From Ingenieurgesellschaft to world market leader
In the past 50 years, ifm electronic has evolved from a small sensor manufacturer into a hidden champion with a considerably extended portfolio. The family-run group of companies employs currently about 7,300 staff and is aiming for an annual turnover of 1 billion euros.
In 1969, Robert Buck and Gerd Marhofer founded "ingenieurgesellschaft für messtechnik“. The division of labour was defined right from the start: Whereas the passionate electrical engineer Buck develops innovative sensors in Tettnang, the salesman Marhofer sells the products to customers. Five years after the foundation, ifm is already among the leading companies of the automation industry in Germany. In 1976, the first of today's 45 foreign branches are opened in France and Japan. In the following decades, locations on all continents are added.
On the path to world market leader, there is a generational change at ifm in 2001. The sons of the founders, Martin Buck and Michael Marhofer, resume the management. Since then, they have led the company through the economic crisis, the lack of specialists and other challenges. The distribution of the roles at both locations Tettnang and Essen is still the same today as 50 years ago. Whereas sales and finances are based at the headquarters in Essen, the products are developed and produced at Lake Constance.
Besides the development and production of sensors, the group of companies has invested in other sectors during the past few years. Five companies belonging to the group are located in Siegen: GIB mbH, pmdtechnologies ag, ifm services gmbh (formerly QOSIT Informationstechnik GmbH), ifm software gmbh (formerly ifm datalink gmbh) and ifm solutions gmbh (formerly TiSC AG). In spring 2019, they moved into the new building complex The SUMMIT in the industrial estate Martinshardt. It is considered as the software and technological site of the group of companies. The different companies are working there on new technologies and innovative software solutions for the intelligent, worldwide networking and communication of the manufacturing industry.