It is no secret that “wire ropes of the future” will continue to be increasingly produced using synthetic fibres. High-performance ropes made of high-tech textile fibres weigh just a fraction and are easier to handle than their steel-wire based counterparts while delivering performance attributes that are on par. It is upon this backdrop that Gleistein Ropes and the PFEIFER Group have now concluded a strategic partnership agreement.
PFEIFER, based in Memmingen, southern Germany, is a leading specialist for wire rope manufacturing, assembly and applications, with annual sales of 260 million euros. With a view to tapping into future-oriented development potentials, PFEIFER initiated talks with Gleistein Ropes last year. The goal was to establish a foundation upon which a strategic partnership could be built. With its innovative strength and state-of-the-art production facilities for all types of fibre ropes, Gleistein Ropes from Bremen, northern Germany, is an ideal partner for PFEIFER. The focus of future joint development activities will chiefly involve fibre rope innovations for numerous industrial applications that – until now – were largely the domain of wire rope solutions.
Both companies look back on centuries of operation as family enterprises that are rich in tradition. They share a common understanding of corporate values and offer solutions of qualitative and technological excellence. This November, the cooperation was contractually concluded with the signing of the comprehensive agreement. As an additional new partner, PFEIFER simultaneously also takes over a 25% stake in Gleistein Ropes.
Through the alliance of the two medium-sized enterprises, a combined total of 600 years of experience in the craft of rope making is brought together with immediate effect. Laying the foundation for this connection is the highly complementary portfolio of products and technical capabilities as well as the closely related understanding of values that both companies share as family enterprises. Despite their respective histories spanning centuries, each company is still directed by the descendants of the original founding fathers. With annual sales of approximately 24 million euros, Gleistein Ropes may be smaller than PFEIFER yet it sees big opportunities through the cooperation agreement as it provides tremendous prospects to access new markets and for sustainably augmenting its innovative potential without any loss of identity or needing to forfeit its ability to take independent operational action. The trust established between the parties over the course of the negotiations is reflected in the agreement that has now been signed in Bremen by Gerhard Pfeifer, Managing Partner of the PFEIFER Group, and the Gleistein company partners Klaus Walther, Jan Paul and Thomas Schlätzer.
Gerhard Pfeifer explains: “Through our strategic connection with Gleistein Ropes, we obtain access to high-end textile fibre rope solutions with minimal weight and easy handling characteristics that are now being increasingly implemented as an alternative to wire rope solutions in a steadily growing number of industrial applications. The agreement also gives us the opportunity to jointly enter into areas for which steel-wire ropes are unsuited. For PFEIFER as a wire rope manufacturer, this offers huge potential and represents an extremely important strategic step, which we are now embracing.”
Klaus Walther, Managing Director at Gleistein Ropes, comments: “With the linkage to PFEIFER and its global sales network, we can now tap into new markets while simultaneously benefiting from PFEIFER’s extensive application expertise. Gleistein thereby fortifies its operational capacity and also secures the long-term preservation of both its production facilities in Bremen and in Trencin, Slovakia.” His cousin and colleague, Thomas Schlätzer, adds: “Taking this step is a real gain for Gleistein as it entails that we completely retain our independence in our business operations, the activities in our existing markets and our proud identity as a Hanseatic medium-sized firm.”
PFEIFER and Gleistein Ropes will jointly develop fibre rope solutions and position these in markets where they represent a superior alternative to heavier, steel-wire based ropes, as well as in segments where the potential exists for entirely new areas of application to be tapped into. Innovation processes will be accelerated through the amalgamation of extensive experience both partners possess in wire and fibre rope applications together with the capacity to utilise a broader pool of specialised staff and the expanded testing possibilities in both laboratory and practical contexts. With this agreement, PFEIFER and Gleistein anticipate to benefit from a sustainable boost to their respective international competitiveness.