A world-renowned manufacturer within the PV industry, Bruker-Spaleck has built its business upon innovation and diversification. Heinrich Schillings talks to PES about the past, present and future of the company.
PES: Bruker-Spaleck is well-known for its manufacture of flat wires which are used in a variety of applications. Can you tell us something of the company’s history and the various uses for its products?
HS: The company was founded as ‘Fa. Pfaff & Schlauder’ and focussed on manufacturing springs and turning parts for watches and measuring instruments for more than a century. The emerging quartz technology and the subsequent replacement of mechanical clockwork imposed problems to the company and it became insolvent in 1982. A new investor, the Bruker family, utilised the facility’s core competency for the metal transformation of non-ferrous metals. The company started expanding the flat wires business area for Flexible Flat Cable applications and fusible conductors.
The requirements of the clock and watch industry promoted the sustainability of this development, since metal forming by drawing and rolling with dimensions as low as 0.025 x 0.30 mm requires this level of precision. The company deployed/deploys internal engineering facilities, and the required systems were developed and built internally.
In 2002 the company was entirely incorporated into Spaleck-Bekaert, a joint venture between Bekaert, the world’s largest wire manufacturer, and Spaleck, a highly specialised steel flat wire manufacturer. In 2005 the Kern-Liebers Group (with headquarters also in Schramberg) purchased 70% of the shares. The company name subsequently changed to Bruker-Spaleck.