Today, exactly 125 years ago, Hanns Hörbiger applied for a patent for his steel plate valve and thus laid the foundation for the HOERBIGER Group.
Hanns Hörbiger was born on November 29, 1860, in Vienna-Atzgersdorf, Austria, so this year is the 160th anniversary of his birth. The valve he invented led to enormous improvement in the performance of the compressors used at that time. It was thus one of the key technologies for industrial development at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1900 Hanns Hörbiger founded a design office in Budapest together with the engineer Friedrich Wilhelm Rogler. This office moved to Vienna in 1903, and in 1925 it became HOERBIGER & Co.
Today, we can hardly imagine the world of the late 19th and early 20th century – too much has changed since then. HOERBIGER has always been the master of its journey through the centuries: sometimes in calmer waters, but often – as is currently the case – against a headwind.
Our special thanks on this anniversary day go to all employees, business partners and friends of the HOERBIGER Group. Thank you for 125 years of commitment, performance and success. HOERBIGER has a solid foundation for an equally successful future. Let us tackle it together!
HOERBIGER has always given something back to society through social projects. In 2019, the decision was made to support a major aid project at Group level in addition to the many local commitments. The decision was made in favor of a cooperation with the Pestalozzi Children's Village Foundation: The project "Ler é Bom" - Reading is Good - aims to improve the schooling of children in Mozambique.
Ler é Bom aims to improve the reading and writing skills of pupils in grades 1 to 3 at 20 elementary school in the districts of Marracuene and Boane. HOERBIGER has supported the project since 2020 for a period of three years as sole sponsor.
Currently the schools in Mozambique are closed due to Covid19. Before classes can start again, special hygiene concepts must be introduced. Through the partnership with HOERBIGER, the schools received mobile washing stations as well as aid packages with soap and masks for the students and teachers.
Effective November 1, 2019, the HOERBIGER Group has acquired Deublin, a U.S.-based manufacturer of rotating unions. Deublin is a global leader in the area of rotating unions and has a worldwide footprint of manufacturing facilities and service locations. The family-owned business is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois.
Deublin will be a new division in the HOERBIGER Group and will remain a stand-alone operating unit. “With HOERBIGER we have found a new home that offers exciting possibilities. Their long-term perspective, focused on people and the business, will allow us to grow and develop,” says Deublin President Ron Kelner. “Deublin is both a strategic and cultural fit for HOERBIGER. Together we have the ingredients for successful further development and stable growth,” concludes Dr. Juergen Zeschky, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board, HOERBIGER Holding AG.
After two years of construction, HOERBIGER officially opened its new site in the Urban Lakeside City of Vienna-Aspern on June 23, 2016. A total of around 500 employees from previously three different locations in Vienna will thus be accommodated in a shared building.
The optimized production at the new location will respond even more flexibly to the diverse requirements of HOERBIGER's customers. The special architecture creates a campus-like atmosphere on the 24,000 square meter development, production and administration complex.
The opening ceremony took place in the HOERBIGER Forum. Here visitors can experience the performance-determining components and services of HOERBIGER on a virtual journey through the application world.
In 2015, HOERBIGER began to build up a new business field through strategic acquisitions, which is oriented towards the market of industrial safety technology. At HOERBIGER, the brands IEP Technologies and Newson Gale stand for this. IEP is the system and service specialist for the entire process of explosion protection for applications involving dusts and gases. Newson Gale contributes know-how and decades of experience in the protection of plants against hazards caused by electrostatic charges.
The acquired companies complement the competence in relief and check valves that HOERBIGER has built up over decades. In 2019, the Safety Division achieved sales of 85.2 million Euro and employed 339 people.
The HOERBIGER Group has used the years 2006 to 2010 to consistently align its portfolio to strategic and future-oriented business fields.
At the end of 2006, HOERBIGER acquired GETRAG Synchron Technik GmbH in Oberstenfeld, Germany. The product portfolio of today's HOERBIGER SynchronTechnik GmbH includes hub systems, sliding sleeves as well as engagement bodies and engagement rings for manual and dual-clutch transmissions.
In October 2008, HOERBIGER withdrew from the Industrial Pneumatics business. The Group sold the Division to the US American Parker Hannifin Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio.
Through an acquisition, HOERBIGER became the world market leader in digital ignition systems for gas-powered industrial engines: On January 1, 2009, HOERBIGER acquired Altronic, Inc. (Girard, Ohio, USA).
