Hans Fischer, Mechanical Workshop Seebach
As a real garage start-up, Hans Fischer laid the foundation stone of the fischer group in Seebach. At first with only little equipment, he began to manufacture metal components at his own cost. The first order came from the then Waggonfabrik Rastatt. He was to weld together legs for swap bodies for trucks. In the beginning he did this part-time. But soon he was fully committed to self-employment.
Gradually Hans Fischer expanded his machine park and more and more orders came in the area of jig and fixture construction. So, the garage soon became too small.
Since the garage business in Seebach soon reached its limits and the municipality could offer him no suitable commercial property, in 1971 Hans Fischer moved his company to Achern-Fautenbach and from then on called it "fischer Vorrichtungs- und Apparatebau" (fixture and apparatus construction).
The unforgettable stories that took place in this hall can only be appreciated by those who were there. Here the idea of tubing production was born and put into action. With tireless diligence and unwavering faith in his own idea, he and his team tinkered so long until the first tube machine could produce longitudinally welded stainless steel tubing.
The production and sale of longitudinally welded stainless steel tubing from fischer began this year. From the beginning already a lot was produced for heating and sanitary engineering as well as for the furniture industry. With the introduction of catalytic converters in automotive exhaust technology, the demand for stainless steel tubing in the automotive industry rose rapidly.
When it became clear that the production of longitudinally welded stainless steel tubing on tube profiling systems developed and manufactured by the company itself was developing very well, Hans Fischer soon made the strategically far-sighted decision to separate the tube production and the development and production of the requisite machinery and tools. The fundamental separation is still the guarantee that the fischer group works worldwide on a largely uniform, very high technological level produced in Achern.
fischer Vorrichtungs- und Apparatebau was history. From now on, the first two companies of the still young fischer group were called: fischer Edelstahlrohre and fischer Maschinentechnik.
The first new building was more than a milestone. It ended the early years of trying things out and searching for the right path – and for their own product. It was a sign of a new era. It stood for the determination to grow and succeed. Here was room for further expansion. It was soon used up. Barely three years later, 1984 saw the first extension. Today – after fundamental renovation – fischer Maschinentechnik is based in these first two self-built halls.
The first overseas branch was fischer Canada. Because it was clear to Hans Fischer that he did not want to rely solely on the German market. An innovative approach at a time when globalization was not an issue as it is today.
Rudolf Prell and his son Thomas took over the management of the new company. Thomas Prell is still leading it today.
With investments totaling nearly C$70 million (approximately €53.4 million), nine fischer laser profiling lines and loads of first-rate technology in a 30,000 square meter production area, fischer Canada is today the largest manufacturer of stainless steel tubing in Canada. The annual production volume is about 20,000 tonnes.
The founding of fischer Rohrtechnik was a logical extension of the value chain. Apart from end and surface finishing, customers always had new wishes and requirements. Hans Fischer was happy to meet these needs and in 1990 founded the first fischer Rohrtechnik in Fautenbach. Here specialists were able to delve into the many possibilities of tube processing up to module assembly and offer fischer customers increasingly sophisticated finishing.
In Germany and around the world
Today fischer Rohrtechnik can be found four times in Germany and at international locations in Canada, South Africa, Mexico, China and the U.S.A.
From newcomer to market leader
Far south of Achern, Hans Fischer founded his branch in South Africa with fischer Stainless Steel Tubing: initially in Butterworth in the Transkei region. A year later, the company was relocated to Centurion in the Republic of South Africa.
Since 1990, fischer South Africa has been a successful manufacturer and supplier of stainless steel tubing and components for the automotive, transportation and construction industries, as well as several other segments, both for the domestic and international markets. Under the leadership of Erich Kotzenmacher, the small operation became the market leader in South Africa.
New standards for the group
After Africa came America, more precisely Mexico. fischer Mexicana quickly gained momentum and has become the second largest fischer group location to date. fischer Mexicana Stainless Steel Tubing S.A. de C.V. was founded in Puebla, 120 km south of Mexico City. In 1999, tube production was moved to San Luis Potosí. In 2001, fischer Tubtech S.A. de C.V. followed in Puebla.
Over the years, a variety of cooperations and reliable partnerships with customers in North, Central and South America developed. In some technologies, the Mexican branches were pioneers within the fischer group. Both in hydroforming and in laser welding, they set early standards. fischer Mexicana can look back on over a quarter of a century in Central America.
In 2018, more than 300 employees processed over 45,000 tonnes of stainless steel into approximately 4 million meters of stainless steel tubing.
The headquarters for vacuum cleaner tubes
fischer Rohrtechnik Sundern was founded in 1995 by Hans Fischer and August Cordes. The two had the idea of producing high quality vacuum cleaner tubes. With determination and ingenuity, they developed, among other things, the first telescopic vacuum cleaner suction tube for the German market. Meanwhile fischer produces telescopic vacuum cleaner tubes for industrial and household appliances for the worldwide market.
Son Martin Cordes has been at the helm since 2002 and drives the business forward together with his brother Stephan in particular.
fischer currently produces up to 3 million telescopic and plug-in suction tubes for vacuum cleaners – two thirds of them in China, one third in Germany.
In 2012, the head of fischer Canada, Thomas Prell, also took over the management of fischer USA. Since then, the number of employees has risen from 20 to 277, the volume produced from 350,000 to 12 million meters. A total of 24,000 square meters of production area were added.
