The BIRKAN Saga.

Episode 6: Successful in the third and fourth generation (1998 - today)

In 1998, Susanne Klein, Ludwig Marchner's daughter, and her husband Mathias Klein became the third generation to join the management of BIRKAN Drucktuchtechnik GmbH. Whilst Susanne Klein took over the personnel and finance department, Mathias Klein was mainly involved in sales and production. He had already worked with Ludwig Marchner for more than a decade and had acquired a great deal of specialised knowledge about printing blankets. This enabled the latter to gradually withdraw from operational management. Ludwig Marchner passed away 2005.

The now highly technologised world of offset printing was now developing faster than ever. Time did not stand still at BIRKAN either. Production processes were reorganised and new, ever larger high-tech machines were purchased for converting: the extra-wide barring press was followed by the XXL cutting plotter. The laboratory was also brought up to the latest technical standards so that as many tests as possible (microscopic checks, swelling and tear tests) could be carried out in-house.

As storage and production were now reaching their limits, the company building, which was rather too large when it was built, was extended in 2004 to provide more space for the individual departments in the assembly department. A new warehouse was added in 2011.

In 2012, another milestone was set with the new direct laser engraving division: since then, BIRKAN has also been a producer of printing plates for manufacturers of flexible packaging, labels or varnishes. The first laser was soon replaced by a larger model.

A fibre laser system from Hell Gravure Systems of the latest generation, the PremiumSetter S1700, is currently in operation here, which can be used to produce coating forms up to format 7B. Stefanie Klein, the daughter of Mathias and Susanne Klein, is now responsible for this area. Following the early death of her mother in 2014, she joined the management team and has represented the fourth generation of the company ever since.

Another member of the management team since 2016 is Josef Wittenberger, the former long-standing operations manager, who is also responsible for expanding the banknote printing division. Here, too, investments were made in additional equipment in the finishing department and innovative products were added to the range (e.g. BIRKAN Optimum). A strategic partnership with the press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer Banknote Solutions has been in place since 2023.

With another name change, this time from "BIRKAN Drucktuchtechnik (blanket technology) GmbH" to just "BIRKAN GmbH" in 2014, the name was adapted to the ongoing diversification and expansion of the product and service range, which recently even included 3D printing.

Always looking for improvements in the interests of the customer: this maxim of company co-founder Alois Kandlbinder has lost none of its validity even after 100 years. From the small village of Eching, BIRKAN now supplies dealers and printers in over 70 countries around the world!

Aerial view 2018

Main building and warehouse

Susanne and Mathias Klein

Manageing directors Susanne and Mathias Klein as BIRKAN logo (2004)

Hell laser

The heart of printing plate production: fibre laser

80th anniversary

80th anniversary: Susanne and Mathias Klein celebrate with their main suppliers on an Ammersee steamer

Plotter

XXL plotter for cutting blankets to the millimetre

Pressspan cut

Machine for cutting pressboard

Barring press

Barring press for very large formats

Solar system

Producing with solar power since 2024