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ifm turns 50: rapid growth and a strong sense of family

The founders developed their first products in their kitchen and bedroom. Meanwhile, ifm has grown into an international medium-sized group of companies, but one thing has not changed: ifm has remained a family, even if it has turned into quite a large family meanwhile.

It all began in Robert Buck's (†) flat. 50 years ago, Gerd Marhofer asked him to develop an inductive sensor for 220 V supply voltage – thus laying the foundation stone for the family-owned company.

"We gave up using the kitchen as a workshop after devices hardening in the oven started "foaming", which left the oven soiled with cast resin," founder Robert Buck remembered.

The office building in Teichstrasse served as main establishment until 2009.

However, the company's success is not only based on innovative sensors and systems. ifm is also distinguished by a family atmosphere still esteemed by its employees. Some colleagues still remember ifm founder Gerd Marhofer acting in an obliging way towards every employee – kitchen staff as well as members of the board. He often brought back little souvenirs for his colleagues from his business trips or bought everyone ice cream or dinner to celebrate sales success.

Meanwhile, the ifm group of companies is represented in more than 85 countries and the special atmosphere at work is still praised by its employees.