MEISER - Competence for over 60 years
The start into the unknown
Edmund Meiser, the youngest of nine children, lived though the post-war years as a teenager. Saarland was not yet part of the newly formed Federal Republic of Germany, and life was dominated by the consequences of the war and a great deal of deprivation. At the same time, however, the rebuilding of the country was powering forward and the Economic Miracle gaining momentum. Edmund Meiser was also part of this restart atmosphere after the war. He worked hard in the local sand quarry. At the age of 19, he became the youngest explosives expert in Germany. To earn money, he demolished badly damaged buildings which were on the point of collapse. He attended evening school and completed a training in business economics. His aim was to form his own company.
Edmund Meiser achieved this on 1 August 1956. As there was a former railway station available to rent cheaply in Limbach, his choice of location was not a difficult one. Edmund Meiser processed rolled wire to make reinforcing steel with one employee. And his product was in high demand.
Edmund Meiser bought his first machine to manufacture reinforcing steel. This wire straightening machine made by Wafios from Fink in Düsseldorf costs 7000 German marks. He wanted to supply a customer in Andernach, which at the time was across the border. The French franc was still the currency in Saarland. When payment for the reinforcing steel was made later, he was in for a surprise: the German mark had increased considerably in value against the franc which meant that the amount he had to pay in Francs significantly was higher than the intended budget.
In 1960, Edmund Meiser started to manufacture gratings with 10 employees. His first customers were from Saarland. Why was it that Edmund Meiser got involved with gratings which are still MEISER’s core product today?
You have to be lucky....
..............but bad luck can also turn good!
A certain Mister Mertel, who at the time was a foreman at Röchling, recommended to Edmund Meiser that he should process the strip steel that he could purchase at low cost from Hadia in St. Ingbert. But when the machine he had ordered from Georg in Kreuztal for 30,000 marks arrived after a delivery period of one year, Hadia no longer existed. So what could he do with a machine instead of producing strip steel? The manufacturer said quite simply: gratings. Through a friend, Edmund Meiser made contact with one of the leading manufacturers at the time. A visit to STEB in Stuttgart provided the stimulus to move to the production of gratings. And this was the first step in the company’s success story.
In 1961, Edmund Meiser bought the former customs shed in Limbach from the Deutsche Bundesbahn and thus became the owner of his first property. The simple processing of steel and trade with it remained the main business of the company over the next few years in addition to grating production.
Demand for gratings increased. In 1967, Edmund Meiser decided to increase his production area and establish his own galvanising plant. His dependence on the only galvanising plant in Saarland had become too unsafe and the waiting times were making his business suffer.
In 1969, the new galvanising plant started operations and became another major area of business for MEISER.
Fritz based in Hagen built a system with a depth of 1.9 m and a capacity of 2 tonnes per hour. But when it came to melting the first charge of zinc, there was a nasty surprise: the liquefying process stopped at a depth of 1.4 m – the ceramic tank had been incorrectly designed.
Wilfried Geib, Edmund Meiser’s nephew, came up with a brilliant idea. Using an oversized beater which he had designed using a drill, he managed to liquefy the zinc completely and very quickly. Over the next 40 years, production at Meiser was constantly refreshed and pushed forwards thanks to the ability of Wilfried Geib to improvise and come up with ideas.
A new production building, the current steel processing building (BEA) was built in 1972. The product range was supplemented by crash barrier posts and spacers with the aim to increase the processing volume of the new galvanising plant.
The processing of steel and galvanising were the core business in the mid-1970s.
In 1976, a new, significantly larger hot galvanising plant was built for galvanising mass-produced parts. Refinery plates were treated in the new sand-blasting system. Gratings temporarily took a back seat.
Edmund Meiser decided to use more of the capacity of the galvanising plant. In 1980, he managed to relocate SPIG, a production company for crash barriers and traffic protection systems, to Limbach. Buildings were erected and large storage areas were made available for this purpose. SPIG became the largest customer of the galvanising plant. During the following period, the galvanising plant was demerged to form a separate company and since then has been trading under the name Limbacher Verzinkerei GmbH.
In 1981, MEISER celebrated its 25th anniversary. The German economy was still suffering from the consequences of the steel crisis. Edmund Meiser realised that simply processing steel and trading in it only resulted in low profit margins.
Edmund Meiser decided to increase and deepen value creation and to concentrate on gratings as a galvanised end product. The company’s own galvanising plant thus became even more important. However, a product also requires sales activities and marketing, departments which had been underdeveloped at MEISER until that time.
