Senoplast Klepsch & Co
Issue Nov/Dec 06
Fantastic plastic from Senoplast
Founded in 1956 by DI W. Klepsch, Senoplast Klepsch & Co is the largest independent co-extrusion sheet producer in Europe.
From its 81,000 square-metre facility in Piesendorf, Austria, the company produces approximately 42,000 tonnes of semi-finished plastic materials each year under its Senosan trade name. Exporting 95 per cent of its products, the group has branches and representatives in 40 countries, with additional production facilities in Queretaro, Mexico.
Introducing the company’s service, CEO, Wilhelm Klepsch begins: “Senosan stands for excellent quality sheets and foils, as well as environmentally friendly production with very little waste. Meeting a multitude of specific environmental and recycling requirements, there are a vast number of potential uses of our semifinished products.”
This wide variety of uses is emphasised by the fact that its sales organisation is divided into seven divisions: automotive, sanitary, refrigerator, packaging, ID-cards, furniture and advertising.
The automotive division focuses on the development and marketing of special plastic sheets and films for internal and external use in cars, commercial vehicles and caravans, with various composite sheets offered to meet market requirements regarding mechanical properties and UV stability.
In the sanitary sector, Senosan composite sheets have to meet high hygiene standards to be used in baths, shower trays, basins, steam cubicles, whirlpools and solarium units. With wide design freedom and a high level of durability the sheets provide a strong basis material for the manufacture of high quality vacuum formed parts.
The refrigerator division is involved in the development, production and marketing of sheets and films for all of the industry’s demands, while the packaging division produces reel materials and extruded films of polystyrene and polyester.
Also operating in the ID card market, leading manufacturers of identity cards, driving licences, tachometers and health cards use Senoplast because of its bureaucracy-free, quick methods.
The company’s efficient production processes are also a key selling point in the furniture industry, with its co-extruded PVCfree sheets offering scratch resistance, strong forming properties, UV stability and environmental acceptability. Its variety of application possibilities is again a key part of its selling point, with post-forming, membrane and vacuum forming processing methods all used.
Finally, the seventh division offers more exclusive design possibilities, with a range of plastic sheets for internal and external applications in the advertising and engraving sectors.
“This wide range of product applications is a major benefit for our customers,” explains Wilhelm. “The strength of Senoplast is our ability to produce up to seven layers, combining them to match individual customer requirements.”
Summarising the company’s customers,Wilhelm continues: “We work together with all the major automotive, sanitary, fridge and furniture suppliers, and it is their demands that act as the guidelines for our performance. Customer requests are also major initiators for product development, with our Senco R&D sister company transferring innovations across the business.”
Alongside quality and profitability, the ability to react quickly to market demand and adjust to technological advancements is crucial to stay ahead of the competition. With costs increasing and prices falling, many manufacturers in the plastics industry realised the need to offer technical innovation, and this led Senoplast to create Senco R&D.
Concentrating on research, development and application technology, this sister company conducts technical laboratory and materials testing for the group. “R&D is the core competence of Senoplast, and we are viewed as the innovation leader in the market,” comments Wilhelm. “Our continual R&D in new materials has resulted in many patents, and combined with our experience in plastic processing, we ensure problem-free re-processing of our semi-finished materials.”
Describing one of the company’s recent innovations, he continues: “A major breakthrough in product development is the new Senotop, which replaces post-colouring in the automotive industry. Supplied through our new automotive sister company, Senco Europe, it helps to reduce vehicle production costs by replacing the costs of paint. Using coloured films during the vacuum forming process, it reduces fuel consumption due to the reduction in weight.”
Other recent developments from Senoplast have included Easyglide, developed for the new co-extruded ABS/PMMA, and Softfeel sheets for the automotive sector. The Softfeel sheets are co-extruded composites of thermoplastic raw materials. Using a high impact ABS base material that is co-extruded with a thin layer of UV protected matt thermoplastic polyurethane, the sheets have a strong bond and create a unique leather-look matt surface with increased abrasion and scratch resistance. The reverse side of the sheet is produced with an Easyglide layer that brings an increased rigidity and shorter processing time in the thermoforming stage.
Antibacterial surfaces for the fridge and sanitary industry have also been developed, with Senoplast applying silver-ions in inner liners. These ions are embedded in a transparent porous glass ceramic substrate,
Alongside this focus on product development, Senoplast has also been extending its facilities. “We have invested 15 million euros in a new production hall, a logistic centre, and a machine construction hall at our premises in Piesendorf,” says Wilhelm.
Expanding on the company’s facilities, he continues: “Our production is carried out on modern extrusion lines that are purpose built for co-extrusion, with the highest levels of precision. Our facilities are equipped with clean rooms and HACCP, while our automated logistic centre has been developed to offer a flexible, customised approach for our clients. The raw material is supplied by world leading producers, although the technical plant equipment is predominantly constructed in-house.”
Senoplast’s focus on innovation and R&D is evident, and to emphasise this commitment, it forms two key areas of company policy. Split into the categories, expansion & integration, innovation & experience, high-tech & nature, and development & identity,Wilhelm explains that the policy is in practice and not just a marketing ideal.
“When focusing on expansion & integration, establishing worldwide partnerships is our basis for global success. With decades of international experience, combined with rapid reaction times and a future-oriented technology approach, we have developed into a competent systems supplier for trade and industry and in the plastics sector.
“In terms of innovation & experience our top priority is quality. There are high demands on products and services, and our structured, certified quality management system guarantees we meet international standards, while modern facilities, ongoing training and the exclusive use of high value materials are visible signs of this strategy.”
Discussing the high-tech & nature section of the policy,Wilhelm continues: “Our prime responsibility is an environmentally-friendly production process. Technology and nature are an achievable symbiosis, which are integrated in the issues of emission factors, energy usage and waste management.”
The fourth aspect of the policy, development & identity, clearly stresses the importance that Senoplast places on leading the industry. “Permanent research and development is the guarantee for product advantage,” says Wilhelm. “We see ourselves as an integrated technology supplier with an ‘all inclusive’ approach. Our long-term experience and expertise enhances the development progress, while the creativity, precision, impulse and staying power of our people is a key part of the process.”
Besides the company’s product development, its global strategy is focused on establishing new production plants in Russia and China, while also expanding its existing site in Mexico. Explaining the importance of developing worldwide facilities,Wilhelm says: “We have to face the same challenges as the other suppliers in the industry, and globalisation, while being a risk, provides the potential to grow with these markets.”
Describing the overall market situation that the company faces,Wilhelm continues: “The market is separated into specialities and commodities. We can develop our leading position in the speciality segment through our exceptional features, but commodities are under pressure due to the challenge of obtaining limited raw materials and energy.”
Offering products that can be used in a wide range of markets, and operating under a clear strategy that emphasises continual research and development, Senoplast Klepsch is a leading player in the semi-finished plastics industry. Summarising what he sees as the company’s key to its success,Wilhelm concludes: “Our secret is the team character, professionalism and flexibility of our organisation, while the Senosan sheets and films, together with our creative development service, ensure that our name will continue to be a market leader in the future.”
Senoplast Klepsch & Co
Products: Semi-finished plastic materials
Sites: Austria and Mexico