Crane manufacture with tradition

In August 1959, 24-year-old Manfred Böttcher bought the Fritz Kühne company in Hamburg-Billwerder. At the time, the company employed only two permanent staff and two apprentices to sell machine tools. The following year, he used this company to take over the German representation of a Belgian sister company of the Norwegian crane manufacturer Munck Cranes. When Munck opened its own subsidiary in Hamburg the following year, however, Manfred Böttcher founded the KÜHNEZUG Handelsgesellschaft mbH, devoting himself to the sale of cranes manufactured to his own specifications by contractual partners, including steelworkers. By 1961, KÜHNEZUG Handelsgesellschaft mbH was renamed KÜHNEZUG Hebezeuge GmbH, now headquartered in Hamburg-Billstedt. In 1965, KÜHNEZUG Kran- und Containerbau GmbH in Quickborn (Schleswig-Holstein) started its own production. Employing a workforce of about 20, this company manufactured electric hoists, among other products.

Even then, KÜHNEZUG had brought numerous innovations to the crane industry. For example, KÜHNEZUG electric hoists were manufactured according to a new design starting in 1965. By 1968, KÜHNEZUG was already using high-strength polymer wheels. In comparison with steel wheels, polymer ensures particularly quiet running characteristics, offers significantly better friction values and a long service life, and moreover reduce weight and therefore the all-important wheel pressure. By eliminating the usual track flange on the wheels and using rolls for lateral guiding, they are also gentler on the runway rails.

Consideration of how the main girders of bridge gantry cranes could be manufactured more easily resulted in the idea of an oval girder. The first tests of this revolutionary idea took place in 1970. Instead of building box girders using time-consuming and costly welding work, oval-shaped main girders would be used. By January 1974, KÜHNEZUG's new production facilities in Northern Germany were devoted entirely to the production and further development of this novel design, while the newly founded KÜHNEZUG Fördertechnik GmbH headquartered in Hamburg Lemsahl-Mellingstedt handled sales.

The now further developed version of the patented OVALplus* single oval girder overhead crane provides numerous advantages over traditional box girder cranes. For example, the particularly high stability of this structure permits up to 30 percent higher load capacities with the same intrinsic weight.

Jan Böttcher, after obtaining a diploma in economic engineering, took over management of the company from his father in 1992. Since then, KÜHNEZUG has been a second-generation owner-managed company and has made a name for itself worldwide for high-quality, innovative products.