officer Dr. Stefan Karrer explained that the €300 million investment in the construction of a new paper and coating machine for the production of flexible packaging not only represents an investment in the future, but also sends a clear signal in terms of environmental awareness. The paper machine, which will be completed in 2019, will manufacture specialty papers for use in the packaging industry, such as packaging that protects foods against moisture and external influences while being biodegradable, recyclable, and eco-friendly. Here, Koehler is demonstrating its sustainability commitment with cutting-edge technology and going on the offensive against plastic packaging. Dr. Stefan Karrer also emphasized that the project in Kehl constitutes a strong commitment to the region and appealed to specialists in Germany, who will find an attractive employer in Koehler.
Kehl’s Building Commissioner, Harald Krapp, highlighted the outstanding partnership between Koehler and the town of Kehl before wishing the company a seamless and accident-free construction phase. Mayor of Oberkirch, Christoph Lipps, remarked that Koehler is a national and international standard-bearer for the entire economic region of Ortenau. Accompanied by the Koehler works band, the ceremony closed in fine style with a rendition of the Baden regional anthem.