Liquid wood for Raw Material Shift

  • As a pioneer in bioplastics for 20 years, Tecnaro from Baden-Württemberg is still acting with a fighting spirit.
  • Increased production capacity for ARBOFORM®, ARBOBLEND® und ARBOFILL®
  • New licensed TECNARO slogans
    “Fossile Rohstoffe – Verbrauchen verboten, Kinder haften für Ihre Eltern“ (“Fossil raw material – Forbidden for use!
    Children are liable for their parents’ actions”) and
    “TECNARO – Alles ist möglich und kostet nicht die Welt“ (“Everything is possible and doesn’t cost the earth”! )

First be smiled at, then fought against and finally regarded as a matter of course” – this was formulated by Arthur Schopenhauer for the truth and has now been transferred by Franz Alt in his laudatory speech to two pioneers from Heilbronn. Helmut Nägele and Jürgen Pfitzer, Managing Directors of TECNARO GmbH – The Biopolymer Company from Ilsfeld, have resolutely pursued their idea of using renewable resources in order to manufacture their bioplastics named liquid wood-ARBOFORM®, ARBOBLEND® and ARBOFILL® – with all properties of plastic. Today, in the company’s twentieth year of existence, they proudly say “we have succeeded”. All over the world, their formulas are contained in everyday objects such as fashion, automobiles, facades, craftsmen-, trade and industrial needs. Tecnaro’s formulas are used for Benetton hangers or Friedwald forest cemetery urns, for example.

Of course, so many times Nägele und Pfitzer and their team have continued in research and development, have transferred their ideas into practice, have selected and discarded all changes and started again – until they developed formulas for a wide/broad application range. However, they are made from sugar, starch, natural wax, organic oil or wood extractives like cellulose and lignin – the latter gives stiffness to all woody plants. According to Helmut Nägele, up to 70 % of all conventional plastic may be replaced technically by Tecnaro granules. Tecnaro’s recipes are used in Audi R8, in punches and staplers from Novus, in shoes and sun glasses from GUCCI and in the multiple-award-winning BIOBRUSH toothbrushes.  However, Tecnaro’s customers which are using Tecnaro’s bio plastics for their products have been awarded the “German Design AWARD 2018 – WINNER“, the “reddot Award 2017-best of the best“, the 2. place “GreenTEC Award 2017“ and the “Green Good Design Award 2018“ awarded by Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the “Deutschen Verpackungspreis 2016“. In Addition, the bio version of the glue sticks “ReNature“ and the text markers “Edding 24“ which are well-known worldwide, are made from TECNARO materials. For a long time, a leading manufacturer of corn mills has been using casings made of wood. Now, with good reason “Mockmill” as a first kitchen appliance wears a dress made from bio plastics ARBOBLEND®. Thus, Wolfgang Mock GmbH has been awarded the “German Innovation AWARD 2018“ a few days ago.

Strong network created around the TECNARO Team

During the last 20 years, a most remarkable and strong plastic technology network has been created around the TECNARO Team which comprises innovative customers, research and development partners, flexible suppliers, authorities and associations acting in a prudent manner, fair market players, keen understanding consultants and auditors as well as strong financial partners. Thanks to its competent sales representatives and Albis Plastic GmbH Hamburg, TECNARO materials are reaching even the most far-away countries.

On one hand, Tecnaro is reflecting on the impact of very good friends and the solidarity of the family, on the other hand, on the assistance of the company’s house bank VR-Bank Ellwangen which has provided expertise and support with a broad range of services going far beyond the traditional lending business. And this in a very human way with an unshakeable faith for nearly 20 years.

“We need to grow even more but have already amazingly powerful partners in the entire world“, say the two managing directors and add “together we are everywhere!”

