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Austrotherm is the Austrian pioneer in the thermal insulation sector. The company was established in 1953 by Oswald Nowotny, and was the first to produce expanded polystyrene goods in Austria. Austrotherm is part of the Schmid-Industrie-Holding; other companies of the Schmid-Industrie-Holding are e.g. Baumit and Murexin
1953 – Oswald Nowotny starts production of expanded polystyrene
The beginning dates back to the year 1953 when Oswald Nowotny became the first industrialist to start production of expanded polystyrene in Austria (with production site in Vienna). Back then Oswald Nowotny’s initial idea was to use expanded polystyrene to produce various decorations e.g. shop-window dolls or busts. One year earlier the German chemical company BASF/Ludwigshafen developed the expanded polystyrene.
1964 – New production site for expanded polystyrene boards in Purbach
Having realised the market potential of expanded polystyrene as an insulating material, Nowotny started an additional production line for EPS-boards. In 1964 he opened a new production site for the production of solely EPS-boards in Purbach/Neusiedlersee. With an annual production capacity of more than 30,000 m³ Nowotny had been able to satisfy ever increasing demand for thermal insulation materials up to the early eighties.
1980 - Take-over of Nowotny by Friedrich Schmid
In 1980 Friedrich Schmid, the executive director of the Wopfinger Stein- und Kalkwerke Company, purchased Nowotny’s company. At the time of the sale Nowotny’s sales volume was approximately 18,000 m³ per year with an annual turnover of about € 945,000. Following two oil shocks and the wave of fuel price increases, the demand for thermal insulation had sharply increased. Due to their excellent quality Nowotny’s EPS-boards were quickly accepted by the building industry as a high-quality insulating material. Thus already two years after the take-over the company required an expansion.
1982 – Take-over of EPS-production plant in Pinkafeld
In 1982, after the take-over of the EPS-production plant owned by engineer Wieser in Pinkafeld, the Nowotny Company could increase its production to the required capacity. Therefore the company’s annual production totalled to 150,000 m³.
1991 - Know-how in thermal insulation for Hungary: Austrotherm Györ
Austrotherm Györ, 100% subsidised by Dämmstoffe Nowotny Company, was opened in 1991 in Hungary. Since that time Austrotherm Györ has been producing high-quality EPS thermal insulation boards for the Hungarian market. Its annual production capacity was 100,000 m in 1991 and has been steadily increasing ever since.
1991 – Dämmstoffe Nowonty – Austria’s sole producer of XPS
The company invested at least € 4 million back into the company development. It supplied the Pinkafeld factory with a modern production line based on vacuum technology in order to increase its production capacity. In spring 1991 the Dämmstoffe Nowotny Company starts production of expanded polystyrene boards (XPS) in Purbach. Up to that time two chemical companies BASF and DOW Chemical, both leaders in the international market, had been the only companies supplying XPS insulation materials to the Austrian market.
The technology of production was kept top secret. Extensive research work and modifications in the production line in Purbach achieved its purpose: the „pink“ Thermopan XPS-board. The Nowotny Company is now Austria’s sole producer of XPS.
1993 - Dämmstoffe Nowotny is awarded the coat of arms of Burgenland
The coat of arms of Burgenland was awarded to the company by Mr. Stix, President of Burgenland, in the course of the company’s 40th anniversary celebration.
1993 - Poland: Austrotherm Oswiecim starts production
Through the Joint Venture with the polish producer of EPS raw materials Zaklady Chemiczne Oswiecim and the trading concern Ciech-Stomil, Dämmstoffe Nowotny managed to enter polish market. Due to the capital investment of € 1.6 million an ultra-modern production line, resembling the one in Pinkafeld, was built with planned annual production of 200,000 m³ of EPS. The production site is 40 km away from the city of Katowice and enjoys its natural monopoly over the area with about 4 million inhabitants.
1994 - Dämmstoffe Nowotny becomes Austrotherm
From 1994 on the Dämmstoffe Nowotny Company uses the name Austrotherm GmbH to ensure united market appearance of the group in Europe.
1995 - New XPS production line in Purbach, Austrian coat of arms for Austrotherm
The new XPS production line in Purbach was in full action in early summer of 1995. Austrotherm became the main employer and tax-payer in the areas of Purbach and Pinkafeld. On 2 October 1995 Austrotherm was awarded Austrian coat of arms for its high quality products and contribution to the Austrian economy.
1997 - EPS-factory in Bratislava
The third EPS production site in Eastern Europe was opened in November 1997 in Bratislava. An industrial area of 13,000 m in the outskirts of Bratislava was turned into the ultra-modern EPS-production line (with annual production capacity of 200,000 m), storehouse and office building.
The company Murexin AG, a member of the Schmid group, owns 50% of the shares.
