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Putzmeister Organization Celebrates 50 Years


1958 – 2008, Putzmeister celebrates 50 years of excellence in innovation.

Founded on the entrepreneurial spirit of Karl Schlecht, Putzmeister today employs approximately 3,200 people across the globe, nearly 500 of which work for Putzmeister America.

In 1961, Schlecht moved his operations to a small factory he called Putzmeister-Werk. The name “Putzmeister” was chosen to represent “plaster master.”

Shown above is the Aichtal, Germany, Putzmeister World Headquarters today. The Putzmeister Group is known and respected worldwide for quality and durability as well as pioneering technological innovation in the concrete placing industry.

Putzmeister America President & CEO, Dave Adams (left), was presented with a gift at the World of Concrete in January commemorating Putzmeister's 50th Anniversary by World of Concrete Show Director, Tom Cindric.

Putzmeister Organization Celebrates 50 Years

Company to commemorate Jubilee in 2008

STURTEVANT, WI (February 1, 2008) – Making life easier for the laborer. It is this simple principle that inspired the beginnings of a small company in 1958 that would grow into what is today an over one billion dollar global organization. Celebrating 50 years of excellence, the Putzmeister Group is known and respected worldwide for quality and durability as well as pioneering technological innovation in the concrete placing industry.

The Start of Something Big
Founded on the entrepreneurial spirit of Karl Schlecht, Putzmeister offers a broad product line including Boom Pumps, Telebelts®, Placing Booms, Trailer Pumps, Shotcrete Equipment, Mortar Machines, Industrial Pumps, Mining and Tunneling Equipment, Pump Mixers and Water Technology equipment.

While he was destined to help revolutionize the concrete and material placement industry, Schlecht’s humble beginnings in Filderstadt would be the basis for his future success. Schlecht’s experience in his father’s plastering business provided the incentive for him to develop a way to ease the physically demanding work of a plasterer. His first plastering prototype was developed in 1958 as part of his engineering thesis at Stuttgart University. He named his company KS-Maschinenbau.

By 1959, Schlecht had refined his design and in 1961 he had outgrown the village smithy where his machines were made. It was at this time that he moved to a small factory he called Putzmeister-Werk. The name “Putzmeister” was chosen to represent “plaster master.”

Growth Through Innovation
During the 1960s and 1970s, Putzmeister opened branches and additional manufacturing facilities in Germany and throughout Europe to accommodate its technology-based growth.

The company revolutionized the plastering technique in 1965 with the manufacture of Gypsomat, the first automatic and continuously working plaster machine in the world for gypsum plaster. Then, in 1966, Putzmeister introduced its first series of Mixokret floorscreed pumps. Production of PM concrete pumps with 2-meter stroke commenced in 1968. These innovations were complemented by world record-setting concrete pumping heights and distances, including 1,115 feet (340m) high over a total distance of 1,969 feet (600m) in the St. Gotthard Tunnel (Switzerland) in 1978.

In the 1980s, Putzmeister continued to launch new products including the “Shotcrete Buffalo,” the largest wet shotcrete pump in the world, in 1983 and the largest concrete pump in the world with 62-meter boom in 1986. This decade also saw the company pursue opportunity in North America.

After initially exploring penetration of the North American market in the 1970s through a relationship with crane giant, American Pecco of New York, the Putzmeister organization entered the region full force in 1982 with the acquisition of Thomsen, Inc.

The nation’s top boom pump manufacturer at the time, Thomsen had roots in the mortar machine business that closely mirrored Putzmeister’s own. Synergies between the two companies expanded, as Thomsen’s dealer network enhanced distribution of Putzmeister equipment and the two brands merged under the Putzmeister name.

Located in Gardena, California, the company continued production of Thomsen’s well-known and respected Thom-Katt® trailer pumps, mortar machines and Tommy Gun® plastering machines as well as Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete boom pumps and other products. In addition, the growing organization was given sales and distribution responsibilities for the German division’s industrial pumps and tunneling machines in North America.

Business is Booming
In 1993, customer demand and increasing market opportunities led Putzmeister east to establish a larger facility for its North American headquarters. Selected for its centralized Midwest location and close proximity to suppliers, the Southeastern Wisconsin village of Sturtevant also boasted an exceptional work ethic similar to the parent company’s locations in Germany.

Recognizing that its expertise in the placement of concrete could have strategic benefits in the placement of other materials, Putzmeister acquired a truck-mounted telescopic belt conveyor line from Rotec Industries in 1997. Originally called Super Swingers, this brand was renamed and registered as “Telebelt®”. To accommodate production, a new 36,000-square foot manufacturing building was added at the Sturtevant location in 1998. Success with Telebelt sales led to the acquisition of another complementary line – Clark Industries’ truck-mounted 50-foot and portable/towable conveyors.

Driven by a pioneering spirit and an unending desire to exceed customer expectations for high-performance products that complete jobs more efficiently, Putzmeister introduced the world’s largest truck-mounted concrete boom pump, the 63Z-meter at the 2005 ConExpo/ConAGG trade show. Just one example of the company’s long line of industry innovations, the 63Z-meter further solidified Putzmeister’s position on the leading edge of the concrete and material placing business.

On July 2, 2007, Putzmeister completed its acquisition of Allentown Equipment, a leading manufacturer of wet- and dry-process shotcrete equipment for over 95 years. The company was renamed Allentown Shotcrete Technology, Inc., A Putzmeister Company and has begun the process of integrating its product line with Putzmeister’s to serve the refractory, underground, civil and mortar industries.

Reaching for the Future
The Putzmeister Organization today employs approximately 3,200 people across the globe, nearly 500 of which work for Putzmeister America. The dramatic growth of the company is a result of a passionate commitment to making labor easier through innovation. This commitment is seen every day at Putzmeister’s global headquarters in Aichtal, Germany, its additional German manufacturing facility in Grundau and in its 16 international manufacturing and sales divisions. The people processes and drive to be the best demonstrated at Putzmeister continue to set new benchmarks for performance, quality, reliability and customer satisfaction.

Putzmeister America kicked off the 50th anniversary celebrations for the global organization during the World of Concrete in January. Show director Tom Cindric presented Putzmeister America president and CEO, Dave Adams with a gift commemorating this significant milestone.

In May 2008, Putzmeister will hold an International Meeting in Aichtal, Germany to officially mark the organization’s half-century in business. Putzmeister has developed a commemorative logo, which will be featured throughout the year on the company’s marketing and communication materials.