70 years of innovation - Schüco celebrates a milestone birthday

The path to success of the building envelope specialist

Andreas Engelhardt, Managing Partner of Schüco International KG / Picture credits: Schüco International KG
(PresseBox) ( Bielefeld, )
Founded in 1951 as Heinz Schürmann & Co., Schüco International KG is celebrating its 70th birthday this year. What was once a six-man outfit is now a leading building envelope specialist for windows, doors and façades with over 5650 employees worldwide and an annual turnover of 1.750 billion euros in 2019.

“For 70 years, the Schüco brand has stood for innovative technology, outstanding quality and reliable service. Just as we always have, we continue to work with our partners every day towards creating outstanding buildings,” comments Andreas Engelhardt, Managing Partner of Schüco International KG.

Laying the foundations for years of success

When Heinz Schürmann & Co. (later shortened to “Schüco”) was founded in 1951, the company initially fabricated reliable folding and rolling grilles. Soon, Heinz Schürmann and his six employees began developing and selling (shop) window and façade systems made from the modern material of aluminium, thereby establishing the company's system business. Germany-wide expansion progressed and new, innovative products were developed. With the sale of Schüco to Otto Fuchs KG from Meinerzhagen in 1964, the founding pioneer gave his company better access to international markets – and laid the foundations for a successful company history.

System-based innovations

The central idea of “everything from a single source” dominated the growth strategy. With the development of aluminium windows, doors and façades as well as sun shading systems and large-scale sliding systems with outstanding thermal insulation, Schüco was ahead of its time in the 1970s. In the 1980s, Schüco was already active throughout Europe, including through many international licensees, and expanded its product portfolio to include PVC-U windows. In the 1990s, the company entered the large commercial project and solar market, extending its international sales network. Innovative product developments, such as profile rolling technology for window and door systems, were successfully launched on the market.

Focusing on the core business

In 2012, Schüco refocused on the core business of metal and PVC-U, systematically expanding its global activities. On 1 October 2012, Andreas Engelhardt became the new Chairman of the Executive Management Board and took on the role of CEO and Managing Partner in 2014.

Today, the family company develops and sells state-of-the-art system solutions made of aluminium, steel and PVC-U for building envelopes. The product portfolio includes window, door, façade, sliding, security, sun shading and ventilation systems, as well as smart building solutions, which are used in all climate zones and building types. If required, the systems can provide burglar and fire resistance, offer sound reduction and withstand heavy gunfire. The product portfolio is complemented by fabrication machinery and a service tailored to customers' needs. It is further enhanced by digital processes and tools for design, planning, calculating and fabrication, as well as comprehensive consultancy services for construction partners, which include fabricators, architects, specifiers, end customers and investors. With a focus on sustainability over and above climate and environmental protection, the company is active in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Strategic expansion

Mergers and acquisitions are helping Schüco to move beyond organic growth, for example with the purchase of Swiss company Soreg AG (2018) in the field of high-end sliding systems, or with the stake in Sälzer GmbH (2018) for high security. The aim is to enhance the product portfolio in a meaningful way and to continue to expand new and existing sales channels in order to safeguard the company's success.

For the purposes of pooling expertise and creating synergies in the markets, Schüco has agreed strategic partnerships with Gira (2019) and Luxone (2020) in the field of smart building, Renson (2019) for ventilation, KUKA (2019) for robotics and air-lux (2020) in the field of highly weathertight sliding systems.

Schüco is continuing to drive forward the digitalisation of the value chain in the construction industry with the aim of networking all the processes from the design and planning of a building project through to fabrication, installation, use and maintenance as well as recycling. This includes Plan.One, the Schüco corporate start-up founded in 2017 as a manufacturer-independent comparison portal for construction products. A second Schüco start-up also focuses on easing workloads through digitalisation: founded in 2018, PlanToBuild GmbH has developed a cross-trade, web-based software solution for the effective management of construction projects.

Research and development

Modern building envelopes need to meet high technical requirements and standards. Specific tests are therefore required to prove the performance of the products. The Schüco Technology Center was accredited in 2005 as an independent manufacturing laboratory by the national accreditation body for the Federal Republic of Germany (DAkkS). Right from the start of product development, this allows Schüco to fabricate, test, continually improve and validate new systems, individual components or special solutions.

Green thinking

Sustainability for Schüco is not a trend, it’s an attitude. With the aim of driving forward sustainable construction in the industry, the company considers the issue of sustainability to be much more than just climate and environmental protection. It sees it as a challenge across the board and a concrete task that needs to be tackled every day in each of its five defined action areas – products, supply chain, environment and society.

Schüco has set itself ambitious carbon reduction targets in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for its business activities. These contribute towards limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees in line with the Paris Agreement. In concrete terms, Schüco is striving to be carbon neutral across its entire value chain by 2040.

Schüco is also considered to be one of the pioneers of “Cradle to Cradle” (C2C) in the construction sector, is a member of the 2° initiative, recycling initiative A|U|F (Aluminium and the Environment in Window and Façade Construction) and Rewindo, and sets targets for the sustainable production and use of PVC across the entire PVC value chain as part of the VinylPlus® sustainability programme of the European PVC industry.

The Schüco Welcome Forum experience

Schüco presents its sustainable and innovative products and services to the world through visual and hands-on experiences in its showrooms. At the site in Bielefeld, the whole Schüco Campus with its new, modern building complex presents itself as a generously proportioned, open exhibition area for healthy, smart and secure building. The completion of the barrier-free Schüco Welcome Forum on the campus is also planned for autumn 2021 – it will provide a glimpse into the Schüco world as the first port of call for the approx. 25,000 visitors to the site. A large exhibition space will showcase the current product range, including digital support functions throughout the entire value chain, while a complete production line will demonstrate the machinery range. Thanks to the large-scale design of the ribbon windows, the machinery area can also be viewed from the outside as a glazed manufacturing facility. An inviting café with a terrace, as well as versatile meeting, sales and presentation spaces, complete the new visitor centre.

A glimpse into the future

Our present and future are defined by a new awareness of health and quality of life. Work and private lives are increasingly merging, with digitalisation, demographic change and climate protection having a huge impact on our lives. Schüco is tackling these challenges together with its partners through social responsibility and commitment, energy-saving and recyclable products and user-oriented (digital) services and consultancy. For healthy, smart and secure buildings that last for generations to come.


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