“There’s nothing left to desire“ results Öko-Test

Besides ARBOFORM® und ARBOFILL®, ARBOBLEND® is one of Tecnaro’s basic formulas. And whether it concerns returnable coffee-to-go beakers, organic freezer bags, coffee capsules, cooking- or baby spoons, highest standards are valid for food contact. Therefore, the magazine Öko-Test thoroughly tested the Ajaa Lunchbox made from ARBOBLEND® and awarded it the overall rating "very high quality" and drew a positive conclusion “there’s nothing left to desire“(6/2018 issue).

Tecnaro‘s biopolymers leave the factory in form of granules. They are made from renewable raw materials and are biodegradable or long term resistant. The materials can be processed, for example, by injection molding, extrusion, calendering, pressing, thermoforming and blow molding. The trophies of Green Brands Germany, for example, are made via 3D printing process. And by using an additive manufacturing system “freeformer” which is a revolutionary manufacturing technology from ARBURG, functionally planetary gears (working similarly like a clockwork) are made in a single work step, without further assembly.

Tecnaro also scores at another place on the playing field: the ball Binabo from TicToys, situated in Leipzig, has accurately landed to the 2018 Football World Cup. Before they start playing with the Binabo, children can assemble it from pieces. However, from the Binabo parts, something else may be assembled, too. This different football made from ARBOBLEND® was designed based on an example from Myanmar which is made from rattan fencing. And of course, the “new one“ is made from 100% renewable raw materials, too.

Steadily in upward trend

With a team of more than 30 employees and thereof a lot of highly qualified academics, the trend for Tecnaro is upwards. Besides a high media attention, the number of prizes and awards is increasing almost every year. This started already in 1999 spectacularly with the ZDF WISO German Founders Award and continued with the Euromold Award in Gold 2000, in 2001 with the 1. Einfach Genial Preis of the MDR. This was soon followed by the award from the Material ConneXion New York for ARBOFORM as “Best Product in Show 2002“, the VR-Innovationspreis 2007, the Werkbund Label 2008, the Deutsche Industriepreis 2009, – even in the supplier category – and in 2010 by the European Inventor Award, which was handed over at a ceremony in Madrid by the European Patent Office and today’s Spanish royal couple Queen Letizia and King Felipe.

The Green Brand Germany Siegel was awarded in 2017 for the third year in a row. However, the above referred Dr. Franz Alt, well-known for this books about his friend “Der Appell des Dalai Lama an die Welt“, “Der ökologische Jesus“ or “Krieg um Öl oder Frieden durch die Sonne“, for example, and also known as a polarizing TV moderator of the political TV magazine “Report“, honored Helmut Nägele und Jürgen Pfitzer in a glamorous award ceremony in the Hall of Honour of the German Museum in Munich. In 2011, the renowned Diesel Medal was awarded Tecnaro for the most sustainable innovation of the year.

Today, the level of being laughed at has overcome. Does everything fit now? Shouldn’t the world embrace the pioneers from Ilsfeld for their rescue visions about plastic replacement? And this in times in which the world’s oceans are in danger of suffocating in plastic waste whirls. The reversal away from fossil raw materials and oil to sustainable and renewable resources was never before as topical as today.

Helmut Nägele, Managing director of Tecnaro, says: “like the turn in energy politics, the raw material shift should be propagated accordingly and repeated continually. It’s a fact that the world’s resources of oil are finite. Already today, oil-multis are buying forests on a large-scale in order to keep at least their market power within global competition. “

Questionable closeness to industry

Meanwhile, the two managing directors Nägele und Pfitzer see themselves having reached step two which means to be combated. Here, the main challenge will not be the competition to the oil industry but even hostility out of a totally unexpected corner, from acteurs which TECNARO thought they would give backing. However, a world-wide environmental organization has just thrown down a gauntlet. “Initially, this non-profit environmental organization tackled with questionable theses against a near to finalization contract concerning a product being developed over months for a large customer. Afterwards, the related partners of this organization took benefit of this business opportunity based on Tecnaro’s development”, says Pfitzer.

“We’ve lost our faith”, say the two TECNARO leaders.

