The success story started in Balgach, Eastern Switzerland, in October 1959, when Hans-Heinz and Cilly Kehl set up their embroidery factory named “Kehl Stickereifabrikation”. The laces from the company now embellish internationally renowned lingerie products as well as home and household textiles. To transform yarn into lace, a number of requirements must be satisfied: continuous investments in state-of-the-art production equipment, boundless creativity, and a sharp eye for identifying trends. They are Kehl AG’s recipe for successful lace.
At the outset, the founders handled the entire production on their own using four Saurer I-S (10 yard) embroidery machines. Colour changes were still made by hand. Then, in 1961, the first building extension was added, and the young company purchased a Saurer II-S to modernise its production equipment creating attractive jobs in the process. Embroideries became increasingly fashionable throughout the world in the sixties and seventies. In response to this growing demand, Kehl again added a new large factory building and purchased a modular Saurer embroidery machine of type 1040 (15 yard). Thanks to its modularity, it was possible to upgrade this basic machine repeatedly in the course of the following years, allowing capacity to be increased markedly. By now, colour and pattern repeat changes were being controlled by punched cards.
In 1980, the second generation of the Kehl family joined the successful company. A technical revolution followed in 1987, when an electronic production control system replaced the punched card system. Instead of 3000 stitches per hour, it was all at once possible to produce 4500! This 50-percent capacity boost allowed a new variety of embroidery designs to be made. Thanks to its flexible application, its speed and its precision, the computerised control system increased productivity markedly.
The second generation of the family took the helm in 1993, having gained profound insight into the company from early childhood. Since then, the Kehl company has been managed by the following persons:
• Heinz Kehl, production manager, 24-hour operation, design and programming
• Daniel Kehl, production manager and 24-hour operation
• Markus Kehl, quality assurance, administration and marketing
Kehl AG has an unmistakable feeling for top trends, and it was therefore not surprising that it was the first Swiss company to install the Saurer Unica in 1999. Today, this machine is the trend-setter in the embroidery market.
Today's equipment includes:
• one Unica 16-Yards Pentacut (thread cut)
• six 4040 HP 15-Yards Pentacut (thread cut)
What Hans-Heinz and Cilly Kehl established over 40 years ago is now a well-known company in Eastern Switzerland. Kehl AG is a major player in the textile market and an attractive employer in Eastern Switzerland, a region where the production of outstanding embroideries has been a tradition for centuries.