60 years of welding machines and systems for the construction and concrete industries

In 1961, Georg Pfender, who was employed as a factory fitter at Rinninger, a local concrete producer, decided to set up his own small mechanical lathe shop – initially from a garage at his home. Exactly 60 years ago, this industrious craftsman from Allgäu, Germany, started turning components for companies in the surrounding area. What started small soon gathered momentum and increasingly more companies began to trust in Pfender’s quality and inventiveness. He bought a plot of land from a farmer and erected a hall there. At this site, he mainly manufactured welded structures, machines and other equipment. At the end of the 60s, the company changed its name to Georg Pfender Maschinenbau.

A parallel development taking place at that time marked a milestone for the company. Reinforced concrete pipes came onto the market in the 1960s. Although there were already machines for producing the reinforcements, they were still quite complex and expensive. This motivated Rinninger, the concrete producer, to commission Georg Pfender Maschinenbau to construct such a machine. As a result, the first reinforcement welding machine from Pfender was built and became a trailblazer for the next decades.

The name Pfender became increasingly well-known, even beyond the borders of Germany. The small artisanal business from Allgäu had suddenly turned into an internationally active company. After the first welding machines had been sold throughout Europe at the beginning of the 1970s, another significant step in the company’s history was taken in 1981. The first machine departed the Allgäu region for the USA, paving the way for a successful future overseas. A further change of name ensued in wise foresight that there could possibly be difficulties with the pronunciation of the name Pfender. Georg Pfender Maschinenbau became today’s mbk Maschinenbau. Georg Pfender would never have dreamt that this abbreviation would one day become synonymous with cage welding machines in the USA.

As the product portfolio grew, so did the space needed for production. The company’s next move brought mbk to the place of its current headquarters. Courage, diligence and inventiveness – these three qualities are essential in building up such a company. And Albert Pfender, who followed in his father’s impressive footsteps in 1985, also possessed these three qualities. For a quarter of a century, this master mechanical engineer guided mbk in its second generation. He invested his entire time, energy and all his heart and soul in continuously expanding the company, in constantly developing its systems and machines still further and in optimising product and service quality.

In 2011, his son, Mario Pfender, joined the management team and, as a trained mechatronics technician with studies in industrial engineering, he brought that something along that would once again raise mbk to a higher level: the right mix of technical and entrepreneurial understanding, respect for the past yet the passion not to stand still, but to always look ahead to the future. It is imperative to constantly reinvent oneself and optimise processes still further in order to survive in a market that is becoming ever more complex.

Quality “Made in Germany”

Today, 10 years after the third generation took the helm, mbk can look back on 60 years of company history. The company now has subsidiaries in the USA and Russia and employs around 100 people. More than 1,200 machines have been installed in over 60 countries.

mbk offers its customers quality “Made in Germany”, assured by qualified specialist staff, by a state-of-the-art design and development department working to the latest standards, by a machine pool of the latest generation and, last but not least, by ISO 9001 certification.

Whereas Georg Pfender initially drew the designs for his constructions on a workbench with chalk, today strategically thought-out processes and management control are on the agenda. And so, by dint of technical finesse, expertise, years of experience and very high quality standards, mbk has developed from a small artisanal business in the Allgäu region into a structured industrial company and, more importantly, into one of the leading manufacturers of welding machines and systems for the construction and concrete industries.

Currently on the agenda: automation

In addition to welding machines for producing concrete pipe reinforcements, mbk’s product portfolio has been continuously supplemented over time by a wide range of cage welding machines for driven and drilled pile production, lattice girder and mesh welding machines as well as wire straightening and cutting systems, together with a wide selection of matching accessories. And most recently: individually customisable automation solutions featuring very high performance but with low manpower requirements – from simple automation accessories up to fully automated production lines.

Optimisation is a maxim that determines the daily production routine of many industrial companies. And it is precisely this requirement that mbk serves with its latest solutions, which are equipped with modern machine control along with remote maintenance and up-to-date software solutions. Another step on the way to a successful future.