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25 years of ALUCA

From the tinsmith workshop into the big wide world

“Quality control”: ALUCA founder Friedrich Beißwenger stands firmly by aluminium from the outset – and is still standing firm on this basis today.

Organised people are just too lazy to look for things: ALUCA has been proving that this proverb is nonsense for 25 years. During this time, we have fitted over 65,000 vehicles with high-quality mobile storage systems – from the classic builder’s van right through to the disused bus making a comeback as a mobile fire brigade control centre complete with independent power supply, incident room, radio room and telephone switchboard – first in Schwäbisch Hall and then in our new factory in nearby Rosengarten.

Rapid growth sees the company needing a whole new production hall as early as the year 2000.

1993: Humble beginnings in the tinsmith workshop

Friedrich Beißwenger starts up the company in a former tinsmith workshop in Schwäbisch Hall at the end of 1993. With a handful of employees, he designs and produces the first purpose-built fittings to accommodate all the tools and materials in the relevant vehicle in any given case. Right from the start, the outfit insists on making all its products with aluminium because this metal is so light and this translates to fuel economy – and when it comes to saving money, the Swabian customers suddenly prick up their ears and start listening.

At first it is mainly people from companies in the local area who come by in person with their vehicles to have them fitted with mobile storage systems. And because the Swabians are so satisfied, customers from other German states are soon standing on the doorstep: ALUCA starts getting bigger and bigger!

The first demonstration model: we can now do ‘before & after’ comparisons, showing customers how tidy their own vehicles will look after a makeover. We also have a small fleet with a wide variety of demonstration cars.

2010: Relocation in record time

A new production hall joins the old tinsmith workshop in 2000. But four years later, with the order books overflowing, the company outgrows the premises yet again and they are extended. By 2010 we have around 80 employees and finally run out of space, so we move to Rosengarten. Not only does ALUCA bring order to vehicles but the company is also extremely organised and efficient when it comes to planning, therefore the relocation is completed in record time. “We were producing on the Thursday until the evening. We packed everything up on the Friday and moved all the machines, workstations, computers and stock to Rosengarten over the weekend,” said the vehicle conversion team leader Hans-Martin Börret, remembering back to the time. “Production was resumed on the Monday and, on the same evening, we delivered the first fittings.”

The white fleet: care to fit out 200 vehicles for an energy supply company in record time? No problem.

Such challenges are hard work but they also weld a team together. Everyone works so well together that large orders can also be handled without any problems. In 2017, for example, Johannes Bischoff and his team were converting 200 vehicles for an energy company. “We only had six weeks to fit out the entire fleet,” he explained. “The vehicles were everywhere. We rented extra halls – and we made it by the deadline.”

Magnificent showpiece: ALUCA Brunswick spent months converting this IRISbus IVECO Crossway into a mobile command and control centre – complete with situation centre, radio room and independent power supply.

2015: Swabian-Dutch alliance

Since 2015, we have been part of the Dutch PON Group which produces special-purpose vehicles in 32 countries worldwide, from ultralight high-tech bicycles right through to heavy construction vehicles with huge tractor tyres. Since this time, CEO Wouter Engelbertink has been running our company which now employs around 120 people at four sites – because in addition to Rosengarten, ALUCA also has sites in Brunswick, Siegen and Berlin.

Change of management in 2015: the Dutch PON Group buys ALUCA and the company is then run by Wouter Engelbertink.

Day-to-day business operations have changed dramatically over the last 25 years, of course. “People just used to produce what the boss told them to,” said Hans-Martin Börret, “but today we work with production planning and control systems. And the paper drawings and plans are increasingly being replaced by the 3D models in the assembly viewer which we can rotate freely and use to zoom in and out on parts.”

Dream car for neat freaks: ALUCA systems use every cubic centimetre of storage space – so everything is always handy and within reach.

Our boss Wouter Engelbertink is impressed by the quality of the products and confident in the skills and know-how of our team. “Since 1 July 2016, our products have been leaving the factory with an eight-year warranty. This length of time is unrivalled in the industry!”

Hans-Martin Börret is not only Team Leader vehicle development, but also instructor.

 

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Categorie(s): History