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Start to the anniversary year - 50 years of ifm: how it all began

On 29 October 1969 the time had come: today's ifm group of companies was founded as ifm electronic geräte gmbh+co kg. In ifm's foundation year, success started with the invention of inductive sensors for 220 V.

The motivation was to do it in a different way than all the others – and better: with quality, reliability and customer service. Some years before the foundation, the two founders, "salesman" Gerd Marhofer and "electrical engineer" Robert Buck, set up rolling mills and steel plants for a plant manufacturer in Alsace. But they were not satisfied with this work. Therefore, Robert Buck started to build his own sensors and circuitry in the bedroom of his flat in Tettnang as of 1967. Based on Gerd Marhofer's idea, he designed an inductive sensor for 220 V supply voltage. So far no other company had mastered this kind of detection without contact "but Robert Buck was a fantastic developer. You almost had the impression that he could reduce his size and go through the circuitry", Gerd Marhofer remembers. "I wanted to solve problems with electronic means that other people did not deal with", Robert Buck once said.

The development of inductive proximity switches for 220 V supply voltage for direct triggering of a contactor was the birth of ifm electronic geräte gmbh+co kg. At first, ifm's product portfolio consisted of inductive sensors with a sensing range of 10 and 20 mm.

Today, half a century later, ifm's exceptionally wide product portfolio does not only cover all relevant standard solutions but also the special requirements of individual industries. In addition to position and process sensors, sensors for motion control and safety technology are part of the product range. Furthermore ifm offers products for industrial imaging and communication as well as identification systems and systems for mobile machines. Besides, ifm has been developing more and more innovative Industry 4.0 solutions.