The principle behind KOCO is the tradition of innovation
Instinct, entrepreneurial courage and a constant little bit of luck are the factors that always helped our family with delivering new solutions. We always recognized the trends of the time, came up with new solutions or rethought the status quo in order to bring useful and economical innovation to the market. Having wide interests, we know more than just what´s technically possible – we also know the economical and political frameworks. This way we gathered a vast amount of multidisciplinary know-how in the areas of materials technology, process engineering and application technology over the 100 years of corporate history. In the increasingly dynamic climate and energies sector, this wealth of experience is an important factor to success.
PROGRESS: FIRST PLACE ALREADY IN 1923
KOCO – a milestone in automobile historyIn 1919 Carl Koch, an engineer and aircraft engine developer at the legendary Dixi-plants, went at it alone with his company Koch & Co. in Erfurt, Germany. He is the first to ever build automobiles from only 750 individual parts instead of the 1500 parts common at the time. The cars built under the KOCO brand are also among the first automobiles produced in larger quantities to run with boxer engines. Carl Koch was also a pioneer when it comes to faster vehicles: one year before the famous Bugatti Tank Type 32 made its debut, he had already built racing cars with streamlined bodies. In 1923 his car won the race on the AVUS circuit in Berlin. He finished 30 laps within 16 minutes and 53 seconds, which is equal to 71.076 kilometres per hour. What seems rather slow today, was very fast at the time.
From INNOVATION TOWORLDWIDE STANDARD
The tailor-made suit for modern flat roofsIn a self-built wooden hut in Western Germany, Carl Koch´s son Herbert, though with the same degree of pioneering spirit, starts walking down a completely different path to his father. Shortly after the end of the Second World War, roofs were sealed with tar and roofing paper. Herbert, with a degree in chemistry, developed high-quality recipes on a plastic basis instead. This material became the worldwide standard for corporate and industrial roofing. The experience from millions of square metres of sealed roofs proves to be an invaluable advantage for the decision if a roof is capable of withstanding the load of a photovoltaic installation over decades.
BUILDING IN NEW DIMENSIONs
Membranes, the fifth construction materialThe ideas of famous architect Frei Otto are so innovative, that they put the building industry before completely new obstacles. For Herbert Koch and his sons, the stadiums for the Olympic games 1972 in Munich were the first exciting challenge. On a large scale, they plan and realise spectacular roofing flooded with light, made with durable, translucent plastic membranes. Herbert Koch´s younger son Klaus-Michael Koch manages to scale this business sector under the brand Hightex to position himself as the world’s leading supplier for membrane technology. In 2007 Hightex goes public at the London Stock Exchange for technology. Today, more than 800 projects were realised in collaboration with famous architects and engineers, such as the roofs of the Olympic Stadium of Berlin, the National Stadium of Warsaw or the Olympic Stadium of Kiev… to name just a few.
FIRST SOLAR APPLICATIONS MADE BY THE KOCH FAMILY
When fossil energy became leverageThe 1973 oil embargo followed by a global economic crisis started a thinking process within the Koch family. In the following year, Germany spent an additional 17 billion DM only for the import of oil and gas. France shifts it’s energy supply to nuclear power sources and Herbert Koch and his sons begin to experiment with the production of solar energy, while their company produces the first transparent plastic membranes for intelligent building envelopes. Additionally, they start the development of solar powered water heating and steam turbines as well as focused pneumatic parabolic mirrors. As the oil price decreases again, it turns out that the market is not yet ready for solar energy, though the know-how gathered during this period of experiments can be further used for energy efficient building projects. The Allianz-Arena in Munich and Bangkok Airport are just two out of many spectacular examples. From here on in, Klaus – Michael Koch never looses sight of the original vision: the worldwide transition to solar power production that can be done within a few decades, if politics starts making the according decisions.
USING THE POWER OF THE SUN
Full attention to the energy revolutionWhat speaks against building another business solely out of conviction at the age of 59 years? Klaus – Michael Koch starts KOCO AG and gathers a team of likeminded professionals from the technology and finance sectors. At the time no one could have known about the catastrophe of Fukushima Plant in Japan. One year later finally marked a turning point in global energy policy and triggered unseen dynamics within the solar industry. According to scientists, the transition to 100% renewable energy would be possible by covering only half of all corporate and industrial roofs in Germany with photovoltaic modules. For KOCO, this realistic estimate is an incentive as well as a starting signal – the family business has gathered millions of square metres in experience regarding flat roofs over many decades. From this experience, the experts of KOCO AG know exactly, if a roof can withstand a photovoltaic installation with a lifespan of 30 years, or if it has to be overhauled.
7On a planet, threatened by ecological destruction from all sites, anything we create must be ready for the future.