Entrepreneurial passion for future generations: This is the Koehler Group’s mission
Strong Values for a
For us, sustainability means assuming full responsibility as a Group: We bring together ecology, economy, and social welfare under one umbrella in order to preserve our current resources for future generations, too.
The Koehler Group has been a family-run company for eight generations—and you can tell: For us, investments that make sense in the long term are what counts, rather than making short-term gains. We have a trusting working relationship with our customers, suppliers, and employees.
1 strong Group
9 company brands
High-quality specialty paper for customers across the globe
Koehler Renewable Energy
Shaping the future - Clean, efficient, and sustainable.
Koehler Innovative Solutions
Collaboration with start-ups to promote innovation in the core business areas of paper and renewable energy.
Direct and indirect participation in start-ups and relevant funds
Koehler Innovation & Technology
Cutting-edged paper-based solutions for a better, more sustainable world.
Globally recognized sublimation media for the dye sublimation and digital printing industries
Special products based on wood pulp, including beverage coasters
Prudent management of resources has always been integral to the Koehler Group’s business activities.
By focusing on providing excellent customer service, staying motivated, and making continuous progress, we guarantee that we will be a reliable partner in the future, too.
In the future, the Koehler Group will be defined by sustainable, innovative solutions along the value chain. They serve as a basis for meeting our ambitious climate protection targets. We make appropriate and efficient use of our resources and protect our environment in the process.
Work safety and health protection are fundamental components of this approach. This holistic approach allows us to continually improve our ecological and economic impact, as well as our contribution to society.
The Chronology of
a Success Story
Otto Koehler purchases Oberkirch’s “Papiermühle im Loh” and establishes what the now-global enterprise
Jacob Pfeil of Ettlingen purchases the paper mill in 1802, but by 1807 he has become insolvent, and the mill passes over to Otto Koehler. Although he only worked there for a short time, Pfeil seems to have had to undertake structural improvements on the building. A keystone, which was originally set above the door of the mill, testifies to his work. The stone bears his initials, the date 1803, and a paper-maker symbol.
First paper machine—transition from manual papermaking to machine production
No plans or pictures of the machine exist anymore. A Berlin newspaper dated 1884 contains an illustration of one of Hemmer’s machines from that time, giving us a rough idea of what a papermaking machine looked like in the second half of the 19th century. The machine had a working width of 135 centimeters.
The waterwheels are replaced with water turbines and a steam engine is added to the paper machine.
The workforce exceeds 100 for the first time
From the time when machine production began in 1865, the workforce grew from eight to more than 100. During that same period, production increased from around 60 to 800 metric tons per year, plus approximately 800 metric tons of wood pulp in Hubacker. The need for space grew accordingly, and the company expanded in every direction.
Up until 1901, paper manufacturer August Koehler’s apartments had been in his factory in the western part of the building that was constructed in 1865. But with this accommodation becoming increasingly constricted by the business’s growing need for space, August Koehler purchases a piece of land at the turn of the century. On that piece of land, he builds a prestigious house—a villa, a symbol of his success.
Tub paper machine PM 2 commissioned
Tub paper machine PM 2 with a working width of 185 cm is delivered along with a Hollander machine by J.W. Erkens of Niederau by Düren.
Lautenbach hydroelectric power plant commissioned
The Lautenbach hydroelectric power plant had two turbines and an output of approximately 450 horsepower. The plant still supplies environmentally friendly electricity to this day.
Joint stock company Papierfabrik August Koehler AG founded
The company is converted into a joint stock company. August Koehler junior, his two sisters, the Brüggemann brothers, and Willie Euler of Bensheim hold shares in its capital.
Investment in W. Euler Papierfabrik GmbH & CO. KG
In return for the investment made by the new shareholder Willie Euler of Bensheim, who was the manager and shareholder of W. Euler Maschinenfabrik AG, August Koehler junior invests in the Bensheim company.
Paper machine 3 constructed
A new hall is constructed to expand the capacity of the plant; paper machine 3, with a 210-centimeter working width, is then built inside in 1924. This machine is still in operation today, having been converted and modernized several times during its existence.
First coating machine
The company invests in its first coating machine, thereby taking the first step toward a finishing process that will play a pivotal role in its success in the decades to come. The machine is used to coat card for playing cards. This has been an important product for the Koehler fine paper division for over 80 years and remains so to this day.
Paper machine 4 constructed
The new paper machine 4 begins operation on October 12, 1962. The 330 centimeter-wide machine doubles annual production capacity to 20,000 metric tons. Paper machine 4 has been modernized several times since and now produces almost all of Koehler’s fine paper range.
