This year, the specialist for sensors and positioning systems, Siko GmbH, looks back on 60 years of eventful company history. Since its beginnings with handwheels with position indicators, a lot has happened for the company with headquarters in Buchenbach.
Siko is one of the best-known manufacturers in the field of angle and length measuring systems and has developed into a global player offering pioneering sensor and positioning systems for industry and mechanical engineering. Around 250 employees work for SIKO in five subsidiaries worldwide, 200 of them in Germany.
Siko products - from the world-famous "Siko counter", a mechanical position indicator, to magnetic encoders and modern wire-actuated encoders for hydraulic cylinders - are available in over 30 countries. At the same time, the company is committed to its regional roots and in 2020 opened another location in Bad Krozingen, not far from its headquarters, for electronics production and sales/marketing.
The fact that the company is where it is now is based on its history, which is characterised by the willingness to think "out of the box" and to initiate innovative projects at the right time. It began with the decision of the company's founder Günther Wandres to become independent, which he made in 1963 when he sold the company for drive technology that he had managed until then. He took over a small product group from the previous company, handwheels with position indicators, which were mainly used for speed control on continuously variable transmissions. In addition, design orders were carried out and an industrial agency for geared motors was taken over, which established the name SIKO: Süddeutsches Industrie Kontor Dr. Ing. G. Wandres.
Production grew and soon demanded more space, which was realised from 1964 onwards on the company's own initiative with additional production rooms in Unteribental. Finally, in 1971, the company moved to a new production site in neighbouring Buchenbach.
New products: electronic measuring solutions
From the mid-1970s onwards, the product portfolio continued to develop: following the success of the mechanical position indicators, digital position indicators were introduced to the market, which for the first time enabled readings accurate to a tenth of a millimetre. In addition, the company increasingly devoted itself to the development of electronic measuring systems for displacement and angle measurement, e.g. with the first gear potentiometers at the end of the 1970s or the first optoelectronic hollow shaft encoder in 1982.
At the beginning of the 1990s, under the aegis of the new managing director Horst Wandres, youngest son of Siko's founder, linear measuring systems found their way into the product portfolio. In addition to draw-wire displacement transducers, it was above all linear measuring systems with magnetic measuring principles which from then on advanced to become the segment with the highest turnover. Horst Wandres received support in 1996 when his sister Ursula Wandres joined the company as personnel manager and played a decisive role in shaping the family character of the company.
Age of automation and new markets
With the introduction of the positioning drives product division in 2001, the age of automation began at Siko. The compact drives for automated axle adjustment thus paved the way for sensor and positioning systems suitable for Industry 4.0. The expansion of technical know-how was also accompanied by market expansion. The subsidiary in the USA, founded in 1980, was followed in 2001 by another subsidiary in Italy and in 2005 by a subsidiary in Shanghai due to the industry-wide relocation of European production sites to Asia. In 2008, the subsidiary in Switzerland was added, which is responsible for the development and production of MagLine encoder systems. Thanks to the successful development of the Chinese market, another sales subsidiary was founded in Singapore in 2013 to mark the company's 50th anniversary.
Sven Wischnewski, who has been managing director of Siko GmbH since 2014, is largely responsible for the course set in recent years. The Wandres family is now active in the background as shareholders, but is no longer involved in the operational business. For Sven Wischnewski, it is important to emphasise that the company's growing success is based on the commitment of the employees, who have contributed to the further development of the company in many ways over the years. The result is innovative products that take into account the advancing digitalisation of industrial production.
Profile of Siko GmbH
- Manufacturer of sensors and positioning systems
- Worldwide distribution with subsidiaries in Switzerland, Italy, China, Singapore and the USA
- Founded in 1963
- 250 employees worldwide, 200 at the locations in Germany
- Supplier and development partner for industry and mechanical engineering