The Trelleborg story

Trelleborg has been pioneering polymer engineering and materials technology in its chosen segments for more than a century. Read about some key chapters in the Trelleborg story.  

Trelleborg acquires Uretek Archer LLC Group and grows within polyurethane-coated fabrics and rubber-coated fabrics in North America. Their products and solutions are used across multiple segments, such as aerospace, healthcare, outdoor recreation, government and defense.

Trelleborg and Freudenberg form a 50/50 joint venture in antivibration solutions for light and heavy vehicles, TrelleborgVibracoustic. The company is located close to Darmstadt, Germany and offers automakers across the globe the market’s best geographical coverage in terms of manufacturing and engineering and the most complete range of antivibration products and solutions.

The Trelleborg Group is a global industrial group with expertise in advanced polymer technology and is present in more than 40 countries. Trelleborg's products are used in a variety of contexts worldwide. They seal, damp and protect in everyday life as well as under extreme conditions. The Group's geographical expansion continues with increased presence in China, India, Russia and Brazil among others.

The centenary of the Trelleborg brand! Trelleborg is the world’s largest industrial rubber company. Sales total approximately SEK 31 billion and the company employs around 24,000 people. Acquisition of American business MacDermid Offset Printing Blankets strengthens Trelleborg's leading position in the field of printing blankets, polymer-coated composite fabrics designed in several layers for use in commercial offset printing.

Acquire American Reeves Brothers Inc. and becomes a global leader in polymer-coated, high-precision material such as printing blankets. Acquisition of the CRP Group is completed. This makes Trelleborg a global market leader in polymer systems and solutions for the offshore oil and gas industry.  


Trelleborg AB celebrates its centenary! The remainder of the Distribution sector is divested. Growth in the Industrial sector was primarily a result of three major acquisitions from UK-based companies: Invensys’ antivibration operations, Laird Group’s automotive components business and Smiths Group Plc’s operations within polymer-based precision seals. Trelleborg was now one of the world’s largest industrial rubber companies with production in some 100 plants in 40 countries. Sales totaled slightly more than SEK 24 billion, with a workforce totaling around 21,700 persons.

Acquisition of Smiths Group Plc's polymer-based precision seals business, which forms the Trelleborg Sealing Solutions business area. Trelleborg Group grows by 5.5 billion in sales and by 6,000 employees primarily in Europe and North America.


Following the launch of a new strategic focus, the Group was organized into three sectors: Industrial, Distribution and Miscellaneous. In the next step, the greater part of the Miscellaneous sector and 51 percent of the Distribution sector were divested. The operation focused on the Industrial sector, which expanded through acquisitions. At the end of 2000, the Group had sales of SEK 13.7 billion and around 12,400 employees.

A new strategic focus is launched. Operations are focused entirely on the industrial sector, which grows through major company acquisitions. All other operations are phased out.

The company is debt-free and there is broad scope for new investments. Emphasis is now placed on rubber operations, which expand strongly through company acquisitions.

The logotype is supplemented with three unfilled triangles, which symbolize the expansion of the group. Today they also represent the Group's four core values customer focus, performance, innovation and responsibility.

A dramatic turnabout takes place. Economic conditions worsen, metal prices plummet and the Swedish construction market collapses. An extensive streamlining program is initiated and large parts of operations are divested.

A period of strong expansion commences. The company grows from solely producing rubber products into an international conglomerate 20 times larger, in which mining and metal operations predominate, with rubber and plastics taking third place.

The proportion of sales generated by industrial rubber products increases steadily. Production of car and truck tires is phased out in 1975 due to a costly transition to radial tires, overproduction and pressure on prices. Most bicycle-tire production is also phased out.

Henry Dunker dies at age 92, leaving his fortune to a number of funds and foundations, which today control the majority of the voting rights in the company.
Read more about Trelleborg and the Dunker interests

Internationalization begins. Initially, a global network of agents is established, followed by proprietary companies abroad. The world’s first winter tire and Europe’s first tubeless tire are launched.

World War II entails readjusting to the production of war supplies and brings a new upswing.

The development of motoring soon leads to car tires becoming the single largest product. Inflatable leisure articles, such as swimming rings, air mattresses and rubber boats also increase substantially.

World War I boosts business. The rubber-production plant is prioritized as an essential wartime operation and production focuses entirely on meeting the needs of the Swedish defense forces. 

In 1905, Trelleborgs Gummifabriks AB is founded. Under the management of Henry Dunker, it rapidly becomes Scandinavia’s leading rubber-production company, with bicycle and car tires, industrial rubber goods and raincoats as its principal products.

How it began

See the fascinating story of how the little factory in Trelleborg became a world leader in engineered polymer solutions.