The international ORAFOL Group, a leading manufacturer of special films, retroreflective materials, adhesive tape systems, and high performance polymer-based film for the graphics industry, is expanding its ongoing investment programme and converting its main production site in Oranienburg to run on liquefied natural gas.
An uninterrupted supply of energy is a must
The company, which employs 1,100 staff, produces high performance self-adhesive film for industry and trade at its headquarters in Oranienburg. The company’s products are used, among other things, on traffic signs, in traffic safety systems, in the area of workplace health and safety and by the graphics industry all over the world. Adhesive tape systems, which are also developed and produced by ORAFOL in Oranienburg, are replacing conventional mounting options. The competitive production of these and other ORAFOL products, which are mainly developed for long-term usage, requires a continuous and uninterrupted supply of energy to the production site. And this supply of energy is currently natural gas.
Expanding our ongoing investment programme
By 2024, ORAFOL will have invested 160 million euros into expanding production at its headquarters in Oranienburg, Brandenburg. The bulk of this investment will go into constructing two new production halls, equipping the halls with plant technologies and linking these technologies up to a digital production planning system. The programme is now being expanded to include a central project to safeguard production:
In addition to the current main source of energy, natural gas, we want to create the possibility of switching to liquefied natural gas (LNG) should we need to so that we can ensure that our production operations continue to run without interruption.
In-depth analysis for safeguarding production in the event of gas shortages
ORAFOL has responded to the current gas supply situation in Germany by conducting an in-depth analysis of its business processes. On 23/06/2022, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) raised the crisis level to “alert level” in Germany. This followed the “early warning” crisis level which was declared almost three months earlier on 30/03/2022. The Federal Network Agency continues to guarantee the security of supply in Germany at present. But the situation is tense, and we cannot rule out the possibility of the situation deteriorating further.
Having thoroughly examined the ways in which it can safeguard its operations and continue to be a competitive enterprise, ORAFOL’s “Energy” working group has introduced the necessary steps for converting all process equipment that run on natural gas to also run on liquefied gas. Upon completion of these expansion projects, ORAFOL will still be able to manufacture its products regardless of any future disruptions to the supply of natural gas.
Dr. Holger Loclair, Chairman & CEO of the ORAFOL Group: "ORAFOL’s continuous investment in performance development has been driven by well-considered and sustainable business practices from the outset. And we have only been able to expand our ongoing investment programme to this extent thanks to this disciplined approach. Expanding our production processes on the technical level to run on liquefied natural gas means that we do not have to rely on any potential Tradeable Energy Quotas."
Converting to LNG in two phases
The plans for converting the site will be split into two phases. The first phase involves procuring a temporary supply of liquefied gas containers. The second phase involves constructing a single liquefied gas storage tank with a capacity of 180 tonnes. And the possibility exists for expanding capacities further. Construction work will start this quarter and the first order of business will be to install the foundations. The investment for the entire project amounts to 3 million euros in total. These investments are expected to be in place by the second quarter of 2023.
Implementing an energy efficiency programme as a vehicle for identifying energy saving potentials
Thanks to the working group's holistic approach, ORAFOL was able to introduce further energy saving potentials to its business processes, which has not only reduced the amount of natural gas consumed during the production process with immediate effect, but it has also increased its levels of energy efficiency. The investment volume for this amounts to an additional 1 million euros approximately. The energy saving measures that have come out of this are of the highest priority across all business areas and are subject to regular monitoring.
About the ORAFOL Group
The ORAFOL Group is a global, family-run company specialising in plastic processing and finishing. The manufacturer of specialist film, retroreflective materials, adhesive tape systems, and high performance polymer-based film for the graphics industry, and a strongly research-oriented business, generated a turnover of 768 million euros in FY 2021. With 17 subsidiaries, the owner-managed group maintains a presence in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia. It has production sites in Germany, Ireland, the USA, Mexico, China and Australia. ORAFOL employs more than 2,500 people worldwide, including more than 1,100 at its headquarters in Oranienburg, near Berlin.