PFEIFER has always been connected with the rope. And that will remain so.
Over 430 years. Few companies in the world can boast such a tradition. And such a remarkable development. From a small family rope making business to a global industrial enterprise. Or to put it another way: from the hemp rope to continuously new interpretations of the rope – for continuously new application possibilities.
The gaps that PFEIFER bridges are also remarkable. Between past and future. Between tradition and trend. Between responsibility and innovation.
By the way: the fact that PFEIFER is still an owner-managed family company is another part of its astounding history.
The ropery of the Pfeifer family from Memmingen is mentioned in documents for the first time. In February 1579 the ropemaker Linhart Biechele, an ancestor of the Pfeifer family, had complained together with his colleagues in the name of the guild about illegal trading practices of the executioner Jacob Teuber. He was alleged to have bought all the horsehair from the market before the guild of ropemakers could buy it, although this transaction had been the privilege of the ropemakers from ancient times.
Over several generations the ropemaking trade was carried on in the Kalchviertel in Memmingen by the Biechele family (or Büchele, as it was spelt from the beginning of the 17th century).
Sebastian Büchele relocates the ropemaking workshop and the general store to Kalchstrasse 23, the Pfeifer company's original building.
Thanks to a magistrate's decision of 14 September, Ulrich Benedikt Hail, the foster child of Sebastian Büchele and Anna Catharina Hail, is able to continue the family's ropemaking concession.
Following the death of Karl Benedikt Hail, Eduard Pfeifer, who originally trained as a master confectioner and was the husband of Karl Hail's youngest daughter Katharina, takes over the ropemaking business and calls it "Seilerei zum Kreuz" (Ropery at the Cross).
The Seilerei zum Kreuz celebrates the 370th anniversary of its establishment. The machine pool already features two mechanical spinning machines and three rope laying machines. In addition to various ropery products and general goods, the first steel wire ropes are offered.
At 22 years of age, Hermann Pfeifer takes over his father Eduard's ropery. The manufacture of wire ropes begins – and thus the rapid development into an industrial enterprise.
Liebherr. The ropery's first big customer
Decisive competitive advantage. The introduction of a 280-tonne press for the manufacturing of rope connections with aluminium ferrules
Construction of the first workshop building with office wing on Augsburger Straße in Memmingen.
Acquisition of an 800-tonne press for the swaging of ropes up to 40 millimetres in diameter – a sensation and an important purchase argument for the customers.
First patent application. Cable nets for protection against avalanches
Establishment of the first sales branch with dispatch warehouse in Freiburg im Breisgau
New patent and entry into lifting technology: load nets for the transport of goods by helicopter
1958 – 1976
Establishment of further sales branches with dispatch warehouses in Ludwigshafen, Munich, Nuremberg, Herdecke and Hamburg
Expansion of the portfolio. In addition to hemp and steel wire ropes, PFEIFER offers self-manufactured lifting straps and rope accessories as retail goods
Entry into connecting and lifting systems. Manufacture and sales of anchor sockets and rope eyes for the transport of precast concrete elements
Purchase of the ropemaking factory Robert Schneider KG in Berlin. Entry into the manufacture of steel wire ropes, mainly elevator ropes. The first production site outside Memmingen is established.
Start of the production of load clamps through the co-operation with the American company J. C. Renfroe & Sons
Extension through the building of a new workshop with administration building at Mammostrasse 1 in Memmingen
True to the motto "the programme from the load hook downwards", a broad assortment of retail goods for the attachment, lifting, moving and securing of loads is built up. Attachment devices and lashing systems, chains and chain suspension gear, load tensioners, grip hoists and much more.
Olympic Stadium in Munich. Discovery of the steel wire rope as a structural element in architecture. PFEIFER is involved in the first important cable structure of the modern era.
Acquisition of the Memmingen branch of the Josef Pieper machine factory with functional workshop buildings and a large works site close to the Pfeifer company’s site. Relocation of parts of the production to the Pieper site.
1971 – 1972
Takeover of Gebrüder Kesel KG in Kempten. Establishment of the production of modern kernmantle ropes for mountaineering and water sports.
Equipping of the first single-handed round-the-world sailor Rollo Gebhard
Establishment of a proprietary mountaineering line under the brand name "Elite Bergsport". Exclusive co-operation with and equipping of Peter Habeler, who together with Reinhold Messner was the first to conquer Mount Everest without additional oxygen.
