SEKISUI Opens Production Factory for Synthetic Railway Sleepers (FFU) in Europe

  The Urban Infrastructure & Environmental Products Company of SEKISUI CHEMICAL CO., LTD. (hereinafter “SEKISUI”) has announced the completion of a production factory for the manufacture of FFU railway sleepers that was under construction at SEKISUI ESLON B.V., a SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group company located in the Netherlands. An opening ceremony was held on October 5 with guests invited from the railway industry and other customers.

Factory exterior

  The FFU (Fiber-reinforced Foamed Urethane) manufactured by SEKISUI is synthetic wood that combines the favorable characteristics of natural wood and plastic, making it lightweight while simultaneously offering excellent durability, weather resistance, and processability. It has been used in a wide range of applications since its launch in 1974, and its use as material for railway sleepers spans more than 40 years. It is currently being used by various railway companies in Japan.
  Outside of Japan, the first order was commissioned in 2003. Since then, SEKISUI has expanded its business scale mainly in Europe, where demand is expected to grow in countries such as Germany and the U.K., which are major railroad nations.
  In 2017, SEKISUI CHEMICAL finally got the approval from the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA). To date, FFU railway sleepers have been sold in 34 countries worldwide, including various European countries, the USA, Australia, and China.
  The procurement of high-quality wood has become more difficult in recent years due to environmental considerations. In addition, the use of creosote oil, which is used as a wood preservative, has been banned in the EU as a carcinogenic hazard. Therefore, plastic sleepers are being introduced worldwide as an alternative for wooden sleepers. The use of SEKISUI’s FFU is expanding, especially in branching and bridge sections, where lightweight and highly durable sleepers are required.
  Until now, almost all of SEKISUI’s FFU sleepers have been manufactured at the Shiga-Ritto Plant in Japan. However, with the opening of a factory in Europe, the largest source of demand for FFU sleepers in the railroad sector overseas, SEKISUI will further expand its business and globalize its operations.

Opening ceremony

  • FFU
  • FFU
  • FFU
  • FFU

[Reference 1] Overview of SEKISUI ESLON B.V.


Metaalweg 7, 6045 JB, Roermond, The Netherlands


September 1974


1,000,000 euros


Managing Director Paul Koopman

Lines of business

Manufacture and sales of PVC rain gutters and other building materials

[Reference 2] About ESLON NEO LUMBER FFU

  • FFU (Fiber-reinforced Foamed Urethane) is produced by reinforcing thermosetting resin foam (hard urethane resin) using long glass-fibers.
    In addition to railway systems, it has a wide range of applications including architecture and civil engineering, vehicles and vessels, manufacturing factories and aquaculture facilities, as well as sporting facilities and parks.

(Example of FFU sleepers used by German National Railways)

  • FFU
  • FFU


Headquartered in Japan, SEKISUI CHEMICAL CO., LTD. (TSE: 4204) and its subsidiaries make up the SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group. 26,000 employees in over 180 companies throughout 21 countries and regions aim to contribute to improving the lives of the people of the world and the earth’s environment. Thanks to a history of innovation, dedication and a pioneering spirit, SEKISUI CHEMICAL now holds leading positions in its three diverse business divisions as well as top global market share in interlayer film, foam products, conductive particles and more.
Since its foundation in 1947, the SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group has dedicated itself to social and environmental contribution and is now an internationally recognized leader in sustainability and environmental initiatives, having recently been selected as one of the Global 100 most sustainable companies. SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group will continue to maintain a strong corporate presence for 100 years and beyond.

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This press release may contain forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and beliefs and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements due to changes in global economic, business, competitive market and regulatory factors.