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Plastics A strong industry in central Germany.

Industry Profile Plastics

The plastics industry in Thuringia is a success story with over 100 years of tradition. Known for their technical expertise and innovativeness, the local companies are among the biggest revenue generators in the Free State.


Thuringia offers companies in the plastics industry the best conditions. Here, one finds a high willingness to invest, excellent research activities, specialists, suppliers, machine building and very good sales opportunities all combined. The industry is mainly typified by medium-sized companies and has developed at such a fast pace in recent years, that it is now one of the largest branches in the Free State. Thuringia is recognized in Germany and internationally as a location for highly developed, ambitious innovations i.a. in the field of polymers.

Facts & Figures

  • approx. 520 companies
  • around 34,000 employees
  • 7.2 billion Euro sales
  • 36.7 % export quota
  • 5 universities with relevant programs

Key areas of production

  • Extrusion
  • Injection moulding
  • Coating and surface technology
  • Fiber plastic composites
  • Bioplastics
  • Foaming technologies
  • Blow moulding
  • Gluing and welding
  • Plastics recycling


The deep expertise of vocational training associations and institutions as well as world-class universities will prime your business to succeed. Thuringia knows the value of producing a workforce with skills tailored to a particular industry.

University education

Around 4,500 students are being trained as highly skilled engineers at five universities in fields directly or indirectly related to plastics.

Thuringian universities and universities of applied sciences offer the following courses of study:

Vocational and further training

Thuringia makes a point of investing in vocational training programs for high school students and trainees. Managers and engineers in the plastics and automotive industries can acquire an executive degree in Product Management for Plastics Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Schmalkalden.

PolymerMat, Thuringia's plastics industry cluster, is deeply committed to promoting vocational training programs for tomorrow's professionals. Its FAKT initiative aims to significantly improve vocational training for the Thuringian plastics industry. The initiative's programs target the interfaces between conventional schools, technical schools and companies.

Research and Development

Thuringia understands the importance of application-oriented research and development of high-performance polymers. You can benefit from working with willing partners and co-innovators at world-class industry research Institutes.

TITK Thuringian Institute for Textile and Plastics Research operates both industry-oriented preliminary and applied research. It supports small and medium-sized companies in their innovation endeavors by providing them with scientific know-how, industry knowledge and a modern technical infrastructure.

Main areas of Research:

  • Native polymers and chemical research
  • Plastics, textile and materials research
  • Functional polymer systems
  • Physical Research.

The East Thuringian Materials Testing Society (Ostthüringische Materialprüfgesellschaft), ein Tochterunternehmen des TITK, bietet Dienstleistungen im Bereich Prüfung und Problemsimulation von Kunststoffen an.

The technological development organization INNOVENT, located in Jena, conducts research in the fields of physical and chemical coating technology and material and systems development. Based on thorough preliminary research, it pursues development assignments on behalf of industrial companies as far as the application stage.

TITV – Textile Research Institute of Thuringia – Vogtland is specialized in two fields – the development and integration of microsystems in textiles and other flexible structures and the development of innovative materials based on cutting-edge textile technologies and materials.

Its core specialties include:

  • Medical textiles
  • Smart textiles
  • Technical applications and renewable materials

Selected companies

Thuringia offers outstanding opportunities for plastics industry players to grow and innovate, as illustrated by the many companies who have expanded or relocated here.

GRAFE Advanced Polymers GmbH
The family company GRAFE has established itself at the top positions among German masterbatch and compound manufacturers. The company employs around 200 employees and exports its products to more than 30 countries. Its research department is one of the largest in the industry.

ContiTech AG
With around 1,500 employees, ContiTech AG, which was the result of a merger with Phoenix AG; is one of the largest employers in Thuringia. The production facilities in Gotha-Waltershausen concentrate on the production of hoses, conveyor belts, sound and vibration insulation systems.

KTN Kunststofftechnik Nobitz GmbH (Hutchinson)
KTN – subsidiary of Hutchinson (TOTAL group) – is a global player with a presence in over 50 countries and a major provider of all insulation services. In Nobitz, it produces fiberglass-reinforced plastics parts such as cooling ducts, hatracks and sidewall and ceiling panels for every series of aircraft made by Airbus.

Döllken Weimar GmbH
The company is a leading manufacturer of skirting boards and floor profiles made from technical synthetics. It supplies its products to many countries on all continents. Its customers are large and specialist wholesalers as well as DIY and stores specializing in floor coverings.

Weru Fenster und Türen GmbH
Weru AG is a market leader in the manufacture of plastic windows for residential construction. Around 550 employees produce high-quality plastic windows and doors in Triptis, the company’s second production location outside of Rudersberg in South-West Germany (Baden-Württemberg).

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