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Keim Mineral Paints Factory

Factory location Diedorf, Germany
Telephone +44 (0)1746 714543

The formula for Keim’s mineral paints was invented by Adolf Wilhelm Keim in 1878, by order of King Ludwig of Bavaria. The king wished to create Italian-style frescoes but was frustrated with the performance of traditional lime-based paints, which couldn’t withstand the harsh Bavarian climate. The court scientist combined fluorspar, potassium silicate and earth oxide pigments to create a recipe that’s still used today. Keim, the company, now produces 150 tonnes of paint per day at its Diedorf factory in Bavaria and also manufactures dry bagged renders at its plant in Alteno, east Germany.

Keim’s mineral paints contain a liquid silicate which forms a microcrystalline bond with mineral substrate to which it is applied. This chemical reaction binds the pigments to the substrate so the paint becomes an integral part of the surface. The company uses inorganic mineral pigments which are inherently UV-stable and inert under acid and alkaline conditions.

The paint’s long life is evident in nearby Augsburg, where more than 80 per cent of the city centre’s buildings are decorated in Keim paint ­ much of it over 50 years old. Keim¹s finishes can also be found on Buckingham Palace and the White House.

The factory’s white-paint production is an automated process, while coloured paints are made to order in a more labour-intensive approach. The variable nature of natural pigment requires specialists to check every batch for colour. Analysts can also match samples of existing paintwork by photometer before making final adjustments by eye.

The company places great value on its staff, and until 1989 it provided two litres of beer for production employees each shift. Today, workers are more productive with their down time, and are encouraged to adorn the walls and doors with works of art in a creative use of excess paint ­ all part of Keim’s ISO 14001 environmental accreditation.

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