Interflex may be best known for manufacturing high performance NVH and sealing solutions for the automotive industry, but as our name suggests, flexibility is part of our ethos.

So, we are excited to announce our latest expansion into a new market. As of November, the Interflex production line will also be manufacturing mulch mats commonly used when planting young trees. The Interflex Mulchii™ range of mats are completely biodegradable and manufactured using domestically sourced materials, reducing transport miles and the carbon footprint associated with importing products.

What are mulch mats used for?

Mulch mats are used when planting young trees to create better conditions for growth by allowing access to essential nutrients, retaining moisture and helping to keep roots insulated during the winter months, all while suppressing weeds and providing protection from pests. They also help reduce soil erosion and compaction. The Mulchii™ mats don’t blow away as loose mulch material is prone to do and have a neutral pH.

Using existing expertise to diversify into horticulture

Interflex has two decades of experience manufacturing vehicle parts such as headliners, interior trims, under carpet and door seals to help make vehicles quieter and more efficient. However, the expansion into mulch mats is more logical than it might seem with the new products complementing the current Interflex product range in terms of materials and manufacturing processes.

Jim Griffin, managing director of Interflex explains. “Some people might be surprised by our move into the horticultural market but in actual fact the materials used to create the mats are very similar to the current products that we make. This means we are able to utilise our press cutting and packaging facilities without any modifications.”

He continues: “One of the key rules of diversification is to build on what you already know and do well,” comments Jim. “At Interflex we know all about materials and using them to manufacture high performance products. So, although we have traditionally supplied the automotive industry, we already have skilled staff and high tech equipment on site which has made it a relatively simple process to diversify into the manufacture of mulch mats.”

As a result, the Inteflex factory now has the capacity to produce over 20,000 pieces a day per machine, meaning that we can accommodate large bulk orders.

The Mulchii™ mat is the first product in a range that is planned to include hanging baskets and hydroponic mats. The mulch mats are made from flax which has several advantages over other products commonly used such as jute and coconut fibre.

Using locally sourced materials for a greener supply chain

“Jute has to be imported from India and given current supply chain issues, can be hard to obtain,” explains Jim. “Similarly, coconut fibre is currently hard to source as well as being expensive. However, flax is a high-performance material which also has the advantage of being grown within the UK, making it easier to obtain and transport.”

The importance of planting new trees is recognised as a key part of the government’s pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It is also the focus of campaigns by organisations such as the National Trust and the Woodland Trust, while the Queen’s Green Canopy and Trees for Cities is a campaign launched this year to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee in 2022.

As we reported earlier in the year, Interflex was awarded a £250,000 grant from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy in 2021 as part of the NMCL Automotive Programme. The award is funding part of a half a million pound project to mentor the management team and support expansion into new markets as well as creating new product ranges.

Mulchii™ mats are 200mm in length, They can be used with biodegradable pegs and can be purchased online at eBay. Click here to view or buy.

More about Mulchii™

If you’d like to find out more about Mulchii™ or make an enquiry, visit our Mulchii™ website here.