Sustainably successful since 1834
Sulzer is a global industry leader in fluid engineering with sustainable pumping, agitation, mixing, separation and application technologies. From its beginnings in Winterthur, Switzerland, back in 1834, Sulzer has developed to become a reliable, fast, and trusted partner for its customers, with a responsive network of 180 world-class manufacturing facilities and service centers across the globe.
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.
Sulzer sells the Sulzer Hydro water turbine and pump business to the technology company VA Tech (Austria).
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.
In summer, Sulzer Medica goes public. The corporation decides to pursue a dual strategy: medical technology and industrial business.
The inauguration of the Sulzer Orthopedics Technology Center takes place on May 21 in Oberwinterthur.
Closure of the Oberwinterthur foundry.
Non-Swiss shareholders are permitted for the first time.
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 a minor participation.
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.
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.
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 shareholders.
Sulzer acquires the Rüti machine factory; a strong expansion of the weaving-machinery business follows.
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.
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.
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.
Sulzer acquires the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Factory (SLM), Winterthur.
Beginning of the boom in the large diesel-engine business.
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.
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.
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.
The family firm is transformed into three joint-stock companies, one of which is the holding company.
Sulzer starts to build compressors.