Gas turbine, 1947

Sustainably Successful Since 1834

Sulzer is a global industry leader with reliable and sustainable solutions for performance-critical applications. From its beginnings in Winterthur, Switzerland back in 1834, Sulzer has developed to become a leading player in its key markets.

Information

2011

Acquisition of Cardo’s Flow Business, a full-line supplier of pumps and related equipment: with this acquisition Sulzer enters the attractive water and wastewater market. The water and wastewater market becomes a key market of Sulzer. It offers growth potential in both mature and emerging markets, driven by long-term trends such as population growth, increasing water consumption, urbanization, and environmental protection.

Cardo Flow SolutionsClick to zoom

Acquisition of C.L. Engenharia in Brazil, a specialist in tower field service: with this acquisition, Sulzer enhances the competitiveness of its tower field service activities in Brazil and further expands its presence in the emerging markets.

Growth and good prospects

2010

Acquisition of Dowding & Mills, a leading service provider for generators and motors: integrated in Sulzer Turbo Services, this acquisition creates a leading independent provider of maintenance and repair services for turbomachinery, generators, and motors with a broad geographical presence.

Dowding & MillsClick to zoom

Sulzer Metco complements its portfolio for thin-film coatings with the acquisition of Bekaert’s diamond-like carbon coatings.

Sulzer expands its presence in the emerging markets with the opening of a new, state-of-the-art production facility in China.

Suzhou, ChinaClick to zoom

2009

Sulzer celebrates its 175th anniversary with the motto Experience Sulzer. The sites around the world organize events for employees, customers and other interested parties, emphasizing today’s products, services and solutions.

175 years of experience SulzerClick to zoom

Definition of the three core values of Sulzer: Customer Partnership, Operational Excellence and Committed People. They are the principles and standards upon which Sulzer builds its future.

Sulzer Chemtech acquires several tower field service companies in Australia, Thailand, India, and Germany.

2008

The Sustainability Summary 2008 is audited externally and receives the highest Global Reporting Initiative G3 application level A+.

Sulzer Turbo Services expands its business in South America with the acquisition of the turbomachinery service-provider Capime.

2007

Sulzer Chemtech acquires the separation business of KnitMesh Ltd.

KnitmeshClick to zoom

Sulzer initiates a health and safety awareness program to ensure adequate safetybehavior on all levels. The corporation has set the long-term goal of reducing the number of occupational accidents and illnesses to zero. In the midterm, Sulzer aims to reduce the 2006 accident frequency rate by half by 2010.

2006

In February, Sulzer Pumps divests its Paco pumping activities to Grundfos.

In December, the corporation acquires Mixpac, Werfo, and Mold. The companies are integrated into the new business unit Sulzer Mixpac Systems in 2007.

2005

Sulzer Chemtech acquires Cana-Tex in Houston, Texas, USA and thus becomes a leading field-service supplier for separation columns.

Shortly before year-end, the Hexis fuel-cell activities are sold to a Swiss foundation.

2004

Sulzer publishes its first biannual “Sustainability Summary”, which is well received among experts.

Sustainability Summary 2004Click to zoom

In the course of the year, Sulzer strengthens the market positions of its divisions: Sulzer Metco acquires the Ambeon division of Westaim in Canada as well as OSU Machine Construction in Germany. Sulzer Pumps takes over the Johnston, Crown, and Paco pump activities from Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC), located in Houston, Texas, USA, and in Wuxi, China.

2003

Sulzer Pumps initiates a global program to double margins by 2006.

Sulzer launches a program for corporate culture to achieve operational excellence in all units.

Reorganization and new beginnings

2002

With the sale of Sulzer Burckhardt to its management, the divestiture program that was started in 2000 is closed. Sulzer now comprises four divisions: Sulzer Pumps, Sulzer Metco, Sulzer Chemtech, and Sulzer Turbo Services.

2001

Incentive Capital initiates a hostile takeover bid for Sulzer. In response, Sulzer advises shareholders to reject this offer and launches a defensive campaign. At the 87th Annual General Meeting, all board proposals are approved, including the Sulzer Medica spin-off, while Incentive’s proposals are clearly rejected. As a result, Incentive cancels its bid.

