HempFlax is a grower and processor of industrial hemp. Over the last 25 years the company has gained a lot of experience and is expanded over 2.400 ha of hemp. They grow in the Netherlands, Germany and Romania. Processing facilities are based in Oude Pekela (NL) and Sebeș (RO). Since 2020, HempFlax have the ownership of an insulation factory in Germany.
Because the lack of dedicated hemp machinery HempFlax has developed machinery for processing and harvesting. A great example for this is the DoubleCut combine, this is manufactured in cooperation with a Dutch John Deere dealer GroeNoord, recently HempFlax has a joint venture named CANN BV.
The company has a strong believe in utilizing all parts of the plant. They already have many established products, but they are also working on new product groups; for example, food and bioplastic applications.
Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?
HempFlax: Growing is focused on the areas near to our processing facility in Oude Pekela (NL) and Sebes (RO). Offtake depend on the product groups; our aim is to reduce shipment as much as possible. But we are working in international market, most of our products stay in Europe. With some exceptions, for example we are shipping animal bedding to Australia, because of its specific qualities like the antibacterial working. This is a quality which is highly appreciated by racing horse owners.
The majority of the insulation stays in Germany, this is a high volume product which affects the transport cost. Also, the German house building industry is experienced in working with timber, this is a great fit to our materials.
E.E: What’s the news about new products?
HempFlax: At the moment we are looking in news ways of extracting ingredients from the plant for food applications.
For the building materials is a big development that we are able to account the carbon credits. Since this year is our method proved. This are big steps for the industry.
E.E: What are the ranges of products?
HempFlax: Because of the versatility of the plant, we operate in many different markets. Some examples are:
Construction > Insulation materials (HempFlax building solutions) and hempcrete blocks (cooperation with IsoHemp).
Industrial > semi-finished products for automotive, furniture, bioplastics textiles and many other applications.
Animal care > bedding materials, soft mattresses and stress relieving playing matts.
Neutraceuticals > CBD oil, seeds
Horticulture > growing mediums, garden mulch and matts suppressing weeds.
E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?
HempFlax: Depends on your perspective and the market. In general, we experience that there’s a growing awareness that we have to make a transition to more sustainable products that causes a lower impact on the climate. Hemp based products can offer a good alternative, for example the coming changes in regulation on disposables leads to big increase in demand for our fibers. They offer a suitable alternative for the currently common plastic based products.
E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?
HempFlax: A steady grow and depending on some outside factors like political and social-cultural an emerging grow of biobased products in general.
E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?
HempFlax: Innovative is maybe not the good term to describe our products. Hemp is one of the oldest known materials used by men. What we are doing mainly is rediscover old uses and adapt them for modern uses. The car industry in the 1930’s was using hemp on a wide variety of parts, getting back to that we think you can’t claim that it’s necessarily an innovative product.
With this remark I do not want to detract from the developments and efforts that are taking place worldwide in our sector. Maybe it’s just the disappointment talking about decisions made in the past, because of the misplaced associations.
E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023?
HempFlax: We work hard with the entire industry to give this plant a star role in many different products. with the social will for change that we sense, we expect a further growing demand. We are preparing ourselves as well as possible for this by further developing our capacity, but also by cooperating with new partners to further expand the cultivation area.
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