In September Plasmatreat celebrated its 20th anniversary at the company's new site in Steinhagen, Westphalia by hosting a huge party with over 300 guests.
"The one thing that typifies Plasmatreat is change." These were the words used by Christian Buske, Managing Partner of Plasmatreat GmbH and President/CEO of the Plasmatreat Group to describe the constant, fruitful change that his company has experienced over the last 20 years. He addressed his speech to an appreciative audience of over 300 guests, including colleagues, close business partners and friends of the company.
In 1990 after completing a degree in cybernetics and automation technology at the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences, the future entrepreneur, aged just 27 years, moved with his wife Christiane to Steinhagen, where he became fascinated by plasma. Together with his then partner, engineer and inventor Peter Förnsel, he developed the Openair-Plasma® jet technology, filing a patent application for it in 1995, the same year that he founded Plasmatreat GmbH.
In the same year Buske used the innovative technology to successfully apply atmospheric pressure plasma on an industrial scale for the very first time. At the celebration, Buske was therefore particularly pleased to welcome Simone Rohrberg, adhesive specialist and process development engineer at HELLA, Lippstadt. It was HELLA, the leading automotive component supplier for lighting technology and electronic products, that bought the first Openair-Plasma® system at that time, using it in series production for the pretreatment of car headlamps.
Many large and smaller names were to follow and Plasmatreat expanded internationally. Right from the outset the company's planning strategy was characterized by targeted cooperation with universities and research institutes. Amongst other things, this led to an enduring and close relationship with the Fraunhofer IFAM in Bremen. Dr. Ralf Wilken, Head of the Department of Plasma Technology and Surfaces at the Fraunhofer IFAM and his colleague Dr. Uwe Lommatzsch, travelling down from the north of the country, received an equally warm welcome from Buske in his address.
The managing partner gave a special thank you to his employees, many of whom have been with the company for more than 10 years. Production manager Holger Timpe was one of the very first; he joined Plasmatreat back in 1996. Buske thanked him for his long-standing loyalty and presented him with a sporty Trekking electric bike as a token of his appreciation. "For the long commute to work", he added, laughing.
Within the last 20 years the original three-man start-up has evolved into an SME headquartered in Steinhagen, Germany operating in 35 countries and with 15 subsidiaries in 11 countries. Now employing a workforce of 180 worldwide, in 2014 the company generated a turnover of around 30 million euros. Plasmatreat invests 12% of its turnover annually in research and development.
The celebration also marked another milestone in the company's history, the most recent one: In January this year Plasmatreat acquired a 38,000 m² site adjacent to the headquarters in Steinhagen. The old buildings on the site are currently undergoing extensive renovation. At the same time Christian Buske took over the systems engineering company occupying part of this new site; BOLWIN & HEEMANN - Anlagenbau GmbH & Co. KG. The company specializes in building services engineering for HVAC and plumbing systems and has over 70 employees and three sites in Germany. Buske sees great future potential in 'building services engineering equipment' and envisages mutual benefits for both his companies: "Building services engineering of the future is a sustainable technology. Together with Plasmatreat's research and development department, we will give building services engineering a makeover."
The company is continuing to expand, the potential for future plasma applications is growing steadily and the Steinhagen workforce is very happy because they will be moving to the new premises as early as next year.