The firm’s Swedish roots were founded through the acquisition of a plastic pipe factory in Ölsremma during 1997 and a second factory in Ljung in 1999. Mats Thoren, marketing manager of Pipelife in Sweden explains:
“Pipelife’s manufacturing operations in Europe are streamlined. That is why our two factory sites have tended to specialise. For example, in Ljung near Gothenburg we concentrate on making polypropylene pipe systems for soil & waste, sewer, and polyethylene pressure pipes. These are medium range pipes from 16 mm to 630DN.” They are produced in combination with a large injection-moulded fitting production that is equipped with a high degree of automation.
“In Ölstremma near Jönköping, we produce PVC and PE pipes for the building, utility and sewer applications. However, more recently this factory has started to focus on the rather ingenious rotation blow-moulding production of septic tanks. Sweden from North to South is over 2000 kilometres long and embraces an important rural population. This calls for efficient domestic and municipal sewer systems that incorporate these tanks – as well as our other plastic pipe systems.”
Peter Andersson is the firm’s managing director who leads a combined working force of 185 people. “We are extremely proud of our colleagues and their achievements since we opened our Swedish doors to the world of Pipelife. Our links with a growing customer base in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia have become very close. Our development has been a result of that.”
One of those developments has included the manufacture of Pragma®. This structured wall pipe for sewer applications has enlarged the firm’s order book. Compared to traditional systems, its advantages in terms of performance and easy installation are now widely appreciated by civil engineers in Scandinavia.
A recent product innovation involved the introduction of two lightweight inspection chambers. One chamber is designed specifically for road gully applications and the other for wastewater applications. These tough polypropylene chambers are manufactured in 315DN and 425DN. With more intense rainstorms across many parts of Europe, the need for efficient road gullies becomes all the more critical.
The company has also been involved in large projects throughout the Nordic region. For instance, it is currently supplying PE pipes (up to 600DN) for a major water distribution project in Stockholm. It is the largest project of its kind in Pipelife Sweden history and will ensure efficient delivery of drinking water to millions of inhabitants.
When it comes to market leadership, Mats Thoren is particularly enthusiastic in underlining the firm’s polypropylene soil and waste systems. “We have gained a 50 percent market share of these systems in new building and renovation market. The introduction of our STILLA range which features less noise for sound advantages has proved very popular.”
Understanding the exact needs of the local market has clearly been keys to the remarkable growth of the company. A more recent innovative step is a web medium called PLIC. It is a precursor for a business platform. The acronym stands for Pipelife information Centre. “It provides a virtual Pipelife world for contractors, architects, wholesalers and other important stakeholders. Users can quickly navigate through this engaging experience to grasp quickly the technical or commercial information that they need,” says Thoren.
Another development is a relationship program called PALS (Partner Alliance Logistics Service). As its name suggests, it is a comprehensive package to enhance customer involvement and provide an ever more efficient response to market requirements.
Pipelife is doing very well in Sweden by listening closely to its customers. But as a famous Swedish saying goes: “The house that is built after every man's advice seldom gets a roof.” But if the Swedish house does get a roof, it is nice to know that Pipelife will be there too.