Niche business brings success

Polyplan - Niche business brings success

Polyplan-GmbH, a plant and systems engineering firm in the town of Strasslach, has been part of the Pepperl+Fuchs family since 2019. Located in a former industrial park not far from Munich, the company has focused on automated wax and foam systems for the automotive industry for years – making it truly unique.

The factory hall where Polyplan-GmbH manufactures systems for the automotive industry occupies some 5,000 square meters. At the beginning of 2019, Pepperl+Fuchs welcomed the company into its family. This was an obvious decision, as there was already a longstanding intensive collaboration between Polyplan and the Pepperl+Fuchs subsidiary VMT GmbH. Polyplan has been using VMT’s camera systems for robot-guided applications for years.

Concentration on two business areas 

Polyplan’s plant and systems engineering activities have focused thus far on two very specific business fields. “For one thing, we make wax systems for cavity preservation in vehicles,” explains Dr. Frank Worpitz, Managing Director of Polyplan. “In addition, we produce foam systems that are used to insert polyurethane foams into vehicle bodies to improve their acoustic properties.” Automotive manufacturers use the finished systems primarily in paint shops and in some cases in the assembly process, where these materials are inserted into the body automatically with the help of robots. System components such as robots, control units, and control cabinets are purchased and installed by Polyplan, while special tools are made in-house.

The ultrathin mixing heads for the polyurethane foams, for example, are made by Polyplan in-house. They set the company apart from competitors, since they can access even the narrowest of spaces. “On top of that, we have the know-how to automate polyurethane technology in such a way that it can be integrated perfectly into the individual environments of our customers and run reliably once it is commissioned,” Worpitz explains. “Specifically, we build highly rugged systems, which we set up one time, and then they run without subsequent improvements and constant readjusting.” That means the customer does not need any explicit knowledge of the underlying chemical processes or the technology in general. “This makes us truly unique in the market niche where we operate,” he notes.

On the road to success with a young, dynamic team 

 “As a company, we operate purely on a project basis, and that requires a lot of flexibility from the staff,” Worpitz explains. “That’s exactly what sets our young and dynamic team apart. Everyone has multiple talents and always thinks outside the box and is ready to come together as a team to get projects done on time. The electrical planning team might help out in assembly if necessary, for example. That’s the kind of thing you only do if you’re really excited about this unusual and highly challenging business.”

Worpitz is counting on the team’s support as he looks at the challenges ahead: “With our automation and integration know-how, we have to keep focusing closely on our regular customers’ processes and respond as soon as there is any change in the production methods used by automotive manufacturers. But we also have to tap into new fields of business.