Althen builds out their services. The aim is to accompany their customers into the age of Industry 4.0. To do this, the company plans close collaboration with their Dutch sister company Altheris. To make an even better use of synergistic effects, the two companies are preparing to merge to to Althen Sensors & Controls.
Althen moves to its current headquarters in the industrial park in Kelkheim. The light, airy building was custom-built and meets every need for the best of working conditions. Particularly the production area with its in-house calibration laboratory is a showpiece, and uses the latest state of the art equipment. Here, specialists ensure that all measurement components sold and produced are working perfectly for the purposes of the customer.
A sea change in Althen history: Company founder Dieter Althen goes into a well-deserved retirement, selling the company to the Dutch Broadporte Group. The holding company continues to lead the company in the same innovative spirit as the Althen family. The employees work for the success of their customers, and find a solution for any measurement problem, no matter how complex.
Althen gets involved in Formula 1 racing: BMW Motorsport needs distance sensors, and Toyota asks for mobile measurement systems.
Althen lives from the quality of its equipment. Their quality management system is very quickly certified under ISO 9002. In 2016, it is recertified under ISO 9001:2008.
In-house production is gaining speed. Voith places an order for pressure sensors, and later another for distance sensors.
The Althen NM2 measurement system, which measures angles of tilt, turns out to be a sales hit. This robust instrument is used in industrial robots, cranes and fire fighting vehicles. It protects people and machines, so it is often a requirement for an operating permit.
The former bakery gets too cramped for the growing company. Althen moves into its first new construction, opposite City Hall in Kelkheim Münster. Now even the copier has its own room.
Mercedes Benz is interested in Althen metrology. They order about 300 sensors – an important milestone in the company's history. Large orders follow from Glötzl Gesellschaft für Baumeßtechnik, Liebherr Hydraulikbagger GmbH and DMT Marinetechnik.
Althen starts in-house manufacturing. The company makes a device to convert measurement signals into useful data. The new division booms – and is still growing today.
Althen relies on the latest communications options from day one. The company already purchases its first computer in 1984. Even though it still can't process the longer serial numbers.
"The enormous advantages of modern computer technology were obvious very quickly – especially when it came to documentation for quality assurance," says founder Dieter Althen.
For the first time in Althen's history, the company moves: from the little office in the Althen family basement to a former bakery. Gisela and Dieter Althen work hard in every part of the company. They prepare the packages for delivery themselves – in a little storage area with no windows.
Althen grows, taking over sales representation for the metrology and sensor company Schaevitz Engineering USA and Schaevitz EM in England. At the time, Schaevitz was well-known for providing some of the best sensors in the world.
Althen and 13 other companies found the AMA Verband für Sensorik und Messtechnik e. V., the AMA Association for Sensors and Measurement. The network is one of the largest in Germany in the area of sensors and metrology. Every year, the AMA organises the SENSOR & TEST trade show, the SENSOR and IRS² conferences and seminars about the field.
On 1 July 1978, Gisela and Dieter Althen take the first step to independence. They found Althen GmbH Meß- und Datentechnik, in Kelkheim im Taunus. Their office consists of a typewriter, a copier and a telephone in the basement of their home – as start-up as it gets.
Their first order, for 2,331 marks, comes from the Metallgesellschaft. Their product portfolio was still small, but even then it stood for top quality. ALTHEN sells VUKO oscillographs, Rikadenki plotters, Entran force sensors, Datatel telemetry and Prosser signal and function generators.