Sustainable fiber-based packaging solutions as an alternative to plastic

Production line 8 in Kehl: One of the most powerful specialty paper machines in the world

    With an investment amount of 300 million euros, the construction of production line 8, comprising paper machine 8 and coating machine 8, was the biggest single investment in the history of Koehler. Designed for around 100,000 tons per year, production line 8 produces a wide range of specialty paper and paper with functional surfaces for flexible packaging. Production line 8 began operating in 2019.

    The heart of paper machine 8 is the Yankee cylinder with a diameter of 730 cm, which gives the paper its unique smoothness. PM 8 runs at 1,400 m/min and has a working width of 426 cm. Coating machine 8 is used to give the paper a variety of functional coatings, with the distinguishing feature being that up to three coatings can be applied in one pass.

    Production line 8 in Kehl
    5
    Sieve width
    120
    max. production quantity
    TP/MG/RP
    Types of paper
    22
    Basis weights
    1
    Construction speed
    2019
    Installation

    Paper machine 8

    Paper machine 8

    Coating machine 8

    Coating machine 8
    Production line 8 in Kehl

    Together, Koehler and Voith are stepping up to change the world of packaging – and make it more sustainable

      According to Greenpeace, there are 150 million tons of plastic waste floating in the oceans, a significant proportion of which is packaging. The packaging industry is therefore under huge pressure to change. While the plastic industry reflects on its problems, Koehler Paper has identified the potential here. A forward-looking solution is paper packaging. Produced from sustainable materials, recyclable multiple times over, and easily compostable, it is a convincing alternative to plastic packaging. Koehler NexPlus® paper from this range aims to replace plastics in many primary and secondary packaging applications.

      In the area of secondary packaging, Ritter-Sport uses paper instead of plastic as the outer packaging for the
      In the area of secondary packaging, Ritter-Sport uses paper instead of plastic as the outer packaging for the "mini Bunte Tüte".
      There is a clear trend when it comes to packaging material options: Paper scores points right across the board, and is already making an active contribution towards the objectives of a circular economy. With flexible paper packaging solutions, Koehler Paper is reducing the proportion of plastic in product packaging and making the world a bit more sustainable in the process.
      Eckhard Kallies, Director Flexible Packaging Paper Division at Koehler
      Jens Kolb, Technology Engineer at Voith Paper
      By producing sustainable barrier paper, Koehler is sending a powerful signal. We are proud that, together with Koehler, we have developed and implemented solutions to global challenges. Sustainability was the priority throughout the entire project.
      Jens Kolb, Technology Engineer at Voith Paper
      In 2021, sustainability has long ceased to be a niche topic, and has instead developed into a competitive advantage.
      Jens Kriete, Sustainability Manager at Koehler

      Sustainability at Koehler is not limited to manufacturing practices, but influences all aspects of thinking and behavior. We handle resources like water responsibly. The pulp for the production of fresh fiber paper comes from certifiable, sustainable forestry and controlled sources. Thanks to continuous internal improvement processes, all Koehler employees contribute toward saving resources, streamlining processes, and optimizing workflows. The company has therefore become the industry benchmark in many areas.

      Based on the tradition of a family-run company and full-line provider, Voith too is committed to ensuring that its economic activity is environmentally-aware, fair, and successful in the long term. The company aims to make a measurable and visible contribution to the sustainable development of business activities, the company, and the environment, and in doing so to adopt a leading role as a trailblazer. The technology leader is addressing global mega-trends such as decarbonization, digitalization, and the circular economy through resource-saving paper production.

      Production line 8 in Kehl

      A new business area emerges and begins with a major investment

        Koehler invested 300 million euros in the new paper and coating machine. Barely any other family-run company of Koehler’s size can cover that kind of investment. Koehler itself is only able to do so thanks to its sustainable management in the past.

        Joachim Uhl, Koehler Paper Mill Director at Kehl
        With the decision to invest in a new production line and enter a new business area for the company, all those involved showed courage – the shareholders, the supervisory board, the board of management and, not least, all employees who
        were involved in the decision.
        Joachim Uhl, Koehler Paper Mill Director at Kehl

        The decision to invest in a new business area was a strategic one. Koehler has centuries of expertise in papermaking and is now transferring this knowledge to a new field – a field that is rapidly gaining importance in times of climate change and sustainability commitments.

        Dr. Stefan Karrer, Chief Operating Officer of the Koehler Group
        We saw the signs of the times early and chose to back sustainable products. We did this not only to expand our portfolio, but also as a supporting pillar of Koehler Paper, which will help us achieve further growth.
        Dr. Stefan Karrer, Chief Operating Officer of the Koehler Group

        Once the decision to invest in a new production line for flexible packaging paper had been made, we had to choose a suitable partner. Voith, as a full-line provider for the paper industry, was our first choice. For many years now, Voith has been firmly committed to the development of sustainable products and processes. With its innovations, the company has taken on the role of technology leader.

