Meisinger has the knack
The modern facade of the company headquarters in the Tucherstraße business park in the south of Neuss doesn’t say much about what is produced and sold here. The name Meisinger is not particularly well-known by the wider public either. And yet, Hager & Meisinger GmbH has existed as a specialist for dental drills for almost 125 years and is one of the leading providers in this market worldwide. It grew from modest beginnings, and the small business, now with about 300 workers, has always remained an independent family-run business.
This company came into existence in the booming years of rapid industrial expansion in the early years of the German empire. In 1888 Artur Meisinger founded the “Deutsch-Amerikanische Zahnbohrer-Fabrik” (German-American Dental Drill Factory) in Düsseldorf. It had business contacts in the USA even in the early founding days. In the first few years the steel drills were still gear cut by hand, hardened on the Bunsen burner and cooled in raw potatoes in Kronprinzenstraße in Düsseldorf. But very soon, half and fully automatic lathes and milling machines were introduced. Artur Meisinger came from the watch making industry. He had the innovative idea of extending the precision and manufacturing techniques of minutely detailed watch making to the growing dental segment. It was a new market, for the American James Beall Morrison had just founded the foot-operated drilling machine in 1871, which was operated similarly to a sewing machine with a foot pedal.
In 1900 Willy Noack became a precision engineer at Meisinger. In 1912 he set himself up as a self-employed producer of dental drills together with Erwin Hager. The sprightly development and dense innovation resulted in Erwin Hager & Co. and the Deutsch-Amerikanische Zahnfabrik A. Meisinger merging in 1924. What emerged was Hager & Meisinger GmbH, which still exists to this day in the same form – the only change being the move in 2002 from Düsseldorf to the new company headquarters and production site in Neuss-Uedesheim. Compared to Düsseldorf, in Neuss the company was able to double its surface area, and the number of staff grew from 185 to about 300. In 1997 the fourth – present – generation joined the company. Today Meisinger is managed by Dr. Burkard Höchst and Sebastian Voss. The 47-year-old Höchst studied mechanical engineering and economics, the 45-year-old Voss business administration. To accommodate the constant growth, the company founded not just the new location in Neuss, but also a subsidiary in the USA, to further expand the activities on the German and American market. The turnover developed very positively on both sides of the Atlantic.
Around 45 million instruments are made every year, 24 hours a day, in the new factory in the south of Neuss. Over 10,000 products are on offer; the smallest dental drill has a diameter of 0.4 millimeters. Grinding 30 teeth into the heads of such small drills brings them close to the limits of physics. Few can produce such a delicate instrument. In addition, only a handful of companies worldwide are able to serve the dental drill market with such a comprehensive range – but Meisinger is one of them and has long since become of the most important global players on this market. Hager & Meisinger supplies to more than 100 countries, and two billion parts have been delivered so far in the company’s history. Most of the revenues are generated through exports. But Meisinger drills have long since ventured further afield than just the dental market: the company expanded by making drills especially for jewelers, for foot care and for hobby model makers. And Meisinger was also able to beat off competition from China in the DIY sector for drilling accessories with is innovative and highly efficient machines. In the last few years the field of implantology has been added to the core sectors of drilling and milling machines. With its “Bone Management” product line, Meisinger is one of the pioneers and most successful providers of his sector. The innovative company collaborates with leading scientists in this field so that it can consider both the scientific and practical perspective in the development of its products. Progress in dental medicine increasingly demands minimally invasive procedures to minimize the risk of destroying healthy teeth. That also effects the requirements placed on drills. The denticulation or the materials are constantly changing.
There are no catalogs with machines for producing drills. Expertise gathered over decades and the company’s own manufacturing creations give it a head-start that a newcomer to the market couldn’t catch up on. Yet despite all the innovation and precision of the machines, first and foremost it is the people that guarantee the success of production and the entire company. Hence, the people at Meisinger play a central role. Alongside extensive training and further training opportunities, the company offers its employees the opportunity to take on responsibility at an early stage. This and the good working atmosphere ensure a low fluctuation of staff and satisfied employees. Meisinger is also very satisfied with Neuss. It is well-situated, well developed and has space. Today Meisinger is the only company in the business park that produces round the clock in three shifts. The dental industry is growing worldwide – and with it Meisinger in Neuss. And if Dr. Burkard Höchst is one of the few people who enjoy going to the dentist, that’s probably to do with Meisinger’s products.
Hager & Meisinger GmbH
Tel. 02131 2012-0
Fax 02131 2012-222
As at: July 2012