3M – the company of innovation

3M is quite right to call itself the company of innovation, a company that is constantly inventing new things. The American multi-technology group brings over 1,000 products onto the market every year. And they concern high-tech applications just as much as everyday things. Everyone knows the products: the Post-it notes in the office, Scotch-Brite sponge in the kitchen, the reflective license plate, but also the resealable fastenings on disposable nappies or the filters in motor vehicle catalysts – all developed by 3M. 3M invented the overhead projector, particle-filtering disposable breathing masks and anti-shatter film for window panes. And Neuss has always played a special role in this story. The American company was the first to put its German headquarters in Neuss Hammfeld in 1973. What was once farmland and allotment landscape between the banks of the Rhine and the racing track is now a prospering industrial area with offices, specialist retailers, administration and research. But the headquarters of 3M Germany is by no means just a sales branch of the American parent company: with its own technology center, 3M Deutschland GmbH is part of the global success of 3M.

The American company Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company was founded in 1902. In 1921 the company acquired a patent for waterproof sandpaper and kept developing it. At the beginning of the 1950’s, 3M expanded abroad on a larger scale for the first time, first with an international division, and then with subsidiaries in Europe.  The German branch, which was founded in 1951 in Düsseldorf, was the first foreign subsidiary of 3M. At that time it took over the assets and staff of the company Durex in Düsseldorf, originally a representative of a cartel of American abrasive manufacturers dissolved by law. This is how the nucleus of 3M in Germany emerged in the region, first in Düsseldorf-Reisholz, and then in 1956 in Immermannstraße and lastly in 1967 in Königsallee. In 1960 a new factory was opened in Hilden, in 1967 a second in Kamen. When the Düsseldorf administration offices became too small, the company looked for somewhere for a big new administrative headquarters with room for expansion. The CEO at the time, Dr. Wilhelm Nolden, came from Neuss – and he gave his home city a unique opportunity, which the mayor of the time Herbert Karrenberg and chief municipal director Franz Josef Schmitt quickly seized on. The city designated the farmland as office space, and 3M purchased an open plot of land in Hammfeld measuring 96,000 square meters. In the early years 3M only had allotments and the company Heinemann as neighbors. In 1984 3M took over the building of the former pasta factory at Neuss harbor and set up its own research center there. Then, in 2001, a new research center was built right beside the head office. Today almost 400 researchers from 15 nations work there. They conduct research into areas such as glue and film technologies, light management, filtering and cleaning, ceramic materials as well as so-called “microreplication”, i.e. micro-structured surfaces. 3M in Germany has the second-largest research department worldwide in the group after the USA. 3M Deutschland GmbH has a very strong network within the group structure and today has a German-only management team with Günter Gressler at the top as the company’s CEO.

Today, 3M has around 6,200 employees in Germany. They generate sales of over 2.2 billion euros.  As well as the main administrative headquarters and the research center in Neuss, 3M has built a modern logistics center in the Rhine district of Neuss – in Jüchen. In 2012, another 25 million euros were invested in the goods distribution center. Half of all the goods that 3M delivers in Europe come from Jüchen. The 3M European Distribution Center is the largest of six logistics centers in Europe. The surface area, which has been expanded to 72,000 square meters in total, can now store 100,000 palettes, which would cover a distance of 120 kilometers if they were all lined up behind each other. That is roughly equivalent to the distance from Jüchen to the Nürburgring. The goods received and sent every day are equivalent to the weight of 660 VW Golf cars. With improved logistics, millions of truck kilometers, and hence CO2 emissions, can be saved: 3M also sees itself as an innovative company in this area.



3M Deutschland GmbH
Carl-Schurz-Str. 1
41453 Neuss
Telefon: 02131 / 14 - 0
Fax: 02131 / 14 2649


Stand: Dezember 2012