60 years of history
Some 60 years ago, the first ViskoTeepak plant was founded in Hanko, Finland. It all began with Gunnar Eriksson enjoying the buffet on the ferry between Åland and Stockholm. During the 1950s, and still today, one Nordic tradition is always to enjoy the delicacies of the smorgasbord when taking the ferry between Finland and Sweden.
On this very trip, Mr. Eriksson noticed that on his plate was a piece of sausage made in artificial casing. Einar Söderman, Mr. Eriksson’s friend who was also on this trip, had been working with a casing producer in Sweden and knew that what they were looking at was cellophane casing made from cellulose.
Gunnar Eriksson became so interested that he took a piece of the casing with him to a laboratory in Helsinki. Olov Barck, who was working at the university in Helsinki, was asked by Gunnar Eriksson to do some analysis of the casing.
Visko is founded
To make a long story short, Gunnar Eriksson was able to raise money to start the Visko Company and Olov Barck was successful in his analysis of the casing. The Visko casing company was founded in 1952 and production was planned to begin in an old butter-factory in Hanko, which had been empty since the war.
On 8 January 1953, it was declared in the local Hanko newspaper that the Visko casing company would commence production during the summer with 30 employees, and with Gunnar Eriksson as President and Olov Barck as the local manager and technical leader. Production in the plant increased rapidly and, by 1956, production was moved to a newly built plant at the same location as the current plant, just outside Hanko city.
From its founding until 1962, all production was of cellophane casing. In the early years, there were many innovations and changes made to the original process, and many issues had to be resolved before Visko was able to commence the commercial production and sale of fibrous casing in 1962. It didn’t take long to see that fibrous casing was the future, and the plant had extended to 27,000 cubic metres by the spring of 1965.
ViskoTeepak Delfzijl, Lommel and Slavkov
During the 1960s, the importance of Europe as a casing market became clear to the whole industry. Teepak, which was only operating from the US at this point, decided to open their first service centre in Europe. In 1965, a converting facility, which today is known as ViskoTeepak Delfzijl was opened in The Netherlands.
To meet the increasing demand and enable shorter delivery times, Teepak decided to open a new production facility in Europe in 1975, the location of which was in Lommel, Belgium.
In Hanko, only fibrous casing is produced while in Lommel Wienie-Pak cellulose casing is also produced. The company expanded even further in 1994 by opening the Wienie-Pak shirring centre in Slavkov. This same operation and production was moved to Brno in 2012.
Over the years, ViskoTeepak has placed great emphasis on product development to try and meet the demands of the market. The Visko Light fibrous casing, for example, has been a big seller since the 1990s. In 2001, the world’s biggest fibrous casing “Jumbo casing” was produced.
In the 1970s, the first fully automatic shirring machine was installed in Delfzijl, and Wienie-Pak cellulose casing has been a major success from the Lommel plant; these are just a few of the many success stories.
In the beginning of the 1990s, plastic casing was winning market share from coated fibrous, at which point it was decided to establish Nova Casing in Godby, Finland, in 1995. The plastic casing production was later moved to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, in 2004, where it is fully operational today.
The merge to create the ViskoTeepak of today
The ViskoTeepak company became a reality in 2007 after the big merger of Visko and Teepak. The company now consists of the former Visko, Teepak’s European operations and Nova plastic casing. ViskoTeepak is suddenly the biggest fibrous casing producer in the world with two production plants in Europe and one in Central America.
The company today has sales offices in Moscow, Tokyo, Shanghai, Mexico City as well as a representative office in Zürich and head office in Mariehamn. In total, ViskoTeepak employs over 800 people and we are proud to say that we offer the largest selection of different fibrous casings in the world.
We are able to produce the widest diameter range of products including both the smallest and largest diameter fibrous casing in the world, all with excellent calibre consistency and curing properties. Combine that with numerous coating, colour and printing options and you will see that our product is designed to meet any sausage specification and all your demands.