Silje Helene

Sintef Raufoss Manufacturing AS

Plasto: not your typical Norwegian company

I often highlight Plasto as a perfect example of the right approach to becoming a partner in a research project.

Silje Aschehoug at SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing AS (SRM) has headed up several research projects focusing on innovation and innovation processes. SRM is Norway’s national centre of expertise in manufacturing, and the company’s ambition is to contribute to the development of solutions that provide competitive advantages to the Norwegian manufacturing industry.

“Plasto is not your typical Norwegian company, in a positive sense. Their approach to research projects is different. They have a modern mindset. Their attitude towards their collaborative partners is very open and inclusive; they are not afraid to share what they know,” Silje says.

“This is all about which role you assume, how you contribute as a company. Sharing knowledge without sharing everything—finding the balance between learning and sharing, and being passionate and genuinely dedicated to the work that you do,” Silje continues. She makes no secret of the fact that it’s easy for her to be generous with her praise when it comes to Plasto.

“For me, as an innovation researcher, Plasto is a very interesting company to work with. The Plasto team has a progressive mindset. They approach the world with an open mind. They think outside the box and are not afraid to dive into new research projects, even though these projects may not be quite in line with what they are working on right now.

“Their way of looking at it is that they can learn something from every project they do, and they are extremely knowledgeable and committed to the projects that focus more exclusively on plastics,” Aschehoug says, pointing out that Plasto’s network of contacts is impressive, given the company’s relatively small size.

Knut S.

They really get to the bottom of our needs and demands as a customer. We work together to find new solutions.

The collaboration between Glamox and Plasto goes way back. We know each other well; our relationship has developed over many years as customer and supplier, partners in research projects and contributors to the cluster network. I strongly believe our collaboration has been mutually beneficial. The Glamox group is a global industrial success story that originated in Molde.

“Plasto has been an active contributor, helping us develop both products and production processes. This has contributed to increasing the competitive advantages for both of us,” Knut Rusten explains.

“Plasto’s customer perspective is a distinguishing characteristic of theirs. They really get to the bottom of our needs and demands as a customer. We work together to find new solutions. Plasto really excels at this.”
Rusten also emphasizes Plasto’s willingness and ability to adapt in response to new demands.

“There was really no way around automating production; it was absolutely necessary to maintain profitability. The amount of manual work and total labour costs had to be reduced. Plasto’s restructuring process in the 2000s is really quite impressive,” the Glamox vice president says.

“What, if anything, may be Plasto’s Achilles’ heel, from your perspective?”

“There is always a risk of spreading yourself too thin. If you try to do too many things at once, you risk not being able to focus enough on your core activities. I’m not saying that is the case here; I’m just saying it might be a risk.”

“There is, however, also a certain element of risk attached to being too focused on a small number of customers and networks. Plasto’s history shows this aspect as well.”

“It is important to strike the right balance. I believe that’s exactly what Plasto has done. They are moving forward, focusing on research and innovation, and they maintain a considerable network of contacts in these fields,” Knut Rusten concludes.


General manager, iKuben

The rate of change is increasing – better keep up!

In order to benefit fully from this kind of network, you have to go all in. Plasto does just that. They want to be spearheading new developments; they stay informed of new trends and focus on interdisciplinary approaches and communication. Networks and highly skilled people always pay off, especially in the long run. The more you give, the more you get.

“Plasto has a mindset and an approach that is very modern and forward-thinking. We need more companies and leaders who are looking networks for new impulses, who stay on top of international developments, and who are willing to adapt quickly in response to new demands.”

These are the words of Hilde Aspås, general manager of the business cluster iKuben in Molde. The three i’s in the cluster name stand for innovative international industry, which is a characteristic the 25 companies in the cluster all share.

iKuben connects businesses across industries, and the cluster’s main focus areas are logistics, materials technology and production technology.

“Plasto and Lars Stenerud have played a huge role in iKuben’s successes. As often as I can, I highlight Plasto as a perfect example,” Hilde Aspås says.

“To stay relevant in the time to come, we have to pay close attention to developments in other countries. The automation and robotization trends are likely to continue, and the rate of change will continue to increase. We need more companies and leaders who actively participate in networks, who stay on top of international developments, and who are willing to adapt quickly in response to new demands. That’s Plasto,” the iKuben manager concludes.

