A history of companies, markets, technologies, and people
SMS group looks back on a history of more than 150 years. From a small forging company and supplier to local industry, it has developed into a global technology company that has had a significant impact on the development of the metals industries. Crucial to this success story was the early orientation towards global markets, the focus on technology and the adherence to the values as a family-owned company.
From Carl Eberhard Weiss to Siemag
In 1871, Carl Eberhard Weiss founded a small forging business with three employees in Siegen. This marked the birth of SMS group, now a world leader in the metallurgical machine and plant engineering sector. The company produced all kinds of pushcarts, special carts for brickyards and quarries, and sack trucks. Around the turn of the century, customers of Maschinenfabrik und Dampfschmiede Karl Weiss included Rheinische Stahlwerke, Mannesmann, Buderus, Stumm, Krupp, and Thyssen.
Between 1914 and 1916, Maschinenfabrik Karl Weiss acquired Siegen-based machine factories Hoffmann and Oechelhäuser. In 1918, the three machine factories Weiss, Oechelhäuser and Hoffmann merged to form Siegener Maschinenbau AG. Mining and iron/steelmaking machinery, such as steam and blowing engines, metallurgical equipment, bicycles, and transmission and conveyor chains, were among the products manufactured by the company.
In 1927, with the takeover of Dahlbrucher Maschinenbau-Actiengesellschaft vormals Gebr. Klein, Siegener Maschinenbau AG expanded its product range to include rolling mill construction.
Siegener Maschinenbau AG was renamed Siemag Siegener Maschinenbau AG in 1939. Two years later, Bernhard Weiss acquired all shares in the company.
From Gebrüder Meer to SMS Meer
In 1872, the Meer brothers (Gebrüder Meer) founded the Maschinenfabrik und Eisengiesserei Meer in Mönchengladbach, which focused on the production of compressors, water pumps, and steam engines. When Dr. Carl Gruber joined the company, it started producing seamless tube mills. Following the takeover by Mannesmann in 1926, the company was renamed Maschinenfabrik Meer. In 1972, Mannesmann acquired shares in Demag and merged the tube technology, foundry, and powder metallurgy business units of Meer as well as the hydraulic systems and tube technology divisions of Demag in one company. Following the merger of SMS Schloemann-Siemag AG with Mannesmann Demag Metallurgie in 1999, the tube and copper plants business unit was spun off as SMS Meer GmbH at the beginning of the new millennium.
Schloemann: Engineering in Düsseldorf
In 1901, Eduard Schloemann OHG was founded in Düsseldorf. Just a few years later, the trading company had become a design engineering company, which initially designed control systems for hydraulic presses. As a result of its collaboration with M.A.N. from 1915 onwards, Schloemann's production portfolio was expanded to include the design and manufacture of complete hydraulic press facilities and rolling mills. The conversion to a public limited company took place in 1921.
SMS: Global market leader with a distinctive short name
By the end of the 1960s already, it was clear that Siemag Siegener Maschinenbau AG could only continue to maintain its international competitiveness by merging with another major market player. Consequently, Siemag Siegener Maschinenbau GmbH and Schloemann AG concluded a cooperation agreement in 1972. Previously, both companies had handled joint orders as part of international consortia, and their product and service portfolios complemented each other. Based on this cooperation agreement, they merged to form Schloemann-Siemag AG in December 1973. GHH Aktienverein, which later became M.A.N., held 51 percent of the shares in the new company, and Siemag Weiss KG 49 percent. Both partners each held half of the voting capital. In 1974, Heinrich Weiss took over the helm of the amalgamated company.
The name "SMS", which was already being used as the short form for Schloemann-Siemag AG, officially became part of the company's name on November 1, 1980. From then on, the company was known as SMS Schloemann-Siemag AG.
The merger of SMS Schloemann-Siemag AG with Mannesmann Demag Metallurgie resulted in the establishment of SMS Demag AG on September 1, 1999. The new company combined the strengths of both companies and thus consolidated its position on the market. The year 2000 saw the spin-off of the tube and copper plants business unit to create SMS Meer GmbH. SMS Meer GmbH was responsible for the "Long Products" business unit, while SMS Demag AG represented the "Flat Products" business unit.
Gaining full control of SMS was a particular objective of the Weiss family. In 2003 and 2007, it acquired the shares in M.A.N. through the family holding company and, in doing so, became the sole owner of SMS group.
In March 2009, the traditional name of "Siemag" returned. Following its "back to the roots" motto, SMS Demag AG was renamed SMS Siemag AG. Mid-2015 was when SMS Siemag AG and SMS Meer GmbH were merged to form SMS group GmbH.
