Melos GmbH is one of the leading international producers of coloured EPDM rubber granules. In addition, Melos’ team realizes cable compounds and customer solutions, which are processed in the cable industry and the automotive sector, among others. More than 260 employees work at their site in Melle, near Osnabrück in Lower Saxony. Warehouse, production, research laboratory, quality assurance and administration are located here, in premises covering an area of 48,000 sqm. Interview with Marcus Hohlweck, Manager Business Unit Industrial Compounding at Melos GmbH. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? Marcus Hohlweck: Our main business is compounding of sport flooring granules and compounds for industrial application, mainly cable compounds. In this area Melos is a leading manufacturer in the field of highest quality low smoke, HFFR, thermoplastic and irradiation cross-linkable compounds including halogenated specialties. Our up-to-date production lines enable us to make standard and customized compounds for our customers all over the world. With our insulation, bedding and sheathing compounds, we cover a wide range of international standards. In addition, our „Customer Solutions“ division is responsible for the individual and client-specific development of compounds for the plastics processing industry. With our modern production facilities, we can manufacture compounds to customer specifications. E.E: What’s the news about new products? M.H: Trends in the compounding industry are based on general market developments. As a result, new needs for the production and formulations of compounds are also developing, as is currently the case, e. g. with glass fibre expansion in Germany. Therefore, we are dedicated to the development of new formulations in connection with new halogen-free high flame-retardant compounds for fibre optic like for example: for flexible thin wall application to pass B2 in the CPRcompounds as alternative for PBT in loose tube applicationscompounds with a very low shrinkage behavior E.E: What are the ranges of products? M.H: We offer a wide range of compounds, bedding compounds as well as insulation and sheathing compounds for different cable applications. In addition, we offer specialties for specific customer needs such as thermoplastic and e-beam crosslinkable insulation and sheathing compounds. In manufacturing, we use the latest technology and comply to high quality standards, for ensuring consistent high quality and cost-effective product solutions. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? M.H: Due to the political direction in Germany and the regulations of the European Union, we are currently observing a great demand for new and sustainable solutions in the cable industry. We perceive a growing interest and demand for new compound specialties for new technologies such as fibre optics, energy transition and e-mobility. Furthermore, we are focused on halogen-free flame-retardant cable compounds in different application like installation, fibre optics, rolling stock, green energy, off-shore and many more. These markets are still growing since decades. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? M.H: We currently see an increasing demand for green energy and environmentally friendly alternatives. We see a worldwide establishment of halogen-free flame-retardant compounds in the “green energy markets” for example in charging cables, windmill & PV cables etc. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? M.H: In addition to already proven standard products, we offer, for example, our Mecoline S TP 1039 F as a flame-retardant, flexible, and highly media-resistant compound. This has proven itself in windmill and fiberglass applications as well as in other applications with high requirements. The FM 0474/5 bedding compound helps ensure that the entire cable construction meets high fire ratings for a wide range of cable specifications. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022? M.H: We assume that the market for environmental awareness will increase. This can be seen in e-mobility, the energy transition, and the general trend towards sustainable products. These will also be key factors for the compounding sector. Our R&D department is working very hard and focusing on the development of new products. The developments of the corona pandemic will hopefully soon calm down the material markets. At present, however, there is still a great deal of uncertainty in the market and no short-term easing of the raw material situation is in sight. In this respect, therefore, we are facing an intensive year in 2022. In general, we expect continued good business development. And of course, we are also looking forward to a successful wire & tube fair in June and hope to have many discussions with our customers and suppliers.