Koehler Decor Paper
In collaboration with Robert Linnemann in Sassenberg, ‘furniture embellishment paper’ is produced on paper machine 1 and subsequently on paper machine 3. A niche product with potential for growth, it eventually evolves into what we now call Koehler Decor Paper.
A contract between Pelikan and Koehler paves the way for Reacto carbonless paper.
Paper machine 5 commissioned
The biggest investment in the company’s history is made and presented to the public in October 1978: Paper machine 5, with a working width of 360 centimeters, is commissioned in a newly erected building in 1980.
New office building opens
In July 1986, the company moves its offices into a new administrative building opposite the plant at Bundesstrasse 28.
Coal power plant commissioned in Oberkirch
The heat power plant in Oberkirch burns coal and uses an environmentally friendly, circulating fluidized bed incineration system, a cutting-edge technology which drastically reduces flue gas emissions. It is the first power plant of its kind to be used in the paper industry.
Kehl plant built with paper machine 1
Between 1986 and 1988 a new plant is built on an 80,000-m² plot at the Rhine River port in Kehl. At the heart of this plant is paper machine 1 with its 420 centimeter working width and a production capacity of around 50,000 metric tons per year, which produces carbonless paper. Two hundred new jobs are created in Kehl.
Coating machine 1 constructed in Kehl
Coating machine 1 is constructed with a 420-centimeter working width and a production speed of 1,200 meters per minute.
Purchase of VPG Verpackungspapiere Greiz GmbH and founding of today’s Koehler Greiz Gmbh & Co. KG
Thanks to the acquisition of the Greiz paper factory in Thüringen, the company now has a total of five locations in addition to those in Oberkirch, Kehl, Ettlingen, and Bensheim.
Paper machine 6 launched in Kehl
Paper machine 6, with a working width of 230 centimeters, begins operating and is used to produce decor paper.
Koehler Holding founded
Koehler Holding GmbH & Co. KG is founded on September 11, 2001, with the owning families investing almost 95% of their shares. This lays the foundation for the future Koehler Group.
Paper machine 2, coating machine 2, and rolling machine 15 constructed at the Kehl plant
These three new machines expand the production capacity at the Kehl plant.
Biomass combined heat and power plant commissioned in Kehl
The first biomass combined heat and power plant is put into operation. It supplies the paper and coating machines with steam, and the electricity generated is then fed into the public grid.
Company’s 200th Anniversary
On August 22, 2007, Koehler celebrates its 200th anniversary. Gretel Furler and Federal Minister of the Interior Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble are among the honorary guests attending the celebrations in Oberkirch.
Koehler acquires the KATZ Group
The KATZ Group, global market leader in the production of beverage coasters, has been part of Koehler since October 2009.
Koehler Renewable Energy founded
Koehler Renewable Energy GmbH is founded in 2012 as a subsidiary of Koehler Holding GmbH & Co. KG, with the aim of making a sustainable contribution to the energy turnaround in Germany.
New division Koehler Innovative Solutions
Koehler Innovative Solutions has been founded to develop and manufactures microcapsules for different applications and industries.
Production line 8 starts operations
A record 300 million euros is invested at the Kehl location with the aim of applying the company’s decades of coating technology expertise to the area of flexible packaging paper. On production line 8, Koehler produces paper that can be used as a substitute for plastic in flexible packaging. After a record construction time of less than two years, production line 8 starts operations. It consists of paper machine 8 and coating machine 8.
Acquisition of Beaver Paper
Since the beginning of 2020, US-based company Beaver Paper, a leading manufacturer of sublimation media to the dye-sublimation and digital printing industry, has been part of Koehler.
The Koehler Group now employs around 2,500 members of staff worldwide.
Acquisition of Zollikofer
Koehler Renewable Energy acquired a majority of the Zollikofer Group for the long-term supply of raw materials for the biomass power plants. Zollikofer is an international logistics and commercial company that focuses on sawmill byproducts and reclaimed, forest, and fuelwood.
Acquisition of Marienthaler
The Koehler Group acquired 100% of the shares in Marienthaler Werbe-Offsetdruck GmbH & Co. KG. Marienthaler is specialized in the distribution and production of beverage coasters.
Koehler Paper joins the Baden-Württemberg Climate Alliance
Koehler Paper signs a climate protection agreement together with the Baden-Württemberg Environment Ministry. As part of its efforts to become climate neutral, Koehler Paper has set itself the objective of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2030, compared to the baseline year 2020. This corresponds to about 360,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.