SEKISUI to Produce Synthetic Railway Sleepers (FFU) in Europe

Oct 20, 2020

The Urban Infrastructure and Environmental Products Company of SEKISUI CHEMICAL CO., LTD. (hereinafter ”SEKISUI”) has announced its decision to open a production plant for the manufacture of synthetic wood for railway sleepers made from long glass-fiber-reinforced foamed urethane (FFU) in the Netherlands. This will expand its production capacity for FFU railway sleepers 1.8 times larger than now as well as significantly reduce delivery period to Europe by eliminating transportation from Japan. The construction of the plant in Roermond will begin in 2021; the production itself will start in Q1/2023.

  • 欧州における鉄道枕木向け合成木材(FFU)の生産工場設立について
  • 欧州における鉄道枕木向け合成木材(FFU)の生産工場設立について

SEKISUI ESLON B.V. to open plant in Roermond

Increase production capacity and shorten lead time: Those are the first and foremost goal the new FFU plant in the Netherlands wants to achieve. The new plant will be built in Roermond by SEKISUI ESLON B.V., an extrusion and injection molding expert of SEKISUI’s Urban Infrastructure and Environmental Products Company. The plant will consist of a total floor space of 4,400 m2 and employ 50 persons at full capacity. The entire factory will be running on electricity.


Underlying the decision to build the new plant in Roermond is the fact that currently most FFU railway sleepers are produced at the Shiga-Ritto Plant in Japan. Nonetheless, increasing overseas market demand made it essential for SEKISUI to commit to a new production facility in the heart of Europe utilizing the infrastructure from SEKISUI ESLON B.V.

“We are very proud to have the opportunity to open such an innovative and future-oriented manufacturing site here in Roermond,” says Paul Koopman, Managing Director of SEKISUI ESLON B.V. “The new plant will enable swift delivery of premium quality FFU railway sleepers to customers in Europe, faster than ever before.”

SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH heading sales drive

The plant will coordinate the production of individual orders together with processing partners located in the vicinity of each sales destination. In so doing, different product specifications for different markets and customers can be closely coordinated, thus assuring optimal product quality and delivery period. Sales drives within Europe will be managed and spearheaded by SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH, a German subsidiary that represents SEKISUI’s European operations by providing a wide range of advanced solutions through import and export activities between SEKISUI Japan and their European markets.

“The new plant in Roermond will enable us to considerably reduce delivery times of top-quality FFU railway sleepers,” says Clemens Bretschneider, Manager Railway Products of SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH. “This is a vital aspect of our general strategy to expand our activities on the European market, which started more than 10 years ago, and to develop a strong and long-term customer network. We expect increased sales of our product soon, so this is the perfect time to build a new plant in Central Europe.”

FFU railway sleepers offer tremendous benefits

FFU (Fiber-reinforced Foamed Urethane) is produced by reinforcing thermosetting resin foam (hard urethane resin) using long glass-fibers. This makes it lightweight while simultaneously offering excellent durability, weather resistance, and process ability. In addition to railway systems, it has a wide range of applications including architecture and civil engineering, truck beds and vessel decks, manufacturing plants and aquaculture facilities, as well as sporting facilities and parks.

FFU was developed and released for production in 1974. 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, Europe has become a major market, with expectations of increasing demand including major railway companies in Germany and the United Kingdom. In 2017, SEKISUI CHEMICAL finally got the approval from the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA). To date, FFU railway sleepers have been sold in 31 countries worldwide, including various EU countries, the USA, Australia, and China.


Headquartered in Japan, SEKISUI CHEMICAL CO., LTD. (TSE: 4204) and its subsidiaries make up the SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group. 27,000 employees in over 200 companies throughout 21 countries 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.