Durable, innovative and successful: Technical textiles from Magdeburg conquer the world

With tarpaulins, covers and textile components that have proven to be robust and durable in practice tests, particularly in the health care sector, the Magdeburg Company INTEMA Industrietextilien GmbH has established itself on the market. Precision and innovation are necessary if a German crafts business wants to compete internationally.

The 26-member team led by managing directors Christine Dammann and Arnd Riedel researches, develops and produces high-performance textiles at the site in Magdeburg for the health care sector, the military, the building industry, areas involved in environmental and catastrophe protection, and other industries. Due to the existing technology and the scale of the operation, INTEMA is a market leader in Saxony-Anhalt.

Covers for stretchers, operating tables or orthopaedic support cushions must be designed so that they are resistant to disinfectants while being flexible at the same time. Due to many years of experience in processing technical textiles and the high quality standards that, for example, the military demand, INTEMA could also develop a niche in the health care sector.

The sack and tarpaulin factory Planen Förster was founded in 1923 on the site that now belongs to INTEMA Industrietextilien GmbH in the centre of Magdeburg. During the GDR era, all truck tarpaulins for export as well as for army equipment were manufactured here. Christine Dammann, who was already working at the company before and Arnd Riedel founded INTEMA in 1990, and acquired the 6,000-square-metre premises three years later. The tradition of manufacturing for the military is still a focus today. Protective covers, carrying straps, supports and tarpaulin - all textiles meet the high quality requirements of NATO standards. Similar to an ISO certification, it also benefits customers in other industries through the universal and comprehensive quality controls.

"We are always looking for new opportunities for the future of our company", says managing director Christine Dammann, emphasising the flexibility of the team. A new development over the last two years is flexible tensile structures with solar cells. This enables car dealerships, for example, to cover part of their display area and generate electricity at the same time. A prototype of this structure adorns the company car park and also serves as a charging station for electric vehicles. INTEMA is the market leader in the field of wind turbines with special textile components. Both the ventilation hoses inside the installations for cooling power units as well as the special connection elements for the rotor blades are developed and manufactured in Magdeburg. Precision and weather resistance are crucial criteria for the use of textile elements.

The Elbe river flood last year was a sad occasion for another innovative solution. Flood protection tubes that can be inflated within seconds were developed with a cooperation partner. This is an effective alternative to conventional sand bags.

For Christine Dammann and Arnd Riedel, the choice of location in Magdeburg was not just due to tradition.

A stable network of research and funding institutions is crucial to success, especially in an industry that is dependent on continual research and new development. Projects and investments by INTEMA were supported by the Investitionsbank Sachsen-Anhalt (investment bank Saxony-Anhalt) as state development institution. The proximity to the university and the Fraunhofer Institute is also a benefit for all sides. While the institute supports the company in its research, students have the opportunity to carry out their own practice tests at the production site. The innovative capacity of INTEMA was awarded the "AURA - award for outstanding entrepreneurial activity in Saxony-Anhalt" in July 2014. The Ministry of Science and Economic Affairs in Saxony-Anhalt thereby acknowledged the constant search for innovative solutions by the small INTEMA team.

Both managing directors share a vision for the future: "With our dedicated and motivated team, we will develop many innovative textiles over the next few years." Further development in the health care sector can also become a main focus for this.

Author: Miriam Fuchs

INTEMA Industrietextilverarbeitung GmbH
Schlachthofstraße 2
39108 Magdeburg
Tel.: (0391) 7 33 17 07
Fax: (0391) 7 33 67 11
E-Mail: info.ignore@intema-gmbh.de
Internet: www.intema-gmbh.de