Henri Barberot, who was born in a family of millers, realized the business potential of the plastics industry. Trained as an engineer, he saw the similarity between flour processing and plastics production. He converted a family mill into a plastics processing plant with two classmates from the ENSAM engineering school (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers). They started making cigarette lighters and moved into a building that probably remains to this day the only town mill on the Mayenne river: the Bootz mill in Laval. With water and two electric turbines, the European Plastics Company, known as “Europlastiques“, was born.
France was starting an economic boom that lasted 30 years “The 30 boom years”, supermarkets were taking over retailing. The Europlastiques Company explored the potential of this new material. With its first presses it started producing various products, from reels of explosive cords to stiletto heels for women shoes, from pool hangers and bracelets to bibs and childcare accessories.
History of innovation
Plastics have qualities that make them an essential part of our everyday life: modern, robust, light with low production costs.
During the restructuring of Europlastiques, in 1972, Henri Barberot‘s son Nicolas, a young graduate engineer, joined the company and designed his first catalogue, which attracted French and international clients. Lots of ongoing projects. Production was gradually automated.
Our first food industry client was be the well-known Breton delicatessen producer: Jean Stalaven. When selling pâtés to supermarkets all over France, the stoneware and metal terrines used then were not optimal. Jean Stalaven was dreaming of unbreakable and unalterable terrines. At a social meeting, Henri Barberot shared his idea with him: The first butcher’s terrines were created. The product was nothing short of revolutionary. As Europlastiques was growing, Henri Barberot ambitioned to expand nationally and even internationally. The food-processing clients was out growing its initial market based on the “Breton pâté” and the “Rillettes” from the Sarthe Region in France.
History of innovation
Nicolas made a trip to Canada. He was very impressed and dreamed of starting a Europlastiques branch on the other side of the Atlantic. Two years later, the young man became the Manager of the company.
After noting the importance of decorative patterns, Europlastiques created the Decostyl company that added decorative patterns to the products using screen printing, pad printing and painting techniques. This is still Decostyl‘s main business, but it also injects special plastic parts for agricultural and industrial machines.
It was the beginning of a pioneering technology that became a decoration standard: the decoration label is applied directly in the mould.
Europlastiques was the first plastics processing company in France to be certified ISO9001 (Quality Management). Still, to meet the needs and requirements of the food industry, one year later Europlastiques became the first company in the industry to have air-filtered workshops, pursuant to HACCP rules.
Europlastiques created a product innovation unit, which soon designed a best seller: the “DUO” tray. Subsequently, our integrated design team was increased to take on new challenges, while capitalizing on its proximity to the field. It developed leading solutions for individual ready meals, the main consumer trend at the time.
New consumption patterns requiring ultra-light, sophisticated and functional packaging were often the subject of patent applications. In 10 years, the company has been rewarded with 5 Oscars and 1 innovation trophy.
This is when we decided to eco-design our packaging using rheology software and mechanical calculations to reduce material consumption.
The environment footprint of our business has long been a key consideration when designing new products.
Because the company believes in the potential of biomaterials as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-derived plastics, it launched the BioComba research project, now named BluEcoPHA with an ambition to create a new material for a circular and responsible economy.
Europlastiques consolidates its two production sites in the Grands Prés area in a single site called La Ruche, a Low Energy Consumption Building (BBC) designed to reflect its philosophy.
The Responsible Purchasing Charter was drafted and integrated in the management of our relations with suppliers. One year later, we completed our commitment to sustainable development and our partnership charter.