Local roots. International connections.
The first order:
Cold grinding of valerian with the aid of nitrogen – a pioneering achievement
Axel Dressler, Managing Director
»I remember the early days of the company. My father usually came home late from work – and always covered in white powder. All his clothing smelled of pharmaceuticals. It was only much later that I learned that this powder was ground valerian roots. My father explained that the smell attracted the local cats to the company site. The smell must have driven them absolutely crazy and that’s why they were always trying to storm the company site.«
Relocation from St. Augustin to Meckenheim. Five-fold increase in workforce and production and office space.
Phoenix from the ashes:
Fire and rebuilding
István Bakos, Meister
»Oh I can recall that black day exactly. It was a Saturday. It didn’t happen on my shift. I can‘t remember exactly who it was who rang me to tell me about the fire. But of course I headed straight there to give Mr. Dressler my support. The fire brigade had already put out the flames. Everything had been destroyed: Five machines and the warehouse. All useless. Mr. Dressler was outside in the yard. He had already sent all the employees home. That was the first and last time that I saw him bewildered. He was absolutely crushed. “What are we going to do now?” he asked. My answer: “I hope that we’ll rebuild everything. After all, we have customers who need us and who will help us to get back on our feet.” And then we helped the fire brigade to extinguish the last glowing embers. Mrs. Dressler came by with sandwiches. And the following day Mr. Dressler had already organised backup production in Krefeld. We carried on there, and sometimes even slept there at night. It was a tiring but also fulfilling time. After five weeks we even had a temporary operation with two or three workers. And after four months, everything was as it had been before. The new start was by no means a foregone conclusion. Not because of the investment risk – after all we had a good reputation and loyal customers. No, the main thing was Mr. Dressler’s social attitude, the responsibility he felt towards his colleagues. He wanted to continue offering us a future at Dressler.«
Right to the top – or:
»We found and filled a niche when we came up with the idea of contract grinding. It was certainly the right thing to enthusiastically meet even our customers’ unusual requirements. Our reputation as problem-solvers and“quality assurers” quickly spread through the industry. The way in which we dealt with complaints was also unusual: On the very same day we discussed the problem as a team and ascertained what needed to be changed on the grinder, dosing equipment, filter or sieve systems. Back then, I first realised that we had become a major player in the industry following contract negotiations with representatives of one of the largest plastics producers. They were aware that they could themselves only obtain the desired quality and flexibility with regard to type variety, packaging and just-in-time logistics by making major investments of their own and following a long period of familiarisation, and that they would therefore profit from our service. And so we left the negotiating room on the fifth floor with a two-year contract that took up almost all the capacity of our systems and put us in the embarrassing position of having to very carefully consider increasing our efficiency so that we could continue providing optimum service to our regular customers.«
The number of machines grows
The company builds up a reputation
Thomas Wiegand, Head of Production Controlling:
»I was with Mr. Dressler at the start for MPS (editor’s note: Micro Powder System GmbH), particularly for the jet milling, at many conferences and trade fairs. That’s how we made a name for ourselves in the plastics scene. This led on to us being regularly asked to give presentations on the optimisation of powder systems and grinding processes. It wasn’t long before our customer base increased dramatically. As the number of orders grew, it also became a matter of urgency to increase the number of our machines. No problem! Mr. Dressler then positively devoured the relevant textbooks and pondered the appropriate machine components and the necessary production materials in order to modify them all to suit the respective order. He wasn’t just an innovator but also, as an engineer, a superb technician possessing profound know-how. My job was to incorporate the new capacities into the planning both efficiently and smoothly. There were no computers. My tools were a ruler and a pencil. The order details were noted down on magnetic boards. It was also necessary to prepare the new staff for the demanding production work. My main tasks in those days were describing the organisation sequences, and compiling training manuals for safety, quality and economy. During all of my time working, I only recall two accidents: One heart attack and a serious cut injury. That is of course regrettable, but in view of the companies‘ long history it reflects very well on our work safety. And so that it stays that way, we run about 150 safety training courses per year for our staff.«
Computer-aided process images
Jan Dressler, Managing Director:
»In 1993 – even before I started my studies – my father assigned various tasks to me. His vision was the computer-aided documentation of his complex method and administration processes. So far, a total of some 15 computer-aided programs have been developed, from laboratory and machine administration, to quality and authorisation programs, to customs programs. As a result, hardly anyone else knows the detail of the procedures within the company better than I do. Despite having my own IT company, between 1993 and 2012 that meant I was at the company at least once every week.«
"Then and today, I appreciate our open and trust-based relationship."