As a first step, the company invested in a semi-automatic production line for press welded gratings from Ideal. Erich Petry became Sales Manager for Gratings with the aim of establishing a sales structure with internal and external staff.
This expansion required more space. In 1983, the company site grew over the newly built bridge to the other side of the river Prims. This was where the new production buildings with attached office space were built.
April 1984 saw the start of the production of press welded and press locked gratings on three new state-of-the-art production lines. MEISER thus laid the foundations for its development as a successful grating manufacturer in Europe.
MEISER continued to strengthen its position. To support this development, Edmund Meiser took several strategic decisions in 1987 which would later prove to be groundbreaking.
To make itself as independent as possible from suppliers, MEISER invested in a slitting line for hot rolled coil, wire drawing machines and a cold rolling line. This meant that the entire chain of value addition from prime steel to the galvanised grating could be completed within the company.
In 1990, staircases were added to the product range. Many grating customers also required steps and complete staircases which made this an obvious development step.
The historically unique opportunity to carry out business activities in Eastern Germany after reunification is possible as early as 1990. After a few on site fact-finding trips by Edmund Meiser personally and a few discussions with the then director, MEISER takes the snap decision to take over the former jig and fixture construction section of MLK Plauen with approximately 50 employees in 1991.
The company is founded under the name MEISER Gitterroste GmbH & Co. KG on 1 February 1991, with the first press locked gratings being produced under the MEISER flag as early as the beginning of April 1991.
In the same year, MEISER takes over a leading Belgian manufacturer of gratings, which operates today under the name of MEISER Fameco S.A. with approximately 30 employees, and therefore manufactures products for the first time outside Germany.
The second galvanising plant at Limbacher Verzinkerei (known as LIVE) boosted capacities in Limbach in 1991. This ensured that the company would be able to meet the increasing demand for galvanising in all areas in the long term.
The company Ferroste Kft., headquartered in Dunaújváros, Hungary, is established in 1992 as a joint venture between the Hungarian steelworks Dunaferr and MEISER. The personal business relationship between Edmund Meiser and the long-standing General Director of the steelworks, István Horváth, which goes back well into the late 1970s, forms the basis for this step shortly after the end of the Cold War.
Due to the limited space available at the former state combine in Plauen, MEISER decides in 1994 to move to the newly developed industrial estate of Johannisberg in Oelsnitz, Vogtland. Initially, 112 employees produce approximately 500 t of gratings every month.
With Frank Degenkolb and Dietmar Prätorius as Site Managers – being pioneers from the first moment onwards – MEISER quickly develops into one of the leading suppliers of gratings in the former states of East Germany and Eastern Europe.
As a company with its origins in the Saarland, MEISER had a strong relationship and contacts with its French neighbours from the very beginning. In the year 1994, MEISER establishes its own subsidiary company in France and pools its sales activities for the French market under the name MEISER Caillebotis SARL in Alsace.
Through the mediation of Frans Louwers, a long-term friend of Edmund Meiser, contacts are established with the Dutchman Ruud Enzlin. In 1994 the partnership company RST MEISER Nederland B.V. with its headquarters in Rotterdam is quickly established and starts its brisk trading activities just a few months later.
The company Altenberg Gitterrostwerke GmbH in Essen was known as an important supplier of gratings in Europe since the 1970s and was last owned by the Union Minière Group, a Belgian raw materials conglomerate. When the company is offered for sale in the middle of the 1990s, this is of great interest to MEISER for strategic reasons. Although the takeover requires a strenuous effort on the part of Edmund Meiser, MEISER succeeds in 1995 in acquiring all of the shares of Altenberg with its almost 250 employees in Essen.
MEISER finally becomes established as one of the leading suppliers of gratings in Europe. Altenberg owns sales companies in France (Elfor S.A.) and Great Britain (Altenberg UK), as well as a 50% share in the Essen-Vogelheim galvanising plant, which therefore become part of MEISER.
In 1996, MEISER Ferroste Kft. in Hungary invests in the modern production technology of MEISER from Germany and constructs the first major production hall for the industrial production of gratings over an area of 2,000 m².
In 1996, Wolfgang Meiser, one of the founder’s sons, came to work for the company. From that point, he took responsibility for the Sales and Marketing Departments and started to prepare the company for its impending globalisation.
The foundation of uwM by Ulrich and Wolfgang Meiser represents the next significant investment step for MEISER in Vogtland. Modern production halls are constructed over an additional area of 30,000 m². Separate slitting plants are also installed along the lines of the parent company in Limbach. In addition, the product range in Vogtland is expanded to include vineyard posts made of steel.