1998 - ISO 9001-Certification
On 27 May 1998 Austrotherm was one of the first Austrian producers of insulating materials to receive the OEQS ISO 9001-Certificate for its quality products and investment in people. Since then the certificate has been verified every year. Strict quality control on behalf of the OEQS certification commission ensures consistent high product quality and compliance with the standarts.
1999 - 2nd EPS-factory in Poland manages leap under Top 3
The second polish EPS-factory of the Austrotherm group started its production in Skiernewice – between Warsaw and Lodz – in July 1999. That was the first step of Austrotherm to get into the Top 3 producers of insulating material in Poland.
1999 - Austrotherm succeeds in production of XPS insulation boards with air foam system
Thanks to the work of the Austrotherm research engineers in August 1999 the company introduced a new generation of insulation boards to the market. The new “Austrotherm TOP” products comply with the highest ecological standards due to the use of air as cell content.
In previous years Austrotherm had invested at least € 20.35 million into the XPS production. The most of the money went into research, development and pollution control. The efforts were worthwhile: the TOP generation has excellent thermal insulation properties and because of its air cell content comply with the latest Austrian ecological requirements.
1999 - Joint Venture with Korean PE-film producer Joongbo
In co-operation with the South Korean polyethylene foam producer Joongbo Chemical Ind. Co. Ltd. was Korplast PE-productions and VetriebsgesmbH founded in Pinkafeld. Austrotherm GmbH (with shares of 51 %) introduced the ideas for a large range of PE-foam films which are used in the packaging industry for protection and in the building industry for footfall sound and thermal insulation.
1999 - Peter Schmid becomes second managing director
In September 1999 Peter Schmid who had been working in the company since 1993 was appointed managing associate.
1999 - Pioneer project in Romania: EPS production line starts in Bucharest
Austrotherm enters Romanian market in 1999: the new EPS-factory starts its production in Budapest in September. Romania with its 23 million inhabitants promises good medium- to long-term growth for the market.
The new EPS-factory was built on an industrial district of 12,000 m² at the northern city boundary of Bucharest. The new production line was designed for an annual production capacity of 400,000 m³ of EPS.
2001 - Austrotherm Polska goes over to Austrotherm
By February 2001 Austrotherm Company had bought out the other 55% of the shares (50% from Chemiczna Dworiy and 5% from the trading concern Chiech) in the polish Joint Venture.
2001 - Expansion in Hungary: 2nd EPS-factory starts its production
In April 2001 the second Hungarian EPS-factory of the Austrotherm group started its production in Gyöngyös, approximately 80 km. north-east of Budapest.
The new factory for insulating materials was built on an area of 26,000 m². The new factory in Gyöngyös is now the most modern and the most powerful production plant of the whole group with an annual production capacity of 600,000 m³ of EPS.
2001 - Austrotherm realizes 100 per cent take-over of Korplast
The Austrotherm Company, one of Austria’s leading polystyrene foam producers, bought out the remaining shares of the company Korplast PE-Produktions und Vertriebs GmbH in September 2001. Korplast was founded in 1999 as a Joint Venture with the South Corean Joongbo Chemical Ind. Co. Ltd., which previously held 40 % of the shares.
2003 - EPS-factory in Serbia-Montenegro
A very modern EPS production plant in Valjevo, 80 kms southwest of Belgrade, was opened in August 2003. The new EPS factory was built with the capital investment of approx. € 3.5 million on an industrial area of 12,000 m and is equipped with the latest production technology. 400,000 m of EPS are planned for the annual production capacity
2003 - Badge of Honour for the Pioneer in thermal insulation
On 50th anniversary of Austrotherm the Badge of Honour of Burgenland was awarded to the company’s owner KR Friedrich Schmid..
2004: new EPS-factory was built in Bulgaria
In 2004 Austrotherm established a new plant for the EPS (thermal insulation material) production in Sofia with production technology "Made in Austria". It employed 30 stuff members and had a yearly production capacity of 400,000 m³.
2005: Expansion in Serbia
In 2005 Serbia started the production of Austrotherm XPS in Austrian quality. The number of factories in Serbia increased.
2006: Second EPS-plant in Romania
In June 2006 the opening of the second EPS production in Horia (north-east of Romania) took place. This investment allows export activities to Ukraine and the republic of Moldova. In 2008 the production of Austrotherm XPS was implemented.
2007: Expansion to Bosnia
Northwest of Bosnia, Austrotherm BH d.o.o. in Bihac was established. The modern EPS plant went into production at the beginning of 2008. The capital investment of about € 5 million enables the company to export to Croatia.
In autumn the pioneer of thermal insulation has been awarded with the “Austrian ecolabel” for the product group Austrotherm TOP.
2008: First Austrotherm production in Asia
Austrotherm took the plunge above the Bosporus. In summer 2008 the first Austrotherm EPS-factory started their production in Turkey with an investment capital of € 5 Mio. This location is near the metropolis of Istanbul (15 Mio inhabitants).
Furthermore in Aitos at the Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria, the second Austrotherm EPS production was established. In Croatia a sales office was founded.