Sulzer Infra is divested to Groupe Fabricom.

The Sulzer Medica spin-off is finalized on July 10, 2001.

Prosthetic joint from Sulzer MedicaClick to zoom

Sulzer Textile is sold to the Promatech Group, Italy.

2000

Sulzer Pumps takes over Ahlstrom Pumps (Finland).

Ahlstrom Pumps (Finland)Click to zoom

In September, plans are made public that Sulzer wants to divest several divisions, and to reintegrate Sulzer Medica. However, the reintegration plan is cancelled a few weeks later; the industrial and the medical technology parts are to develop more independently.

In December, Sulzer Turbo is sold to the MAN group.

1999

Corporate restructuring is carried out. Like Sulzer Medica, Sulzer Industries is established as an independent sector with its own CEO.

Sulzer Pumps strengthens its position on the Chinese market by founding a joint venture with Dalian Pumps.

Dalian PumpsClick to zoom

Sulzer sells the Sulzer Hydro water turbine and pump business to the technology company VA Tech (Austria).

Sulzer Medica consolidates biotechnology activities in the new division, Sulzer Biologics, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA.

1998

Sulzer Medica takes over the American company Spine-Tech, active in the spinal market segment. With this acquisition, Sulzer strengthens its range of opportunity in the field of orthopedics.

The engineering sector of SLM (Swiss Locomotive and Machine Factory) is sold to Adtranz Switzerland.

1997

In the summer, Sulzer Medica goes public. The corporation decides to pursue a dual strategy: medical technology and industrial business.

Sulzer Thermtec (power plant valves and apparatuses) is sold to the British company IMI.

1996

The inauguration of the Sulzer Orthopedics Technology Center takes place on May 21 in Oberwinterthur.

The flourishing-but-too-small Sulzer Chemtech environmental technology business is sold to Austrian Energy and Environment.

ELMA Electronic becomes independent and goes public in the same year.

Crisis and restructuring

1993

Closure of the Oberwinterthur foundry.

1992

Non-Swiss shareholders are permitted for the first time.

1990

Sulzer stops production at the Winterthur factory. Its various departments are reassigned to the product divisions (“verticalization”) in an attempt to streamline the product areas. The historical Winterthur site is cleared, and work started on reutilization plans. For the first time in Sulzer’s history, the number of Sulzer employees abroad exceeds the number in Switzerland. The diesel engine business is divested to the new Sulzer diesel company, in which Sulzer holds only a minor participation. 

1988

Corporate reorganization measures lead to restructuring of the product portfolio. The medical technology business expands intensively (including acquisition of the Intermedics Group, USA). A hostile takeover bid is averted. 

1985

Sulzer takes control of Plasma Technik AG with four facilities in Switzerland, USA, England, and Singapore. The materials and surface technology business is an excellent fit for Sulzer and in line with its research and development activities.

Plasma nitridingClick to zoom

1984

Sulzer’s 150th jubilee celebrations coincide with extensive restructuring activities. For the first time in many years, the corporation records a net loss and does not pay out a dividend to its stockholders. 

1982

Sulzer acquires the Rüti machine factory; a strong expansion of the weaving-machinery business follows. 

1970 onwards

The oil crisis of the 1970s leads to an end of the economic boom which had lasted for about twenty five years. The strong Swiss franc has a negative effect on Sulzer’s exports. To master the resulting difficulties, the Sulzer Corporation is reorganized into a presidential system with responsibilities on a decentralized basis. 

Growth

1968

Sulzer establishes a corporate structure, whereby the four-member corporate executive management assumes overall business responsibility according to the collective responsibility principle.

Material technology activities are intensified and form the basis for medical technology products. The fundamental change from a machine-building company to a technology corporation starts to become apparent.

1966

Sulzer acquires a 53 percent share in Escher Wyss AG, Zurich, and takes over the company completely in 1969. As a result of this integration, employee figures rise to more than thirty thousand. 

1961

Sulzer acquires the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Factory (SLM), Winterthur.

Locomotive with Sulzer diesel engineClick to zoom

Beginning of the boom in the large diesel-engine business.