In 1997, MEISER purchased the strip galvanising plant from Saarstahl in St. Ingbert. This company which had been supplying MEISER with strip steel for many years was threatened with closure. However, MEISER believed that there was potential in this business and quickly reached an agreement with Saarstahl.
MEISER expands from Hungary to Romania in 1998, initially via the MEISER Eco S.R.L. sales office.
The core product of gratings continued to develop over the years with new applications being found and sales channels steadily being expanded. The production buildings erected in 1984 were bursting at the seams and the administration block also required a redesign. At that time, the GIMMLER concrete plant in the immediate neighbourhood suffered bankruptcy, so MEISER was able to purchase the site and decided to completely relocate its grating production, once again expanding its capacities and merging all its administration in a new central building. The aim was to ensure short distances and a modern production layout.
The company moved into its new premises in 1999. Together with its long-term partner GOLDBECKBAU, an architecturally attractive industrial complex was created. MEISER was now ready to face the new millennium.
At the same time, a further major investment is carried out at MEISER in Vogtland. In the remaining open space on the Johannisberg industrial estate, a new highly efficient production facility for gratings and a new central administration building are established under the name uwM Stanztechnik, the central administration building being architecturally highly attractive and a good match for the buildings in Limbach. With a 50 million Deutschmark investment package, all of the production capacities of the Altenberg Gitterrostwerke are transferred from Essen to the Saxon region of Vogtland.
In the future, MEISER will mainly supply the European grating market from the two large German production facilities in Saarland and Saxony.
MEISER Fameco S.A. in Ouffet, Belgium, modernises and expands its grating production to a total site area of approximately 8,000 m².
MEISER becomes a 50% shareholder in the galvanising plant in Plauen, which is taken over and subsequently operated together with the Voigt & Schweitzer brand association of Thyssen.
MEISER grows international
The Multi M Group from Cairo is a successful family business in the fields of expanded metal, steel furniture and automotive. In the search for new products, state-of-the-art production technology and the right partner to expand commercial activities, the company's attention is drawn to MEISER in 2000 during a visit to a trade fair.
MEISER has also long harboured the wish to expand into Africa. Recognising the strategic advantage for both sides, the companies agree within a short time to establish a joint venture company under the name MULTI MEISER Egypt. After a construction period lasting only 6 months, there is enough hall space available for the state-of-the-art production technology of MEISER to be put into operation.
In 2001, MEISER Ferroste Kft. Establishes the sales office of MEISER România with its headquarters in Oradea/Romania. In June 2001, the sales office of MEISER Polska is founded in Raciborcz.
Ulrich Meiser started work in the family company in 2001. Responsibility was now spread between three people. Ulrich Meiser was responsible for Finance and Accounting. Together with his brother Wolfgang and founder Edmund Meiser the stage was set for a continued successful future.
The very extensive three-year refurbishment of the MEISER strip galvanising plant in St. Ingbert, Saarland, is completed in 2002 with the start-up of the new galvanising line. MEISER now has one of the most up-to-date and efficient narrow strip galvanising plants in Europe. The approx. 100 m long, fully automatic galvanising line meets the highest quality standards and naturally complies with all current environmental standards. The St. Ingbert site thus becomes MEISER's most important production site alongside its grating activities.
In 2003, MEISER takes over the French manufacturer of sheet metal profile planking Krieg & Zivy, thereby opening up a new business segment. The manufacture of these products is transferred to Oelsnitz in Vogtland and supplemented with new production technology of MEISER.
The PMI Gitterroste AG was founded in 1987 by Alexander Imhof and has developed over the years into a leading trading company for gratings in Switzerland. MEISER has been present in Switzerland with its own subsidiary since the year 2000. The competitors become partners, and with the amalgamation of the two companies in 2004 under the name PMI MEISER Gitterroste AG, the leading trading company for gratings in Switzerland is created.
After the successful acquisition of a large contract for Dubai airport, MEISER's attention is drawn to the Middle East as a future market. Further quick local successes lead in 2005 to the immediate foundation of the company's own sales office under the management of Robert Vièl, who as a pioneer from day one plays a decisive role in shaping the successful market entry of MEISER in the Gulf region.
