HISTORY

"They travel on the path of time which they neither create nor determine, but which they can navigate more or less skillfully."

Historian Paul Kennedy wrote this in 'The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Powers' about nations, but the same principle holds true for institutions or companies shaped and led by people. Strategy is and always has been about being ready to handle the road ahead. Its goal is to develop potential for success tomorrow by doing preliminary work and investing in future courses of action today.

It always starts with the inspiration of a visionary idea. When this idea is combined with the courage to make decisions, the future becomes possible. Ultimately, the success of strategic decisions to do or deliberately not do something depends on how firmly the decisions are implemented.

Given the long history of Achenbach, it is clear that the people at the helm of the company have been willing time and again to make decisions to secure its future. In retrospect, these decisions were keys in ensuring the firm's evolution into the Achenbach Buschhutten of today – a global high-tech machinery and engineering company.

The past five and a half centuries can be divided into the following distinct eras, reflecting the industrial evolution of Siegerland, also known as the Iron Country, one of Germany's oldest industrial regions.

 

  • FIRST ERA 1452 – 1846

    HAMMER MILL

    In 1452, on the current site of the Achenbach company, brothers Gotthard, Henne and Siebel Busch founded the Buschhütter Eisenhammer (hammer mill). The produced rods were sold to local blacksmiths who used them to manufacture a wide variety of agricultural, household and craftsman's tools and equipment. On May 30, 1846, after more than 300 years in business, the hammer mill was sold to the Engelhard Achenbach foundry in Kaan-Marienborn; the previous charcoal-based manufacturing process had become unprofitable due to the invention of “puddling,” which used hard coal instead.

  • SECOND ERA 1846 – 1888

    IRON FOUNDRY

    In 1846, the same year of its acquisition, the old Buschhütter Eisenhammer factory was torn down and a new iron foundry was built in its place, with the three Achenbach brothers at the helm of the operation. Initially, the product range consisted mainly of household appliances and agricultural equipment; as industrialization grew, the company began shifting production more and more toward cast products such as rollers and roller mounts. A local railway connection made it easy to expand the sales market regionally. By the end of the 19th century, the company had become exclusively a roller foundry and, with the death of the last of the three Achenbach brothers, was renamed Engelhard Achenbach Seelig Söhne.

  • THIRD ERA 1888 – 1945

    ROLLING MILLS for all metals

    During this era, mechanical engineering emerged as the second mainstay of the economy. 1888 saw the construction of the first two rolling mills for iron plates. Over the years, thanks to high demand from the at first regional and then later national sales market, the rolling mill became a separate division of the company alongside the foundry. In the mid 1920s, engineer Dr. Ernst Barten, who had since taken over the management of the company, shifted the focus to the production of non-ferrous metal rolling mills. The first lightweight aluminum rolling mill was built in 1911; in 1927 the strip roller was introduced, marking the starting point for the evolution of foil rolling technology. 'Engelhard' and 'Seelig' were removed from the company's name in 1933; from then on the company would become known simply as Achenbach Söhne GmbH.

  • FOURTH ERA 1945 – 1970:

    ROLLING MILLS for non-ferrous metals

    The factory was shut down in May 1945 after the invasion of American troops. However, production resumed by the end of the year. During this time, the company began specializing in the construction of non-ferrous metal rolling mills. It also began exporting its products. The upswing in strip rolling mill construction marked the start of foil rolling technology, which would later propel the company to the top of the global market. In 1952, the first foil-specific rolling mill was built.

    Another milestone was achieved in 1969 when Achenbach delivered a five-high, wide-strip aluminum foil roller line with (for the first time ever) built-in transport and high-bay warehouse technology to the Rhineland region. With the municipal reorganization of the Siegen-Wittgenstein district and the annexation of Buschhütten by Kreuztal in the late 60s, the company was renamed Achenbach Buschhütten GmbH, a nod to the site of its founding.

  • FIFTH ERA 1970-2010:

    ROLLING MILLS for non-ferrous metals and foil slitting machines

    During this era, Achenbach became the global market leader in thin-strip and foil rolling mill construction. 1970 saw the development of process engineering solutions for roller oil filtration and, in light of growing environmental concerns, exhaust air purification systems as well. The company also began developing its own automation technology. By continuing its international expansion strategy into North America and Asia, it was able to increasingly tap into the global sales market. In 2006, Achenbach OPTIFOIL® slitting machines, doublers and separators for aluminum thin-strip and foil were added to the product  range, along with converting materials. As the company began its systematic transition from a simple machine builder to a supplier of machines and systems and a developer of key innovative technologies, the first complete installations began to appear. This allowed Achenbach to reach its current position in the market and has been a critical factor on its path toward becoming a global specialist in non-ferrous rolling mills and foil slitting machine systems with an integrative technology approach. As of 2013, the company trades under the name Achenbach Buschhütten GmbH & Co. KG.