Röchling Group

Coal – Steel – Plastics

Two Centuries of Innovative Materials

From Völklingen to the world: In just two centuries, the coal trading company established in 1822 by Friedrich Ludwig Röchling has developed into a global plastics group. Röchling’s motto is to conquer new markets and regions with innovative materials.

Steel as a Driver of Innovation
The coal business was the basis for the company’s involvement with the rising driver of innovation of the Industrial Revolution – steel. The four nephews of the founder of the company – known as the “Röchling brothers” – began producing coke and processing industrial iron in 1849. The acquisition of Völklingen Ironworks in 1881 marked the beginning of the steel era. Over 100 years later, the Völklingen Ironworks were designated as the first industrial UNESCO World Heritage Site.

By 1920 – just 100 years after the company was founded – Röchling recognized the potential of a new material and became a pioneer in plastics processing. The aim was to step away from a dependence on steel. In 1955, Röchling acquired Rheinmetall Berlin AG, the supplier of the newly founded German Army, diversified into other new business fields and, in 1978, finally left the mining industry altogether. With regard to plastics, Röchling mainly focused on internal growth and strategic acquisitions in new industries such as automotive plastics. The company also increased its presence on international markets, particularly in Asia and the USA.

Focus on Materials Expertise
In the new millennium, Röchling once again focused on its materials expertise. The Group divested all investments not related to plastics. With its increased internationalization and diversification into new industries, it renewed its focus on its unique materials and processing expertise that it had acquired over the last century.

In the 21st century, plastic products by Röchling are at the cutting edge in all industries – just as it was two centuries ago for applications of Röchling steel. Today, the Röchling Group is the global leader in the processing of technical, high-performance plastics for industrial, automotive and medical applications.

The Röchlings

Continuity AMID Change

Responsible, long-term, sustainable and value-creating – these are the qualities that characterize the thoughts and actions of a family-owned company. They also paint an image of the Röchling family, which can be traced back to the 17th century and whose current family members are the eighth generation of shareholders of the company. The Röchlings have always regarded themselves as “family entrepreneurs” – regardless of whether they were in charge of the operational management of the company or – as they are today – setting the strategic course of the international Group as part of the Advisory Board, which is made up of family members and external experts. The Chairman of the Advisory Board is Johannes Freiherr von Salmuth, a sixth-generation descendant of the company’s founder.

Across almost two centuries, the family has closely steered its company throughout its eventful transition from steel producer to global plastics group. In good times as well as in difficult ones, the family provided continuity amid change and thus helped secure the success of the Röchling Group in the long term.

A Century of

Plastics Expertise

In 1916, Holzveredelung GmbH in Berlin registered a patent for the completely new material, Lignostone. The material is made of wood but converted into a “plastic” with particular characteristics using a special compression process. In 1920, the Röchling entrepreneurial family acquired the company. For the “steel barons of the Saar,” this was the starting point for the plastics activities of the Röchling Group.

In 1935, Röchling relocated Holzveredelung GmbH to Haren in Emsland, which is now the oldest Röchling Group location.

The 1960s and 1970s were characterized by pioneering materials developments, with Röchling releasing the thermoplastic Polystone® and the glass fiber reinforced plastic Durostone® on the market.

In the 1980s, the plastics business of the Röchling Group was also characterized by acquisitions. By acquiring the Sustaplast Group in Lahnstein, the Group gained a specialist in the manufacture of semi-finished products made of plastic. Röchling entered the automotive plastics industry through the acquisition of the Seeber Group in South Tyrol.

The 1990s and 2000s saw consistent internationalization, with the estab­lishment of subsidiaries and production locations in Europe, the USA, ­China and India.

In 2008, the company entered the field of medical technology with the acquisition of the Oertl Kunststofftechnik Group. This market presence was bolstered by the acquisition of the American company Advent Tool & Mold in 2012 and HPT Hochwertige Pharmatechnik in 2015.

Since 2016, Röchling has three independent divisions – Industrial, Automotive and Medical.

Röchling Enkel Award


As a family-owned company, Röchling attaches great importance to preparing for the future. With this in mind, we have initiated a new award: In 2017, the Röchling Enkel Award, which focuses on the shared framework of values of the Group and of the Röchling family, was presented for the first time. In the future, it will be used to recognize the particular dedication and exemplary projects of Röchling employees that aim to prepare the company for the future.

For Röchling, it is important not only to be financially successful, but also to act with a sense of responsibility to society. In the future, such behavior by our employees both in the workplace and beyond will be honored accordingly with the Enkel Award.

Family-owned companies plan in terms of generations, not years, and certainly not in terms of quarters. It is important to approach everything that is new with curiosity and an open mind, and to never forget where we came from and the framework of values on which was built what we have today. The new award recognizes outstanding performance that benefits the entire company, transcending the boundaries of locations and divisions.

It recognizes the “Röchling spirit,” which is the polar opposite of blink­ered, division-based thinking. This spirit embraces the big picture. “It is not only our own short-term interests that count, but always the long-term well-being of the global Röchling Group, and therefore that of subsequent generations of employees and shareholders,” says Johannes von Salmuth, Chairman of the Shareholder’s Committee and a sixth-generation family member.

It is for this reason that this prize was christened the Enkel Award – although Röchling is now an international company that operates all over the world. “The German word ‘Enkel’ (grandchildren) establishes a direct link to our German founding family and furthermore, it also references the cross-generational business model that is so typical for German family companies,” says von Salmuth. This link is also echoed in the design of the award, which visually reflects the historical association between family coats of arms and the current company logo.