Lionweld Kennedy Middle East in Dubai is a subsidiary of the DUTCO Group, a well-known family business with more than 10,000 employees in the Gulf region and at the same time the leading supplier of gratings in the Middle East. The rapid sales success enjoyed by MEISER and the market presence of Lionweld Kennedy induce both sides to consider a future together. After uncomplicated negotiations, MEISER enters the existing production company locally.
Under the new name of LIONWELD MEISER LLC and the modified ownership structure, major investments are made immediately, so that by the end of 2006 the capacity of the company has already tripled.
LIONWELD MEISER LLC has a high market share throughout the Gulf region and is the first contact partner for internationally active plant manufacturers from the USA, Germany, Japan and Great Britain, particularly in the case of large projects in the energy and oil sector.
MEISER Ferroste Kft., our production site in Hungary, is significantly expanded by the construction of a new 2,000 m² hall, thus strengthening its position as one of the leading suppliers of gratings in Eastern Europe.
MEISER celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Together with the Kartal Group in Ankara, MEISER founded KARTAL MEISER, a joint-venture company for the production of gratings for the Turkish market. The first step is the creation of a shop for cutting gratings to size.
MEISER takes over the French grating and sheet metal profile manufacturer Tolartois, with production locations in Béthune and Villers-la-Montagne. All of MEISER's business activities in France are pooled under the umbrella of MEISER Sarl. As a result, France’s role as a production site for MEISER is not insignificant. As the second most important sales market after Germany, the country was - and still is - of major importance for MEISER anyway.
MEISER takes over the grating business of NTJ, one of the leading grating trading companies in Sweden, and is present as a separate company on the Swedish market from January 2008 on under the name MEISER Sweden AB.
MEISER enters the Czech grating trading company V-Kutý, which is an affiliated partner, as a co-shareholder. The company, which henceforth is operated as a joint venture, is renamed Kutý MEISER and transformed into a business for cutting gratings to size. From Ostrava it is now possible to organise deliveries at short notice for customers in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.
The main plant in Schmelz-Limbach invests in a new business segment, the production of pipes. A new hall complex is constructed with a covered area of 4,000 m². Furthermore, the latest machine technology is installed. The target customers are primarily the manufacturers of scaffolding.
The summer of 2008 brought some very bad news. The closest colleague of Edmund Meiser, his nephew Wilfried Geib, died totally out of the blue and much too early. As Plant Manager at the main plant in Limbach and Chief Technical Developer at MEISER, he was there from the start and accompanied every step taken by Edmund Meiser with his innovation, ideas and criticism. MEISER’s success was also his success. It was a painful loss on both a human and professional level.
After a phase of international expansion of the MEISER the focus returned to the main plant in Limbach in 2008. Initially, it appeared impossible to expand it any further because there was simply no more space to build up. But within the family a cunning plan came to light:
to redirect the L145 road and level the hilly land next to it. What initially sounded out of the question nevertheless came to fruition. With the support of the local authority and state, the planning work for the “MEISER in Limbach 2011” project was started in 2009. During 2010, around 400,000 m³ of earth was removed, the equivalent of 20,000 truckloads.
Together with the successful Moroccan trading company EGL in Casablanca, MEISER establishes a joint venture for cutting gratings to size for the regional market: MEISER EGL Sàrl.
MEISER takes over the Austrian grating manufacturer and regional market leader Drumetall. All of the commercial activities of MEISER in Austria are pooled under the umbrella of MEISER Österreich GmbH. As a result, Austria becomes the third most important sales market for MEISER.
Lionweld MEISER, our production location in Dubai, and Hady MEISER Egypt undergo significant expansion of their operations. MEISER thereby strengthens its leading position as a supplier of gratings in the Middle and Near East.
Our affable companion Jean van Neyghem, the Managing Director of MEISER Fameco in Belgium for almost 20 years who is highly esteemed by everybody, dies unexpectedly. The rise and success of our company in Belgium are a direct result of his actions. We will remember him with gratitude and respect for a long time to come.
In order to further improve market access in North African countries, MEISER establishes the sales office MEISER Algerie SARL in Algeria.
In May 2010, the capacity of the Pipes Division at the Limbach parent plant has already been doubled. In addition to the investment in a second pipe production line, additional halls are also constructed. At the same time, the administration building is expanded with an annex.
The Verzinkerei Plauen GmbH & Co. KG becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of MEISER and fully integrated in the organisation of MEISER Vogtland.
MEISER Vogtland reinforces its position as a second parent plant of MEISER with an extensive investment programme in new business areas.
