Company founder Wolfgang Schaefer began more than 55 years ago with a pioneering spirit, a wealth of ideas and plenty of optimism. He turned his ideas into a long standing and ongoing success story with a bright future. Switchgear, controlling devices and control units for the elevator industry soon followed initial orders, quickly establishing themselves on the market. The LT 18 series, the forefather of all our push buttons, turned out to be the foundation for all further components in our product families.
Today SCHAEFER offers a complete range and variety of components and accessories: display elements, modern and stylish COP systems, lift information and access control, as well as CANopen technologies for today’s elevator construction. As a multinational corporation and leader in state-of-the-art technology, our strongest potential for our future and the success of our clients lies in an ongoing developmental process, continuous reflection and a strategic operating process.
On 1 May 1964 engineer Wolfgang Schaefer founds the company in Sigmaringendorf. Only a few years later - in 1969 - the company moved to Laiz near Sigmaringen. The location has remained the headquarters of the company to this day.
After a good start and some difficult years in the recession from 1966 to 1968, the young company developed very successfully in the following years. At the end of the 60s, the first company logo is created from the initials of the founder W and S - Wolfgang Schäfer.
Right from the start, product developments came from within the company. For example the first own push-button LT 18 or call panels with capacitive push-buttons, as well as the intercom system from 1970. Design by SCHAEFER" has always been the name of the game.
(i) The first lift pushbutton: The illuminated pushbutton LT 18 was the first lift pushbutton from SCHAEFER and came onto the German market in 1964.
(1) The company founder engineer Woflgang Schäfer managed the company for 33 years until 1997.
(2) The old company building in Sigmaringen-Laiz around 1974.
(3) Old production hall in Laiz.
(4) Test equipment for a university - the housings and front panels with engraved coating were manufactured by Schaefer.
(5) Simple lathes were in use for a long time until they were finally replaced by modern CNC machines.
With many new products, SCHAEFER strengthens its position as a supplier of operating and display elements in the elevator industry and soon achieves a market share of 50% in Germany.
At the beginning of the 1980s, the company launched the new VARIO tableau system and soon afterwards the patented DOMINO modular system. Gradually also the first business relations are attached to customers into European countries. During these years, the number of employees rises to 50.
The new push button series LT 28 extends the delivery program completely crucially. With the ET 28, the first electronic stylus is developed and launched on the market.
(1) VARIO panel with LT 28 illuminated pushbuttons, segment display and toggle switch.
(2) Product information and flyer from the 80s.
(3) In the 80s, the company increasingly advertised its own products. The illustrations show photographs, which were used at that time for various brochures, flyers and leaflets.
In the meantime the product range has grown considerably. In order to make it easier for customers to order this variety, the ordering system was further developed in the course of the 1980s. With the help of planning templates and so-called "adhesive tapes", customers now put together their individual tableaux. 1987 SCHAEFER is founding member of the VFA-Interlift e.V. (Association for Elevator Technology) and since 1988 co-initiator of the international trade fair "Interlift", which is still successful today. The first fair took place in the Munich Olympic Hall, all others in Augsburg, since 1999 every 2 years.
The further development and new development of the tableau systems has resulted in a great upswing in this decade. In 1994 the SCHAEFER workforce grows to 97 permanent employees and 31 home workers or part-time employees.
(1) Company building around 1985 with the old company logo consisting of the initials of the founder W and S.
(2) Advertising brochure for the VARIO, DOMINO and DOMINOBEL systems from 1988.
(3) DOMINO air control panel with LT 28 button.
(4) SCHAEFER booth at the first Interlift 1988 in Munich.
Extensive construction work, which continued from the 1980s until 2002, created more capacity: With more employees and an expanded machine park SCHAEFER is now preparing for the increasing number of orders from abroad. In 2002 Michael Gubisch - today managing director of SCHAEFER GmbH - joins the company. He is to advance the development of the international markets.
