The inauguration of the new paper mill and PM 5 - the most modern paper machine for corrugated case material worldwide - was also celebrated. The keynote speaker was Prof Dr Clemens Fuest, Chairman of the Ifo Institute, who gave a highly interesting speech on the current economic situation. He explained the latest business climate index of the ifo Institute and the expected contraction of the gross domestic product in 2023 by 0.3 percent. According to Prof Fuest, however, this is not a classic recession, but rather a collapse in the supply of energy and materials coupled with rising demand and thus rising prices.
Even before lunch, the surprise that probably none of the guests had expected came: The British global band Status Quo rocked the stage in the temporarily erected Festhalle for 90 minutes. This live concert was the perfect musical backdrop for the ceremony and the subsequent tour of PM 5. The legendary rock songs reflect Palm's innovative strength and dynamism.
In 1872, company founder Adolf Palm started paper production in Neukochen. Even back then, Palm produced paper not from virgin fibers, but from recycled material. This idea still runs through the company's history today: Corrugated case material and newsprint are produced from 100 % selected waste paper.
In 1910, the brothers Otto and Hermann Palm continued the values they had exemplified. From 1959, the cousins Dr Wilfried Palm and Gottfried Palm initiated the reorganization of the paper mill with an unprecedented investment and modernization offensive. At intervals of six years, a total of four new, state-of-the-art paper machines were put into operation.
In 1966, Palm succeeded in producing a corrugating medium from 100 % recovered paper and two years later in developing a recycled-based testliner. In the 1970s, Palm entered vertical integration and thus the production of corrugated packaging. Dr Wilfried Palm and Dr Wolfgang Palm achieved another milestone in the early 1980s with the production of newsprint from 100 % recovered paper.
Since then, Palm has been characterized by three pillars with the production of newsprint as well as corrugated base paper and the production of corrugated packaging. Dr Wolfgang Palm has continued to do this throughout his 40 years of service in the company and has responsibly developed existing and new sites. These include the state-of-the-art paper machines PM 1 and PM 3 in Eltmann, Germany, and the world's largest paper machine for newsprint PM 7 in King's Lynn, England. With these investments, Palm successively increased its production capacity for newsprint to almost one million tons per year.
In 2002, the world's largest paper machine at that time, PM 6, went into operation in Wörth, setting three world speed records. With the PM 6, Palm achieved a completely new level of quality in the production of corrugated base paper.
In 2014, Palm acquired nine additional sites in Germany and France with 1,100 employees through the purchase of the Seyfert Group, a remarkable step in strengthening the corrugated packaging business.
In 2019, the largest investment in the company's history began at its headquarters in Aalen-Neukochen. With the construction of a completely new paper mill, Palm is writing history and combining the highest performance and quality with the self-evident responsibility towards resources and the environment.
The heart of this new paper mill is PM 5, the world's largest and most modern paper machine for corrugated case material with an annual production capacity of 750,000 tons. It enables the production of corrugated case material with particularly low basis weights and at the same time high technological values. This conserves resources and saves weight, significantly reducing CO2 consumption throughout the value chain. At the ceremony, Frederick Brütting, Lord Mayor of Aalen, brought the news that Palm had succeeded in having a hydrogen pipeline planned from Stuttgart to Ulm bypass Aalen so that the paper mill could also run on hydrogen in the future.
It is the Palm DNA that has characterized the family business for five generations. With Dr Marina Palm joining the management board in spring 2022, the Palm company is well prepared for the future and will remain 100 % family-owned. For Palm, "Paper is our passion" means actively shaping the future with passion and drive as well as with pioneering innovations together with all customers, employees and business partners.