China: Partnership since 1904
In 1904, Hanyang Iron & Steel Works placed an order with Dahlbrucher Maschinenbau-Actiengesellschaft vormals Gebr. Klein, a predecessor of SMS group, to supply a complete blooming mill. The scope of supply included a two-high reversing mill with roller tables, shears, and ancillary equipment. This first order from China was followed by a large number of further orders from the mid-1970s onwards, including a major order for the construction of a hot and cold rolling mill complex for Baoshan General Iron and Steel Works. The customer transferred the consortium leadership for this project to SMS group. In order to commemorate the first order and the close business relations between China and SMS group, a celebration was held in 2004 under the motto "100 years of SMS in China".
India: Launch of megaproject
One of the first and largest German development projects to be executed abroad was the Rourkela Steel Plant (Hindustan Steel) in India. In 1952, the Indian government approached Friedrich Krupp AG with a request to build an iron and steel plant. The German federal government supported this turnkey project with extensive financial resources from 1956. The consortium of companies under the leadership of Friedrich Krupp AG included Siemag Siegener Maschinenbau GmbH, Demag AG, Mannesmann-Meer AG, and Maschinenfabrik Sack GmbH. These predecessors to SMS group built key machines and facilities for the steel plant. Many employees spent a long time in India with their families during the erection phase, gaining lasting impressions of the country and its people. In order to speed up the handling of orders for Indian customers, SMS group established a local subsidiary (SMS India) in 1989 and opened a workshop in Bhubaneswar in 2014.
USA: A place for innovation
SMS group has maintained a close relationship with its customers in the North American market for many decades. One of the first major orders was for an aluminum rolling mill, which was delivered to Alcoa in 1928.
CSP® technology plays a particularly important role in the American market. In 1989, SMS group built the world's first thin slab casting-rolling plant for Nucor in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Since then, the concept has impressed many customers across the US, so that even up to the present day, new plants of this type have been put into operation. Since the 2000s, CSP® plants have been increasingly integrated into complete flat-steel complexes, with SMS group supplying the full line, from the production of electrical steel through to strip processing, all from a single source.
The Mannesmann tube
Since the 1920s, our location in Mönchengladbach has been a byword for state-of-the-art plants for seamless tube production. The invention created in 1885 by brothers Reinhard and Max Mannesmann and the combination of cross rolls and pilger rolls caused a worldwide sensation and also revived business for Meer-Maschinenfabrik. In 1923, Meer-Maschinenfabrik delivered its first tube rolling mill to the Poensgen works of Phoenix AG für Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb in Düsseldorf. From 1926 until the end of the 1990s, "Meer" was part of the Mannesmann group and, following its integration into SMS, continued to drive seamless tube production technology forward through numerous innovations.
Flat rolling: Successful cooperation
In the 1950s, Siemag Siegener Maschinenbau GmbH realized that the development of the German steel industry would concentrate mainly on continuous rolling with a focus on flat steel. Due to Germany's long, war-related isolation from the world market, the US had a lead over the German metallurgical plant and rolling mill construction industry. For this reason, license agreements were concluded with US rolling mill builders Morgan Construction Company and United Engineering & Foundry Company between 1954 and 1958. The contracts covered the design, manufacture, and sale of wire rod mills (Morgan Construction Company) as well as hot and cold rolling mills (United Engineering & Foundry Company). However, by making some constructive improvements, which were also beneficial to the license partners, the country soon managed to catch up.
Continuous casting: Collaboration with Concast
In 1956, in order to introduce the future-oriented continuous casting process to the market, Schloemann AG and Concast AG, which was founded by Irving Rossi, the pioneer of continuous casting, concluded an agreement on the close collaboration between the two companies. In 1968, this cooperation led to Schloemann obtaining a majority interest in Concast AG. In 2004, SMS group acquired 100 percent of the shares in Concast and transferred them to SMS Concast AG. Even now, SMS Concast plays a key role in developing the continuous casting process.
In autumn 1984, Friedr. Gustav Theis Kaltwalzwerke GmbH in Hagen-Halden put the first cold rolling mill with CVC® technology into operation. Today, CVC® is the world's most widely used system for achieving the desired profile and flatness of hot and cold-rolled strip. The principle is simple: The CVC® rolls are ground to an S-shape in a mirror-inverted arrangement. In the neutral position (neutral crown), they form a parallel roll gap. Axial shifting of the rolls in opposite directions creates the effect of a continuously variable crown (positive or negative crown). Parallel to the first practical application, a related technological process model was developed on the basis of physical-mathematical approaches, which allows, among other things, the settings for CVC® shifting and work-roll bending to be calculated.
CSP® technology: A revolution in flat strip production
CSP® (Compact Strip Production) has made lasting changes to the world of steel. It all started with the casting of the first 50-mm thin slab on an SMS pilot plant in October 1985. The newly developed funnel-shaped copper mold and the optimized submerged entry nozzle made 'near-net-shape slab casting' possible, thereby offering a compact plant concept (caster, tunnel furnace, and rolling mill) for the production of hot strip. Following the success of the first plant at Nucor Steel/USA, which went into production in 1989, CSP quickly achieved widespread use all over the world, as its cost efficiency, product quality, and versatility spoke volumes for the system. To date, 30 CSP® plants have gone into operation.