Trützschler, for example, the family business founded in 1888, supplies spinning mills, for instance, with machine technology for the preliminary stage of yarn manufacture. The company Ungricht, founded in 1892 and one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rollers and their engraving, is run by the fifth generation of this family business.
The roots of other companies in the Niederrhein region lie in textile machinery construction. The family business Scheidt & Bachmann, founded in 1872, today produces signalling sytems for the railway, for instance, as well as access systems for multi-storey car parks and solutions for the fare management of rail and bus operators. SMS Meer, a former manufacturer of steam-powered drive systems, has developed into one of the world’s leading plant engineering companies for steel works and continuous casting technology in the course of its 140-year history.
Impetus for mechanical and plant engineering also came from other sectors: from the mining and steel industry, from food production, chemicals and recently also from logistics. Today almost 20,000 employees in the Niederrhein region generate an annual revenue of 5.5 billion euros. More than 70 percent of production is destined for export.
The universities in the region, Niederrhein and Rhein-Waal train the next generation of qualified engineering and management experts, sometimes in study courses conducted entirely in English. Basic research comes directly from the neighbouring region – from the campus of RWTH Aachen university, which succeeded in the Excellence Initiative of the German government.
Large companies like Siempelkamp also benefit from this. More than 1,600 employees in the Niederrhein region are building pressing systems for the wood-based products industry, metal forming and rubber industry as well as plants for processing fiber composites. Seamless pipeline pipes as well as high-end parts for the automobile and airplane industry are also produced on Siempelkampmachines.
In the field of machine and precision tools, companies like Dörries Scharmann, Fraisa, Jongen, Mitotuyo and Monforts Werkzeugmaschinen shape market developments.In the area of industrial fittings, there are companies like Arca Regler, Armaturenbau, Sasserath and Sempell. Companies like Robert Bosch, BWS, Dürselen, KHS, MSK and Signode are active with production sites for packaging machines, and are complemented by niche suppliers such as Teepack with tea bag filling machines and Gillenkirch with potato packaging machines.
Incidentally, regarding potatoes: this is where the agricultural machine manufacturer Lemken comes into play. Every year around 13,000 ploughs, cultivators and equipment for sowing and plant protection leave the main production plant in Alpen. Since it was founded as a family business in 1780, the company is one of the industry champions in Europe and supplies farmers as far afield as New Zealand.
In contrast, Winergy AG, founded just 30 years ago, is still very young. In the new assembly plant in Voerde, the global player builds gear boxes and clutches for wind turbines. One in two wind turbines in the world convert wind into electricity with the help of these products.