Diamond Jubilee

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Firmenjubiläum Brabender Technologie

This year Brabender Technologie is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its creation. We want to take a look back at its history and highlight the milestones reached by this leading international manufacturer of bulk material feeding, weighing, discharging and flow metering systems. Why not join us on a journey from Brabender’s start through to the present day.

The early years
Brabender Technologie’s establishment in 1957 falls within a decade of economic recovery. The many industrial contacts generated from within the parent company, Brabender OHG, deserved to be given their own platform in the form of a new company. The business boasted a broadly based portfolio in those early years, selling products like pilling testers, knock vibrators, bunker switches and weatherometers. The portfolio also included the first bulk material feeders and bin activators, thereby providing an indication of the direction in which the company would evolve.

Carl Wilhelm Brabender, the spiritual father of Brabender Technologie KG, was a generous man, who gave employees that had proven themselves a stake in his newly established company. However in return he expected complete commitment and a certain acceptance of risk. His former co-partners became personally liable partners (general partners). According to his philosophy, the greater the risk that a partner has, the greater their personal commitment and the better their performance – success proved him right.

In those initial years the company’s core business includes exclusive license rights to vibrating screw feeders and bin dischargers as well as other rights to distribute material testing devices. Ten years after its establishment Brabender Technologie takes another step forward in terms of customer focus and has its first production facility complete with technical center built in 1967. On the products side of the equation the company focuses increasingly on its own strengths – weigh-belt feeders and bin dischargers as well as continuously enhancing the vibrating screw feeders. In 1977 loss-in-weight feeders are added – to this day the company’s most important technology. A big-bag and container discharger product line are also added.

Service as the leading principle
In the 1970s Werner Pryka is appointed the new Managing Partner. Together with A. Ibold he controls the fate of the rapidly evolving company for 20 years until the start of the 1990s. Following this era, Alfred Hauptkorn and Horst Vohwinkel take over the executive management of the company in 1992. All personally liable general managers have internalized founding father Carl Wilhelm Brabender’s principle “Anybody that does not look after our customers has no business working for our company!”, and also set a good example to the committed workforce by putting this principle into practice. Added to this are flat management structures and senior management’s technical awareness. The concept of service has top priority at all times – particularly prior to the development of a pan-European distribution network, which kicks off in the 1970s. Business is going well – in 1971 an administrative building has to be built and in 1981 a second production building is added.

In 1982 Brabender Technologie concludes a commercial agency agreement with a Canadian partner, Toronto-based Control & Metering Ltd, for the North American market. The dollar’s weakness back then however does not enable Control & Metering to sell Brabender Technologie equipment at competitive prices. For that reason the commercial agency agreement is converted five years later into a licensing agreement. The microcomputer controllers come from Germany and the steel from North America. The “Brabender Technologie Inc.” subsidiary based in Toronto / Canada, which acquires the rights to and takes on the staff of Control & Metering, is not established until 1997. At the beginning the company finds the going tough, because the local competition is extremely strong, given the lack of a presence on the North American market over many years. Nevertheless Brabender Technologie finds its own key to success – only employing local staff and service engineers with a responsibility for delivering optimum sales and service performance for this region.

Radical changes and new beginnings
The 1980s are a period of radical change – fully digital loss-in-weight feeders and microcomputer controllers herald the dawn of a new technological age. Brabender Technologie’s most important piece of proprietary know-how to date is readily accepted in the marketplace. Patent protection for the dischargers expires in 1983 at the same time as the commercial contract for the weatherometers expires. Brabender Technologie thereupon decides to develop its own bin dischargers.

Those senior managers in charge of strategy at the company facilitate the global expansion of Brabender’s technologies and equipment at an early stage. A first agency agreement for the Far East is signed in Japan in 1983 and further offices are opened in subsequent years in Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. An agency agreement for Australia is signed and sealed in 1987. Brabender Technologie is getting a foothold in all industries around the world that require bulk materials for production purposes. A range of different industry and country focal points fortunately effectively cushion the impact of major recessions, such as the one at the beginning of the 21st century.

An office is opened in Moscow in 2003 and in 2004 the previous service and distribution center in Beijing is converted to “Brabender Technology (Beijing) Co. Ltd” after around ten years. In 2005 “Brabender Technologie Middle East” is set up in Dubai and Brabender’s most recent overseas branch in Kolkata / India officially commences operations in 2007. Its global sales, consultancy, service and spare parts network means that Brabender is now an international group of companies offering the highest standards of quality.

Product milestones
Customers from all over the world have long since traveled to Duisburg. They can conduct feeding and discharging tests at up to 15 cubic meter per hour at the large-scale lab built in 1992. Brabender Technologie now operates technical testing centers worldwide. 1994 Brabender Technologie is awarded ISO 9001/ EN 29001 quality management certification. In the same year the FlexWall® bulk material feeder is unveiled for the first time to stunning acclaim. It replaces the previously dominant Vario modular feeder, because it can feed most free-flowing as well as non-free-flowing bulk materials and fibers.

In 2001 it is upgraded to the FlexWall®-­Plus. The Plus represents a space-saving, patented trapezoidal design that facilitates the configuration of up to six devices around a central feed point. This special design featuring diverging wall thicknesses makes bridging almost impossible and thus again improves the mass flow of bulk materials at simultaneously improved performance compared to the classic model. Since first being launched on the market, FlexWall® has advanced to become a proven bestseller as far as both gravimetric and volumetric feeders are concerned.

The present and outlook
At the turn of the millennium Brabender Technologie also unveils field bus technology for gravimetric feeders and develops the ISC-CM / FC feeder-mounted “intelligent” control and speed control modules, which are upgraded ten years later to the ISC-CM / FC plus modules. A range of ‘hygienic design’ feeders is developed in 2009 in partnership with leading food manufacturers for the food industry and for processes requiring the highest hygiene standards. In 2012 the company groups its bestselling loss-in-weight feeders in a separate product range – the “Basic Line”. The company pushes its strategy of manufacturing standard feeders with predefined option packages for stock. This enables the company to offer considerably reduced delivery lead times at attractive prices.

In 2011 a new training center for customers and staff at the company’s Duisburg headquarters validates its excellent reputation as a global service partner. Service engineers and sales staff from all sales regions meet here regularly to compare notes and get up to speed with the latest technology developments. The relocation of the entire company based at the Duisburg site to a new and larger building featuring a future-focused Technical Center is testament to the success enjoyed over the last 60 years. In building its new corporate headquarters, Brabender Technologie is continuing to target growth and increased efficiency. As Carl Wilhelm Brabender was keen on saying, “We will definitely be around for as long as the others!” History has proved him right. Off to new pastures! Here’s to the next 60 years!

 

(published in FLUX 1/2017)