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Getting genuinely involved

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Texla specializes in the lamination of diverse interior materials, including leather, textiles and vinyl. The company uses two main technologies: flame lamination and flatbed lamination. Flame lamination does not require any adhesive. Instead, the respective material is laminated onto foam by heating and melting the surface of the foam.

Flatbed lamination, on the other hand, uses adhesives in the lamination process and is particularly suitable when pressure-sensitive adhesives have to be applied. Besides lamination, Texla offers precision cutting and embossing services. The company employs CNC cutting and die cutting to provide laminated materials in any shape and size requested by the customer.

Thanks to their relative thickness, laminated materials can be easily embossed to create unique designs and patterns, including text, images and corporate logos. “We see ourselves as our customers’ full-service lamination partner that takes responsibility for its customers’ entire projects,” Commercial Director Pär Palmgren describes the philosophy of Texla. “We manage the complete supply chain for our clients and take care of everything from the sourcing of the raw materials to assuring premium quality standards. We really get involved with our customers’ projects and want everyone to be involved, the customer and the supplier. We are good at what we do, and our customers highly appreciate this.”

Texla was established by Nils Bengtsson in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1962, and has over five decades of lamination expertise. In the 1970s, the company started laminating fabrics and artificial leather for the Swedish automotive industry. In the 1980s, pushed by one of its customers, Texla decided to expand to other European countries.

“We were exporting quite a lot of material to Belgium already, so it was an opportunity for us to open up a factory there, close to our customer,” explains Mr. Palmgren, who is not only Commercial Director of Texla Group but also Managing Director of the group’s three manufacturing plants in Belgium, the Czech Republic and Portugal.

Pär Palmgren
Through lamination, cutting and embossing, we add value to our customers’ products. Pär PalmgrenCommercial and Managing Director

In 1987, Texla went to Belgium in a joint venture together with its customer, manufacturing seats for Volvo. Three years later, the joint venture was discontinued and Texla continued with the factory on its own. “Then we stumbled into a major English producer who was looking for a partner on the continent,” states Mr. Palmgren, who moved to Belgium to set up the factory there and has been there ever since. “So we entered into a new joint venture, importing their fabrics and laminating them. That lasted until about 2000. Since then, Texla in Belgium has been an independent company.”

In 2002, Texla bought a similar company in Portugal. “We believed that Portugal could serve the southern part of Europe,” says Mr. Palmgren. “The same relates to the next facility we opened in the Czech Republic in 2007, only with respect to Eastern Europe. The automotive industry was moving eastwards, and we wanted to stay close to our customers. The story of Texla is that of a small Swedish company that, with a bit of luck and a lot of determination, became an interesting partner for the automotive sector.”

Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, Texla has manufacturing plants in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Sweden. “All four units have the same production facilities, which provides us with a great degree of flexibility,” explains Mr. Palmgren.

Managed by the second generation of the Bengtsson family, Texla has a turnover of 85 million EUR – twice as high as four years ago – and employs 280 people. The company laminates 20 million m² of material and cuts ten million parts per year.

The products supplied by Texla are used by over 30 OEMs, but the company’s direct customers primarily include tier 1 and tier 2 automotive suppliers. “The automotive sector accounts for about 80% of our overall revenues,” states Mr. Palmgren.

Other markets served by Texla include bedding suppliers, interior decoration and furniture businesses as well as diverse industrial applications such as construction and shipbuilding. “We are increasingly looking into other areas to enhance our diversification,” Mr. Palmgren describes the market strategy. “We make many different products and can handle very distinct specifications. Through cutting, embossing and other further processing besides lamination, we add value to our customers’ products.”

With the European market well covered, Texla is looking at markets outside of Europe to continue its growth strategy. “We may well set up a new factory in a non-European country within the next one or two years,” says Mr. Palmgren. “We have an average of 7 to 10% growth per year, even more in the last five years, and want to continue that. 35 years ago, we moved outside of Sweden, and now we are invited to move outside of Europe and go global. The only issue we are facing with regard to customer and supplier relations is the upcoming Brexit. The longer things are not clear, the longer businesses will suffer.”

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