A facelift for the main plant
In summer 2011, the work was complete and a new state-of-the-art galvanising plant with integrated logistics centre started operations on a total covered area of 24,000 square metres. With an investment of over 30 million euros, this expansion was the largest single investment in the history of MEISER. There were now three galvanising plants in Limbach with a total monthly capacity of 13,000 tonnes. The completely covered and heated dispatch section set new standards in terms of safety, quality and prompt delivery.
Limbacher Verzinkerei GmbH was now a 100% subsidiary of MEISER and was completely integrated in the main plant organisation in Limbach.
Edmund Meiser celebrated his 80th birthday with his wife Ursula and the whole family – and at the same time the 55th anniversary of MEISER.
The expansion continues
MEISER do Brasil is founded in São Paulo in Brazil. The first step is the establishment of a shop for cutting gratings to size for the Brazilian market.
After the successful market entry in Turkey, Kartal MEISER is expanded into a fully-fledged and independent grating manufacturer for the whole of the Turkish region. In the spring the production facility begins operations with state-of-the-art technology from MEISER Vogtland and is therefore the eighth and youngest grating production site of MEISER.
MEISER at Schmelz-Limbach starts its own truck fleet and partly assumes its transportation logistics.
MEISER acquires a 50% share in the scaffolding manufacturer ALFIX
In July the new manufacturing plant of Marangoni-Meiser in Brazil was put into operation. One of the most modern production lines using German technology and expertise, fully automated, highly productive and extremely reliable, operated by Brazilian colleagues. Now it is also possible to offer everything - from cutting to size to simply delivery - from a single source in Brazil.
In order to implement further expansion over the coming years, in September 2013 MEISER bought all of the shares in the Turkish company Kartal Meiser, which had previously been operated as a joint venture, and is now also operating in Turkey under the name of MEISER.
MEISER assumes the management of all business areas of Profil Alsace SAS, the leading manufacturer of vineyard and fruit growing fence posts made of steel, which has its headquarters in Niederlauterbach in Alsace. With the takeover of Profil Alsace SAS, Dr. Reisacher GmbH and Pali Systems SARL, MEISER is fortifying its position as full-range supplier in the area of steel.
On 25 November, the joint venture contracts between MEISER, the already established grating manufacturer Grating Peru and our sales partner Grupo Cuñado were signed in Lima. Grating Meiser Latam is now a joint venture of the original owners together with MEISER and Grupo Cuñado. The market area for our new joint venture company is South and Middle America excluding Brazil.
At the end of 2014, MEISER completes the reconstruction work of the Limbacher Verzinkerei, which was founded in 1984. With a separate set-up hall and new galvanizing boilers, which are now fired with natural gas and are also equipped with an extraction system, these two galvanising lines are now also state-of-the-art in terms of environmental technology and offer employees significantly improved working conditions.
The trading company NTJ AB has been exclusively and successfully marketing the MEISER products in Norway for more than 10 years. What was a cooperation has now lead to a full subsidiary of MEISER, in the form of MEISER Norway AB. The according contract was signed on 27 February 2015 in Stokke, Norway.
In April 2016, Mr. Robert Vièl and Mr. Wolfgang Schell were appointed additional managers of MEISER Holding GmbH and MEISER International GmbH. Furthermore, Mr. Wolfgang Schell joined the management board of Gebr. Meiser GmbH in Limbach, whereas Mr. Robert Vièl joined the management board of Meiser Vogtland OHG.
60 years after the company was founded, Limbach is now a first-class production site which is perfectly prepared for the challenges of the future. The anniversary celebration in May 2016 in Vogtland, where the sister company will also be celebrating its 25th anniversary, is an external sign of a healthy family-run company looking to the future with great confidence and pleasure.
Beginning in 2016, Meiser will also be represented in Argentina and South Africa.
In 2017, MEISER establishes the offices MEISER AC Sarl in Cameroon and is also active in New Zealand and Australia with its partner A.E. TILLEY LTD Manufacturing Engineers.
In September 2018, MEISER Vogtland OHG starts construction of a new modern galvanising plant and a logistics centre at the Oelsnitz site and expects to invest EUR 30 million for this purpose.
The laying of the foundation stone took place at the Oelsnitz site on 03.09.2018 with a festive ceremony. Construction work will begin immediately and is expected to be completed by September 2019.
The environment and employees will benefit from a pollutant-free operation and exemplary working conditions in the new galvanizing plant. In the premises of the planned logistics centre, more than 200 different dimensions of standard gratings, steps and metal profile gratings will be stored on a storage area of over 12,000 m², so that MEISER is practically always ready for delivery.