        Dr. Michael Trefz, President Projects at Voith Paper
        We are delighted that Koehler chose us for this trailblazing investment. Koehler and Voith are connected by a solid, trustworthy long-term partnership. State of the art technologies are used in the production line. Due to our shared large pool of experience, we were able to successfully implement the high-speed plant in Kehl. Perfectly matched components ensure production is particularly energy- and resourcesaving. Koehler’s corporate objective of achieving a pioneering role in the field of sustainable packaging paper was therefore consistent with Voith’s DNA and Voith Paper’s corporate vision to improve the world with sustainable and efficient technologies.
        Dr. Michael Trefz, President Projects at Voith Paper
        Production line 8 in Kehl

        Successful team effort - from joint development work and record construction time to final commissioning

          When the decision was taken to construct the new production line 8, extensive research and development work got underway at Koehler. In the in-house laboratory, around 200 material screenings were implemented under high pressure and, with a lot of inventive talent, new target applications were defined and, ultimately, product concepts for new markets were established. The challenge was to find materials that not only met regulatory requirements, but also continuously retained the desired application properties when further processed. Strength and durability as well as aroma protection and content protection are particularly important.

          While the paper machine was being constructed, the team in the adjacent hall was assembling the coating machine, which lends the production line its unique flexibility.

          200
          In the in-house laboratory, around 200 material screenings were implemented under high pressure and, product concepts for new markets were established.
          Werner Buttschardt, Project Manager at Voith Paper responsible for the implementation of the new production line 8
          The large components, such as the flying splice roller, the Sirius winding system, calender, and coating units were pre-assembled and supplied factory-tested. This was the only way to ensure that the first tambour could be coated with the coating machine just 6 months after the start of installation.
          Werner Buttschardt, Project Manager at Voith Paper responsible for the implementation of the new production line 8

          Once the research and development work as well as the design were completed, production line 8 at the Kehl site was installed within just two and a half years. The high level of trust between Koehler and Voith played an important role during the construction phase. The combination of technical expertise from both companies was essential to the successful implementation of the project with its ambitious time scale.

          Production line 8 was commissioned by teams consisting of production, engineering, and technology employees from Koehler and Voith. The individual segments of the paper and coating machines were tested chronologically, initially without paper, but with water instead. From the ‘stock on wire’ date, the team started to add raw paper mixture from the pulper to the paper machine. In time frames of up to several days, the individual machine segments were thoroughly tested one after the other and challenging machine sections, such as the press section and drying section, were successfully commissioned.

          Production line 8 in Kehl

          Paper machine 4.0

            To maintain the mill, Koehler uses the OnCare.Health digital monitoring, analysis, and diagnostic system from Voith. The system combines Voith’s expert knowledge in technology and maintenance with Koehler’s many years of operational expertise. This means it is possible to integrate preventive maintenance, which is customized to the mill in Kehl. As a result, PM 8 is not only extremely reliable – it’s also fully controllable. The level of digitalization is very high compared to other paper machines, and provides a large amount of measurement data.

            OnCare.Health immediately triggers an alarm in the event of unexpected measurements. Since all measurement data is saved for the long-term, it is also possible to identify trends and future developments. Thanks to a variety of interfaces, simple data exchange with external systems is also possible. OnCare.Asset from Voith guarantees a transparent maintenance process in the production line and inventory management throughout the entire paper factory. To stabilize and optimize the product quality and the entire production process of paper machine 8, Koehler also commissioned Voith to integrate the Quality Control System (QCS) OnQuality including scanners and sensors.

            Lucas Huber, Electrical Maintenance at Koehler Paper
            Integrating Voith technology into the Koehler automation system ran without a hitch and now enables simple access to clear information during servicing.
            Lucas Huber, Electrical Maintenance at Koehler Paper
            Production line 8 in Kehl

            A technical masterpiece

              Comprising BlueLine stock preparation, a wet end process, XcelLine paper machine, offline coating machine, and VariPlus roll cutter from Voith, production line 8 is one of the most powerful specialty paper machines in the world. Around 4,000 measuring instruments and just as many moving cylinders, flaps, and control elements interact on a highly automated basis to produce the specialty paper. In keeping with the Koehler motto ‘optimization down to the finest detail,’ the paper and coating machines are continuously fine-tuned to achieve the maximum.

              4
              Measuring instruments and just as many moving cylinders, flaps, and control elements
              Axel Gommel, Global Product Manager at Voith Paper
              Optimized stock preparation is important to guarantee the high quality requirements of specialty paper. Our triedand-tested BlueLine product portfolio is being used on paper machine 8. The customized process concept and high-performance components make a significant contribution to the efficient operation of the mill.
              Axel Gommel, Global Product Manager at Voith Paper

              Installation of the 150 m long paper machine with a wire width of 5,000 mm required 4,000 tons of reinforced concrete in the carcass, 28,000 m3 of concrete, 120,000 limestones, 1,250 km of cables, as well as 62.6 km of pipelines.There were 750 employees in total working at the construction site. A particular technical highlight of production line 8 is the MG cylinder with a diameter of more than 7,300 millimeters. It is the world’s largest of its kind. During production, this ensures unrivaled paper smoothness, which is crucial in further processing. An innovative Nipcorect full-flex roll, as a press roll on the MG cylinder, enables ideal line load distribution over the whole width.

              In addition to setting new benchmarks, the paper machine has also broken a number of records. The most significant is that it is the fastest MG paper machine in the world, with a continuous speed of 1,400 m/min over a period of 24 hours. Its premium quality is matched by its technological sophistication.

              7
              is the diameter of the MG cylinder
              Production line 8 in Kehl

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