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tesa turns 75

tesa turns 75

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From a single roll of adhesive tape to technology group

15.02.11 - A classic brand is celebrating its 75th anniversary: The first transparent Tesa®-Klebefilm adhesive tape was launched on the market in 1936 and went on to become famous after being renamed tesafilm® in 1941. Estimates put the volume sold since then at about 50 billion meters, enough to wrap around the Equator about 1,250 times. Today, tesafilm® is part of a product family that includes about 7,000 adhesive tape solutions for industry, trades, and consumers.

The triumphant advance of tesafilm®
Industrial businessman Hugo Kirchberg believed in the “unlimited possibilities of self-adhesive technology” and began building the business starting in 1934. He also demonstrated an excellent feel for choosing the right name. Proactively trademarked, the name “Tesa” was filed away in the legal department of Beiersdorf AG, of which tesa is still a wholly owned subsidiary today. Secretary Elsa Tesmer had created the name for a contest in 1906, combining the last syllable of her first name and the first syllable of her last name. The newly coined word was initially used for the patented Tesa tube, which held toothpaste, but the product did not succeed as hoped.

From Kirchberg’s point of view, though, the “Tesa” name was a stroke of luck when it came to establishing a brand: It is short, easy to remember, and can be used internationally. And Kirchberg, originally from the central German state of Thuringia, had yet another idea that made a critical contribution to the triumphant advance of tesafilm®: the invention of the tesa dispenser, which makes it easy to use tesa tape and can still be found on practically any desk to this day – albeit in a modified design.

Focusing on customers, all over the world
Now a global company, tesa earns more than two-thirds of its total sales (2010: 872 million euros; preliminary, unaudited) in its international business. The main market is Europe, followed by the regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia and the Americas. The company’s home market of Germany accounts for the rest. tesa focuses on being close at hand for the customer, with approximately 3,700 employees at the Hamburg headquarters and across more than 50 affiliates – including R&D labs in Germany, the United States, Japan, Singapore, and China as well as nine international production sites.

Part of everyday life
In many countries around the world, tesa adhesive tape applications help consumers to affix items (example: tesa Powerstrips®), renovate (example: tesakrepp®), make repairs, and insulate homes and protect them from insects, dust, and drafts (tesamoll®). But few people are aware that tesa is also part of everyday life in many industrial products. For instance, tesa helps make mobile phones, digital cameras, flat screens, and notebook computers, including netbooks, increasingly small, flat, and lightweight. In the 21st century, technologically advanced adhesive tapes are replacing conventional assembly methods, such as soldering, welding, and attaching screws, allowing manufacturers to produce cell phones that weigh less than 100 grams, small enough to fit in even the smallest pocket. Just 20 years ago, cellular phones weighed about five times as much. Adhesive tapes also commonly serve additional functions, for instance as light conductors.

System solutions for the automotive industry
Since the launch of the very first Tesa®-Klebekrepp masking tape (1936) for masking during paint work, the automotive industry has been one of tesa’s core lines of business. And masking tape is just one solution out of many: Since the late 1960s, tesa has helped bundle together the two to five kilometers of wires and cables that run throughout a car, and the company is now the world market leader in this segment. Other products used in the automotive sector include self-adhesive films for attaching emblems or to protect surfaces during transportation.

Optimization of production processes
tesa also helps customers to optimize their manufacturing processes in the printing and paper industry. The tesa EasySplice® product range has revolutionized automation in newspaper and magazine printing. Thanks to a secure adhesive bond between the ends of two rolls of paper, termed a splice, the huge rolls of paper used in printing, which can weigh tons, can be spliced together continuously, without any risk of tearing – and without slowing production speeds. tesa is now the world market and technology leader in this segment.

Effective protection for brands and products
One very special segment of the extensive tesa product range is the intelligent concepts offered by tesa scribos GmbH. Starting with the tesa Holospot® – a counterfeit-proof label that uniquely identifies products on a data field just a few square millimeters in size – tesa scribos has developed a broad spectrum of security solutions, including concepts to help protect against product counterfeiting, gray market trade, tampering, and theft.

High-tech adhesive tapes from the cleanroom
In 2010, the tesa plant in Hamburg began operating a state-of-the-art cleanroom unit. Now the air in this unit is a thousand times cleaner than in the mountains, and it is used to produce products including adhesive tapes and films just 25 micrometers thick – thinner than a single strand of human hair – for use in the electronics industry. Together with wholly owned affiliate Labtec, which was acquired in 2008, tesa also produces patches containing active ingredients for the pharmaceuticals industry, ensuring that medication is administered evenly, at the right dosage. Plus, the company produces oral films that dissolve in the mouth in seconds, delivering the active ingredient directly and potentially replacing pills and tablets. This benefits the elderly, children, and people who have trouble swallowing in particular.

Environmentally friendly technologies of the future
The company made a technological quantum leap in 2010, when a unique unit for producing double-sided acrylate adhesive tapes was put into operation. The patented tesa method allows the company to produce tremendously durable adhesive tapes with especially thick coatings and extremely strong adhesion, all with lower environmental impact. The new technology enables highly durable permanent adhesive bonding of external parts such as decorative trim and spoilers on cars, solar modules, and façade elements.

The adhesive tape manufacturer’s most recent market successes include the highly environmentally conscious product range marketed under the tesa ecoLogo®. The logo stands for primarily recycled or biologically based raw materials, environmentally friendly packaging and solvent-free production methods, and includes “green” versions of tesafilm® transparent adhesive tape, tesapack® packing tape, tesa® tape dispensers, and tesakrepp® masking tape.

The most recent tesa innovation for end consumers is a set of transparent self-adhesive films to protect against scratches in high-risk areas of a car’s paint job, slated for market launch in April 2011. The prospects are bright indeed in this anniversary year for tesa, a technology group that started out 75 years ago, with a single small roll of adhesive tape.



Michael Spinner-Just's picture

Michael Spinner-Just


2011-02-15 12:57

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