100 years in motion
Today Bansbach easylift is well-known worldwide for high-end gas springs in the premium segment. The company specialises in the production of gas springs for special uses and sophisticated application areas, such as the aviation industry or medical technology.
The family-run company that today is in its third and fourth generation was founded in a small workshop in Bad Cannstatt.
It all started with Swabian ingenuity, tremendous stamina and also the courage to strike new paths without ever losing sight of inherent fundamental virtues. It was a long and eventful journey to becoming the Bansbach company we know today. Come with us...
FOUNDING OF THE COMPANY IN BAD CANNSTATT
The story of the Bansbach company started in a small workshop in Bad Cannstatt near Stuttgart in southern Germany. Hermann Bansbach Snr and his father-in-law Gottlieb Schramm founded the company "Schramm und Bansbach Apparatebau" in 1919. The location of the new company was Christophstraße 33, which was later re-named Kissinger Straße.
KNIRPS UMBRELLAS, HORSE CLEANING MACHINE AND TUBE SAW
The company did not limit itself to one product or branch, instead it was market-orientated and produced what the market demanded. This way quite a broad product portfolio developed in the early years: The invention and patent registration of an electric horse cleaning machine was at this time groundbreaking. In addition to the production of microscopes umbrellas for Knirps were manufactured and a tube saw for large tubes were developed.
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VALVES AND BRAKE SHOES FOR THE AVIATION INDUSTRY
The reputation of Bansbach as a quality-aware production company caught the attention of the still young aviation industry. So as of 1929 Bansbach supplied parts to the very quality-conscious aviation industry. At that time, mainly valves and brake shoes were produced and these were built into the aircraft.
Through a broad range of products and a quality-aware production process, the company was able to be placed on a stable foundation and could look optimistically and confidently to the future. However, World War II would bring many changes.
Hermann Bansbach Snr was exempt from military service due to a gas poisoning that he had suffered during WWI. Production could continue - however, not without restrictions. The products that had been made up until then could no longer be produced. The company was only allowed to manufacture products that were of use to the arms industry. The workshop was also not spared during the bomb raids, so that often products were produced whilst fires were still being extinguished. Entrepreneurial freedom to develop the company was hardly granted in those difficult times during the war: Survival was the objective.
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THE POST-WAR DAYS
After the end of WWII the entrepreneurial freedom to develop the company returned even if in an incredibly difficult environment. The focus was again on the needs of the market, in order to ensure the company's continued existence. And so it happened that after the end of the war, as Germany was largely reduced to ash and rubble, the company developed the first hollow block machine, which transformed rubble into building blocks. This secured the company's future and it was possible once more to look ahead optimistically.
THE START OF THE PRODUCTION OF TURNING PARTS
The next important step in the company's history over the following years was to be the production of turning parts, which resulted in a completely new production programme. What no-one could foresee at that point in time: The production of turning parts should later become the basis for the production of the Bansbach gas spring.
HERMANN BANSBACH (jun.)
TAKES OVER THE COMPANY
Failing health meant that the company founder Hermann Bansbach Snr could no longer continue as of 1954. The effects of the hard work of the preceding decades and, above all, the gas poisoning episode during WWI took their toll on the company's founder. His son Hermann Bansbach (jun.) took over the company successfully and became owner and managing director of it.
COMPANY RELOCATION TO LORCH
In 1958 the company finally relocated to today's site of Lorch. The new location provided sufficient space to permit long-term growth. Even after relocating to Lorch, the focus at Bansbach remained on the production of turning parts and tools. The virtues of the founding generation were always kept alive and continue to be reflected in the principles of the company, still to this day: flexibility, outstanding quality and customer orientation!
PRODUCTION OF THE FIRST BANSBACH GAS SPRING
The year 1966 was to be decisive for the further course of the story of the Bansbach company: The first gas spring was produced. The expertise and the technical prerequisites for the production of the individual gas spring parts were at hand. The production of precise turning parts, back then the company's core business, formed an ideal basis for this. Once again the engineering skills of Hermann Bansbach Jr. came into play. He developed a filling and sealing device that he had patented in order to produce the first Bansbach gas springs.
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INTERNATIONAL MARKETS ARE DEVELOPED
This is how the success story began:
Bansbach continued to develop the gas spring further. Functions and application possibilities were expanded and new customer groups were opened up.
In 1975 the decision was made to collaborate with the first foreign sales partner. Trust and partnership were elementary values for Bansbach in the entire 100 years of the company's history. This is also clear in this example: The first Bansbach sales partner "Albert Jagger" still represents the Bansbach company in Great Britain and that for more than 44 years. Countless further international sales partners followed.
GROWTH AND INTERNATIONALISATION
The existing premises quickly become too small because of the growth that the gas spring effected. That's why the first extension was built in Lorch in 1980. A new production hall was built right next to the existing one, increasing the production area considerably. The land and buildings of the former company Lauber that border directly to the west were able to be purchased in 1985. The properties of the Tast company were purchased in 1986. These purchases meant the production area was tripled in size. Thus the conditions for long-term growth were in place as far as premises were concerned.
