The Yparex® brand of extrudable adhesive resins was first launched in 1993 by DSM, a major player in the chemicals industry, and was made at the DSM Specialty Compounding facility in Genk, Belgium. In 2011, Resin (Products & Technology) BV, based in Enschede in the Netherlands, acquired the Yparex® activity from DSM and a new company under the name Yparex B.V. was started. Commercial Director Wouter van den Berg made the transition from DSM to the new company.
“Within DSM, Yparex was rather strange and small,” he recalls. “Since its independence in 2011, we have grown rapidly, more than doubling in size. We are currently building a new facility in Enschede which will allow us to double in size again.” The new facility will be shared between Yparex B.V. and Resin BV which merged under the name The Compound Company in 2017. “The new facility has been designed to take advantage of synergies between both companies and should be ready to commence operations by July 2019,” explains Mr. van den Berg. “We have already sold a lot of the additional production capacity that the new facility will bring us.”
Yparex’s activities are focused on adhering materials together that do not naturally want to bind with one another. For example, its products create a secure bond between non-polar plastics and materials like glass or metal. “Yparex® is the glue that holds everything together,” says Mr. van den Berg. “There are a surprising number of industries where this is required.”
Yparex adhesive grades are used in the construction industry, in solar panel manufacture and to make pipes, wires and cables as well as multi-layer barrier packaging. “The packaging industry is huge, with a total turnover in the region of 200 billion EUR,” says Mr. van den Berg. “We are involved in a very specific product area that is used to extend the shelf life of sensitive foodstuffs such as cheese, meat and fish.”
There is no denying that plastics play an integral role in modern society. So much of modern lifestyles is only made possible by plastics. Wouter van den BergCommercial Director
The fact that Yparex adhesives are able to bond plastic film with other materials helps to reduce overall plastic use. “There is a major public focus on plastic packaging at the moment and what happens to that packaging when it is no longer needed. Here in the Netherlands we have very efficient waste collection systems. Plastic is separated and reused as granulates. Plastics that cannot be recycled are incinerated for energy, which reduces reliance on coal. What we don’t do is send it to landfill as in other countries,” notes the Commercial Director.
As a trained chemist, Mr. van den Berg is fascinated by how chemistry affects the world around us. “There is no denying that plastics play an integral role in modern society,” he says. So much of modern lifestyles is only made possible by plastics. This puts our industry at the heart of how we develop as a society in terms of carbon footprints, the organization of recycling and the level of comfort we allow ourselves. All of this is linked to materials and material use. At the moment, the plastics industry is being painted as the bad guy, but there are no easy answers to the problems we face.”
This rise in ubiquity of plastics and above all plastic packaging is due to its many advantages. “Plastic-based products are very lightweight and that significantly reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions,” points out Mr. van den Berg. “They also help to reduce food waste. Switching to alternatives such as glass or metal would increase the burden in these areas. If you look at typical waste streams in the packaging industry, some streams are made up of different polymers which cannot be easily separated at the end of their life. Yparex® compatibilizers can improve reusability to prevent them going to waste.”
Yparex is certified to the environmental standard ISO 14001 and does as much as it can to reduce its impact on the environment. “We try to be as efficient as possible and use as little energy as possible,” says Mr. van den Berg. “There is no wastage. 100% of our product is used.”
Growth in recent years has been strong and is based on new products and a new business model. “We will continue to pursue the path we have started on, based on added capacity and an increase of our international activites outside of Europe,” says Mr. van den Berg. “We are very ambitious as well as being customer-focused and flexible. We can win market share by listening to our customers and adopting a ‘yes we can’ attitude.”