Reduce poverty, generate growth, and create decent living conditions through education and intellectual development: those are the key goals that Germany-based manufacturer Murrplastik aims to achieve through its Educate One World e.V. organization in Sri Lanka. The group seeks to allow young people to develop their skills and confidence through education.
The idea was created when Murrplastik’s former financial accountant Jona Weiss emigrated to Sri Lanka and saw firsthand the country’s extreme poverty. She and her husband started the charity Educate One World to provide local communities solutions to solve conflicts without military action and create peace and tolerance among people of different religions and ethnic origins.
To add to the already existing challenges, the island nation was devastated by a tsunami in 2004. Weiss worked with monk Rathanasiri Thero to create a soup kitchen in Sri Lanka Payagalle. That same year, Murrplastik stepped in and took over the financing of the construction of a kindergarten for 100 children and established a vocational computer training center.
In 2008, the company expanded the center to provide part-time weekend courses to 40 adults. It added 25 computers, two teachers, and two classrooms by 2012. Today, the kindergarten and computer training center facilitate instruction of up to 90 children in four groups of different levels. Along with participation from local ministers, UNICEF, and other dignitaries, the center now features 25 computers, a projector, a library, and three teachers and offers state-approved certification.
“Being an integral part and supporting the communities in which we operate is part of our DNA and a given,” said Cornelia Hölzl, Chair, Global Murrplastik Company Group Board and Owner. “The Sri Lankan project is a passion that takes this responsibility to a different level, making the world a better place, even in countries where we do not operate commercially.”
A History of Innovation and Product Evolution
Outside of its impactful work in Sri Lanka, Murrplastik is a leader in providing high-quality cable entry systems and services to customers all over the world. Its focus on handling customer needs and exceeding expectations has been ingrained in its culture since the company’s beginning nearly 60 years ago.
In 1963, Horst Hölzl and Andreas Fröhlich started Murrplastik in Oppenweiler, Germany by manufacturing plastic articles for household use. Twenty years later, the company began specializing in plastics manufacturing and the over-molding of metal parts and developed pick-and-place robots to increase production for automotive industry clients. All of the company’s further product launches were the result of tight cooperation with its customer base, taking individual needs and creating solutions that saved labor and added tangible product benefits across the board. In 1984, Murrplastik developed and patented the first openable cable drag chain which surrounds and guides flexible electrical cables and hydraulic hoses connected to moving automated machinery. Two years later, it made and launched the first computer-aided labelling system for single wires, clamps, and control gear.
In 1993, Murrplastik began making cable entry systems. It established a technology center in 2000 and completed the first plastic motor valve for cooling water units. In 2012, it created the first plastic pneumatic valve sealed on both sides for cooling water circuits and the first pneumatic wastegate plastic actuator into series production. This year, Murrplastik was awarded the 2020 German Innovation Award in the Machines and Engineering category for its MP420 Evochain product line.
“Gaining a competitive edge through innovation is one of the principles that guides us and is a reason why we have more than 100 patent applications,” said Christian Reick-Mitrisin, President and Co-owner, Murrplastik Systems, Inc. “We constantly look for ways to improve our products to meet our customers’ current — and future — needs.”
A Global Influence
While expanding its product line, Murrplastik also grew internationally. It established a subsidiary and product facility for flexible conduits in France in 1991 and opened a tool-making facility in Falkenstein, Saxony in 1998. It opened subsidiaries in the United States and Spain in 1996 and expanded into Hungary in 2005.
Today, Murrplastik is headquartered in Oppenweiler, Germany and has three main entities. Murrplastik Production Facility produces fully automatic plastics for automotive tier customers in high volumes, and Murrplastik Systems Technology focuses on worldwide sales and distribution of cable management products for automation customers. The company maintains offices in France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, the United States, and China. It has sales and distribution partners throughout every continent except Antarctica and a product line featuring 20 brands and 41,000 part numbers.
Murrplastik’s North American headquarters is located in Milford, Ohio. It serves as the sales, engineering, customer service, and warehouse operation center for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and most of South America.
The U.S. division makes cables, labelling, conduits and fitting systems, automation and robotics, cable drag chains, and cable entry systems and holders. AutomationDirect distributes Murrplastik’s cable entry system components, including the KDL/D system and its respective cable entry frames and small and medium grommets.
Cable entry systems are designed to let people easily and safely insert cables and electrical conduits through divider walls, junction boxes, and control cabinets. They also relieve cable strain while maintaining enclosure sealing requirements.
The KDL/D system is used to insert up to 48 pre-assembled cables without disassembling in control cabinets and terminal boxes and consists of a split frame with ports and grommets. Its features include four frame sizes, easy assembly, and integrated strain relief. It also houses KDT/X grommet blocks that secure the cable and provide a high degree of environmental protection for industrial use.
Looking to the Future
Companies around the world rely on Murrplastik’s innovative cable protection systems and solutions to keep their production lines and plants running. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was deemed an essential supplier because its cable protection, marking, labelling, automation and robotic equipment are used in the rail and automotive, toolmaking, food and beverage, electrical, medical engineering, packaging, wind power, and robotic integrators sectors globally.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge in many ways,” said Reick-Mitrisin. “We are doing everything we can to ensure our diverse customers operating in essential industries such as food, beverage, medical, and defense, have the parts and products they need to run their businesses. We have increased our inventory of crucial components and ensured our supply chain remains intact. We are committed to maintaining our business-critical activities and providing customers with solutions to their cable protection problems during this unusual time.”
During the pandemic and beyond, Murrplastik will continue to focus on innovation, growth, and customer service by working closely with customers to understand their needs and then developing product solutions to meet those requirements.
“Murrplastik will continue to expand its product line, with a particular focus on solving real world cable management problems our customers experience every day,” said Reick-Mitrisin. “We will also continue to reduce installation time, shrink product footprint, and reduce or eliminate downtime for our customers.”
As for the Educate One World program, at this time it is still unknown what consequences will come from the pandemic in Sri Lanka. However, Murrplastik remains committed to the area and will continue its important education work there. “Educate One World will continue to expand and provide for the needs of the local population, while also serving as a template for future actions,” said Hölzl.
Murrplastik’s plans for the future and continuing focus on exceeding customer expectations have positioned the company well for additional decades of success.