Plastic Industry in Thuringia

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
  • Workforce

    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 strongly supports 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 e.V. is Thuringia’s plastics industry association. It unites companies, university and non-university research and development facilities as well as service providers. PolymerMat is deeply committed to promoting vocational training programs for tomorrow’s professionals and to ensure the training, further qualification and retention of skilled workers in Thuringian companies in a systematic manner.

    The association successfully contributes to consolidate and expand the dynamic development the Thuringian plastics industry has undergone in recent years. Further networking activities help to improve the competitive edge and innovative potential of the plastics industry. Thuringia is recognized in Germany and abroad as a location for highly developed, ambitious ideas for polymer products. The plastics industry is further expanding its position among the four strongest sectors in Thuringia’s manufacturing industry.

  • Research and Development

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

    Thuringian Institute of Textile and Plastics Research (TITK)
    The Thuringian Institute of Textile and Plastics Research (TITK) performs both preliminary and applied research in the industrial sector. It supports small and medium-sized companies in their innovation endeavours by providing them with scientific know-how, industry knowledge and a modern technical infrastructure.

    Main areas of research:

    • native polymer and chemical Research
    • plastic, textile and materials Research
    • functional polymer systems

    East Thuringian Materials Testing Company
    The East Thuringian Materials Testing Company for Textiles and Plastics, a subsidiary of TITK, provides services in plastics testing and problem simulation.

    INNOVENT e. V.
    The technological development organization INNOVENT, located in Jena, has been active in the fields of surface technology, magneto-optical systems and biomaterials. 140 employees pursue development assignments on behalf of industrial companies as far as the application stage.

    TITV Institute of Textile Research Thüringen-Vogtland
    The institute specializes 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. Especially the combination of electronics and textiles creates innovative textile products for completely new applications.

    Its core specialties include:

    • smart textiles
    • surface functionalization
    • flexible 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).


Individual, competent, non-bureaucratic and flexible.

Cluster "PolymerMat e.V."

Kooperativ, konstruktiv und kompetent

Downloads and information


  • Factsheet Plastics

    The Thuringian plastics industry is a success story with over 100 years of tradition. (Not barrier-free file)

    Download[pdf, 428 KB]


Manuel Fries

Manuel Fries Director China / Plastics

Invest in Thuringia

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