JELU-WERK – Innovation from tradition

JELU process renewable resources to obtain versatile natural fibres such as cellulose, food fibres, crude fibre components and wood plastic composites. We are a mid-sized company that has been managed by the Ehrler family for more than two generations.

The JELU-WERK plant is located in the Ludwigsmühle in the town of Rosenberg in Southern Germany. Records show that a grain mill stood on this spot as long ago as the 14th century, meaning that JELU-WERK is following in the tradition of one of the oldest mills in Germany.

The history of our company dates back over a century to when Josef Ehrler I, the founder of JELU-WERK and grandfather of the present owner, was head miller at the town mill in Heilbronn. Visiting his brother one day in Bühlertann, he noticed that the Ludwigsmühle was up for sale.

The Ludwigsmühle at the turn of the century.
The Ludwigsmühle at the turn of the century.

1908 Josef Ehrler I acquired the Ludwigsmühle. The property comprised a grain mill together with a sawmill and a farm. The new owner closed the sawmill right at the start. Although the farm provided the family with important foodstuffs for many years, its importance to the operators of the Ludwigsmühle waned during the 1960s and the farm operation was eventually closed down.

1914 The new owner of the Ludwigsmühle was called up for military service and only returned following the end of the First World War. During the war years, his mother and sister ran the mill and also the farm.

1918 Josef Ehrler I installed a wood carburettor engine in the Ludwigsmühle and connected it to the mains electricity supply. Up to that point, the grain mill was operated exclusively by water power from a nearby river. Now it was possible to operate the grinding mill using both water power and electricity. The mill was thus independent of weather conditions and other external influences.

1939 The grain mill was regarded as a business essential to the war effort. By now the founder of the company was too old for military service and continued to operate the mill during the war years. His son, Josef Ehrler II, was called up at 17 and served as a parachutist.

1945 Josef Ehrler II returned from the Second World War. He spent time as a prisoner of war in Italy and was released at the end of the war. On his return, father and son ran the mill together.

1954 Josef Ehrler II took over the Ludwigsmühle. For mill owners in Germany, the 1950s were a time of mill closures caused by the increase in large-scale industrial grain processing. To safeguard his livelihood, the new owner decided to grind not only grain but also wood in the future. He bought wood shavings from the surrounding sawmills and processed these into fine wood flour, which was used in the production of linoleum and thermosetting plastic. For several years he operated two separate installations, a grain mill and a timber mill.

1966 Josef Ehrler II finally brought the grinding of grain to an end. A few years later in 1971, the family’s eldest son, Josef Ehrler III, joined his parents’ company. He trained first as a miller and then completed a business apprenticeship.

1985 Josef Ehrler III became the third generation of the family to take over the Ludwigsmühle and continued to expand the company.

1986 A key business activity was added to the wood grinding operation. Since then, cellulose fibres have been processed and marketed under the JELUCEL® product line.

1993 The introduction of a quality management system and certification according to DIN ISO 9002 ensured that the quality of the company and its products was also outwardly visible.

1994 The company’s product portfolio was expanded to include animal bedding. Companies in the pet and livestock sector were targeted for the first time with the COSYFLOCK® product line.

1998 The company changed its legal form and the Ludwigsmühle was renamed JELU-WERK GmbH & Co. KG.

2002 The company’s workshop was enlarged and housed in its own building. JELU-WERK is a pioneer in the global market with some of its products. Special machinery and production systems are required to manufacture them. These systems are developed in the company’s own workshop under the direction of Hubert Ehrler, the brother of the company proprietor.

2003 Following a concentrated development phase, JELU-WERK launched a further product line: WPC – wood plastic composite. JELU-WERK has established a further business segment with this. WPC is an innovative biocomposite that was only produced by a small number of facilities and companies worldwide at the beginning of the new millennium. JELU-WERK developed its own production facility and has since been producing WPC granulate, which is suitable for extrusion and injection moulding alike.

2005 The company was certified as complying with ISO 9001:2000, including HACCP. A new administration building was completed in the same year. This offers ample room for the steadily growing administration team as well as for a number of conference rooms.

2006 An existing product line had made such positive advances that it was given its own name. Animal feed supplements have since been manufactured and marketed under the product name JELUVET®. The crude fibre components are suitable for both pets and livestock.

2009 The company website was relaunched with a new design and new technology. The new corporate design not only provides a new look for the company’s digital media, it also ensures that the communication means and the corporate presentation have a uniform appearance.

2010 A new production hall was constructed to accommodate the WPC production system. Since the new biocomposite combines the advantages of the fossil raw material crude oil with the benefits of the renewable raw material wood, the demand for Wood Plastic Composite is growing continuously.

2012 We increased the capacity for our cellulose product range and continuously expanded it in the following years.

2015 The construction works for a new production hall for animal litter and bedding started. The new bedding and litter products are harmonised under the corporate packaging design and the name component “COSY”: COSYCAT® clumping cat litter, COSYPET® non-clumping wood litter and COSYFLOCK® softwood flakes. The different product lines come in varying grain sizes to cater to the requirements of the individual animals.

2016 More packaging facilities were installed and optimised for our products. This allows us to satisfy the increasing demand for smaller and bigger trading units as well as for different packaging materials.

2017 Our clumping cat litter COSYCAT® was launched onto the market after four years of development.