In January 2010, HOERBIGER established a production site for synchronizer components in passenger car transmissions in Changzhou. With this plant foundation, the Strategic Business Unit Drive Technology positioned itself as a local producer in China. Within ten years, the plant developed into the top-selling plant in the HOERBIGER Group and achieved record sales in September 2020.
With Wellhead Compression (WHC) units, mobile compressor stations, HOERBIGER is breaking new ground in 2008. WHC units enable customers from the oil and gas industry to economically produce residual volumes in oil and gas fields. The remaining oil and gas can no longer be extracted efficiently and cost-effectively using conventional methods. With a WHC unit from HOERBIGER, such almost dried up sources continue to bubble.
In 2012, the new business model experienced a breakthrough: A customer leased nearly 200 WHC units. Today, HOERBIGER operates a fleet of around 400 units for its customers worldwide and offers sophisticated services. Thus, for example, telemetry processes and the use of cloud technology are part of the service portfolio. The service network of HOERBIGER guarantees customers the proximity and availability they need for the reliable operation of their plants.
On her death in 1989, Martina Hörbiger left the Executive Board of the HOERBIGER Group of Companies, still appointed by her and the Board of Trustees of the HOERBIGER Foundation, the challenge of continuing the corporate activities in her spirit and reorganizing the corporate structure.
From 1992, the Group will be reorganized step by step. The business activities previously organized in a large number of individual companies and regions are now assigned to the three newly formed Strategic Business Units Compression Technology, Automation Technology and Drive Technology.
In 1997, HOERBIGER Holding AG in the Swiss canton of Zug becomes the holding company of the Group. From this date on, the management of the Group is incumbent on the Board of Directors of HOERBIGER Holding AG and the Executive Board.
Today, the HOERBIGER Group is the sum of the Strategic Business Units Compression Technology, Drive Technology and the Business Units Rotary Solutions, Safety, Engine and Automotive Hydraulics. The Group supports the operating divisions and business units through efficient corporate functions.
HOERBIGER Shanghai Co., Ltd (HOESHA) was officially registered on January 23, 1995 as the group's first legal entity in China. Shortly thereafter, the company acquired a plot of land in Shanghai Caohejing High Tech Park in order to establish a production facility there. The ground-breaking ceremony for the first building took place on July 28, 1995. The company celebrated its official opening on April 15, 1997.
HOESHA has grown enormously and very quickly. The expansion required a considerable extension of the facilities and an increase in the workforce. In 2001 and 2006, the second and third buildings were constructed in Caohejing High Tech Park to meet the needs of industry in the region and throughout China.
In 2009, a new production site, HOERBIGER Valve Co., Ltd (HOEVA), started operations in Changzhou, about 185 kilometers from Shanghai.
On January 15, 2016, the Strategic Business Unit Drive Technology (Changzhou) Co., Ltd. established a production site in Changzhou, thus opening another chapter in the history of HOERBIGER in China.
Today, more than 300 employees work for HOERBIGER in China in the fields of Compression Technology, Drive Technology and Safety.
Initially ten chips a day roll off the production line. Since then, pneumatic piezo valves from HOERBIGER have stood for extreme reaction speed and precise control.
Piezo valves from HOERBIGER have even proven themselves in space. In a gas analysis device, which was used in the Rosetta mission to explore the comet Tschuri, 28 HOERBIGER MegaMic silicon valves are installed using microsystems technology. They control the gas flows in the analysis unit. Each of them weighs less than 2 grams including housing. In addition to their miniature design, it is their insensitivity to extreme temperatures and their very low energy consumption that make HOERBIGER valves suitable for use in space.
HOERBIGER now produces around 800,000 piezo chips annually.
The founding of HOERBIGER Nederland B.V. in Heerlen, Netherlands, marked HOERBIGER’s entry into the international service business for compressor valves. In rapid succession, HOERBIGER expanded its valve service network. In the late 1970s, service locations were founded in Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, England, the USA and Canada. In the 1980s, Singapore, and Australia followed. By the beginning of 1985, 16 service branches were already carrying the company’s reputation out into the world. Others followed. In 1986, HOERBIGER do Brasil opened a service center in Salvador, Brazil, in LATAM.
Today, our customers benefit from our unique application know-how and the wealth of knowledge and experience gained from 125 years of valve construction. HOERBIGER currently has over 70 service locations in 43 countries. More than 1,000 employees at HOERBIGER ensure first-class service – worldwide and around the clock.
