At the age of 22, Ruedi Wandfluh establishes a small mechanical workshop at Rybrügg in Frutigen. Together with two employees, he carries out general mechanical repair work.
Ruedi Wandfluh marries Gertrud Stucki in 1949. In the same year, he builds new factory premises in Kandergrund. Apart from repair work, he develops various machines for the efficient machining of watch stones: Drilling machines, counting machines, automatic placing machines, etc.
Due to a recession in the watch-making industry, a partial patent for Dotis knitting machines is taken over. The knitting machines are further developed.
The unexpected death of the founder of the company raises a big question mark regarding the continuation of the company. The first knitting machines are ready for sale.
Number of employees: 10 persons.
Keep, innovation, recovery
The widow Gertrud Wandfluh makes the decision to maintain the jobs in the region and to carry on with the company. She is a home economics teacher by profession and the mother of three small children.
On the advice of a friend of the company founder, Gertrud Wandfluh decides to enter into the development, production and sales of hydraulic valves. This decision is decisive for the future of the company.
It takes nearly two years for the first significant sales to be realised. But with the first good references the breakthrough is achieved.
With the strongly rising sales, primarily to the Swiss machine tool industry, the production space in Kandergrund is doubled.
Number of employees: 40 persons.
Overheating, recession, recoveryssor
As a result of the strong growth and because of the remarriage of the company owner, the company is changed to a joint-stock company. Hans Hari – Wandfluh becomes the first president of the board.
Following a restructuring in the company management, Ernst Plüss is made managing director.
Number of employees: 75 persons.
With the support of a well motivated management team, the strong growth of the company continues.
The first stage of a new building in Frutigen is completed. The signs of an economic recession caused by the world oil crisis are able to be compensated for to a great extent with the takeover of the competing company Müller & Co. Automation AG in Thun.
The first proportional valves are developed, as well as the electronics cards required for driving them. In addition, also miniature vales and soft-switching valves are developed, and in part patented as well.
Not only with Wandfluh products electronics are now used, but also with numerically controlled processing machines. In addition, the second stage of the building project is launched.
On the Way to becoming
a Small Group of Companies
After the completion of his studies as graduate engineer ETH (dipl. Ing. ETH), practical training in other companies and a two-year introduction period, Hansruedi Wandfluh, the son of the founder of the company, takes over the management of the company.
Number of employees: 127 persons.
The company becomes international through Wandfluh companies in the USA and in Germany.
A holding company is set up in 1985.
The third stage of the building project is completed with the move to the new office building and the subsequent construction of the warehouse for cast materials.
As the first Swiss manufacturer of hydraulic components, Wandfluh AG obtains the quality certification in accordance with ISO 9001. This distinction is the reward for the many years of obligation to quality.
In the same year a Wandfluh company is founded in England.
Wandfluh sales offices are opened in Zürich and in Lausanne. In addition, the Frutigen factory of Ascom AG is taken over and continued under the name Wandfluh Produktions AG.
Hansruedi Wandfluh is elected to the Swiss Parliament as National Councillor. As entrepreneur, it is his concern to improve the prevailing general conditions for the industries and companies in Switzerland.
Overall number of employees: 280 persons.
Innovation during the New Millenium
In order to be in a position to operate more closely to the market, also in France a sales office is opened. Domicile of the company is Paris.
The production space is expanded by 50 % with a further building stage. The new building makes optimum space conditions for both production and assembly possible. The Wandfluh company in Germany takes over the Astro-Hydraulik Company.
Wandfluh expands its manufacturing programme with a technology module and is now offering “DSV” – hydraulic valves with integrated electronics.
The founding of a Wandfluh company in China takes place.
Well over 300 persons worldwide work in Wandfluh-Holding.