The rubber industry in Waltershausen in Thuringia can look back on a 200-year tradition. Whereas production originally focused on fire hoses made of natural rubber, the company Sealable Solutions now produces innovative sealing and insulation products that are used by customers around the world in the areas of tunnel and railway construction, as well as for industrial applications. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited the company where tradition meets transformation.
Innovation for the whole world
The Federal Chancellor was impressed by the fact that technology and items are being developed in Waltershausen that allow for progress around the world, for example in the shape of safe tram tracks and tunnels. “This shows that Germany is a highly innovative country and that a massive share of this innovative strength originates from numerous medium-sized companies,” he said.
One example of this is the “VeloGleis” that is designed to allow for safe cycling, a product which is used to fill the track groove of a rail, enabling cyclists and pedestrians to cross safely. In 2018 the company received the innovation award of the State of Thuringia for this product.
A signal of a new beginning for all of Germany
The Federal Chancellor said that a particularly positive aspect was the fact that two people from Thuringia had the courage to take over the traditional company themselves, when its previous owners were no longer interested in running the business. “In this sense it is also a signal of a new beginning for Germany, the East and this federal state,” the Federal Chancellor pointed out, adding that his visit to the company had made him feel optimistic.
Tackling the transition towards climate-neutral industry
The Federal Chancellor was impressed to see that the challenges we are all facing are actually being tackled by the company: “For example, ways to embark on the journey towards carbon neutrality, such as how we can manage to use less energy, which is not only good for the environment, but also reflects positively on a company’s balance sheet.”
A lot of energy is needed for processing rubber, especially for mixing, moulding and vulcanisation. Sealable Solutions explains that this is why lean, energy-efficient processes are not only expedient for ecological reasons but also form the basis for fair prices.
Attracting skilled workers from Germany and abroad
The Federal Chancellor believes that recruiting urgently needed skilled workers for Germany will remain a task for decades to come and he pointed out that it was therefore key that all training and professional advancement opportunities are seized. The Federal Government has introduced a training guarantee for everyone and is providing support for companies that choose to invest in training and professional development.
Scholz stressed that it was just as important to attract skilled workers from other countries. “This is feasible and we have created the corresponding laws,” he said. With its new Skilled Workers Immigration Act the Federal Government seeks to increase the appeal of Germany for skilled workers. The new rules are designed to help qualified workers from abroad to start working here more quickly.