The story of UW-ELAST
Our customers sometimes ask us what UW-ELAST is an abbreviation for. UW stands for Uno Widström, our founder, and ELAST, is a collective name for different types of materials that, after being subjected to pressure load, regain their original shape.
The material that UW-ELAST started producing was originally developed by DuPont and launched under the name Adiprene.
During a long stay in the United States in the 1960’s, I had first read about Adiprene in a technical magazine. Since I was familiar with the sheet metal industry with perforation and bending, I thought it would be a great addition to the factory home in Sweden.
But my stay in the United States took a different direction when, I entered a major teaching project for school films in physics and chemistry for the Encyclopedia Britannica, that resulted in a further two-year stay in the United States. First in Pittsburgh and then in Gainesville, Florida.
Now there were many flights back and forth across the Atlantic. Back home in Sweden, I started my own business in the perforation industry, Perfoverken. The place for the location was Finnerödja in Västergötland and seven years later we moved the entire business to Mariestad.
As a special department within Perfoverken, we established production and sales of Adiprene, which quickly gained a foothold in a number of mechanical industries in Sweden. The initial contact started with ASEA Atom, where I collaborated to build a special bending and shaping tool with Adiprene components. The tool was be used to shape the zirconium sheet metal shells to build the fuel rods into a nuclear reactor.
In the early 1970s our collaboration with ASEA in Västerås deepened and we began the development of Adiprene material as a tool component in sheet metal processing.
We still imported all Adiprene material from the USA, but in 1975 the image and direction of operations changed as ASEA’s Quintus department entered in to the picture. The Quintus department developed press and molding membranes that were manufactured for ASEA’s Quintus presses, which existed and still exist in most aviation industries worldwide and also at some car production facilities.
This meant large casting volumes for UW-Elast. Therefore, we agreed with ASEA to start our own production in UW-ELAST AB in Mariestad to be able to deliver the large volumes needed.
As a result of our decision, we did several travels to the aviation industry Lockheed Marin Coop outside Los Angeles, where ASEA had a department for membranes for pressing and shaping Adiprene. In addition, we conducted extensive visits to Northern California, where the manufacturer of polyurethane casting machines was located. Casting equipment and the entire machine plant were delivered almost a year later to Mariestad and we were ready to start out own production 1975!
Now UW-ELAST had its own production and employees who all contributed to an ever-growing product range of elastomers: the polyurethane from UW-ELAST!
As we enter the present and the future – another flexible story begins!
UW-ELAST AB was founded in 1975 by Uno Widström (Uno Widström – Elastomera Material) after having been at a department within Perfoverken in Mariestad since 1968. The material was so unique that it became its own business and was called polyurethane.
Initially, production was completely dominated by membranes for ASEA’s Quintus-press for sheet metal forming. Over the years, the number of products and applications increased with the coating of rollers, cyclones, wheels and clubs.A great deal of work began to take shape in the mid-1990s that resulted in certification according to ISO 9001 in 1996. Later that year, UW-ELAST AB was acquired by Garpco AB.
In 1996, we adhered to the ISO 9001 quality system.
In 1999, certification for an environmental system was carried out in accordance with ISO 14001.
In 2000, Industripolyuretan AB in Mariestad was acquired. The company then had a turnover of slightly above 14 million SEK and had 10 employees. Through this acquisition, the business was broadened with production methods in addition to the traditional molding. It made it possible to add “Ribbon-Flow” for polyurethane coating of large industrial rollers, spray coating of polyurethane and injection molding of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) to our services.
In 2004, another company focused on spraying polyurethane, Interpur AB, was acquired. The company was active in Mariestad and was thus integrated into our own business.
In 2007, Trekollan AB in Traryd was acquired with a turnover of 22 million SEK and with 20 employees. Through this acquisition, we gained access to produce Vulkollan® through a license from BaySystems® and through the own brand Trekollan®. The company Trekollan AB was founded in 1993 but has its roots in Trelleborg-koncernen. Trekollan AB was integrated into UW-ELAST AB in 2010 and today has its operations in Traryd as a production unit.
In 2012, Gotlands Gummifabrik was acquired, which has a long tradition of manufacturing rubber and rubber products. Shortly after the takeover, in August 2012, Jimmy Hofacker took over as CEO.
In 2017, the acquisition of the company TM Rubber SP, which manufactures silicone and rubber products, was completed. Most of the production is about contract manufacturing. TM Rubber SP is located in Dobra outside Szczecin in northwestern Poland. A large part of the production is cut for customers in Scandinavia and most of the products are medical products that are made of liquid silicone.
In 2017, during the late autumn, we acquired Polyteknik in Mariestad AB. The company has its operations in Töreboda and focuses on customized details in molded polyurethane. The company currently has 16 employees and has been active since 1984.
Today, UW-ELAST’s product range is greatly varied and we deliver to a number of large companies in Scandinavia. Our focus is to provide the highest possible service and quality with our customers the technically and economically best solution through very good knowledge in design, calculation and material selection.