40 Years of ELASTO Sweden – A story of mudflaps to medical…
1976 was an eventful year. It was the year the Supersonic Concorde took its first commercial flight, Stephen Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computers and Robert De Niro first asked the question “You talkin’ to me?” in Taxi Driver. It was also the year that ELASTO Sweden was born.
Ladislav Kubicka, a Master of Engineering in Rubber from Czechoslovakia, founded Elastoteknik AB in Halmstad, Sweden in 1976. The business idea was to produce Thermoplastic Elastomers as a compound for injection moulding and extrusion.
During the first years, compounds were developed for the household and automotive sector. The most important sectors were guards and mudflaps for Volvo and Scania.
In 1984 Wermia AB in Karlstad acquired the company. At this time the company moved to its present location in Åmål on the shore of Lake Vänern. At that time the company employed 6 people.
A new era of rapid growth began in 1988 with the appointment of a new managing director, Per G. Hellberg, he was a key figure in the company’s further development due to his extensive experience within the plastic- and rubber industry.
Focus was on developing new TPE compounds and increasing market share. Investments in the first twin screw extruder were made in 1989. In the following years, a continuous expansion in people, technical and production capabilities took place.
In 1993, Elastoteknik was sold to the NOLATO-group and became Nolato Elastoteknik AB. The acquisition was a further step in reaching the objectives the company: to be one of the most asked for TPE suppliers. To support their growing customer base further investments were made in new compounding lines, offices, pilot plant and a new laboratory. The company was building a trusted reputation for versatile, customised TPE compounds and technical know-how, particularly for the consumer, automotive and household markets. In 2000 the Åmål site was certified according to ISO 14001. The company was also continuing to expand their portfolio and expertise in TPE compounds for the medical industry. Medical became a strategic market for the company, where they saw good opportunities for TPE compounds.
In 2002 British Vita PLC acquired the company, they became known as VTC Elastoteknik AB and got a sister company in England, Vita Thermoplastic Polymers (VTP), also producing TPE.
The Mediprene brand of TPE compounds for medical applications was launched in 2004 and growing sales resulted in a new production line and supporting sub-systems being installed in 2006 with focus on clean compounds (medical, transparent, food contact etc.). In 2007 the company became the first TPE compounder in Europe to be awarded the ISO 13485 accreditation for the development and manufacture of Thermoplastic Elastomer compounds for the medical device industry.
In 2010 the company returned to Swedish ownership as HEXPOL AB acquired the UK and Sweden sites, which became known as ELASTO.
The company continues to thrive as part of the HEXPOL family with further investment in people, production capacity, warehousing and a new technical centre at their Åmål site.
They were joined by Müller Kunststoffe, the German TPE compounder in 2012, and HEXPOL also developed TPE production capabilities in China. Today these companies form the HEXPOL TPE Group, with a vision to become a world leading TPE brand, recognised for material know-how, personal service, application expertise and global capabilities.
Thomas Nilsson, managing director at ELASTO Sweden AB commented, “Our 40th anniversary gives us an opportunity to look back and celebrate the great journey we’ve been on. I’m proud of our team of exceptionally dedicated and talented people. We are also extremely proud to count some of the most renowned businesses in the world as valued customers. As we celebrate our first 40 years, we look forward to working together on the next step in our evolution”.
About HEXPOL TPE
The HEXPOL TPE family is a leader in the development and manufacture of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) and complimentary compounds.
With a strong heritage in the TPE market our companies include established names such as ELASTO and Müller Kunststoffe. We deliver a trusted combination of material know-how, R&D, production capability and comprehensive technical services. As part of the HEXPOL group of companies, we share an extensive global footprint covering EU, Asia-Pacific and NAFTA, enabling us to support our customers worldwide.
A comprehensive TPE product portfolio includes TPS, TPO, TPV, TPU and cork compounds and is led by global brands Dryflex®, Mediprene®, EPSeal®, Lifoflex® and Lifocork®. We support OEMs, moulders and designers at all stages of product development in the medical, electronic, automotive, caps & closures, construction and consumer markets.
For further information please contact:
Marketing & PR Manager, HEXPOL TPE
tel +44 161 654 2369 | jill.bradford@hexpolTPE.com
Mediprene®, Dryflex®, EPSeal® , Lifoprene®, Lifoflex®, Lifocork®, Lifolit® and Lifobatch® are registered trademarks property of the HEXPOL group of companies.