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Company history

From simple folding boxes to illuminated packaging. From Karl Knauer’s cardboard factory in the idyllic Black Forest to being a European trendsetter of the packaging and advertising media industry. From down-to-earth values to visionary decisions. From 1938 up until today.

 


2021
The world’s first illuminated packaging
Innovation and sustainability
Our times are defined by constant change. The features that set us apart are flexibility and a sense of responsibility. Karl Knauer is now more open to innovation than ever before, with the large number of lighthouse projects in product development a testimony to this innovative strength. At the same time, sustainability and social relations are a much valued priority.
2016
Stefanie Wieckenberg with her father Olaf Pohl
The next generation
Stefanie Wieckenberg, Karl Knauer’s granddaughter, takes over the responsibilities of her father Olaf Pohl for the two companies in the Karl Knauer Group as managing partner. Karl Knauer thus enters its third generation of family ownership.
2012
Karl Knauer Poland
INGA becomes Karl Knauer
A strong company group, with a shared name: the subsidiary INGA International, based in Poland, begins operation under the name Karl Knauer Poland.
2011
Fliegerkiste day-care centre
“Fliegerkiste” officially opened
A multi-award winner: in collaboration with Hydro Systems AG and the municipality of Biberach, the Fliegerkiste day-care centre is launched – to date the only community project of its kind in all of Germany. Fliegerkiste’s unusual qualities include its staff-friendly opening hours and the long eligibility period for childcare, from six months to school age.
2007
Pniewy site, Poland
Launch of packaging manufacture in Poland
Space needed for growth: in 2007 the Polish site was enlarged with a new production hall and administration complex, as well as a new production range. The Pniewy site started producing packaging as well as promotional note pads.
2004
Inga International
Expansion to Poland
Karl Knauer took over the company Inga International based in Braunschweig, Germany, and Pniewy, Poland, in order to further expand its market leadership in the promotional note pad sector. Inga was number 2 on the market at that time. Braunschweig was run as a sales office and Pniewy served as a production site for promotional note pads.
1998
Copaco
Joining Copaco
Up until its dissolution in 2012, the Copaco Group was a strategic alliance of independent SMEs in the packaging sector. Along with Karl Knauer KG, it included August Faller KG, Limmatdruck/Zeiler AG and the rlc | packaging group. This collaboration was the only one of its kind in the segment.
1995
Karl Knauer
Death of the company founder
Bearer of the Federal Cross of the Order of Merit, honorary citizen of the Biberach municipality, but above all a “maker” and businessman. Karl Knauer was always committed to the welfare of his company and his workers. For over five decades, he had laid the foundations for the current corporate success of the Karl Knauer Group. Karl Knauer passed away in 1995 at the age of 89.
1988
First system from in-house machine construction
Knowledge transfer to machine construction
1988 saw the delivery of the first packaging system to be constructed in-house. It made sense to use the company’s extensive expertise as a packaging manufacture in the construction of packing machines. Customers continue to be impressed by the combining of standard solutions and individual requirements.
1976
First gift packaging
Gift packaging added to the product range
Following a customer suggestion, the company produced its first gift packaging for the wine sector in 1976. Many other developments followed: the market was expanded rapidly, with sales continually increasing. The Karl Knauer Group is now one of Germany’s leading manufacturers.
1972
First promotional note pad
Promotional note pads added to the business segment
The production of promotional products got underway in 1972: the company Gödecke commissioned Karl Knauer with the manufacture of note pads with printed sides. An example of Karl Knauer’s flexibility and enthusiasm for embarking on new projects and seeing them through to success. Karl Knauer is now one of Europe’s leading suppliers in the promotional note pad segment.
1958
Aerial view of Karl Knauer factory
Relocation to new building at the current company headquarters
The company is thriving. The volume that needs to be produced and stored keeps increasing. Karl Knauer decides to relocate to new administrative and production buildings at the edge of Biberach’s city centre. The Zeller Straße site in Biberach has remained the Karl Knauer Group’s headquarters until this day.
1938
First company headquarters in the city centre
Founding of the company
On 2 November 1938 Karl Knauer founded the “Karl Knauer Kartonagenfabrik” cardboard factory in the municipality of Biberach, in the middle of the Black Forest. Stables and storage facilities for wine were turned into a production site for plain cardboard. The 19 employees achieved sales of 41,768 Reichsmark.
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