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Völklingen Ironworks

Our History

100 Years of Plastics – 200 Years of Materials Expertise

 

Continuity in Times of Change

Responsible. Long-term. Sustainable. These are the qualities that characterize family-run companies, and the Röchling family is no exception. This family can be traced back to the 17th century. To this day, the family members are still part of the company’s history as the eighth generation of shareholders. They form part of the Advisory Board and set the strategic course of the international group together with external experts – which means that family origins continue to shape the future of the business. Across almost two centuries, the family has closely steered the company along its eventful journey from steel producer to system partner for integrated solutions. The family has consistently provided continuity amid change – and will continue to do so going forward.

1822

When it all began. Friedrich Ludwig Röchling established his coal-trading company in Völklingen, laying the basis for the company’s involvement with steel – the most significant material of the Industrial Revolution.

1849

The four nephews of the company founder, Friedrich Ludwig Röchling, began producing coke and processing industrial iron.

1881

The steel era started to pick up speed. The Röchling nephews purchased the Völklingen Ironworks and became experts in this material, which was so important at the time. No-one would have suspected that a century later the Völklingen Ironworks would be designated the first industrial UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1920

Almost 100 years after the company was founded, Röchling recognized the potential of a new material: plastic. The family acquired Berliner Holzveredlung GmbH, a true pioneer in plastics processing. As early as 1916, Holzveredelung GmbH had registered a patent for the completely new material, Lignostone – a Röchling product that is still successful to this day. It is made of wood but converted into a “plastic” with particular characteristics using a special compression process. This coup reduced the company’s dependence on steel.

1935

Holzveredelung GmbH was relocated from Berlin to Haren in the Emsland region, which is now the oldest Röchling Group location.

1955

Röchling acquired Rheinmetall Berlin AG, the supplier of the newly founded German Armed Forces, and diversified the company into numerous business fields such as telecommunications.

1960s and 1970s

These years were marked by pioneering materials developments, with Röchling launching the thermoplastic Polystone® and the glass-fiber-reinforced plastic Durostone®.

1978

The company’s departure from the coal and steel industry strengthened its expertise in plastics. Its strategic goals included internal growth and targeted acquisitions in new industries. The Group also became involved in a wide range of sectors to achieve sufficient financial risk diversification.

1980s

The plastics business continued to grow. By acquiring the Sustaplast Group in Lahnstein, Germany, Röchling gained a specialist in the manufacture of semi-finished products made of plastic. Röchling entered the automotive plastics industry through the acquisition of the Seeber Group in South Tyrol.

1990s and 2000s

This was a time of internationalization, with Röchling establishing subsidiaries and production locations in countries such as Europe, the USA, China and India.

2000 onwards

In the new millennium, Röchling focused on its materials expertise. In 2004, the Group divested all investments not related to plastics, including its almost-50-year investment in Rheinmetall AG. At the same time, it renewed its focus on new industries in the plastics sector.

2008 onwards

Röchling entered the field of medical technology with the acquisition of the Oertl Kunststofftechnik Group. Four further acquisitions were made by 2018, increasing the number of sites in the Medical Division to six worldwide.

2016

Three-fold expertise – since 2016, the Röchling Group has had three independent divisions: Industrial, Automotive and Medical.

2018

Today, the Röchling Group is the world’s leading system partner and solution provider for highly specialized plastics. It supplies customers from over 90 locations in Europe, the Americas (North, Central and South America) and Asia.

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