The development of Gontermann-Peipers as a company is based on the rich mineral resources of the Siegerland region and its 2500 years of tradition in the mining of ores and the making of iron and steel.
From extremely simple origins, the family-owned company Gontermann-Peipers has developed into a leading foundry for heavy-duty components since 1825. GP processes and creates products which are one-of-a-kind worldwide.
The Celts discovered the rich iron-ore deposits of the Siegerland – one of Europe's oldest coal and iron regions. They developed great artisanal skill in iron making.
First mention in surviving documents of the "Hainer Hütte", or "Hain Ironworks". This is known as the oldest blast furnace plant in the region. The site of the "Hainer Hütte" is now part of GP's Hain plant.
Johann Heinrich Breitenbach, the founder of GP, acquires his skills at the Marienborner Hütte (Marienborn Ironworks) in the immediate vicinity of GP's present-day Marienborn plant. Around 1820, the Marienborn becomes the nucleus of the casting of rolls in the Siegerland.
In the very simplest of conditions, Johann Heinrich Breitenbach takes the step of becoming self-employed, together with his wife, Wilhelmine Catharina, in the Sieghütte district of Siegen. The castings are formed in the couple's own house, and cast at the nearby Sieghütte blast furnace.
Following the early demise of Johann Heinrich Breitenbach, his daughter, Catharina, with her husband, Gustav Gontermann, continue the Company under his name, as Gustav Gontermann GmbH.
Emil Peipers, a highly versatile industrial pioneer, starts a new foundry in the immediate vicinity of the Hain Ironworks. His company trades as "Commandit-Gesellschaft Emil Peipers & Cie."
Emil Peipers is awarded the patent for an improved process for the production of chilled cast rolls using a special mold with enhanced cooling characteristics.
Gustav Gontermann acquires a site in Marienborn. The Company thus returns to the place where its founder learned his trade.
The new Marienborn plant is opened in 1899 and continually expanded in succeeding years. In 1914, all activities at the Sieghütte are transferred to Marienborn.
Initial tests on double-poured cast rolls and on spincasting systems for rolls are performed – both are now core GP specialties.
The Gustav Gontermann and Emil Peipers companies merge to form "Gontermann-Peipers" (GP) at the onset of Great Depression. Peipers becomes the Hain plant, and Gontermann the Marienborn plant, of the combined company.
By the end of World War II, both GP plants have suffered damage by bombing. Gradual repair and reconstruction follows after the end of the war.
GP develops double-pour steel casting. In this process, two different steel materials are combined by casting to make a single part, thus combining their specific properties with one another. Even today, modern double-pour casting is one of GP’s key specialties.
Continuous casting begins at the Hain plant, while the first electric arc furnace commences production at the Marienborn plant in 1958.
Important breakthroughs in the development of the spincasting process are achieved. In a mold rotating vertically around its own axis, the shell and core materials combine to form a dense and homogeneous roll with outstanding technological properties.
Beginning in 1970, the Marienborn plant is equipped for the production of ultra-heavy-duty rolls. GP subsequently supplies the 265 metric tons heavy-plate back-up rolls for Dillinger Hüttenwerke and the 236 metric tons back-up roll for Arconic Davenport, USA – the world's largest rolls for steel and aluminum, respectively.
GP develops the electro-chemical measuring-point preparation (ECM) system for measurement of residual stress, hardness and residual austenite. This method makes decisive contributions to improvements in quality. It has meanwhile been upgraded with an automated ultrasonic inspection system for the entire roll bodies.
GP is part of the initial production team for the spheroidal graphite cast iron core of the CASTOR™ cask. This special cask, developed by GNS (Gesellschaft für Nuklearservice), is specifically designed for the transportation and storage of radioactive fuel elements.
Development of the new CrMoV-alloyed double-poured back-up roll for hot and cold strip mills – a new generation of back-up rolls characterized by significantly less wear.
Development of the HSS work roll, a new variant of double-poured spincast rolls for wide hot strip production. This roll sets new standards for roll wear.
From the mid-1990s, the entire Company undergoes a process of comprehensive organizational development. This includes a new corporate mission statement and strong emphasis on teamwork. A modern salary agreement with transparent career paths, a candid and open information policy and an advanced system of profit sharing come into effect.
The melting and casting facilities at the Hain plant are totally restructured. Simultaneously, the production of grinding rolls for the food industry is integrated into the plant's activities.
The Gontermann-Peipers Foundation is set up. The starting capital consists of a generous donation by an employee's widow for "company pension received too long and in too large amounts". The Foundation promotes social and charitable initiatives and institutions in the local community.
The large-component machining at the Marienborn plant is extended. Three CNC-controlled machines for final machining of Castor containers are located here.
Delivery of the 1000th heavy-duty work roll in semi-HSS grade for roughing stands. The semi-HSS roll is a Gontermann-Peipers development. Its outstanding properties result in this roll being adopted in no less than seventy rolling mills around the world.
GP produces the 2000th double-poured back-up roll made in chrome steel containing 5% chromium and 1% molybdenum. With a maximum weight of 100 t per piece, this roll type, developed by GP, is one of the most widely used back-up roll types in the world.
Comprehensive investments in real estate, buildings and technical equipment: acquisition of the premises of the neighboring Kabelschlepp company at the Hain location and expansion of the plant site at Marienborn via integration of the Eisenhüttenstrasse street and acquisition of a former railway station site for use as a rail-connected logistics center.
Development of a new double-pour casting process for new component dimensions and new material combinations. This versatile process can be used for the production of wear liners for large grinding rolls as used in the cement industry.
Using an additional forging process, GP optimizes the double-poured steel roll for selected customers. The new product combines the positive properties of two materials (core and shell) and two processes (casting and forging).
A new generation takes charge, with the reigns of the company being passed on from the 6th to the 7th generation of the owner family. After 30 years of being active at the helm of GP, Fritz Spannagel hands over the management of the company to his son Frieder.
The topics of leadership, cooperation and future competitiveness in the marketplace are the focus of a range of projects to further the team and the organization. Also, logistical and production procedures are decisively improved.