Whenever company cofounder Ernst Thünemann tells a story, it’s at once exciting! The first play structures made of metal, innovations from the USA, and the first steps into fully new worlds. Are you ready for a jump in the past? 1968 is the foundation year of Metallbau Emmeln. Two young family men, Ernst Thünemann and Fritz Herbers, were on the brink of ruin as their employer was insolvent. They fortuitously met Hermann Lohmann who was ready to take the chance of founding a company. Today, 50 years later, the firm not only continues to exist, but has also earned a good repute in professional circles. Courage, perseverance, and spirit of enterprise! This is the formula for that success!
The beginning – Playground structures made of metal
It all started with playground structures made of metal and small vehicles intended for excursion restaurants. This includes the famous “Motor Scooter” and a small “Mini-Railway” which are both still produced today. They were a full success! However, a change was then necessary. Playground structures made of metal were no longer in demand as municipalities changed over to wooden elements. The three men had to ask themselves “What are we to do now?” – so, ideas were welcome, of course!
The radical change – Amusement parks
Approximately at the same time as metal play structures disappeared from playgrounds, a new idea drifted over the ocean – amusement parks! This was in the 70s. Such parks had their origin in the USA and enjoyed great popularity over there. Today, there are about 25 of them here in Germany. At that time it was the possibility for Metallbau Emmeln to stay in the business of metal working, so the company fully focused on that sector. With very much success, indeed! Because excellent quality was and remains a characteristic mark of our company. Nevertheless amusement parks are a season business. They have a cyclical boom during the fine season, and requests for quotations are missing during that time. It is true that the standard range of products can be manufactured in advance, however this too was a mere patched-up solution allowing to keep the machines working and the staff busy.
The range of products intended for amusement parks has been continuously expanded and adjusted to the owners’ requirements. However, more and more theme parks attached great importance to a recognition value, so that forecast production of standard models became ever more difficult. Here again, new ideas were needed!
Second mainstay – Containers
As is often the case in life, you can run after a development or be part of it and take the lead!
In the same way as playground structures made of metal had been replaced by others made of wood, the so-called workers’ shanties made of timber (as seen on building sites) were increasingly replaced by containers made of metal. This was the chance for Metallbau Emmeln not only to create a second mainstay, but also to participate in shaping the market from the beginning. While such containers were of rather simple design at the start, nowadays they sometimes contain complete switching stations or groups of units, and are complex, customized facilities designed down to the smallest detail. Each container is built according to the specifications of the client, and thus a unique customer-tailored product. Quality and observance of delivery time are here the key to success, at that time just as today.
The plunge into cold water – Access systems
The desire to find a third mainstay had been in every manager’s head already when coincidence offered a possibility.
Turnstiles had always been a range covered by the company. More precisely they were mechanical exit turnstiles rotating in one direction only and ensuring valuable monitoring of entrances in amusement parks. Then a customer of many years wanted to have a complete cash register system. It was intended to make accounting easier and better access check possible. In fact, what seemed to be a simple idea turned out to be very complicated in the end. But with dedication, very much time and an enormous quantity of patience, a turnstile was developed which operated with bar code and was connected to a complex cash register system.
Change is necessary
Metallbau Emmeln is a success story based upon much entrepreneurial skill, the right decisions at the right time, and flawless quality work, all characteristics shown by the founders in the course of many, many years. Not to show any fear of changes, but to cause them on one’s own, this was and remains an important characteristic on the way to success!
We look forward to the next 50 years!
Your Team at Metallbau Emmeln
Foundation on 01/02/1968 – Factory in the Akazienstraße
New buildings in the Eichenstraße
Removal and production start in the Eichenstraße
Erection of a second production hall
Building-up of department Container engineering
Expansion of offices
Building-up of department Controlled access systems
Hall expansion and building of the first paint hall
Expansion of social rooms
Erection of the large container building hall
Erection of a new office building
Erection of the new container equipment hall
Erection of the new large paint hall