1945 onwards

After the Second World War, a new growth phase starts that brings great prosperity and strong expansion of business activities abroad. In order to meet steadily rising production demands, increasing numbers of employees are recruited, especially from southern Europe. 

Due to ongoing construction activities at the Oberwinterthur site, manufacturing facilities are tripled within twenty-five years. The product range expands, particularly in the boiler-construction and textile machinery.

Construction of housing increases steadily in Winterthur suburbs and surrounding regions.

Employees benefit from better working conditions and social welfare. Female labor is promoted for light factory work.

The crisis of the 1930s 

1937

With the rise of political totalitarianism in Europe and after a narrowly avoided strike at Sulzer, an industrial peace agreement is signed. Employers and employees of the Swiss machine industry thereby agree to negotiate in good faith instead of taking militant action.

1930 to 1937

Due to the global slump, production declines to less than 40 percent and many employees lose their jobs.

Foundation and growth 

1919

Sulzer initiates Switzerland’s first regularly published in-house magazine. At the same time, the technical customer magazine “Technische Rundschau Sulzer” (today “Sulzer Technical Review”) is launched.

Revue technique (STR) (1919)Click to zoom

1914

The family firm is transformed into three joint-stock companies, one of which is the holding company.

1909

Sulzer starts to build compressors.

1898

Cooperation with Rudolf Diesel leads to the development of the first Sulzer diesel engine. This engine gradually replaces the then-dominant steam engine.

Sulzer diesel engineClick to zoom

1890

The first workers’ council in Switzerland is founded. 

1881

Sulzer opens a subsidiary in Ludwigshafen on the Rhine (Germany). It flourishes, as does the parent company in Winterthur.

During the years following, sales offices are opened in Milan, Paris, Cairo, London, Moscow, Bucharest, and, in 1914, in Kobe (Japan).

1880

A new growth period begins: Sulzer experiences international success especially with steam engines. Employee figures continued to rise, reaching three thousand by the turn of the century.  

Steam engines (1900)Click to zoom

Sulzer starts to build refrigerating machines.

1872

During the initial phase of Winterthur’s first large-scale social housing plan, twenty-four low-cost employee rental apartments are constructed in Veltheim, Winterthur. The “Society for Affordable Housing Construction” soon adds further apartment buildings and the first private homes for employees in other parts of Winterthur. (In 1989, the city of Winterthur receives the Wakker Prize—an award for cultural heritage—for its outstandingly maintained employee housing estates). 

1870

To ensure an adequate supply of qualified young craftsmen, Sulzer opens the first in-house training school in Switzerland, including an apprentice workshop. 

1867

Sulzer enjoys great successes at the World Exhibition in Paris and six years later in Vienna. 

For the first time in its history, Sulzer employs over one thousand workers.

Extensive building activities are carried out at the original site in Winterthur.

Around 1860

The first sales office abroad is opened in Turin, Italy. 

1859

The first trading-company agreement between the Sulzer brothers is made, whereby company activities are divided into divisions. Entrepreneurial thinking and the willingness to take a risk lead to the introduction of new products (such as steam engines and, later, steamboats) with more efficient industrial production methods. 

Paddle steamer "Schweiz" (1890)Click to zoom

1845

A “Sickness-Benefit Association for Factory Workers” is founded. This is the first step towards a health insurance plan for the company. 

1839

A new foundry is constructed, and the original building becomes a machine shop. 

The first steam engine installed in Winterthur creates a sensation.

Steam boiler (1841)Click to zoom

1836

Still largely a workshop establishment, the business then employs forty journeymen, laborers, and apprentices, some of whom receive room and board with the family. Though patriarchal in accordance with the times, the company takes the first stepstowards a division of labor. 

1834

Through an exchange with the city of Winterthur, Johann Jakob Sulzer-Neuffert acquires a 5000 m2 site on Zürcherstrasse, and lays the foundation stone of “Sulzer Brothers Foundry, Winterthur”, known today as “the 1834 building”. His two sons, Johann Jakob and Salomon, start producing cast iron. They also manufacture firefighting and other pumps as well as textile machinery and later set up a heating installation business. 

Johann Jacob Sulzer- Hirzel (1806-1883) <br>Salomon Sulzer-Sulzer (1809-1869)Click to zoom

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