Siegwerk, one of the leading global providers of printing inks and coatings for packaging applications and labels, will be honoring its corporate roots this year by celebrating the beginning of the family business' journey in 1824, which – 200 years of evolution and numerous innovations later – has resulted in the company that Siegwerk is today.
“The history of the family business that led to the formation of Siegwerk is impressive in many aspects,” explained Dr. Nicolas Wiedmann, CEO at Siegwerk. “From the very beginning, there has been an excellent understanding of trends and the relevance of continuous transformation, which enabled the company to always adapt to the challenges of each era and strive for the right direction.” Initially established in 1824 as a retailer of manufactured goods, the German family-owned company entered the printing business very soon after its start.
From the opening of a calico (cotton fabric) print shop through one of the first German illustration rotogravure print shops to the largest fully-automated ink production facility in Europe, the company has continuously expanded its printing expertise over two centuries, while becoming one of the most important printing ink producers in the world. With the founding of “Siegwerk Chemisches Laboratorium GmbH” in 1911, a company specialized on the production of gravure inks and other chemical products for the graphics industry, the foundation stone for today's company known as Siegwerk was finally laid.
“From textile printing to publication gravure and finally packaging printing, by continuously looking for new ways to modernize production and innovate printing technologies, our family’s business has repeatedly succeeded in adopting new trends ahead of time and influencing the printing industry with essential innovations,” explained Alfred Keller, sixth-generation owner, and Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Siegwerk. Despite all its successes, Siegwerk has also faced a variety of geopolitical and economic challenges over the centuries, but has always managed to stay on the road to success.
From boosting efficiency with the implementation of modern roller printing facilities in the 19th century, through setting new industry standards with a gravure method also applicable in paper printing in the early 20th century, to becoming one of the world’s top three packaging ink manufacturers by acquiring the packaging ink division of SICPA in the 21st century – the family-run company has always navigated through the eras with foresight and a strong feel for the market. “Our long history shows that we have always been very successful in the continuous transformation along future-based and sustainable paths, and I am excited about what we are going to achieve in the next few years,” added Wiedmann. Today, the company is heavily focused on the development of eco-friendly inks and functional coatings that enable sustainable packaging solutions to actively drive the realization of a Circular Economy.
Still today, the corporate culture is deeply influenced by the company’s origin as family business, and values such as responsibility, open-mindedness, foresight, and dedication are still held dear. “As a family-run company, acting in line with our values has always been important to us. Of course, this also includes taking responsibility for our own actions,” added Keller. “Then and now we remain strongly committed to making a positive and responsible contribution, not only to our employees and the communities we operate in, but also the society and the environment overall.”
From the founding of a company in-house health insurance scheme in 1843 to financial support and social projects for children in need around the world – the family’s social commitment has always been part of the company’s core values. “The driving force behind everything we do has always been the passion to drive transformation and make a positive impact,” closed Keller. “And when I see this passion in our family of Siegwerkers today, I am proud of the kind of company we have become and look forward to celebrating our 200-year journey with our almost 5,000 employees worldwide.” For nearly 30 years, Alfred Keller has held the responsibility as owner of the six-generation family business, which, through succession, is destined to remain in family ownership into the seventh generation and beyond.
Over the course of this year, locations all over the world will host events for employees and their families to not only look back at the company’s origins, but also to gain insights into the company's vision for the future. “We are very proud of our past and look very much forward to continue our tradition of shaping history well into the future,” summarized Wiedmann.