The discussion partners looked at various milestones in the company's 63-year history and at the same time dealt with the challenges of the future.
Stahl- und Apparatebau Huppertz AG is a third-generation family business. It all started in 1959 when Johan Huppertz took over an existing forge in Medell. His customer base consisted largely of farmers. His son Karl-Heinz joined in the 1980s and took over the business completely in 1989. The trained blacksmith, construction fitter and welding specialist was concerned with the future at an early stage: "We were very successful with our agricultural products, but there was also a change in sight in this sector. Our vision was to take the path towards industrial customers, which in retrospect we should not regret."
The first employees were hired and the Medell site grew larger, but after just ten years the hall was too small. The managing director decided to move to the Steinerberg industrial estate in St.Vith. There, the new halls with office wing were opened in 2001. Since then, the location has been growing continuously.
Steel and stainless steel have always been welded at Huppertz. The company was already active in the field of aluminium welding very early on in the 1990s. In 1992, it was the first company with powder coating in the DG and in the border region.
The business areas have changed and expanded over time, which means that the company now supplies very many economic sectors and is broadly positioned. This is very important as a pure supplier. "We manufacture according to customer drawings. Nevertheless, we can very often contribute our manufacturing know-how to the designs together with the customers in advance. This is where the very cooperative relationship with the customers becomes apparent again and again."
Thomas Cremer, Managing Director of New Laser AG, is completely convinced of the location in East Belgium: "The geographical location is optimal for our business. We live Europe every day, most of our customers are located within a radius of about 200 km. Thanks to the linguistic diversity and the East Belgian mentality, we manage to work European every day." New Laser has existed in St.Vith since 2006 and offers laser cutting of sheet metal, tubes or profiles.
Mayor Herbert Grommes and Minister President Oliver Paasch also referred to the business locations of St.Vith and East Belgium during their speeches. They underlined the importance of companies like Huppertz AG and New Laser AG being located in the region and creating jobs.
82 people are currently employed by Huppertz AG and New Laser AG. "It is true that we regularly invest in new machines and adapt existing ones. But without qualified personnel, we cannot make the most of the machines' potential," Mireille Huppertz knows. "Every purchase of a new machine is accompanied by appropriate training or further training. We also modernise our machinery mainly for the following reasons: We want to maintain a quality standard and at the same time relieve our qualified staff. In this way, capacities are freed up for work that has to be done manually. In other words, the machine supports the human being and is not seen as a replacement."
Looking ahead, the young managing director is optimistic: "In the future, we will focus more on internal growth. We want to concentrate more on expanding our strengths here at the site. This includes digitalisation to a certain extent, optimising processes and workflows, and maintaining a modern and efficient machine park."
Her thanks go to everyone involved: "When we can count on a great team, loyal customers and reliable suppliers, we look positively to the future. We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who has been and continues to be involved in making our plans a reality."