The ALBIS UK facility in Knutsford
Materials compounder and distributor, ALBIS UK, is celebrating its milestone 50th anniversary in 2016 and says it plans “significant investments” for the coming year.
Established on the 2nd September 1966 as ALBIS Plastic Company (Great Britain) Limited, the company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the ALBIS PLASTIC GmbH based in Hamburg, Germany, began trading from offices within sight of the old Wembley stadium at York House in Wembley.
Plastic distribution, it says, has always been firmly at the roots of the business and over the years the distribution portfolio has developed to closely mirror that available across the rest of the ALBIS Group.
Initially the Wembley offices main focus was a sales office trading polymers and plastics but in 1974 the Knutsford, Cheshire factory was established to process polypropylene coming from the Shell Chemicals factory situated close by in Carrington. This was ALBIS’ first move into manufacturing outside of Germany and formed the beginnings of the compound business that is established today. In 1980 the Wembley office was closed and all activities were centered on the Knutsford site.
Thirty years ago in 1986 ALBIS UK’s first major distribution contract with Bayer GmbH was signed and gave ALBIS UK the rights to distribute its Polycarbonate and PC/ABS blends, Makrolon and Bayblend and also TPU (Desmopan) along with a number of speciality products such as Apec. This relationship, says ALBIS UK is “as strong as ever” and continues with the former Bayer business now operating as Covestro.
This first distribution contract also brought other products into the distribution portfolio, such as Durethan and Pocan, which ALBIS UK now distribute on behalf of LanXess, as well as styrenic products, such as Novodur and Lustran, which now form part of the Styrolution portfolio which ALBIS UK continues to distribute.
Further distribution partners have been added to the ALBIS UK portfolio with Lyondellbasell, Eastman, BASF, Solvay, Ampacet, Alphagary, Neutrex, MBA Polymers and Uteksol.
Compounding activities have since flourished and the Knutsford site has been expanded to become a manufacturing and distribution site operating six compounding lines with the ability to warehouse more than 4,000 tonnes and a manufacturing nameplate capacity of greater than 20,000 tonnes.
Compounding activities were also enhanced by the license compounding agreements in place alongside distribution contracts allowing ALBIS UK to manufacture under license products such as Makrolon, Novodur and Durethan. The offices and laboratories on site were expanded in 1997 with a new warehouse purchased in 1998 creating what is today a 100,000 square foot site close to the M6.
As the manufacturing business has grown and developed ALBIS UK has always had a strong focus on quality, safety and the environment and has held TS16949 since 2005, the OHSAS18001 standard since 2011 and ISO14001 since 2012. The Investors in People standard has also been held since 2005. Employing 120 people the business today has grown to a turnover of over £65m supplying more than 850 customers across the UK and Ireland.
On the sales and technical side of the business, much emphasis has been placed on market specialism and ALBIS UK has focused in its core markets of Automotive, Healthcare, E&E and Packaging developing a strong knowledge base to support its customers and a strong field-based sales and engineering team.
With further significant investments planned for 2016 ALBIS UK says the “future looks promising” and it “looks forward to the next 50 years with enthusiasm”.