From the PGH of the roofing trade to a modern precast concrete production facility

Situated in a beautiful landscape on the Szczecin lagoon, Abwassertechnik Terrazzo und Fertigteil GmbH (ATF) can look back on a long-lasting history in the municipality of Leopoldshagen in the Western Pomerania region of Germany. The company has been supplying the trade and manufacturing sector with wastewater systems and other concrete products for around 20 years now.

Situated in a beautiful landscape on the Szczecin lagoon between Ducherow and Ueckermünde, the concrete factory located in the municipality of Leopoldshagen in the Western Pomerania region can look back on a long-lasting history. What started with the foundation of a crafts production cooperative („PGH“) as a roofing company with associated carpentry in the former GDR in 1958 has developed to one of the largest employers in the region until today and ensures constant orders for many suppliers. Currently, ATF has a workforce of 24 people and provides vocational training in the company. Over the years, the craft of terrazzo was established, with mainly producing slabs, L-shaped steps and window sills. Wastewater products, pavers and special precast elements were added after the reunification.

The company has been supplying the trade and manufacturing sector with wastewater systems and other concrete products for around 20 years now. ATF GmbH Leopoldshagen is an economically independent company that sustained its position on the constantly changing sales markets successfully. Customer friendliness, adaptability and high-quality concrete products form the basis for cooperative partnerships with numerous customers from the island of Rügen up to the area of Berlin. Riko Blumenthal, chairman of the association and ATF general manager at the same time, states in this regard: „A modern and extraordinary company has been developed here, provided with photovoltaic, vacation rental and a quite special manhole manufacturing machine that started operation in 2019.“ In response to the question from the BFT editorial team regarding this special feature, he continued: „For being able to install the ‚Tornado‘ manhole machine of Prinzing-Pfeifer at all, at first, a production basement required for the system had to be prepared; given the proximity to the Szczecin lagoon and the corresponding groundwater level of 1.20m a considerable challenge. Once two pumps and 6m-long lances had been operating for 14 days, we had made it and the caisson could be lifted into the provided pit. As a result, we are now able to produce 120 manhole rings per day with the new machine instead of 50 ones in the past – and all this with just one operator.“

 

Investment in growth and employment

The core products are civil engineering products made of concrete such as manholes, rectangular tanks and wastewater treatment plants including accessories, special precast elements, fair-faced concretes and cast stone – even though only to a small extent. These are added by L-shaped retaining wall elements, road slabs and „Lego“ blocks for agricultural construction as well as block steps, silo walls, urban furniture elements, tree grate systems, tree root protection systems with the dimensions of (l x w x h) 300 x 50 x 20 cm and special concrete components for the protection of historic monuments such as castle stairs, for example.

Just recently, the factory for the production of concrete products has been extended by the installation of a combined manufacturing plant „for the production of T1 and T2 manhole rings as well as T1 and T2 compensation rings“. This project was co-funded by the European Union as part of the European Regional Development Fund. About two years passed from the decision-making up to the actual start of operation, with involving the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state promotional institution and a positive funding approval of approx. 30 %.

At ATF they are particularly proud of the capacity expansion of the aggregates storage yard realized successfully only recently this year to 3,000 tons now, as a lot of raw materials need to be bought from relatively great distances. „However, we are far from being finished with our modernization activities,“ states Riko Blumenthal. „Since the company, as mentioned above, is very old and space is limited, further investments in factory halls, heating systems and access roads are required.“

Notable references

„Of course, most of our products are standard such as manhole rings in diameters from 600 to 2,500 mm which are usually ordered by public-sector clients, manufacturing and trading companies for drainage projects. Therefore, the wastewater products are the basis of our company, however, they are subject to high material input, pricing pressure and high labor requirements,“ production manager Karsten Matschall replies to the question about the references.

„One of our most spectacular major contracts undoubtedly was the supply of approx. 7,000 concrete shell segments with a unit weight of 3 tons each for ‚North Stream 2‘, virtually as buoyancy protection for the actual gas pipeline on the sea ground of the Baltic Sea in the route section of Lubmin. As pleasing as this major contract was for us in itself, it unfortunately had the disadvantage that at some point round grain was no longer available – meaning that we had to switch to more expensive grit. This year, we have however increased the capacities for storing a full train load (namely approx. 2,700 t), as described above, thus again ensuring round grain at more favorable purchase prices and better security of supply. But we can also manufacture in traditional manual work, so to speak as a manufactory: we have been producing, for example, brick-built manholes for a customer as brickwork for two years now. We are always happy to deal with such requests or similar ones, though they require, that appropriate personnel with manual skills are available.“

 

Helpful association work

Further expansion measures and/or investment activities planned also concern areas not related to concrete, e. g. houses and plots for rent so as to maintain the independence of the company in the future too.

Not least a good network is helpful here: „We are member of the Northern German quality assurance association for the concrete and precast industry and maintain very good business contacts with our testing institutes. Among other things, we hosted a business meeting at our factory in 2018, with a subsequent visit of the Greifswald nuclear power plant as an industrial monument and the Marinetechnikschule in Parow near Stralsund. We all remember this too well and also the reunion in mid-July of this year on the occasion of the young entrepreneurs meetings in Liebenau and Rehburg and the membership conference of the VBF Nord in Barsinghausen after the long break forced by the Corona pandemic,“ concluded Blumenthal.

In response to a question from the BFT editorial team in this regard, Dr.-Ing. Jens-Uwe Pott, Managing Director of VBF Nord e.V., confirmed: „An active participation in events and the communication among members regarding industry specific topics is of course the indispensable core of any association work. In phases, in which the industry and the society as a whole are faced with particular challenges, many people who were rather reserved towards the associations in better times are becoming aware of this again. It is therefore important and good that active members, like Riko Blumenthal, form the basis for continuous association work, irrespective of the political and economic climate.

CONTACT

Abwassertechnik Terrazzo und Fertigteil GmbH

Grünberg 1a

17375 Leopoldshagen/Germany

+49 39774 20280

www.atf-leo.de

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