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THE GAS SPRING CONTINUES TO GAIN IN IMPORTANCE
The gas spring continued to gain in importance in the 1980s and ultimately became Bansbach's most important product, while the production of turning parts and tools drifted more and more into the background. Whereas the turnover share in 1977 was still far more than 50%, this was to change rapidly over the next few years. In the time that followed, large investments were made in this product area and the gas spring portfolio was further expanded. As in the past decades of the company history, many patents associated with the gas spring were developed. The Swabian ingenuity of the founding generation lived on successfully.
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EDGAR HAHN-BANSBACH JOINS THE COMPANY
In order to finance his studies, Edgar Hahn-Bansbach took on summer jobs from 1976 at Bansbach and over the years he got to know the company. In 1984 Edgar Hahn-Bansbach, who was to become a son-in-law to Annemarie und Hermann Bansbach Jr., joined the company. And as time passed, he went on to shape and develop the company significantly, together with his wife Silke Bansbach.
INTRODUCTION OF THE FIRST IT-SYSTEM
The first task that was assigned to him after completing his studies was to lead the Bansbach company into the IT era. In order to keep up with the growth rate, it was decided that the good old typewriter should be expanded by a computer system from Nixdorf and so the first ERP system was introduced at Bansbach. Billing and order processing were then easier to perform as was the processing of production relevant data. Not only the processes were optimised; a previously unknown level of transparency was achieved. Daily updated figures and data made more direct managing of the company possible.
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FIRST UTILISATION OF ROBOTS TO PRODUCE GAS SPRINGS
In 1989 the first robot system to assemble the Bansbach gas springs started operations. Of course, a system like this could not simply be found on the market. Specific expertise was required regarding the control of the robots but also the production of the gas springs robots. This made it clear that the plant could only be developed on the company premises, which is a matter of course for all important machines at Bansbach today.
IN-SOURCING AS A CONCEPT FOR SUCCESS
In-sourcing instead of out-sourcing is a successful concept at Bansbach, which Edgar Hahn-Bansbach embedded in the company. At the time, this was absolutely against the general trend. All key technologies regarding gas springs are still in the hands of Bansbach and so the company is at all times in charge of the situation. This is the only way that Bansbach quality can be guaranteed, including at the required level of complexity and flexibility. And that still holds true today! With the new robot system it was now possible to produce even larger quantities effectively and meet the increased demand without reducing the flexibility and so also customer orientation.
POWDER-COATING - THE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVE
High corrosion protection, flexibility and last but not least a considerably more environmentally-friendly process meant that as from 1989, the gas spring cylinders were no longer varnished but rather given a high-quality powder-coating. This production process was also brought in-house and a highly flexible power-coating plant was installed. From this time on, Bansbach gas springs were able to be offered in all possible cylinder colours and so adapted to fulfil the customer's wishes. The high quality coating process fulfils the highest demands of corrosion protection. The work processes were optimised and a faster and more flexible delivery of the gas spring enabled. Until this day, Bansbach is the only gas spring manufacturer worldwide that uses this high-quality power-coating process on its gas springs.
FURTHER INTERNATIONAL MARKETS ARE DEVELOPED
In the following years the focus was placed mainly on further establishing the Bansbach gas spring on the international markets. In addition to a continuously expanding international sales network, a licence agreement was concluded in Turkey in 1989. In 1991 and 1992 activities started in China and Russia.
THE 3RD GENERATION TAKES OVER:
In 1994 there were decisive events regarding the further development of the company. The 75th company anniversary was celebrated and the company succession could be ensured: Silke Bansbach and Edgar Hahn-Bansbach jointly took over all shares of the company in the course of a management buy-out. This meant that the family-run company could be successfully led by the third generation to the future.
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NICHE MARKETS INSTEAD OF MASS PRODUCTION
At this time, a further important goal of the entrepreneurial family was to expand in many directions whilst avoiding larger dependencies in all areas. The decision was taken that they should not become dependent on one region or sector. So even the tempting offers from the automotive industry, and not just from the local Stuttgart region, were successfully resisted. Of course, their offers promised large volumes but would also have meant a large dependency on the sector and individual customers. At Bansbach they were not prepared to make this compromise. It was a conscious decision not to get involved in mass markets such as the automotive industry or the production of office chairs. The focus was placed on niche markets and that is still the case today - with great success. Customer-specific gas springs, also in smaller quantities, but of the highest quality became key to the company's success. The volume resulted accordingly from the many customers that came from all over the world and as they still do today.
INNOVATIVE EASYLIFT SYSTEM
The innovative easylift system was developed and implemented in the course of the focus on niche markets. The Bansbach gas springs are produced with a kind of module system. Each and every special gas spring version is produced individually for the customer from components: fast and economical at the company location in Lorch. Thanks to a production depth of over 90% and the storing of individual components, each and every special gas spring can be produced within very short production times.
FULLY-AUTOMATIC COMPONENT MANAGEMENT IN HIGH RACK
From 1995 the components were fully-automatically managed in a modern high-bay warehouse.This means the storing and retrieval of stocks could be performed highly effectively.