Lars H. Evensen

Director of Business Development at Norner AS

Plasto is well-grounded. This company is like an established tree, growing rapidly.

Norner is an independent plastics institute and technology partner, that originated and is headquartered in Norway. The company is a world-leading innovation partner and supplier of research-based plastics expertise.

“We have been aware of Plasto for many years, and we were looking for the right project to engage Lars Stenerud and his team. Our expectations going into this project were high, and Plasto has really come through for us,” Lars Evensen says.
“Plasto has struck the right balance between grounded and innovative. They are experts at technology, participate actively in R&D, and are not afraid to venture into new areas and launching new products.”

Evensen believes Plasto has a spectacular, “almost exotic”, location, and the Rauma-based company does not shy away from using it as a way to stand out from the crowd and as an image of who they are and what they represent. At the same time, he believes Plasto has developed qualities he believes have the potential for even greater international success.

“Plasto already sell many of their products internationally through their customers. Right now, I believe Plasto is in a position to expand further internationally.”

“Plasto is doing exactly what the government is asking us to do. They are focusing on state-of-the-art technology, investing in robotization and automated production, and really pushing research, development and innovation.”

Lars Tore

Plasto must be the unofficial national champion of research.

“Plasto is the poster company for contracting research. I think they must be the official national champion of research projects.”

Lars Tore Gellein of SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing AS (SRM) smiles as he gives the analogy.

“From a research perspective, Plasto is a very attractive partner. They have a comprehensive awareness of trends and developments, they have great knowledge and insight, as well as a wide network of contacts, and they are skilled at bringing in new ideas and suggesting new research projects,” Gellein says.

Gellein emphasizes the importance of triggering the interests of research communities, piquing their curiosity.

“The Plasto team excels at taking in new things. They actively participate in every research project they are part of, and they give researchers a lot of feedback. This gives us a lot to work with,” Gellein explains.
He believes Plasto and Lars Stenerud are authority figures in the field; their opinions carry a lot of weight in the Norwegian manufacturing industry.

You have headed up several international research projects with 15–20 partners, where Plasto was one of the corporate partners. Do you find that Plasto’s size and geographical location are drawbacks in these types of projects?

“Actually, no. On the contrary. Many international research projects seek out small and medium-sized companies as partners, as these types of business make up the majority of the corporate landscape in most countries. In Norway, too. Plasto’s size is usually perfect for these types of projects.


Head of the Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management at NTNU

Tremendous research contributions

“Plasto’s R&D activities are quite prolific. Their contributions are even more impressive when we consider Plasto’s size. Their activities match or exceed companies three, four and even five times their size.”

Monica Rolfsen’s enthusiasm is indisputable. She is a professor at NTNU in Trondheim, and the Head of the Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management.

Rolfsen has worked closely with Plasto for many years, and she has also visited the company’s facilities at Åndalsnes several times since her first visit in 2009.

“The Plasto team always maintains a long-term perspective upon joining any research project. This applies to both their learning outcomes and the research results in themselves, but also to their relations with the people involved and the other partners in the projects.”

“This is a wise approach to becoming a partner in a research study, and time and again we have seen that Plasto inspires others to be more patient and apply more long-term perspectives to the research the companies participate in,” Rolfsen says.
She describes Plasto as a mature and forward-thinking company, whose active involvement in the local community and the region is another good quality she wants to highlight, in addition to the company’s many involvements in research, development and innovation.

“Plasto assumes great responsibility in developing the local community, and the company is active in local and regional networks. This is a wise approach, and together with the company’s strong focus on research and innovation, it is a sound strategy for Plasto’s future success,” Professor Rolfsen concludes.


Project Director, SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing AS

Similar to world-leading companies

If we look at many of the top companies worldwide, Plasto has many of the same qualities.

These are the words of Ottar Henriksen, project director at SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing AS (SRM). He has long-standing experience from various management positions and directorships in companies and organizations whose focus has been research-based innovation and the future of the Norwegian manufacturing industry.

And the backdrop? Increased competition in an ever more globalized market.

