GOING THE DISTANCE (Diemaker/Diecutter of the Year)
Karl Marbach Jr.'s knack for forging alliances has brought global acclaim for his diecutting/diemaking innovations.
by Kate Tomlinson, Assistant Editor
IF FRIENDSHIPS ARE an indication of success, Karl Marbach Jr. is a very accomplished man. As president of Marbach Co. of Heilbronn, Germany, Marbach may run a tight ship, but an obvious welcoming atmosphere radiates from the building. "I try to maintain a professional level of friendship within [the company]," he says. "I lead by walking."
Those who have visited the Marbach facility can see firsthand where it all started, and how a man who has contributed so much to the steel rule die industry keeps it all running. "When I had the pleasure of visiting Karl's factory three years ago, upon meeting him for the first time, I saw a man who was totally dedicated to this industry and his company," says Dale Kengott, president of Ken Technologies. "His employees were very professional ... and you could see the excitement in their eyes of having the chance to be involved in this great company."
Over the course of more than 50 years, Marbach has built enduring business relationships, forging international alliances in almost every aspect of diecutting and diemaking. For his dedication to furthering the industry, the International Association of Diecutting and Diemaking (IADD) and packagePRINTING honor Karl Marbach Jr. as the 2001 IADD Diecutter/Diemaker of the Year.
Pursuing a better business
Marbach Co. was founded in 1923 by Karl Marbach Sr. and two partners as a manufacturer of cutting tools for the shoe industry. A few years later Marbach became the sole owner, and saw steel rule dies as a practical application for cutting similar materials. He soon expanded his target markets, integrating his dies into the printing industry.
Amid World War II, in 1944, Marbach Co.'s building was all but destroyed by Allied forces bombing, and the company retreated to the nearby city of Unterheinriet. Once the war subsided in 1946, operations returned to Heilbronn. "Faced with a postwar-controlled economy," relates Allen Gurka, president of Allen Die Cutting Consultants, "it was an uphill battle working against a shortage of raw material, power cuts, lack of manpower, and transportation problems. Still the Marbach Co. persisted and grew."