History header portrait
Historical picture reel-to-sheet lamination then and now

Company history

Success only comes through change. KOHLSCHEIN looks back on almost 90 years of company history, characterised by growth and change. Take a journey with us through the KOHLSCHEIN story and learn how, from the idea of multi-ply paperboard, emerged one of the leading industrial manufacturers of sustainable premium paperboards as well as a leading wholesaler of lightweight foam boards and honeycomb boards.

1932 - 1949 | Foundation and early years

1932 - Foundation of the company
Ewald Kohlschein founds the sole proprietorship "Ewald Kohlschein - EKA-Plattenfabrik" on June 1, 1932. The first company building is built on the site of an old iron foundry.

1933 - Start of production of EKA wood board
The first reel-to-sheet lamination machine is completed and put into operation. The first product produced on it is "Eka Holzpappe". Over the decades, this laminated board is continuously developed and adapted to current requirements.

1934 - First trade fair participation
Eka Holzpappe is presented at an exhibition in Mönchengladbach in 1934. Application examples show the wide range of uses from poster painting to creative works and model making materials.

1941 - Move to the Feldstraße
The foundation stone for the KOHLSCHEIN site on Feldstraße is laid with the purchase of a small ruin. The dilapidated house is purchased in 1940 and after reconstruction is used as an administrative building and also as a residence for the Höflich family.

1950 - 1969 | New structures and visions

1950 - New corporate structures
The sole proprietorship is converted into a limited partnership (KG). Ewald Kohlschein becomes general partner and his daughters Walburg Kohlschein and Gisela Höflich limited partners.

1957 - New general partner
Ewald Kohlschein's son-in-law Theodor Höflich joins the KG as another general partner.

1958 - Theodor Höflich becomes managing director
Following Theodor Höflich's death, Michael Höflich takes over as sole partner one year after being admitted to the KG as a further general partner.

1966 - Development of KROMA® screen printing board
At that time, in many cases, cardboard with uncoated surfaces, which had to be pretreated in an elaborate and labor-intensive manner before printing, was still being used. Theodor Höflich has a vision of a high-quality board material for screen printing with bright white, directly printable top layers. The new product KROMA® is launched in 1966 and since then the material has been continuously adapted and optimised to meet market requirements & technical innovations. The pure screen-printed board has developed into a versatile display board.

1970 - 2008 | Expansion of business areas

1970 - Expansion of the product range and services
In addition to the industrial production of Eka wood-based board and KROMA® Displayboard, business activities are expanded in the following years to include the trading of cardboard and paperboard, such as KAPA® lightweight foam boards. The business area is also expanded to include processing services such as laminating, cutting, die-cutting,  etc.

1980 - The KG becomes a GmbH & Co. KG
Conversion of the KG into a GmbH & Co. KG to initiate the upcoming change in management.

1984 - Michael Höflich becomes managing director
Michael Höflich is hired as another managing director of the GmbH.

1984 - Entry into the display market
The many years of experience in production and processing of cardboard and paperboard led to entry into the display market. 

1988 - "Plant 2" is put into operation
Four years after entering the display market, the fast growing & successful business unit gets its own plant. "Plant 2" is located not far from the parent company on Spenglerstrasse and provides space for all departments - from graphics, project management, sample making to further processing.

2009 - 2014 | Responsibility for the Future

2009 - Expansion of the management
Oliver Höflich and Hubert van Horrick join the management team.

2010 - FSC®- and PEFC-certification
As a family business focused on the long term, KOHLSCHEIN is aware of the social necessity of responsible procurement and the sustainable use of natural resources and is committed to these principles. To document this commitment, certification is sought according to the criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and those of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Both certificates are granted.

2012 - Oliver Höflich becomes Chairman of the Management Board
With Oliver Höflich as Chairman of the Management Board, the Höflich family represents the fourth generation of management of the company.

2012 - Use of renewable energy through photovoltaics
With the installation of a photovoltaic system on the roof of "Plant 2", KOHLSCHEIN takes another important step in contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and to increasing our economic efficiency by using solar energy.

2015 - 2016 | Awakening and Upheaval

2015 - KOHLSCHEIN Switzerland
KOHLSCHEIN establishes its first foreign subsidiary in Switzerland and, as of July 01, 2015, takes over the trading activities of Flury Display with its popular & proven KAPA®, FOAM-X®, GATORFOAM® and SMART-X® lightweight foam boards as well as complementary board products such as screen-printed board, wood board and gray board.

2015 - New corporate design
Launch of the entirely new company branding. The modern and minimalistic design underlines the orientation of the company as a contemporary partner with a focus on the essentials for its customers.

2016 - New logistics hall
"Plant 2", which was commissioned in 1988, is expanded to include a new logistics hall with an additional 1641 sqm and a new ramp facility. The expansion provides more efficient shipping processes and more convenient loading and unloading of trucks.

2018 - DIN ISO 9001:2015 certification
We have met the requirements for a quality management system according to ISO 9001:2015 and have been officially certified since April 2018. Through the certification and implementation of ISO 9001, we contribute decisively to the assurance and continuous optimisation of our products & services, which affect performance, speed and profitability.

2020 - 2022 | Flexibility

2020 - Infection protection products
KOHLSCHEIN responds to the Covid outbreak by expanding its product line to include infection control products to help protect people from airborne infection. These are developed quickly, thanks to our technical infrastructure and range of board materials.

2020 - The Cardboard Co.
For a long time, we had been thinking of developing and marketing sustainable interior design products in addition to our core business. The Covid crisis, freed up resources to develop this idea and the B2C brand "The Cardboard Co." was founded.

2020 - KOHLSCHEIN Creative Solutions
In the course of rebranding KOHLSCHEIN CREATIVE POS DISPLAYS, a new website is created: KOHLSCHEIN CREATIVE SOLUTIONS. Here, we offer creative solutions made from sustainable materials. Display stands, sales displays, decorative cubes, banners, premium posters, hangers etc., can be conveniently and easily ordered online by B2B customers. In addition, individual solutions and services are also offered.

2022 - Completion of generation change in management
Tobias Höflich joins the management. At the same time, his father Michael Höflich retires. With Oliver Höflich as Chairman of the Management Board, Tobias Höflich as Managing Director and Daniel Höflich as Head of Infrastructure and  Quality Management, the entire management of the company is in the hands of the three 4th generation brothers.