“I first heard about Plasto in the early 1990s. From 2000 onwards, we have worked quite closely, not least through various projects and appointments at the intersection of research, innovation and the manufacturing industry,” Henriksen says.
Henriksen often use Plasto as an example of a competitive Norwegian manufacturing company that has been able to link research and innovation with its customers’ needs.

“The Plasto team has many of the same qualities and characteristics as the world’s leading companies. They dedicate themselves to understanding their customers’ needs, and then adapt to meet those needs.”

“Simply put, what you delivered yesterday and today, you cannot deliver tomorrow. Plasto is trying to get behind this; they are trying to stay ahead of the game while not losing sight of any long-term goals along this axis,” Henriksen explains.

“Plasto knows the research communities, they understand them, and they have a very good understanding of what is going on at NTNU and SINTEF, for example. Plasto has a much greater range in this field than most of our other partners, even those who are much bigger than Plasto,” Henriksen concludes.

In addition, Plasto is a key dialogue partner to SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing concerning the future development of the Norwegian manufacturing industry.


CEO, Piql AS

Partners on a 500-year horizon

When Piql discusses long-term data storage, they mean just that. Long-term storage. We are not just talking a measly few decades into the future, here, like today’s solutions are offering. No. Piql is thinking a lot further ahead. Quite a lot further. Like, 500 years. At least. And Plasto is on board.

Piql AS is a dynamic and still quite young company. They didn’t get started until 2002. Thinking small doesn’t cut it in this context. You need to look ahead, hundreds of years into the future. And what’s on offer today is really quite pitiful.
When and where did Plasto come into the picture?

“We were looking for plastics companies with a good reputation for R&D, preferably someone who had participated in R&D project with SINTEF and the Research Council. They recommended Plasto.
PiqlBox. The box used to store the preserved data was developed in a consortium where Piql, Plasto and the other partners discussed solutions and developed prototypes. Big things fit into a small box. The solution soon to be launched on the enormous global data preservation market is all but a revolution. No less. If this goes well, the sky is the limit.

So, how is it stored, this data that doesn’t expire for another 500 years? On film. Plastic, of course, like the box.

“I would imagine we have been quite high-maintenance as a customer of and partner to Plasto. Plasto, in return, has been competent, flexible and cooperative. We are so glad they are on board. At the same time, though, we are small and impatient. If we had our way, we would have loved to have access to even more of Plasto’s time and expertise. But we are getting there.

And when we do, the data storage market is going to explode. Huge boom. It will resound from Drammen, via Åndalsnes, to the moon and beyond. That is, if our dreams come true.
Which they will.


Supply Chain Manager, AKVA Group AS

Abandoned Asia, chose Plasto

“We are a leading technology and service partner to the aquaculture industry worldwide. We are dependent on logistics and precision, and we had concerns about how production had developed in Asia. That’s primarily why we chose to move production back home to Norge and Plasto. Our experiences have almost exclusively been positive.”

These are the words of Sigurd Larsen of AKVA Group ASA’s supply chain management. In, 2015, which marked Plasto’s 60th anniversary, AKVA Group is Plasto’s biggest customer. Larsen speaks favourably of the company’s experiences from moving its production from low-cost countries in Asia back home to Norway.

The company was looking for a supplier that focused on automation and innovation, and which had the technology to produce large volumes and large products. Plasto fit the bill.
“We are currently almost up to the production volumes we had in Asia. Logistics are much improved, and the level of precision is higher. We are closer to the market here, because while we are a global company, Norway is still our biggest market. In addition, in our role as customer, we are also much closer to the supplier.”

“There will always be challenges along the way, and there is always room for improvements. This is true with Plasto, too, but we work very closely with them, and we are able to solve any challenges as they occur,” says Larsen, emphasizing the importance of good relations.

“We always want to be able to offer our customers the best solutions, and in order to do that, we need skilled and reliable suppliers with the expertise necessary to deliver what we need.”

“Plasto has made great strides in automation and innovation, and we benefit from their considerable expertise. By working closely with them from the concept stage to finished product, we ensure high quality in both products and production. Our goal is to have a world-class supply chain,” Larsen concludes.