Sale of the mountaineering line to the Swiss branded company Mammut Outdoor in 1987
First rope stretching plant (20 tonnes) for the pretensioning and calibration of ropes for use in bridges and support structures.
Second large cable structures project. A highly precise cable net as a sleeve for the cooling tower of the Hamm-Schmehausen nuclear power plant.
1973 – 1974
Construction of a 4,500 m² factory hall with administration building by the Berliner Seilfabrik with grand inauguration in autumn 1974 by the governing mayor.
Takeover of the Memmingen company Huith & Fink. Establishment of the new manufacturing division building fittings and rack systems.
First foreign subsidiary. PFEIFER Wire Rope & Lifting Technology as sales branch with dispatch warehouse in Salzburg, Austria
Economic crisis. PFEIFER banks on growth with the commissioning of a 3,000-tonne rope press
Development of plastic fibre ropes with wire rope core for climbing facilities on children's playgrounds.
Breakthrough to become the leading manufacturer of rope climbing facilities in playgrounds. The invention of the ball knot and the use of cross clamps for fibre-sheathed steel wire ropes for climbing nets
First large cable structures project in a foreign country. The rope support system for the roof of a swimming pool in La Paz, Bolivia
1980 - 1983
Successful market introduction of further innovations. The new transport system for precast elements with concrete loops, innovative universal grippers for the conveying of sheet metal packages and coils as well as special turning grabs for sheet metal
Gerhard Pfeifer joins the family company – in the 12th generation
Market introduction of the patented “Waved anchor” for the transport of precast concrete elements. A resounding success and one of the company’s best-selling products for over two decades.
1986 – 1988
Construction of a new works hall with a floor area of 13,000 m² and an administration building with 3,000 m² at Karl-Lenz-Strasse 66 in Memmingen. Occupation with grand inauguration event in November 1988
Supply and assembly of the cable support structure for the gigantic sports stadium “Stadio delle Alpi” in Turin, Italy, in which the opening game of the 1990 FIFA World Cup was played.
Establishment of the Hungarian subsidiary Garant Kft. in Budapest
The first official GS mark. PFEIFER obtains the "Geprüfte Sicherheit" (Tested Safety) label for lifting anchors and concrete loops
Establishment of a further sales branch with dispatch warehouse in Dresden
Establishment of the J&P co-operation with Jordahl of Berlin for the strengthening of sales in Germany. Basis of an international sales co-operation under the J&P logo
Establishment of the joint venture company Jordahl & Pfeifer Building Systems in Great Britain
Establishment of a further PFEIFER branch in Straubing
Strategic milestone. The takeover of the world's leading manufacturer of elevator and mining ropes, the wire rope manufacturer "Gustav Kocks GmbH" of Mülheim an der Ruhr, makes PFEIFER Germany's most important manufacturer of elevator ropes.
With this company PFEIFER also acquires further international rope sales branches with dispatch warehouses in Luxembourg, the Netherlands and England
Production relocation and sale of the “Berliner Seilfabrik”. Parts of the rope manufacturing are relocated to Mülheim, the rope eye and anchor socket production to Memmingen. A PFEIFER branch is set up in rented premises
PFEIFER sells the “Playground Equipment” segment to works manager Karl-Heinz Köhler. The “Berliner Seilfabrik” is still successful all over the world today as a specialist for rope-based playground equipment.
Gerhard Pfeifer takes over the management of the company. PFEIFER becomes an internationally operative group of companies
One of the world's largest stadium roofs. PFEIFER supplies the support cable structure for the roof of the National Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Establishment of two joint venture companies together with Jordahl in Poland and the Czech Republic.
