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Westphal - history of a Celler company

History

In 1860, Westphal Präzisionstechnik GmbH & Co. was founded as a limited partnership, at that time called: "Georg Westphal Präzisionstechnik" of the craftsman and inventor Georg Wilhelm Westphal in Celle. Westphal primarily built scales, weights and glasses. With his workshop for precision instruments he soon had a good reputation even beyond the German borders. The constant growth entailed numerous moves in Celle. In 1896 the company experienced its most successful time. 3000 specific scales left the „mechanical workshops and the optical institute Georg Westphal". Numerous salary medallions, distinctions and prices were acquired from exhibitions in Vienna, Berlin, London, Paris, Celle, Hannover and Bremen. At that time Westphal had 29 employees and was the biggest producer of precision balances in Germany.

As Georg Westphal died on the 26th of March 1902, his employee at that time (Ernst Raute) became a share owner together with Westphal's widow and took over from 1908 as sole owner of the „mechanical and optical institute G. Westphal". Raute couldn´t continue the purposes of Georg Westphal. The orders became less and the employee's figures shrank till 1943 down to four journeymen and four apprentices. When Ernst Raute died in 1946 at the age of 89 (!) years, he took the secret of calibration of the specific scales in his grave.

His son Fritz became successor but already died at the age of 37 years of a brain tumour. His wife Mrs. Helene Raute took over the company. Her second husband, Max Weller, almost ruined Westphal with his big business ideas. In 1950 he fled to Canada and lived there under an unknown address.

In 1950 the doctorate machine builder Rudolf Strohauer became owner of Westphal. By improving scales for the chemist's demand he succeeded in expanding the scales production. He established a new building especially for the ocular optics. With the death of Rudolf Strohauer in 1976 his widow and his son took over the company meanwhile converted to a limited partnership. A year later the separation into ocular optics and precision mechanics took place. The precision mechanics stood under the direction of Günter Lemke and Hanna Sandau.

Because of the technical progress in the electronics and the weak demand resulting from it the scales production didn´t work well. Günter Lemke undertook the determining step in a new direction. He established contact with big companies from Lower Saxony which awarded orders to the precision mechanical workshops. In 1981 Lemke also was the head of NC-production and so he played a great part in the redirectioning of Westphal.

In 1985 Westphal moved to Westercelle (today's seat). Still in 1985 the new building was already extended by a construction. At the beginning of the 80´s Westphal increasingly produced blood mixing machines for hospitals and blood donation services. On the basis of supplier's problems this product had to be stopped completely. The service "chipping" was extended by the construction, so that subsequently complete devices could be produced.

At that time, nevertheless, these were only „a handful of customers" who were supplied with devices for the automation of production trials. These came exclusively from the automobile industry. In spite of this dependence the production grew once more in 1991. In 2000 the company was sold to Dr. Hans Heintzelmann. Dr. Heintzelmann invested in new machines and in a CAD system. He gave the company a consequent adjustment on design and manufacturing of devices for the automation. The established clientele was considerably expanded and also in new industries customers were gained.

In 2007 Dr. Heintzelmann sold the company to Michael Harstorff, today's manager. Still in 2007 a new building of an approx. 400m² was built as an assembly shop. New NC machines were purchased and a CAD / CAM - chain was realised. In 2009 another expansion was realised: More space for assembly and about 300m² of office space for the design and project management was added.

Today

After 150 years the company Westphal Precision technology is a traditional and modern small business with approx. 70 employees. Westphal offers its customers from concept, design and manufacturing, assembly and programming up to the after-sales service a complete solution for many automation assignments. The clients come from the areas of automotive industry, consumption and capital goods manufacturer, manufacturer of measuring instruments and precision machines, manufacturer of electrical systems, electronics as well as military technology. In the area of the research and development Westphal precision technology co-operates with technical colleges and their own customers.

Many different technologies are controlled. On the one hand technologies as for example screwing, adherence, pressing, oiling, punches, marking (also with laser), checking tactile and optically, on density / flow or also with camera (sensors) are bought and integrated to the customer's required solution. On the other hand, these technologies are complemented with as for example ball inserting, rolling, crimping, or dry filling. The high manufacturing depth - starting from own design up to the programming (primarily Siemens S7) helps us to realise demand assignments and quick solutions of the automation industry.