The Foundation of COBA Europe’s Floor Matting Business
An opportunity to manufacture a totally new product out of extruded PVC came to COBA Plastics Ltd in 1979 which has subsequently been the foundation for COBA Europe’s floor matting business today.
The plastic extrusions were used for COBA’s original safety matting product, COBAmat (then called Airomat) introduced as an alternative to wooden duck-boarding. COBA was actually one of the first companies in the UK to offer such a concept as ‘safety matting’. It soon became a familiar sight in factories, oil rigs, boats, aircraft, hotels and leisure centres. A dedicated business called COBA International Ltd was registered in 1979 to concentrate on manufacturing, marketing and distributing this product.
Matting Production Moves from Kibworth to Fleckney
Meanwhile the ‘then’ COBA International matting business was really gaining momentum for all sorts of industrial locations and environments, including a large order in 1982 for installation on a naval battle ship on its way to the Falkland Islands. Around this same time, matting production moved from Kibworth to a dedicated unit in Fleckney, Leicestershire. This proved pivotal to its success and a huge number of orders followed for supply to the UK and overseas. The COBAmat range also expanded.
The Beginnings of Copely and COBA
In 1983, COBA Plastics Ltd invested in some innovative specialist braid extraction plant for its granulating facility (which could extract up to 95% of the braid used in a flexible PVC hose). The unit had been patented by a company called Copely Developments Ltd (more of this later!). COBA Plastics and Copely Developments formed an agreement giving COBA exclusive UK rights to the extraction plant.