In October 1969, 29-year-old Horst Müller left his home in Austria with his Japanese wife and two daughters. His destination was Japan, land of the rising sun. He took with him one million Austrian schillings, an excellent knowledge of compressor valves gained through an intensive one-year training course in Vienna, and a healthy dose of optimism.
Horst Müller’s arrival in Asia was one small step for a man, but a giant leap for HOERBIGER in Asia.
In February 1970, HOERBIGER Nippon Kabushiki Kaisha (HNKK) was registered as a new HOERBIGER company. At that time it was rare for foreign companies to set up a subsidiary without local shareholders. HNKK was the first HOERBIGER company to be founded in Asia.
Today, after 50 years, HOERBIGER has four production plants in China, two in India, and 25 service locations in the Asia & Pacific region. More than 1,800 employees in 11 countries ensure that the group is always close to its customers.
In 1961 Hubert Wagner joined HOERBIGER in Vienna. He was inspired by the idea of establishing the HOERBIGER brand in the United States. One year later, Martina Hörbiger gave him 25,000 US dollars and the order to establish HOERBIGER in the USA.
The HOERBIGER Corporation of America (HCA) was founded in 1963 in Roslyn, New York State. By the end of 1965, HCA’s sales rose by 300 percent.
To further grow this new business, Wagner soon realized that he had to set up local production in the USA to improve delivery times for American customers. In 1967, production began in Woodside, Queens, New York City.
1979, HCA moved to Florida to concentrate production at a central location.
Since then, HOERBIGER has continued its U.S. growth through strong, long-time customer relationships, and a series of industry advancements, including the introduction of the CP valve in 2011, and the ongoing deployment of new production automation technologies.
In 1957, HOERBIGER expanded its product portfolio and began series production of clutch plates in Schongau, Germany. In 1964 the production of clutch plates was transferred to Penzberg, Germany.
In 1984, HOERBIGER began series production of synchronizer rings for passenger car manual transmissions. In the 1990s, HOERBIGER revolutionized the manufacture of synchronizer products: For the first time, HOERBIGER succeeded in producing synchronizer rings for passenger car manual transmissions in a single operation – solely by forming sheet steel. Today, HOERBIGER is the leading supplier of synchronizer systems worldwide: Nearly 1,500 employees in Schongau, Peiting, Penzberg, Oberstenfeld and Changzhou contribute to the success of the Strategic Business Unit Drive Technology.
70 years ago, the company HOERBIGER & CO moved into part of the “aircraft hangar” in Altenstadt and began producing compressor valves with a small team.
The step onto German soil was a success: In April 1952 HOERBIGER had 40 employees in Altenstadt. Three years later the number of employees had already increased to 110.
In 1956, the company finally moved – in the meantime under the new name HOERBIGER & CO KG – to its own new building “Im Forchet” in Schongau, the current location of HOERBIGER Kompressortechnik GmbH.
HOERBIGER conquers the German market
The company continued to grow in the following years. New locations and business areas were added and the number of employees grew.
Today, we have 13 HOERBIGER locations in Germany with around 2,000 employees. In addition to the Drive Technology and Compression Technology Strategic Business Units, the Rotary Solutions and Safety Divisions also maintain larger plants in Germany.
On 15 February 1945, the main plant in Simmering is almost completely destroyed by an air raid. The end of the war is tantamount to the loss of all patents and participations in foreign companies. The work of 20 years lies in ruins. A little later Alfred Hörbiger dies. His wife Martina Hörbiger starts the reconstruction with her husband's closest colleagues.
Against the background of rapid technical developments, Alfred Hörbiger’s decision to manufacture valves in-house is of particular importance. A large order for flushing pump valves for ship diesel engines is the starting point. Despite the devastating general economic situation that had triggered the global economic crisis, production can be started in 1931 on the new company premises in Vienna Simmering.
With his innovative valve for compressors Hanns Hörbiger laid the foundation for the present Group. The HOERBIGER steel plate valve overcame all the disadvantages of valve designs that were common at the end of the 19th century. It was a unique selling proposition.
The HOERBIGER steel plate valve, however, not only enabled the advancement of blast furnace technology, but also paved the way for the invention of modern pressure chemistry. This made it one of the key technologies for the industrial development at the beginning of the 20th century.
In 2020, HOERBIGER can look back on 125 years of successful company history.
We look forward to at least 125 more years with our business partners – and to working together to find the best answers to the challenges ahead.
Join HOERBIGER here on our website to celebrate our big anniversary. We will be posting important milestones in the company’s history – from our earliest beginnings to today’s Group with its activities around the world.