1997 – 1999
PFEIFER achieves certification of its quality management system to ISO 9001
The Gustav Kocks steel wire ropery equips some of the world’s tallest buildings with elevator ropes: the Television Tower in Moscow (537 metres), the Petronas Tower in Kuala Lumpur (450 metres), the Sears Tower in Chicago (443 metres) and the towers of the World Trade Center in New York with its tragic history (up to 417 metres)
Establishment of the two sales companies Pfeifer Cables y Equipos de Elevación and Jordahl & Pfeifer Tecnicas de Anclaje in Spain
Acquisition of Rope & Tackle through the subsidiary PFEIFER DRAKO Ltd in Great Britain
Establishment of a further sales company by Jordahl and PFEIFER in Denmark
Establishment of the joint venture company J&P Building Systems in Singapore
FIFA World Cup 2006. PFEIFER supplies amongst other things the cable support structures for the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne, the Allianz Arena in Frankfurt am Main and the AWD Arena in Hanover
Establishment of the first subsidiary outside Europe in Shanghai, China
Establishment of two further PFEIFER sales companies in Russia and Poland
Strategic realignment of PFEIFER DRAKO and works extension at Rheinstrasse 19-23 in Mühlheim
Establishment of a PFEIFER subsidiary in the United Arab Emirates as well as a further Jordahl & Pfeifer joint venture in Romania
Establishment of a production site in Changshu, China as the first production facility outside Germany
Rockfall protection products. Founding of the new business unit through the takeover of ISOFER AG in Switzerland
Expansion of the works building at the Dr.-Karl-Lenz-Straße location in Memmingen by around 40%
Establishment of the first PFEIFER sales hub in the USA
Roofing of the two World Cup stadia in South Africa – the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban and the Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town – as the largest orders in the company's history up to that point
PFEIFER is awarded the contract for supplying the ropes of the strongest crawler crane with a conventional design to date. Apart from hoisting ropes and adjusting ropes with a diameter of 52 mm, a length of over 2000 metres and piece weights of 30 tonnes, rope connections specially developed for this diameter were also supplied.
First European Technical Approval for a connecting and lifting systems product, the DB anchor
With the introduction of the European standard for the technical approval of building kits, PFEIFER ISOFER continues its innovative system optimisation
The business unit organisation is introduced in the head office in Memmingen. Central functions are decentralised
Reorganisation of the production in Memmingen according to the lean/Kaizen principle and improvement of the lighting, ventilation and noise conditions in the context of the “Healthy Factory”. Expansion of the project within the group
The crane rope testing tower, a multi-layer winding test stand with a height of over 30 metres for comparison tests with ropes, is put into operation at the Memmingen location
PFEIFER ISOFER develops the highly innovative, patented ISODISK brake element as a system component for use in rock fall barriers
Largest investment in the history of PFEIFER DRAKO. The new cage-type stranding machine, equipped with state-of-the-art mechanical, control and sensory components, goes into production at the Tunnelstraße location in Mülheim
The Cable Structure business unit acquires the largest order for tension rods in PFEIFER’s history for the membrane roofing of the Expo Milano 2015
Building extension at the Asten location in Austria, doubling the office space
PFEIFER DRAKO produces the longest wire rope in the company’s history with a single length of 12,400 m, with which the new research ship “Sonne” is equipped
Takeover of Covertex Membranes in China, a membrane manufacturing company
Acquisition of the Austrian ErneuEner plus GmbH (now PFEIFER Systems GmbH), a specialist in drive technology for mobile and convertible structures, control technology for cable cars and small hydroelectric power plants
PFEIFER Seil- und Hebetechnik GmbH strengthens the Cable Structures business unit North and Latin America by partnerships with FabriTec Structures LLC and Guard-All Building Solutions LLC. The partnership makes PFEIFER the only fully integrated complete solution provider worldwide, with production capacities for cables, stainless steel components, steel construction, movable and mobile systems and membrane assembly.
Division-oriented realignment with consolidation of the eight business units into four operative units, taking into account common markets, customers and business processes.
New sales orientation of the Connecting and Lifting Systems business unit following dissolution of the J&P sales cooperation
New building for the newly founded production company Pfeifer Steel Production Poland sp. z o.o. in Poland. 3,000 sq. metres of production and warehouse space and 450 sq. metres of office space with an investment sum of 1.3 million euros. A completely new Connecting and Lifting Systems product – the PFEIFER hybrid beam – will be manufactured here in future.
Strategic partnership with the Gleistein ropery from Bremen in North Germany - a special manufacturer of all types of fibre ropes with high innovative potential. The object of joint developments will mainly be fibre rope solutions for industrial applications.
PFEIFER has been awarded the contract for the roofing of the Inglewood Stadium near Los Angeles. The new football stadium is the largest arena in the world. The cable supported ETFE film roof will be implemented in a collaborative effort by all subsidiaries of the Structures division. All in all, it is the largest order in the company's history, thus replacing the roofing of the two stadia in Durban and Cape Town for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.