History // Passion in hinges technology

1854 to 2014; Decades full of political, social, cultural and technological events. From stagecoaches and oil lamps to automobiles, space ships and microprocessors.

160 years Kaltenbach; this is the story of a family business in its 6th generation, its staff, their activities and performance, worries, joys and success. This at the same time means: over one and a half century long specialized experience in design and manufacture of all types and sizes of hinges as well as continued development in both the production and products.

160 years quality; through professional expertise, flexibility and cooperative collaboration between entrepreneurs and employees, the term “quality hinges” was realized.

Time lapse:

Caspar Friedr. Wilhelm Kaltenbach, born in 1822, starts his own business as a skilled blacksmith and leases a blacksmith’s shop belonging to Hof Koordt in Berninghausen, Milspe. At the beginning, gate bands and simple hinges are forged.

The Ballaufs purchase a new cottage with an apartment building and a blacksmith’s shop situated in Neuenhause, Homberge. This enables better application of the blacksmith skills and improves production. Agriculture is still practiced part-time. C.F.W. Kaltenbach was married to Henriette König since 1857.

The founder endorses his oldest son, Emil Kaltenbach to run the business. Devoted and enthusiastic, he vigorously works towards its expansion and development. Though working tirelessly, he still manages to enjoy his leisure time, by going hunting or merrily relaxing at the Vogelherd.  

The acquisition of a petrol engine enables conversion of the artisan operations to factory-like production; presses and drop hammers are now available. An expanded program increases production. 15 workers are employed. Successful business trips are made with the aim of expanding the customer base.

The two sons, Otto and Emil Kaltenbach who have now been working for a long time for the company, become part of the management. Otto Kaltenbach takes over commercial management while his brother Emil, oversees operations. On 19/5/1919, the company is registered in the commercial register.

Despite the post-war period challenges, inflation and economic crisis, production is maintained.  

The oldest section of the factory is dismantled. The wake of economic revival is marked by an increase in the production rates. An office building is constructed.

The two sons of the founder take over business management. Otto Kaltenbach Jr. becomes the commercial manager, Werner Kaltenbach the operations manager.

As a first step of the redesigning, a new production hall is constructed. Increased production rates and quality improvement calls for supplementation and modernization of the machinery; 45 employees.

Greater demand for hinges and fittings as well as the continuous growth require more space. Therefore, the production hall constructed in 1954 is extended to include storage and social rooms as well. New investments in order to improve the manufacturing process.

A hall is built to facilitate storage of the material. The installed crane runway makes movement of the material way easier.

To cope with the substantial increase in the delivery volumes, an annex is built where shipments processing, tool-making with its machinery, equipment and warehousing will now be facilitated. The number of employees rises to 80.

Introduction of a quality assurance control system.

Introduction of computer-based office operations.

Construction of a design and development department.

After the death of Otto Kaltenbach, his daughter, Annette Kaltenbach takes over as the managing director and at the same time the proprietor of the Emil Kaltenbach Company, now in its 5th generation.

Introduction of a quality management system based on continuous improvement of the process sequences.

The initial certification of Emil Kaltenbach GmbH & Co as stipulated by DIN EN ISO 9001.
In the years 1996 – 1998, annual re-audits are performed, all which show continuous improvement in the quality management system.

Consistent IT integration with production, planning and control system.

Complete re-certification of the quality management system as per EN ISO 9001: 1994 was done in November 1999 by the DNV Certification and environmental verifier GmbH.

Introduction of process-oriented manufacturing.

Design of a new, comprehensive web presentation.

Complete re-certification of the quality management system according to EN ISO 9001 : 2000 was done in March 2003 by RWTÜV Systems GmbH.

Initial certification of the entire company according to TS 16949 quality standards as well as successful audits in subsequent years.

Introduction of a new integrative and control-based accounting system.

Expansion of the development capacity to the CAD-based construction sector.

Implementation of advanced automated sawing technology for profile hinge manufacturing.

Change in management: Dr. Chris Windhövel joins Annette Kaltenbach in business management of the Emil Kaltenbach GmbH & Co. The longtime managing director of the company, Gert Gottmann, deservedly goes into retirement.

Business and production expansion by opening a second plant in Sprockhövel so as to expand the product range.

Generation change: After a short, severe illness and death of long time managing partner Annette Kaltenbach, Dr. Chris Windhövel takes over the entire Emil Kaltenbach GmbH in its 6th family generation.

Modernization of the production facility including the administration building, courtyard and outdoor production systems.

Annyversary: 160 years Emil Kaltenbach

Relaunch of the website to a new responsive web design and advanced product and company information.
Presentation at the 'Busworld Kortrijk Europe' in Belgium.

Presentation at the 'Bauma' in Munich, Germany.