Control systems from Geldern – in demand throughout the world
In 1998, Michael Haasner struck out in business on his own. The next generation is now working in the business, in the person of his son Rouven.
It sounds like a model start-up story. In 1998, Michael Haasner launched his own business in the Geldern business incubator, located at that time in Am Pannofen street. Five years later, he moved to the industrial estate on Siemensstrasse with his company, Industrielle System Technik (IST) Michael Haasner e.K. The company now has plans for expansion, and is active worldwide. Its "made in Geldern" control systems can be found in use in China, India and Brazil.
The company's specialism is electrical controls for textile and carpet plants, particularly the construction of multi-motor systems. As Michael Haasner says: "We serve a highly specialized field in which hardly any users, and fewer and fewer manufacturers, still possess the necessary expertise in-house." It is, he says, standard practice to have the production of entire systems outsourced to a specialist supplier serving as an "extended workbench". This trend was the decisive factor in his foundation of the company. Haasner already had considerable experience. A native of Issum, now living with his family in Veert, Haasner was responsible as an electrical engineer and design manager for the electrical systems of textile and carpet manufacturing machinery at Eduard Küsters in Krefeld.
Today, together with his team, he offers custom, turnkey solutions for such machines. This includes both new models of machinery, and the equipping of legacy systems with state of the art controls. A control centre filling an entire room, reminiscent of the bridge of a science-fiction spaceship, is transformed into a workstation with three monitors for the employee tasked with operating it. The control technology is designed and produced in Geldern, then installed on site – which may be anywhere in the world – by the company's own team. Should problems arise at a later stage, support can be provided from Geldern by remote maintenance. Michael Haasner has no need to beat his own drum: he is a well known figure in the sector.
The workforce has grown steadily and the team now numbers 14. There are no plans for a major increase in personnel. Haasner sees an upper limit of 15; above that number, the administrative overhead becomes too great. Since almost all the company's staff are aged between 30 and 50, major natural replacement is not needed. This also means that, as yet at least, Haasner does not face the problem of finding enough staff, as he reported during the visit by mayor Sven Kaiser and business advocate Tim van Hees-Clanzett. Now that the fibre-optic cable has been laid in the industrial estate, he is completely satisfied with the municipality's infrastructure. Before this recent development, things had been a little different; not infrequently, his employees had even preferred to download larger files at home rather than at work.
There is another problem of many Geldern entrepreneurs that Haasner doesn't share: his successor. His son Rouven, aged 32, has now joined the company after completing his academic studies. The future of the company therefore appears assured even should Michael Haasner decide to ease off a little.