...how it all started
From the company´s establishment up to today
Aged 25, Hermann Wetzer established a company in Pfronten-Steinach in 1872 for the production of telegraph apparatus (Morse system).
Hermann Wetzer´s firm started with two workers one of whom - funnily enough - proved his ability to work as a mechanic by demonstrating his self-made dismountable poacher´s rifle. Soon, in the autumn of 1873, the firm moved to the larger "Lenzemühle", a historical grinding and saw mill (provable by a document from the year 1645) in Pfronten-Meilingen.
Through the mediation of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria did they finally succeed in receiving small test orders from the Bavarian Mail. After a short time and thanks to their excellent work the order situation developed positively.
The orders received from the Bavarian Mail grew and in addition, in 1878 orders were also coming in from the Railway Company for telegraph apparatus as well as safety equipment.
A few years later Wetzer also supplied railway companies in Europe but specially overseas. In some of the years exports reached about 60%of the total turn-over.
The the second and third generation development
Rudolf Wetzer, son of the founder, started his apprenticeship in his father´s company in 1897, then in 1905/06 - after his military service as a volunteer with the Munich Telegraph Company -he worked as a mechanic at "Siemens Brothers" in London and subsequently as test mechanic at "Western Electrical Instrument Comp." in Newark (New Jersey -USA).
In the autumn of 1906 Rudolf Wetzer took over the family business.
Numerous innovative designs provided a wider product range as well as more customers. For a number of inventions patents were applied for over the years.
Rudolf Wetzer was untiring in his work as design engineer and draftsman. Numerous sketches and uncountable drawings give witness to the versatile skills, inventiveness and enormous diligence of this man.
In 1941 the company was changed from the individual firm "Hermann Wetzer Telegraphenfabrik" to the limited partnership "Hermann Wetzer KG". The previous sole owner Rudolf, his wife and sons became limited partners.
At the time of changing the firm into a partnership the third generation, brothers Fritz Wetzer, Hermann Wetzer and Wilhelm Wetzer, had already held leading positions in the company.
To bridge the difficult years of the world-war II Wetzer took on external construction work for the optical industry. E.g. like the construction of a single lens reflex camera, and the production of high-performance small-size microscopes (brand name OTROPIC) which were exported in large quantities. The original product range - telegraph apparatus - was discontinued whereas the production of a measuring instrument for rail-way brake testing (roller chronograph) was retained. There was an increasing demand for this instrument, especially from the Eastern Block countries. In 1954 an idea at the right time and a successful construction ended this transitional period. An operating time counter - brand name HORAMETER - is newly introduced and finds quick Access to the agricultural equipment industry (tractor production). Within a few years the registered name HORAMETER stands for quality. With this new basis the development of printers can be intensified and production following the modular construction system developed further.
As a separate product line, a test instrument for monitoring the level of roads was introduced in 1958. Series production of the test instrument PLANOGRAPH was favoured by the rapid expansion of the road network. In 1966 Wetzer became suppliers of electrical equipment for a juke-box manufacturer.
The product range of the seventies
At the start of the seventies the area of "printing units" is far ahead. Based on the 19-Inch System, instruments for the printout of technical weighing data are specially developed in co-operation with the customer, the scale manufacturer Pfister Waagen GmbH in Augsburg. The instruments were developed further to achieve a more rapid print sequence. The fast printer SSP 2000 could print 40 lines per second at 16 characters per line.
From the year 1976 together with Endress+Hauser
The 1973 economic crisis and the resulting fierce competition in industry made it clear that the company could only survive by having a strong partner. After completing his studies in economics, Peter Wetzer, Wilhelm Wetzer´s son, joined Endress+Hauser as Assistant to the General Manager and Company President, G.H. Endress. It suggested itself that the Endress+Hauser group of companies initially acquired shares and then, in 1976, completely took over the family business. Endress+Hauser, a group of companies with a global presence, brought with them valuable know-how in automation technology recognised world-wide. Wetzer, on the other hand, had their Pfronten workers´ skills in precision mechanics to offer. This combination was ideal as know-how in both electronics and precision-mechanics is needed in the highly sophisticated field of measurement and automation technology. With the introduction of new products, the printer series "WD 3600", and the new business units Environmental Technology and System Components an upward trend was soon noticeable at "Wetzer Messtechnik". But this growth also meant that the existing premises needed expanding and modernising which, however, was not possible at the Pfronten site. So in 1990 the company was able to move to new premises in Nesselwang.
Endress+Hauser Wetzer today
The Endress+Hauser group is today among the top suppliers world-wide of measuring and automation instrumentation for the process technology. All the companies are managed by Endress+Hauser (International) Holding in Reinach (Switzerland).
The group is partly market leader, partly among the top five in the areas of industrial level, flow and pressure measurement, temperature measurement and recording technology. Reliable sales support and service are guaranteed by the various sales companies in practically all countries of the world.
Endress+Hauser Wetzer today and tomorrow
More than half of the present turnover is accounted for by products that were developed during the past five years. With numerous patented innovations Endress+Hauser Wetzer is able to hold its position on the world market despite the present-day fierce competition. This is demonstrated by an export rate of more than 60%. It is ensured that only state of the art production and logistics methods are applied in the manufacture of all products. Shortest possible delivery times are guaranteed by team work, individual place production and "Kanban" system with suppliers within the group as well as external ones. Today more than 90% of orders can therefore be produced and delivered within four working days.
Quality and quality assurance are most important at Endress+Hauser Wetzer. As far back as 1992 the company, being one of the first in the branch, received an ISO 9001 certification. The present organisation is based on a continuous improvement system. More than 2.5 suggestions per employee and year is a rate far above average.
With their committed employees and the continuous development of new and innovative products as well as good service, Endress+Hauser Wetzer will be able to face confidently the challenges of a global, dynamic and highly competitive market also in future. Looking at the future, there are excellent chances for Endress+Hauser Wetzer for an above average development in its areas of activities and for further expansion of its Development and Production Centre in Nesselwang.