In-line annealing at last
At the location fischer Edelstahlrohre Austria GmbH, a technology is mastered that the fischer group was unable to offer in this form at the time of its acquisition in 1999: producing in-line annealed stainless steel tubing. So, for Hans Fischer, this was a good opportunity for a strategic expansion of the fischer group's product portfolio when the company was put on sale in 1998.
Today, fischer Austria produces around 7 million meters of stainless steel tubing every year at the Griffen site. Solar power plants in Spain and the electricity generators in the world's largest hydropower plant in China are both equipped with fischer tubing. The company is one of the largest employers in the region and attaches great importance to providing a secure workplace for local employees from the surrounding area.
In 2013 the company was named "Factory 2013" in the SME category, the "Most Efficient Factory in Austria", by the Fraunhofer Institute and the Austrian publication Industriemagazin.
Joint Venture and back
In 1999, as part of a joint venture with ThyssenKrupp Mexinox S.A. de C.V., tube production was moved to San Luis Potosí, today's hotspot of the Mexican auto industry, about 600 km northwest of Puebla. As a result, to this day the company is considerably closer to the main Mexican suppliers and other partners.
100 percent fischer
Since 1999, initially ThyssenKrupp Mexinox, later Outokumpu, and fischer Edelstahlrohre operated the joint venture fischer Mexicana S.A. de C.V. together. In 2015, however, Outokumpu withdrew from the tubing business. To preserve the independence and autonomy of the fischer group, the management decided to acquire the Outokumpu shares. Thus, fischer Mexicana is once again 100% part of the fischer group.
Right after the turn of the millennium, tubing technology also came to South Africa. On a newly purchased plot, 2,300 m2 of production space and 220 m2 of office space were created.
Within sight of the volcano Popocatepetl, in 2001 the Mexican tubing technology company, fischer Tubtech S.A. de C.V., was founded. Just two years later the branch set a milestone for the fischer group: in 2003 it became the first site to produce parts using hydroforming.
In 2002, fischer Tubetech Inc. was founded for the further processing of stainless steel tubes into components and subassemblies.
With the founding of fischer Tubetech (Taicang) Co. Ltd in December 2006, the fischer group ventured the step into the Middle Kingdom. Starting from the production of vacuum cleaner tubes in a rented hall, within a few years three new own halls were built and a complete tubing production and further processing facility for automotive customers as well as a complex hydroforming process were set up.
Revolutionary tubing technology – In 2007, with the acquisition of hde Solutions in Menden, the fischer group became a leading global hydroforming provider and the hydroforming technology leader in Germany. In the following years, thanks to technology transfer within the group, the other fischer group locations also profited from the integrated hydroforming competence.
Simply clean energy – Since 2009, the fischer group has also been involved in environmentally friendly process technologies. Beginning with seawater desalination plants then absorption chillers, today fischer eco solutions focuses primarily on the development and production of methanol fuel cells.
In the heart of South America – Since September 1, 2009 the fischer group has also been present in South America in order to supply the automobile and sugar cane industries there over the shortest possible distances. Since 2019 the utilized space has grown to 11,800 m2. fischer Uruguay is the first location within the fischer group with its own coil material slitting line. With this equipment, precisely fitting stainless steel strips for different tube diameters can be split off from a standardized 1250 mm mother coil. This makes tube production much more flexible.
With comprehensive extensions the headquarters of the fischer group in Achern-Fautenbach is strategically strengthened and expanded and refocused for further growth.
To strengthen fischer eco solutions, the fischer group acquires Danish fuel cell specialist SerEnergy. The division of responsibilities between SerEnergy and fischer eco solutions is clear: the Danish specialists concentrate on research and the product development of fuel cell systems. fischer eco solutions handles the production of the individual components and systems through to series production. The fuel cells are used as power supplies in remote areas in telecommunications facilities (radio masts) in China, Southeast Asia or the Norwegian mountains, where they replace less environmentally friendly diesel generators. On a project basis, the methanol fuel cells are also being researched and tested as a decentralized power supply on ships as well as in electromobility in buses, commercial vehicles and passenger cars.
100 percent fischer – Since 1999, initially ThyssenKrupp Mexinox, later Outokumpu, and fischer Edelstahlrohre operated the joint venture fischer Mexicana S.A. de C.V. together. In 2015, however, Outokumpu withdrew from the tubing business. To preserve the independence and autonomy of the fischer group, the management decided to acquire the Outokumpu shares. Thus, fischer Mexicana is once again 100% part of the fischer group.
One year before the 50th anniversary, Hans, Hans-Peter and Roland Fischer received a very special award: "EY Entrepreneur Of The Year" for entrepreneurial excellence in the Industry category. It is one of the most prestigious awards for companies worldwide. With its international orientation, the competition showcases the best entrepreneurs around the world.
Photo credits: Redcarpet Reports
In 50 years, with a great team Hans Fischer has turned a one-man business into the global fischer group, with more than 2,700 employees in nine countries on four continents. Since 2018 the fischer group has been the world's leading supplier of longitudinally welded stainless steel tubes and components as well as subassemblies manufactured from these.
With the anniversary motto "50 years – worldwide. family.", the fischer group's particularly family-style company culture was recognized as a unique success factor.