A further milestone in the company's history is the establishment of its own QM system with the successful initial certification according to DIN EN ISO 9001:2000 in 1999. The trend towards more individuality also becomes clear in this decade: SCHAEFER increasingly manufactures tableaus for the most diverse requirements, including barrier-free solutions.
Thanks to the changes, further developments, reorientations and upheavals that took place between 1994 and 2004, SCHAEFER remains a continuously growing and future-oriented company.
After 16 years as Managing Director, Werner Koepff passed the baton on to Michael Gubisch in 2005, who had already been successfully driving forward the company's international orientation since 2002. This also includes the adaptation of the company name to international requirements: The "Ing. Wolfgang Schäfer GmbH" becomes the "SCHAEFER GmbH".
SCHAEFER succeeds in keeping pace with the rapid worldwide development: The opening of the production and distribution site in Abrera
(Spain) in 2009, three years later, "SCHAEFER Elevator Components Inc." was founded in Canada. Already in the following year the SCHAEFER subsidiary in Milan was opened. The heart of the company, the
Laiz site, will be strengthened by the completion of the production hall extension. Within a decade, the number of employees at the headquarters has increased from 140 to 220. In 2014, SCHAEFER can look back on half a century of experience, development and growth. As a strong medium-sized company and future-oriented technology leader, the positive further development is supported and shaped by a strong workforce, driven by the pioneering spirit of the first hour.
The company 2014:
- 5 Subsidiaries
- 240 employees worldwide
- 12 nations / 19 languages
- Over 50% export share
- Customers in over 120 countries
- 50 years of industry experience
SCHAEFER is actively driving digitalisation in the lift industry. With the opening of the Erfurt location in July 2016, SCHAEFER is investing in a new technology and development centre. The location serves as an innovation centre and is also home to the EMC competence centre and the logistics for the SCHAEFER webshop, which opened on 01 January 2018. With the strengthened innovative power, products such as Liftboy, Predma (predictive maintenance), SIS4VIP and the HapticTouch are created.
In 2017, SCHAEFER sets new standards with its own vandalism class "3+". In 2020/21, the portfolio is expanded to include hygiene products / solutions such as the foot switch B 80 or the UV-C cabin disinfection SCHAEFair and many others.
In 2020, an existing product portfolio was taken over with the acquisition of Wallraff Lifttechnik. This is now not only represented by SCHAEFER but also produced and actively developed further. In November 2020, the production of the former Wallraff products was integrated into the Erfurt branch.
In 2021, the SCHAEFER academy was launched.
After determining the CO2 footprint in advance, SCHAEFER GmbH achieved climate neutrality in 2020. Through the support of various environmental projects, the installation of our own e-charging stations and the development of an e-mobility fleet, we will continue to contribute responsibly to the reduction of greenhouse gases in our company.
At a glance:
Digital products and studies: Liftboy, Predma, SIS4VIP
new tableau series SlimLine / Aurora
2015 UL certification (products & location)
2016 Opening of the Erfurt branch
2017 DIN EN ISO 9001:2015
2017 SCHAEFER Vandalimus class 3+
2018 Webshop shop4lifts.com (opening 01.01.18)
2020 Takeover of Wallraff Lifttechnik
2020 SCHAEFER achieves climate neutrality
2020 Portfolio expanded to include hygiene products
2021 SCHAEFER academy
(1) Intercom from 1978
(2) One of the first Christmas parties at the new plant in Laiz in 1975.
(3) Gerhard Lauer, Werner Koepff 1985.
(4) Wolfgang Schaefer 1993 on his 70th birthday.
(5) Accounting 1988.
(6) Illuminated pushbutton LT 28.
(7) Short stroke pushbutton KT 28.
(8) Quality control.
(9) Son Joachim, wife Ruth and Wolfgang Schaefer.
(10) Ruth Schäfer was responsible for secretariat and accounting.
(11) Celebration of the 80th birthday.
(12) Group photo in front of the Hohenzollern castle in Sigmaringen.
(13) Ruftableau from the 80s.
(14 to 17) Jobs in production in the 70s.