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Home > About Martinswerk > History

Over 100 years full of challenge

Originally, an alumina processing plant
Martinswerk was founded in 1913 as a subsidiary of Aluminium Industrie AG, the predecessor of Alusuisse, and was named after Martin Schindler, the then Director General of AI AG. Along with the sale of chemical and metallurgical products, the Company's objective was, first and foremost, the production of aluminium oxide, also known as "smelter grade" alumina, the raw material for the refining of aluminium. As the production process required large accounts of steam the plant was located in Bergheim (near Cologne) in the heart of the large Rhenish brown coal fields.
New opportunities were consistently pursued
In the 1950's in response to structural and technological changes Martinswerk used the opportunity to complement its traditional activities with rather simple products for new markets. Special products based on modified aluminium hydroxide and oxide were developed and found customers in these growing markets, turning Martinswerk into a customer-oriented company offering innovative solutions based on its latest developments.
In order to meet the ever-growing requirements of many rapidly developing industries. Martinswerk concentrated its research and development, production and marketing activities on products with high added value in such specific markets as plastics, paper and board, polishing chemicals, catalysts, adsorbents, refractory materials and ceramics, without neglecting its traditional business.
In the mid 1980's PERGOPAK, an organic product, was successfully introduced to the paper industry. In 1991 Martinswerk built a PERGOPAK plant on the site of the Casco-Nobel chemical plant in Sundsvall, Sweden, to meet the enormous raw material requirements of the Scandinavian paper industry, supplying PERGOPAK as filter cake. The intermediate products from Sundsvall laid the basis for new PERGOPAK products that were specifically beneficiated in Bergheim and used as matting agents to produce optical effects in the varnish and paint industry.
In 1990 Martinswerk participated in the formation of MAGNIFIN Magnesiaprodukte Gesellschaft m.b.H. (MGP) in St. Jakob-Breitenau, Austria. The company produces magnesium hydroxide used as a flame retardant offering synergy with materials based on aluminium hydroxide to meet the needs of a rapidly growing market.
Successfully facing the changes
Martinswerk has achieved great success in the production of special products: MAGNIFIN, Austria, backs up the MARTINAL aluminium hydroxide product range and makes Martinswerk the world's leading producer of environmentally friendly halogen-free, flame-retardant solutions for the plastics industry. In addition niches in numerous industrial market segment could be successfully serviced.In the beginning of the 1990's, the collapse of the communist system in Eastern Europe resulted in an over-supply of alumina and commodity hydrates in Western markets. Martinswerk - still a major vendor of such products - suffered from erosion of its traditional markets due to competition from much larger low-cost producers.
Equal to the challenge, Martinswerk restructured its manufacturing activities to utilize the commodity hydrate and focussed on the profitable specialties product lines with a range covering 100 products. This required a radical restructuring to utilize the unique technical features of the Bergheim facility and a considerable investment of both money and creativity in quality assurance, research and development and customer-oriented technical back-up of the new products.
In 2001, Martinswerk was acquired by Albemarle Corporation, a public corporation with a diversified chemical portfolio.
Start towards a new future
On February 1, 2016, J.M. Huber Corporation acquired Martinswerk from Albemarle Corporation. The Martinswerk products have become part of the Fire Retardant Additive (FRA) Strategic Business Unit (SBU) of Huber Engineered Materials.
The Martinswerk acquisition represents a strong strategic fit with Huber's fire retardant product line as Huber has been a trusted supplier of flame retardants and smoke suppressants for more than 30 years, producing value-added alumina trihydrate (ATH), magnesium hydroxide (MDH) and molybdate-based products, which are core products to the Huber portfolio.
Huber Engineered Materials is part of the J.M. Huber Corporation, which operates a portfolio of companies with a focus on its core engineered materials businesses. Founded in 1883, today Huber is one of the largest family-owned companies in the United States. The diversified, multinational company creates products that are used in a broad range of consumer and industrial applications, including food, beverage, pharmaceuticals and building materials.
Thus Martinswerk faces a promising future where customer-oriented innovative solutions and top quality services will, more than ever before, attract the international markets.


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