From the first continuous drying oven to a modern MetalStar 3 decorating line

Metal tins for Nivea Creme decorated on Koenig & Bauer presses ever since

MetalStar 3
The new two-colour MetalStar 3 UV decorating line. Photo - Beiersdorf Manufacturing Hamburg

The loyalty of the Beiersdorf company as a customer plays a significant role in the history of metal decorating and is closely linked with the very roots of Koenig & Bauer MetalPrint. LTG Lufttechnische, a specialist supplier of industrial air conditioning systems, entered the metal decorating market with the first continuous drying oven for metal sheets in 1932.

The first LTG drying oven installed after a Mailänder metal decorating press in 1932

The newly designed oven was an absolute innovation and was paired with a metal decorating press from the Mailänder company, which printed the distinctive blue Nivea Creme tins. The first metal decorating line was born. In the past, the sheets had been transported to a batch dryer and then unloaded again by hand, but now they could be conveyed to the oven automatically, carried through the thermal drying process by way of a chain drive, and subsequently unloaded automatically.

A Nivea Creme tin from the 1930s. Photo – Beiersdorf Manufacturing Hamburg

A letter of recommendation dating from 1937 proves just how much Beiersdorf appreciated the LTG oven. It reads, “We are very satisfied with the drying oven for metal sheets supplied by your company. The best proof of this was our decision to follow the installation of the first oven with an order for two more.”

The two companies – Mailänder and LTG – worked together for many decades and installed hundreds of metal decorating lines worldwide until Mailänder was bought up by LTG in 1994. In 2006, LTG Mailänder was acquired by the Koenig & Bauer Group and integrated into the company, which today operates as Koenig & Bauer MetalPrint.

Beiersdorf has remained loyal to the machines of Koenig & Bauer to this day. And the famous Nivea Creme tins are still produced on one of our presses – albeit now on an ultramodern high-performance MetalStar 3 decorating line which was installed at the beginning of the year. In place of a thermal drying oven, the metal sheets are today cured with a UV system.

MetalStar 3
MetalStar 3 which continues to produce the famous blue tins for Nivea Crème. Photo – Beiersdorf Manufacturing Hamburg

According to the company, modern features accelerate make ready and enhance productivity. For example, MetalStar 3 incorporates a fully automatic plate changing. With CleanTronic Synchro, the blankets and impression cylinders can be washed simultaneously, or the blankets can be washed using two washing beams. CleanTronic SRW permits the simultaneous washing of the ink rollers, blankets, and impression cylinders. The time required for the washing process is thus significantly shorter.

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