Defying the stats Featured

12:27pm EDT February 17, 2011
Herb Kohler, Kohler Coating Herb Kohler, Kohler Coating

In an industry that isn’t known for efficiencies, Kohler Coating is making great strides.

The company manufactures precision thin film metering technology systems for corrugating and coating applications, which are used in the production of corrugated board. The corrugated board industry produced 93.5 million tons of containerboard in 2009, which was worth roughly $45 billion. Nearly half of that was produced by Asia and almost one-third by the United States. While there’s a lot of production going on, there aren’t a lot of efficiencies to accompany it. The average corrugator has less than 27 percent process efficiency that consumes between $250,000 to $1 million a year in energy, $400,000 to $800,000 a year in adhesive and $30 million to $50 million a year in paper consumption.

Recognizing these inefficiencies, under the leadership of President Herb Kohler, Kohler Coating has developed equipment that doubles the energy efficiency of some corrugated plants and reduced the adhesive consumption by more than 40 percent. By doing these things, the company is teaching its customers to operate greener by using less adhesive, water and energy and by generating less carbon dioxide. For example, if Kohler was able to reduce the weight of all boxes by only 20 percent, this would save 20 million tons of paper per year, which is a $12 billion savings, and also save $240 million of natural gas per year. That same initiative would also eliminate 40 million tons of carbon dioxide.

Kohler has developed the Iso-Thermal process in response to its customers’ desires to reduce their manufacturing costs and production waste while producing lighter and stronger board. They do a complete analysis of each board manufacturer’s current process and facility to determine the needs of that manufacturer. Because of the analysis, the machinery and adhesive chemicals required are specific to each customer, which results in higher success and customer satisfaction rates.

Because this process is individualized for each customer, research and development is crucial to continuously improve the manufacturing of corrugated board. To do this, Kohler has established the only corrugating pilot line in the world to test different aspects of the Iso-Thermal process and board processing. The pilot line is housed at Kohler’s Canton facility, and the company received a $750,000 grant from the state to improve the pilot facility and create the Canton Corrugated Paper Center to further create cutting-edge technology for the production of lightweight, high-grade corrugated materials.

How to reach: Kohler Coating, (330) 499-1407 or www.kohlercoating.com