From a garage workshop to a global network
With tons of enthusiasm, zero capital and a loan of DM 25,000, Dieter Specht and Hans vom Stein set the Interroll ball rolling in the year 1959. The business that began in a garage in Wermelskirchen near Cologne/Düsseldorf has since become a world market leader in the materials handling market, with 1,500 employees and a global network of expertise in development, production and sales.
|1959||Dieter Specht and Hans vom Stein set up Interroll|
|1966||First factory opens in Wermelskirchen|
|1968||Start of international business activity|
|1988||Expansion into Asia|
|1997||Interroll goes public|
|2000||CEO Paul Zumbühl takes over Group management; acquisition of SIPA|
|2003||Focus on unit load handling; acquisition of Axmann; sale of bulk goods business|
|2006||Interroll acquires BDL|
|2007||Interroll acquires Werner|
|2008||Expansion into Brazil|
|2010||Interroll takes over business activities from licensee partner in Australia|
|2011||Expansion into Turkey|
Steinco Rollen was the first customer to buy mini rollers from the injection-moulding garage of the barely 22 and 23-year-old entrepreneurs, Hans vom Stein and Dieter Specht. Their hard work soon bore fruit. Their range of conveyor rollers was quickly expanded and their infrastructure extended to include a former military barracks. In 1966 the first factory was opened in Wermelskirchen - it even included a separate office wing. Its production space of 400 m² soon doubled in size. Between 1968 and 1973, Interroll set up joint ventures in France, the US, Denmark, the Benelux nations and Spain. Interroll Denmark developed the successful mini belt drive with novel planetary gearing, which has since been used to power thousands of belt conveyors. Other products followed, like ball transfer units and heavy-duty conveyor rollers for bulk materials, the latter stemming from the partnership with the Italian firm Rulmeca. With the acquisition in 1987 of Danish firm John Kirkegaard, Interroll expanded its range to include belt drives measuring 113 to 800 mm in diameter and 0.18 to 132 kW performance capacity. In 1991, a company in the East German town of Aschersleben specialising in belt drives for bulk goods handling was added to the stables; this firm was subsequently sold in 2003 to strategic partner Rulmeca, and henceforth Interroll has focused wholly and solely on conveyor technology for unit loads.
With a joint venture in Port Washington, NY, Interroll entered the American market in 1968 and relocated the business to Wilmington, NC, in 1990. Canada was added in 1976. In 1992 the DC-powered RollerDrive for roller conveyors was launched.
Interroll gained a foothold in Asia in 1988 by setting up a base in Singapore. A manufacturing unit in Thailand followed, as well as a sales office in Japan (2000) and production facilities in China (2002). Its long-standing partner in Korea was wholly incorporated into the Interroll Group in early 2006. The ownership interest in Interroll South Africa was also increased to 100% in 2005.
In 1986 Interroll consolidated its entire injection moulding operation by relocating its production facilities to a new location in Sant'Antonino in southern Switzerland. Three years later, it set up its holding company in the same place. Shares in Interroll Holding AG have been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich since the company went public in 1997.
Company founder Dieter Specht handed over Group executive management to newly appointed CEO Paul Zumbühl in 2000 and retained oversight as head of the Supervisory Board. Under the leadership of Paul Zumbühl, the Interroll Group has taken a new strategic approach, focusing since March 2003 solely on conveyor solutions for internal unit load handling, i.e. intralogistics. Other acquisitions included the following companies: SIPA in France (2000) to expand Interroll's dynamic storage business, Axmann (2003) in Sinsheim/Germany and Jeffersonville/IN, USA, with its innovative product portfolio of sorters, belt curves as well as roller and belt conveyors. Finally, in March 2006, Interroll acquired German belt drive manufacturer BDL. In acquiring Canadian-based Werner Motor Company Ltd. in February 2007, Interroll further extended its lead as a supplier of compact drum motors for checkout conveyor systems, thereby gaining a premier position in the North American market.
Today, Interroll has over 23,000 customers across all continents. The company services the needs of regionally based engineering and original equipment manufacturers for conveyor components and supplies globally active multinationals with modules and subsystems. In the unit-load handling world, Interroll focuses on areas such as the food and beverage industry, airport facilities, post and parcel distribution, logistics service providers and various industries.