Makers have been strong advocates of the Triflex Brand and for over 20 years have installed and recommended a wide range of Triflex products. In 2016 the Follmann Group outlined their desire to invest in new production facilities at their headquarters in Minden, Germany creating a 7800m2 fully automated production facility reducing production costs, times and adopting a flexible manufacturing process in response to Client demands.
The creation of the new manufacturing facility has seen the site have a capability of producing 45,000 tonnes of resin product per year and with the demand for both Triflex and Follmann Chemie products has seen the annual turnover of the Group reach 300 million Euros.
A desire to invest 10% of the turnover saw a substantive 30 million commitment with changes in energy use in production and processes reviewed together with upgrading the manufacturing production to create a more sustainable and cleaner environment both in production and external environmental areas.
Follmann Chemie operates in six production areas across its Minden site dividing its production processes between “mixing” and “polymerising”.
“Understanding the technology and processes involved in the manufacture of the products we use is really helpful, and seeing the complex processes involved in mixing, batching and quality control in clean environments is very informative”.
Sean Allsop HSQE Manager
The Triflex motto is Gemeinsam gelöst which roughly translates into solve together and the Managing partner of Follmann, Dr Henrik Follmann firmly believes this to be true and sits at the heart of the family owned business.
“The key is that we create products that solve our Clients issues and we have to do this together….but to solve and create the right solution we have to develop, test and ensure that our Client can see and be involved in the process…”
Dr Henrik Follmann; Follmann Chemie
The desire to have close Client involvement and build brand confidence resulted in the construction of the Technology & Knowledge Centre. Construction started back in October 2020 and was completed at the end of 2021 becoming operational in May 2022. This multifunctional training centre covers some 12,000 m2 and has been designed to give the complete customer experience. The building consists of two storeys and has been designed to hold customer training courses, information events and company meetings. Theory rooms, practical application labs, test areas and sample rigs dominate the ground floor together with a 140 person auditorium as well as break out and meeting rooms on the upper floor.
The Technology Centre is used to demonstrate first hand new innovations and allow Clients and applicators the ability to trial and familiarise themselves with the products. Physical trials under test conditions provide key information for Clients to establish critical properties and satisfactory development and is used to test adhesives, water based inks and chemicals across the Triflex and Follmann Chemie portfolio.
As part of the staff welfare programme the building also boasts a fully enclosed five aside football come basketball pitch, together with a complete roof garden which harvests and stores rainfall for all the planting. The roof also houses a full entertainment area providing vistas across the surrounding area and a bird’s eye view of the nearby production facilities. The structure has also been used to demonstrate the capability of the Triflex waterproofing systems incorporating a complete photovoltaic generating system providing power to the building and its activities.
“The roof is a working example of what is possible and moreover the strengths of the Triflex products in the German market when used alongside single ply application. It makes it an easy sell and something Clients can adopt and visualise”.
Alex Bloor National Roofing Director Makers
“The centre is of very high quality and you can see every cent of the 15 million Euro centre. It is an impressive facility and centre of excellence and provides a fantastic platform to drive the liquid waterproofing market forward”.
Matthew Hewetson Commercial Director Makers
Establishing confidence is key and the starting point for the factory is the Quality Department. Producing 45,000 tonnes of finishes requires large volumes of ingredients whether it be for the mixing or polymerisation process with each component being tested prior to entry into the manufacturing process. Ingredients are either accepted or rejected and if rejected are removed from site without entering the sites manufacturing systems.
“When offering guarantees, it’s all about confidence and this starts with the ingredients, the science, the chemistry and performance of the materials… between the manufacture, testing and evaluation at every stage its provides us the installer the confidence not only in the product but the backup that lies behind it…”
Stuart Rooker Finance Director Makers
The factory tour took in many sensitive production areas, even outside some of the product lines Makers use but clearly underlines the chemical expertise Follmann and Triflex hold especially in the areas of Microcapsulation, polymerisation, printing inks and chemical adhesives.
“The site has been transformed and you can see the change in environment from the 30 milllion Euro investment, the production areas are spotless and the Technology & Knowledge Centre is spectacular, but some things never change and that’s Henrik’s passion for what he does. The last time we met was 17 years ago and his commitment has never waned… he firmly believes that partnership based on co-operation to problem solve is very important which is underlined by their motto “ Solve together”.
Simon Lamb MD Makers
As part of the visit Makers were guests of Triflex UK who arranged for us to sample the delights of Cologne. As well as the Cultural visit to the Cathedral we also attended the football match between FC Cologne and Borussia Dortmund. The significance of the game was to watch England’s latest hero Jude Bellingham who was also Dortmund’s Captain.
The game had an amazing atmosphere with both sets of fans creating a cup final feel with flags drums and endless chanting. In total contrast to games in England fans form both teams sat together and beer was also permitted in the stands. The game played in great spirit saw Cologne run out eventual winner 3:2 despite Dortmund taking the lead. As avid football fans we were surprised by the lack of visible policing and the camaraderie between both sets of supporters, but we were later to discover that the game is known as a friendship game with mutual respect between fans which was evident in all the hostelries, however we were informed by local fans that if Düsseldorf and Leverkusen were the opposition that it would be a total contrast.
“The atmosphere was incredible with both sets of fans loud and proud. In honour of Jude’s roots I sported my Birmingham City shirt which was recognised by a group of Cologne fans who immediately broke out into a chorus of sh** on the Villa which made me laugh especially as Stuart was wearing his Villa shirt beneath his jacket…amazing how reputation travels!!!”
Simon Lamb MD Makers
The team at Makers would like to express their thanks to Tony Mills and his team for the hospitality and reception received in Germany who despite the bank holiday weekend took time out to make our visit most welcome. It was a great Xperience.