BANSBACH EASYLIFT ASIA PTE LTD
The first activities in the Asian market were already performed at the beginning of the 1990s. Banbach's activities here became more concrete in 1995. Bansbach Asia Pte Ltd was founded in Singapore, and as a 100% subsidiary of Bansbach easylift, has since then been the centre of operations in Asia. A representative office was opened to manage the Asia operations and become the transshipment point for the Bansbach gas springs in South-East Asia. Really Singapore was the only possible location.
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CERAMPRO®-PISTON ROD COATING
Of course, in addition to the development of new markets, further development of the products was not neglected either. The main objective was always to cater to customer needs optimally and deliver products in excellent quality without compromising flexibility. A decisive step was the introduction of the CeramPro® technology, which was to lift Bansbach gas springs to a new quality level. From 2001 Bansbach piston rods were coated with CeramPro®. CeramPro® is a newly developed ceramic surface finishing. This gave the now typically black piston rods a special surface finish that results in perfect running properties with minimum gas spring breakaway torques. In addition, a corrosion resistance is achieved that lies far above the demands of the market. However, the true quality is demonstrated in combination with the likewise newly developed seal package with integrated grease chamber, which is still unique in the world of gas springs to this day. By minimising the friction between the piston rod and seal package, unrivalled low extension forces can now also be realised. The position of the gas springs can be freely selected and generally the durability of the gas springs can be distinctly increased: a decisive step to today's Bansbach gas spring quality.
ANNA BANSBACH JOINS THE COMPANY
In September 2002 Anna Bansbach, the daughter of Silke Bansbach and Edgar Hahn-Bansbach, the 4th generation of the entrepreneurial family joined the company to learn about the production of gas springs from the bottom up during her vocational training as an industrial mechanic.
HYDRAULIC LINEAR ACTUATORS EASYMOTION
In 2005, the product range was expanded to include hydraulic linear actuators. To complement the linear adjustment using Bansbach hydraulic springs, these hydraulic linear actuators allow several adjustment cylinders to be moved absolutely synchronously by simultaneously actuating individual cylinders. The Bansbach DNA can, of course, also be found in this product: The products are produced according to customer specifications and there is also plenty of gas spring expertise in the linear actuator. This is demonstrated not least e.g. in the so-called Z-cylinder that is a combination of a hydraulic cylinder and a gas traction spring.
CERTIFICATE FOR AVIATION AND AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES
The sophisticated aviation industry became increasingly important for Bansbach, which is why the decision was made to pursue the "Approval as a manufacturing company". The Federal Aviation Authority conferred the "Approval as a manufacturing company according to Part 21G for the aviation and aerospace industries" to Bansbach in 2006 as the first worldwide gas spring manufacturer. This means: Bansbach meets all the required quality and safety standards and is officially recognised worldwide as a production company for aviation components.
BANSBACH FEINMECHANIK AG SWISS
In the course of the product diversification that began in 2005 with the hydraulic linear actuators "easymotion", the company Bansbach Feinmechanik AG in Switzerland was taken over as a further component in 2007. The small, but nevertheless successful company A. Schmied Feinmechanik AG - as it was called before the takeover - manufactured very special pneumatic cylinders and precision components. So it complemented the existing Bansbach portfolio perfectly.
BANSBACH EASYLIFT OF NORTH AMERICA
Also in 2007, Bansbach took over long-standing sales partner "easylift of North America”, and this turned out to be a true success story. Thanks to the takeover by Bansbach, the true potentials on the American market for gas springs could be exploited. The strategy was clear: The American subsidiary was also to assume exclusively sales responsibilities in future. The gas spring production remained in Lorch. By arranging a comprehensive warehouse in the USA, it was nonetheless possible to provide fast delivery and respond to customer wishes. The customer-specific product adaptations were performed in the USA. This was geared to effect distinct growth for the American market.
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NEW BUILDING IN TIMES OF THE WORLDWIDE ECONOMIC CRISIS
And of course, the company stayed true to its strategy; even in 2009, when the planned new building of a 3000m2 large production hall was completed in the middle of the economic crisis revolving around the Lehman Brothers. Short-time work was not announced - in contrast to many other companies - but rather investments in a successful future were made. This meant that Bansbach could emerge from this period even stronger. The small losses suffered were quickly balanced out. There were new successes that surpassed everything. The company continued to grow without interruption. Thanks to the investments that were made, the company was well-equipped for the future. Yet again in the company's history, foresight was to pay off.
With the new product series easyE-line Bansbach entered the business of electrical actuators in 2017. An extremely slim design means that these actuators complement the Bansbach gas springs optimally. The electrical actuators meet the highest quality requirements and are produced according to customer specifications, of course. Bansbach does not want to enter the mass market, rather concentrates on the niche with special product requirements.
A NEW PRODUCTION AND ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
The exceedingly positive development of the company over the last few years and decades made it necessary to again invest in production and administration areas. In 2018 this meant the largest investment in the company's history. In order to satisfy the continued growing demand for Bansbach products , a new two-storey hall for production and assembly including an administration building of approx. 6500 m² was built.