Lajosmizsei Folplast Kft. is based in Hungary, with the head office in Lajosmizse. The company produces PE based packaging materials and distributes them both in the country and abroad.
Especially for Manufacturing Journal an extensive interview was given by Mr. Imre Rauch - Managing Director in
Lajosmizsei Folplast Kft.
Could you briefly describe the history of the company and most important moments of its development?
The legal predecessor of Lajosmizsei Folplast Kft. was established in 1968 as a subsidiary of a co-operative manufacturing polyethylene (PE) packaging materials. At the end of the 1960’s it was one of the first newly established plastic converters on a national level, after the Plastic Converter Division of TVK Rt. Since 1995 – after leaving the co-operative – the company has operated under the name ‘Lajosmizsei Folplast Kft.’, established by several private individuals-owners. After the changing of the ownership of the company in 1995, the first important step was to modernize buildings, social areas and create proper conditions at all working areas. The next very important milestone was the purchase and installation of our first 3-layer W&H coextrusion line in 2005. Since then more W&H 3-layer and 5-layer coextrusion lines have been installed until today. As a result of machine investments, we needed to extend our production facility as well. In 2006 we built a whole new 2500 m2 production plant in the industrial area of Lajosmizse, only 1 km away from the central plant and headquarter. In 2014, the new plant was further extended by a 2000m2 warehouse for the storage of finished products. Last year’s huge challenge was the building of a new converting and printing plant with 3000 m2 and installing a new 8 color flexographic central impression printing machine. Under the past few years our product portfolio has significantly widened, due to continuous investments. As a result, we are able to provide a wide range of solutions for our customers from consumer’s shopping bags, through mulch films, to industrial packaging like shrink films and stretch hoods.
Can you tell us more about your products, services, production technologies and production facilities?
We have two plants, altogether with 32000 m2 working area. At the moment, the average age of our machine fleet is about 7 years. We are working with modern equipment’s in the fields of extrusion, converting and printing activity. Our company can offer products on a very wide scale, which allows us to provide whole packages for our customers, including bags, sacks, shopping bags, shrink films, stretch hoods etc. Agricultural micro- or macroperforated mulch films are also significant part of our portfolio. Inland orders are delivered to the partners by our own trucks, which makes us even more flexible.
What are the exclusive elements that make your company unique from the point of view of design and production?
On both management and production level we work with highly skilled and qualified people, which allow us to provide a quality technical service to our customers. This service is especially valuable when our partners can only share their requirements with us, and we need to find a solution which meets their expectations.
Are any eco-friendly solutions you have implemented in your company?
We have recognized the growing environmental consciousness of the customers and the importance of sustainability when choosing the packaging materials for the future. For this reason, we have started to make experiments with 50% PCR and PIR regranulates to achieve the sustainability goal and we are glad to tell you that we have already managed to carry out successful test runs. We also started to make test runs using biobased and biologically degradable pellets. Our aim is to keep up with the continuously changing demands of the customers and to be competitive in this field too.
Please tell us about your company’s quality control system.
Folplast has an integrated ERP system, which supports our everyday work and ensures traceability in production. Beside this, all machine production data are stored in a central data system, from which every parameters of a certain production can be reached anytime. This can be especially useful when we receive a complaint from the customer. All extrusion lines are mounted with gravimetric dosing unit, coextrusion lines have even continuous thickness monitoring system. Production control is carried out every time when a finished roll comes down from the machine. Beside this, we have our own laboratory, where we can check the parameters of the finished products.
What are the certificates your company owns?
We have ISO 9001:2015 quality management system and ISO 14001:2015 environment management system since the early 2000’s. In 2018 we also introduced OHSAS 18001:2007 health and safety assessment system.
Please tell us about the size of your production and the number of people you employ in your company.
Our production capacity reaches almost 15 000 tons per year. At the moment Folplast has 150 employees, fluctuation is quite small.
Please tell us what made your company so successful and gained the trust of its customers?
Quality is definitely in the focus of our company. The aim is to keep consistent quality and avoid any complaints reported by the buyer. For this purpose, we use the same approved recipes in our production unless the partner does not request something else. Our philosophy is to establish and keep long term successful partnerships not only with our customers, but with our suppliers as well. When planning our production capacity, we always try to achieve a capacity replaceability, which guarantees more flexibility, shorter deadlines, fast responses to unexpected demands.
The quality of products is your priority. You know perfectly well that there is no place for compromises in your industry, which is why you work only among the best suppliers and subcontractors. Would you like to distinguish any particular companies?
It is important that we do not change approved recipes, unless the customers require to change it. We work with the same raw material suppliers for many years and try to do our best to keep constancy. In certain cases, not the highest technology is the most important aspect, but the solution which is suitable for the customer and cost efficient for both parties as well.
What were the new products and technological innovations introduced by your Research & Development department in the last period?
We are able to produce hot embossed rubber release film for the rubber industry, which is quite interesting and unique. As far as we know, this in-line embossing unit is the only one machine in Europe. This unit is connected directly in-line with the 3-layer extrusion line, and right after the film comes down from the extrusion line, it makes a rhombus or star shape embossing on the film’s surface. Beside this, we can also provide EVA bags used in the rubber industry. The main and most important characteristic of this product is the low melting point.
Are you planning any investments in the nearest future? How the new investments can change your company’s growth trajectory?
At the moment, we are not planning any significant investments, as in the last 15 years we continuously focused on developments. As I already mentioned, one of our biggest projects was carried out last year, when we built a new printing and converting plant and installed many new machines as well. Now we need a little break and we have to make decisions even more wisely. By now, we think we have managed to build up a capacity, which is suitable for meeting a wide selection of customer requests and also to have a secure production with some spare capacity. Our plan for the near future is to increase the company’s profitability and to rationalize costs.
Your philosophy is to produce and sell polyethylene packaging materials at fair market prices and provide accurate and reliable delivery in the quality expected by the customers. Where are your main markets?
Approximately 50% of our sales is made in Hungary, the other half is exported to European countries. The main fields of use of our products are the packaging of construction materials, electronics, beverages and household purposes.
What are the current market trends affecting your company?
Obviously the continuously growing environmental consciousness have the biggest effect on our activity right now. This is why we have to focus on creating the circumstances for the production of regranulated and biobased products.
In your opinion, how has the market in your country changed in comparison to other countries in last 5 years and in which direction those changes lead? Is your company ready to compete with the new tendencies on national and international market? Please tell our readers about the company’s international cooperation.
The main driver is sustainability for the future. The reduction of carbon footprint is the main driver for future developments while these goals are supported also by the EU and national governments. The most challenging task now is to find solutions how to fulfill sustainability targets by introducing PCR regranulates into the production and maintain permanently high or at least stable quality level for every single batch of production. Certainly, this is quite a difficult case since we cannot consider PCR regranulates like standard products and fulfilling the requirements of multinational companies in this field requires serious efforts from all players in the supply chain.