Cellx developed a new production process in which cardboard is being fortified and made fire proof. The new material is light, strong and is exceptionally suitable for recycling.
“The applications for cardboard are infinite!” according to Jan-Joris van Dijk, who is managing Cellx together with Henk Gijzen. The young company is moving from Amsterdam to Middelstum to open a factory where a variety of applications will be produced and developed. Cellx is able to make this big next step thanks to financial support of the current shareholders, the GROEIfonds of the Economic Board Groningen (EBG) and the Regional Investment Fund Groningen (RIG). The management team also has shares in the company. EBG helped Cellx to find a suitable factory location in the North of Groningen.
“The material can even stand a temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius,” said Henk Gijzen, CCO of Cellx. In the Head Office of Cellx a cardboard table is used to sit at and work on. There are also many different other applications possible that wouldn’t be the first thing people would think of. “The fire proof sheets of cardboard are really useful for stand- and interior design; the liner can be easily printed. It can also be used for many applications in stores, shops and at trade-fairs. The multilayer version of the cardboard is suitable for interior walls, fire proof doors, ceilings and fire proof packaging.
Refugee housing of cardboard
It all started in 2016, when Lode Bruins (inventor of Cellx), developed a cardboard house for refugees. To make it safe enough to use for actual housing, it had to be made fire proof. Lode experimented with corrugated board and discovered that the cardboard could be made fire proof and stronger by treating it with a self-made liquid solution.
Eco-friendly and recyclable product
The Cellx product is completely recyclable. “Cardboard can be re-used up to seven times. Cellx contains natural ingredients, doesn’t harm the environment and is even biodegradable. That’s a huge difference if you compare Cellx with other fire proof materials”, said Jan-Joris van Dijk.
At the start of 2018, Cellx was looking for financing for the machinery and starting up the factory. “Together with the Economic Board of Groningen (EBG) we went through the complete track including the financing,” according to Henk. The GROEIfonds of EBG is stepping in as a shareholder, has supplied a financial loan and provides additional warranty on the financing of the machinery. “Roy Boxmeer of the Economic Board of Groningen and Bernard Stornebrink and Allard van der Horst of the GROEIfonds, played a huge part in the settling of Cellx in Groningen.”
Allard van der Horst, investing manager of GROEIfonds: “The market is responding really enthusiastic to the new product Cellx is producing. If the production goes according to plan, Cellx can deliver up to 20 job positions for North Groningen within 3 years. It is great that we, as GROEIfonds, can contribute to this.” The province of Groningen is supporting the company with a funding of €1.2 million from the Regional Investmentsupport Groningen. Representative Patrick Brouns is very pleased with the arrival of the new and innovating company. “We want to create more jobs in Groningen in the ‘green industry’. The production of fire proof, light and recyclable cardboard is an excellent opportunity for that. The fact that Cellx is coming to Groningen, shows that the RIG is an excellent way to attract other companies to the North of the Netherlands.
From Middelstum to all over the world
Cellx has found a suitable factory location in Middelstum. First, the building will be stripped and newly decorated. “The office will of course be decorated with as much Cellx as possible,” said Jan-Joris. “From desks and tables to ceilings and walls.”
Roy Boxmeer, business manager of the Economic Boards of Groningen, has showed the management of Cellx up to three new possible locations in the North of the Netherlands, from which a well-considered decision was made. “I am proud of the business settling climate we can offer in North Groningen.” said Roy.
“Cellx is a great example of a company we have convinced to move from Amsterdam to Groningen to make the next big step. For the region as well as for Cellx it is beautiful they are going to produce here.”