A patented company – or:
The invention of cryo spraying
Thomas Wiegand, Head of Production Controlling:
»Herbert Dressler always had his nose in front when it came to developing innovations for the market. Up until that point, the spraying of polyethylene glycol from the melt was a complex and delicate procedure. His idea was to add nitrogen and spray in the smallest possible reaction room. I had the idea of using an electromagnetic paint spray gun as an experiment. And with that we once again did some real pioneering work. I melted the PEG, filled the spray gun and laid out some cardboard in order to collect the desired end result – a fine powder. Mr. Dressler watched in anticipation while I sprayed. The material atomized finely. But at first glance the cardboard remained empty, even as the first layer of mist settled. He just said, “Well that didn’t work.” But when I folded the cardboard, a fine white spherical powder trickled towards us. Today, what is known as cryo spraying is the speciality of Linus GmbH. And it’s one for which we hold a patent.«
The leap across the ”Big Pond”:
The first certification for the American market
Dr. Günther Krupp, Quality Manager:
»Only on one occasion was there a spontaneous celebration in the company. So much is certain: Mr. Dressler did not like alcohol at the workplace at all. But after four months of hard and concentrated preparations, plus three days of audits, test questions and qualification interviews, we simply had to celebrate the fact that we were one of the first companies to gain FDA certification. Mr. Dressler placed a bottle of sparkling wine on the conference table and you could see that even for him, the otherwise so controlled man at the helm, it was a massive relief.«
Dressler sen. Down Under:
The Australia trips – and the increased involvement of the directors
Dr. Wolfram Baumgärtner, Geschäftsführer:
»When in 2006 Herbert Dressler flew to Australia for eight weeks for the first time, he left me in charge. I am certain that during his extended flights over the Australian outback, he often brooded over whether the company would cope with his absence. In his eyes, I had already proven myself as far as customer contact and technical consultancy were concerned. But decisions actually remained a matter for the boss. Actually. Yet given the length of his trip, it was unavoidable that things couldn’t wait. Following his return he wondered why there were so few queries from my department. But we never discussed the possibility that I may have exceeded my authority. And why would we? The company was running smoothly and according to our best business principles. In subsequent years he booked long holidays as a matter of course. I have always appreciated our open and trust-based relationship.«
The generation change:
The company passes to the sons
Axel und Jan Dressler, Managing Directors:
»We safeguard traditions, but are also open to changes. Our father’s discipline, efficiency and sense of responsibility remain an example to us. We are also creating new structures in order to transfer more responsibility to our colleagues. And to make sure that our father’s original innovative spirit lives on, we see ourselves as moderators and sparring partners during this process of change. From our tradition we draw enormous strength for the future. And at some point, this will in turn become tradition.«
Dr. Wolfram Baumgärtner, Director:
»In the future we will trade under a new umbrella brand and will double the size of our company site. And yet we call it “moderate growth”. Because thanks to the on-going support of our customers, we will continue to increase our flexibility and will in future introduce even more engineering processes. But quality and safety will remain at the forefront. What’s new is that we will significantly expand our research & development. With the help of the additional range of small-volume grinding that we offer, it will be possible for us to be efficiently incorporated into the problem solution at the customer’s end at an early stage.«
Dittmar Otten, Head of Research + Development:
»Thanks to the new works planning, we are investing in additional functioning structures, in new and efficient systems and in new, motivated teams. This will allow us to deliver to our customers efficient process combinations that they won’t find anywhere else. Which means that at the core, we will remain as we are: We are constantly considering how we can always continue to improve products and processes.«
Thomas Wiegand, Head of Production Controlling:
»Many of our colleagues have been here for more than ten years. Their efficiency is so high that you can’t simply just copy it. That applies equally to the combined competence of the Dressler Group: You may also find the individual capabilities elsewhere. But you won’t find the combination, everything from a single source. And above all, everything developed by ourselves. That makes Dressler unique.«
- Operating premises (logistics and R&D) doubles in size.
- Certified food safety according to FSSC 22000.
- Self-image defined with the core brand values of quality, innovation, flexibility and service.
- The Herbert Dressler Foundation is founded.
- Long-standing high level of material efficiency is documented for the first time: 97percent.
- Dressler Group celebrates its 40th anniversary with 350 guests (current and former staff, customers, suppliers and partners).
- Development of powder “rounding”. Rounder is the new finer. Benefits: lower costs, better flow properties.
- DG becomes a Preferred Partner of HP Inc. and ensures printability of HP powders for SLS printers.
- “Grinding on demand”: exclusive plant construction and operation according to customer requirements - at the customer’s site upon request.
- Plans made for new heat recovery systems to optimise energy cycle.
Construction of Innovation Campus begins: Innovation Lab and Technical Centre to be under one roof; bundling and expansion of R&D; new partnerships and collaborations with universities and customers.