The company WIKUS-Sägenfabrik was founded by Wilhelm Hubert Kullmann on 01 October 1958, a few weeks before his 30th birthday. Amidst the growing German economy, the brothers Wilhelm and Josef Kullmann, Mr. Bätzing and an apprentice started the manufacturing of band saw blades. The “company premise” was, at first, a horse stable in Spangenberg, the so-called “Bethlehem’s stable” (picture above) which had been provided by an uncle free of charge.
1958 - The first major order soon came from Debras (German-Brazilian-Purchasing Company for Daimler-Benz do Brasil). The order from overseas brought along Wilhelm Kullmann from Frankfurt. When the order was finalized, the whole company’s work force helped out loading crates onto the lorry. Afterwards, our boss invited everyone for a chicken dinner in Melsungen - a good reason to celebrate.
1960 - Only after a short time, the area at the stables “am Steinbruch” became too small, resulting in the relocation to the first factory building at Melsunger Straße in 1960, where we still are today. The numbers of employees increased to 30 and turnover sales amounted to 1.5 Million DM.
In 1962, „WIKU“ changed its name to „WIKUS“, to avoid any possible confusion with other companies in this industry. Up to this day, this name has stood for Wilhelm Kullmann Spangenberg. Again, the first production building became too small for the growing company resulting in the annex of hall 1b at „Melsunger Straße“ in 1963.
View into production 1964: the highly engineered production process was improved continuously.
One of the milestones in 1970 during the development of export agencies was the founding of WIKUS IBERICA S.A., a subsidiary in Barcelona. At the same time the development of new markets in South America took place. Pictures on the right, above: In 1970, the first business contacts with Japan were established, picture below: successful attendance on the trade fair in Hanover in 1974.
In the years 1974 / 75, the key decision to massively upgrade the product program of bimetal band saw blades was made. In so doing, a product range was developed which enabled WIKUS to exploit this range of products almost without competition. Picture: impressions from the production, 1974
WIKUS kept on growing and building in 1978: the extension of hall 2 and hall 3 were the shipping department is integrated. By that time, annual sales amounted to 20 Million DM. Hardly was the building project in the new shipping department completed, when additional production facilities were needed which was followed by the construction of hall 4 in 1979 / 80.
On 01 October 1983, WIKUS celebrated its 25th anniversary. The number of staff members grew to 132, 31 of them had been trained as merchants, the turnover exceeded far beyond 30 Million DM. We keep on growing - view towards company compound in 1986 with the completed hall 5, extreme right: the extended administration building.
Innovative carbide band saw blades - A new market segment in the automotive industry, which has become very important today, could successfully be occupied by WIKUS. The cylinder heads used in cars in the western world are machined by a very high percentage of FUTURA PLUS and ECODUR band saw blades made in Spangenberg. After the consequential introduction of a distinctive and independent quality management, WIKUS was given an award in 1994 and received the certificate for the quality assurance system according to DIN EN 9001 as the first European band saw blade manufacturer.
Growth - To meet the challenge of increasing demand, the manufacturing capacity for the vigorously growing carbide metal production had to be expanded. In 1998, the construction of the FUTURA-hall began and was completed and ready to move in within only 12 months. WIKUS SAW, USA - The leap forward to the US-American market. With the new production potential at the location of Spangenberg, WIKUS SAW TECHNOLOGY Corp. was founded as a fully-owned subsidiary in Chicago in 1999. With the establishment of WIKUS SAW, the last white spot on the sales network had now been covered.
DIAGRIT - Diamond coated band saw blades, new products for future markets. WIKUS succeeded in developing highly innovative products as had happened a few years before in the carbide segment. The DIAGRIT band saw blades were therefore the fourth product group as part of a continuously growing WIKUS-product range. In contrast to many available blades on the market, DIAGRIT, with its intermittent gritting (U) consists of defined chip clearances due to its saw teeth shape which can primarily be used for cutting large material blocks in extremely hard work pieces.
2003 - 45 years of WIKUS - To draw up an interim balance: WIKUS was the largest band saw blade manufacturer in Europe, developing band saw blades with cutting materials consisting of: carbon steel, bimetal, carbide and diamond, 450 employees worked on a production area of 30,000 sqm, with an annual working capacity of 4,500 t of steel strip, turnover sales amounted to about 70 Million Euros, WIKUS was represented in over 60 countries. The aggregate demand curve worldwide for carbide band saw blades made in Spangenberg continued to rise. In 2005, the enlargement of the production area at the FUTURA-hall by 4500 sqm was started.
On October 29, 2007, the business premises in Spangenberg were converted, at short notice, to the government centre of Hesse. The entire Hessian cabinet, with Minister President Roland Koch at its top, was assembled here for a cabinet meeting and were given a warm welcome at WIKUS. That was not all - On the 16th Hessian day of entrepreneurship, WIKUS was honoured as part of the competition of „Hesse-Champions 2007“ before approximately 1,200 invited guests and received the award for the 2nd place in the sector „job engine“.
"The 50th anniversary of a family business marks a milestone, a fixed point in time, yet only a moment that focuses on the retrospect, status quo and contemplation of the future. We are ever so grateful to be able to celebrate this wonderful moment as part of a diverse history of our family company together with many of those affiliated to us. The company WIKUS Wilhelm H. Kullmann GmbH&Co. KG was founded 50 years ago in Spangenberg where it will remain for good!" Wilhelm H. Kullmann, Founder and Chairman and Dr. Jörg H. Kullmann, Chief Executive Officer