Japanese urban infrastructure company Sekisui Chemicals has announced the opening of its synthetic sleeper production site at Roermond in the Netherlands.

The Roermond plant showcases Sekisui’s manufacturing advances since they were previously solely produced in Japan and will now be better connected to European markets.

Sekisui is set to produce 100,000 fibre-reinforced foam urethane (FFU) sleepers every year at the €50m ($52.8m) European production site, doubling its total production capacity.

The construction process of the 4,400ft² facility commenced in 2020 and was completed earlier this year.

Mr Koji Yamaguchi, managing director of the German subsidiary of Sekisui Chemicals, stated: “Europe has become an important market and demand is expected to increase, including from major railway companies in Germany and Britain.

“Therefore, we are very pleased to open the new production plant at Roermond in the heart of Europe.”

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According to Sekisui, the company’s rail sleepers were first installed in Europe in 2004 on the Wiener Linien metro in Vienna.

Through the new facility, the company aims to expand further into European markets and reduce delivery times to European customers.

Aligning with sustainability efforts, the production site is set to be powered solely by electricity, with operations running 24 hours a day.

According to Sekisui’s 2023 sustainability report, the company claims to convert all electricity purchased within Scope 2 to renewable energy sources by 2030.

Paul Koopman, managing director of the new factory, said: “We are very proud to have opened such an innovative and future-oriented production facility here in Roermond.

“The new plant will enable us to deliver high-quality FFU railway sleepers to customers in Europe faster than even before.”