“As a manufacturer of bio-based granules from renewable resources we constantly have to answer questions from anywhere and have to keep expensive records additionally. However, this procedure would not be performed if they are manufacturers of oil-based polymers. It seems really bizarre that such environmental organizations have now discovered established bioplastics for themselves and are commercializing this technology and, against their better knowledge, create distortions of competition – and in this case even in favor of conventional oil-based plastics”, says Jürgen Pfitzer.

In this context, Pfitzer cites an Italian proverb which says: “Anyone who does everything for the sake of money will soon do everything for the money.”

Fiscal advantage for oil-based plastics

This year, Tecnaro GmbH is focusing on other topics witch are especially its 20-years anniversary and the tend-setting market movement thus arriving even under the wide knowledge of the fact that oil-based plastics has still favorable terms of tax . This special position within fiscal legislation goes back to the 60’s and has today only little public awareness. In this context, it is remarkable that at that time, their justification was that oil-based plastic waste would not be burnt, in contrast to fuel.

Nägele and Pfitzer are not alone in considering the subsidy for oil-based plastics as unjustified. In this context, just a few days ago, Robert Habeck, Chairman of the German Green party, has required to introduce an EU-wide tax on oil-based plastics for disposable items. This was published in the media accordingly. Nägele und Pfitzer consider it absurd that there is a tax allowance of several millions of euros per year for the plastic flood. “For years, we have been recommending an additional CO2-emission tax on products made of fossil raw materials and now, we found out that these are even exempt from mineral oil tax“, says Jürgen Pfitzer, shaking his head.

 “And this has an influence on the whole organic-based industry, too. Within our industry, the price is an important decision criterion“, says Helmut Nägele.

Jürgen Pfitzer adds: “Especially in terms of fossil raw materials or for uranium and rare earth, for example, but also on use of pesticides and on filling in water in Africa it has shown that opportunities and profits are always privatized and risks and losses socialized!

The ecological footprint of products is usually excluded from the account. Besides tax allowances, this procedure results in a further distortion of competition at the expense of environment and common public.

It is not acceptable that a few big oil companies and multi-billionaires and its shareholders take profit from general available but global limited resources of raw materials or push toxic plant protection products onto the market which just kill everything with the exception of their own type of cereal. However, it concerns also to fill in water in Africa by dogging even deeper wells thru technical innovations for which the village population is denied access. Simultaneously, the general public has to carry the risks and costs for climate changes thru CO2-emissions, oil rig- or oil tanker accidents, pipeline defects, polluted oceans, died bees, insects, animals and plants, elimination of agricultural land thru sea-level rise, destruction of entire areas or other natural disasters with irreparable damages, global wars for oil and resulting refugee flows.

However, if these costs would be spread as usual everywhere else too, under the polluter pays principle, accompanied by a proportional cost sharing of the arms industry, we would have peace around the world tomorrow“, finally says Managing Director Jürgen Pfitzer.

Customized for double production capacity

Above all – today, the 2nd July, 2018, Tecnaro GmbH is celebrating its 20th anniversary. A further reason to be pleased is the investment in a factory-new machine. It is a twin-screw extruder delivered by KraussMaffei Berstorff and allows, thanks to the added sophisticated plant engineering, to double production capacity at Tecnaro. With this plant, the specialists from Ilsfeld are optionally prepared for the increasing demand of custom-made organic plastic compounds. Furthermore, the machine is planned to be used for research and development purposes and to conduct extensive tests using an upscaling procedure, for example. Here, formulations can be tested for practicality with a throughput of up to one ton per hour.

Once again: First be smiled at, then fought against and finally regarded as a matter of course. However, the Binabo ball is now in everyone’s court and stands for a better future without fossil plastics.

Firmenkontakt und Herausgeber der Meldung:

Tecnaro GmbH
Bustadt 40
74360 Ilsfeld
Telefon: +49 (7062) 97687-0
Telefax: +49 (7062) 97687-101

Jürgen Pfitzer
Geschäftsführender Gesellschafter
Telefon: +49 (7062) 97687-0
Fax: +49 (7062) 97687-101
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