Packaged for success
By paying constant attention to quality and innovation friedola TECH’s progress in the market is taking significant strides as demand increases.
Founded in 1990 following the development of its innovative CON-Pearl® technology 18 years prior, friedola® TECH has a perfectly positioned portfolio to serve growing trends in the packaging and automotive industries. With markets established in Europe and the United States from production sites in both, the company’s core offering revolves around two central brands, CON-Pearl and CON-CoverTM. CON-Cover is a robust textile covered plastic moulded range of parts used mainly in automotive applications comand is available in bi- and tri-laminate solutions. CON-Pearl is the most important product for the company and in its simplest form is a laminated lightweight board with high levels of strength and reliability, used in a range of packaging and automotive applications.
“Our main strengths are that we produce very high quality products as well as having a reputation for being reliable with very good customer service,” explains CEO, Dr. Matthias Stein. “Our innovation potential is very important and we are constantly developing new features and product solutions by working closely with our customers to solve problems and develop new applications.”
Fuelling these strengths towards continued growth and success is a couple of growing trends in both of friedola TECH’s key markets. “In the automotive, light commercial vehicle (LCV) industry, it is becoming more and more about lightweight solutions in the substitution of wood,” continues Matthias. “This plays into our hands as our CON-Pearl solutions are perfect for this and the LCV market is in very good shape at the moment. In terms of packaging there is a growing trend towards multi-way packaging, as reusability becomes more popular and more compliant, so we see good opportunities for us with our collapsible and robust packaging solutions.”
The centrepiece for friedola TECH is CON-Pearl. The lightweight boards, which consist of three laminated polypropylene layers, the middle of which obtains a special thermo formed structure, are 100 per cent recyclable and are perfectly suited for a range of applications. For example, the company markets a range of collapsible and reusable packaging solutions, as well as load floor, side wall covers, trunk floors and moulded parts for automotive applications. As Matthias previously mentioned, innovation is key to maintaining continuous development within the product range and a team of four executives regularly meet to assess market demands and ideas, and implement strategic steps. “We also hold regular innovation workshops with our employees where we look at new materials, and at our strengths and weaknesses to see where we can improve,” he notes.
Central to CON-Pearl’s development is its strength. In May 2015, the company announced that its new load floor solutions had increased in load capacity strength by 100 per cent making the resulting material comparable in strength to that of wooden floors. This was accompanied by three variations: the Safestep, a non-slip solution for high degrees of occupational safety and efficient transportation solutions; the Strong, which utilises a special, highly resilient polypropylene-fabric to increase its resilience; and the Allround, which makes it suitable for a range of applications. “All of our load floors still have the features that are being appreciated by the market,” says Matthias. “These are the low weight and thus lowered fuel consumption, as well as the easy installation, aesthetic appearance, easy cleaning possibilities and resistance to possible mould and rotting.” In addition to this, the company has also developed a range of solutions for the packaging industry including a collapsible application that maintains internal climate.
In order to maintain its quality offering, friedola TECH prides itself on its complete production capabilities as it manages an entire value chain from recycling raw materials to the end product. “We have a plastic recycling plant in Leinefelde, which was acquired in 2000,” outlines Matthias. “We also have the facilities to extrude, laminate, stamp and post-process all our products here in Geismar. Last year we invested into a brand new lamination machine and we have also recently invested into our recycling plant and foil plants. These investments have allowed us to keep up with capacity enlargement, stabilise our production line and improve product quality.”
Continuing its trend for collaboration, the company also holds its supplier relationships in high regard. “These are very important because we have a lot of technical products here and we need to have reliable suppliers who are able to provide us with good quality components,” notes Matthias. “They also do a lot of development work with us as we all move forward. Therefore we stick to certain suppliers who are flexible in supplying us according to our own changing demands. These relationships become particularly crucial during difficult times.”
With potential for friedola TECH materials ever increasing with developing trends throughout the industry, the future for the company looks positive. Despite pressures coming from a fiercely competitive market and increasing price pressures, Matthias is confident that the company’s approach to innovation and high quality will put it in good stead to secure further success. In a concluding point he highlights: “The future is going to be very much focused on pushing and developing our CON-Pearl product with new features and applications. We are also looking at consolidating and expanding our packaging systems and LCV products in both our European and US markets.”
friedola TECH GmbH
Products: Manufactures customised plastic solutions