KGM down the years

1913

On 13th May 1913, Walter Gebauer I and Swedish engineer Thor Möller founded Kugelfabrik Walter Gebauer in Frankfurt am Main.

Walter Gebauer
Walter Gebauer ran his factory for over five decades.

1919

After World War I the company relocates to Fulda and acquires a large factory complex with hydroelectric power production.

The business is renamed Kugelfabrik Gebauer & Möller, (KGM).

The ‘Athlet’ brand is launched.

The company is making precision steel balls and ball cages for the bicycle industry.

Kleinstkugeln
A speciality of the company Gebauer was miniature balls.

1923

First series of conversions and extensions made to the existing buildings. Despite some difficult years and the global economic crisis, the company continues to grow.

1933

Part-owner Thor Möller leaves the business.

1940

By order of the Third Reich government. Production of rocker bearings for the aircraft industry is begun.

The KGM brand is launched.

The company is now employing approx. 400 people

1945

Following the end of World War II, production is resumed and built back up.

The blowing up of the neighbouring Hornungsbrücke Bridge causes damage to company buildings and machines.

Mitarbeiterinnen der KGM bei der optischen Qualitätskontrolle
KGM employees at the visual quality control.

1952 / 53

Two buildings added, extending the factory complex to 1,750 square metres.

1963

The company’s 50th anniversary with a workforce now of 300.

1966

On 19 March 1966, company founder Walter Gebauer I dies aged 81. His heirs sell their shares in the business.

1967

On 31st January 1967, FAG Kugelfischer, managed by chief executive Walter Gebauer II (nephew of KGM’s founder) and Johannes L. Richter, takes over the management of Kugelfabrik Gebauer & Co.

1968 / 70

Constant demolition, conversion and extension work to buildings, plus overhauls to machines and turbine building required in order to keep up with the latest technology.

1972

The last of the Gebauer family heirs sell their shares and KGM becomes wholly owned by FAG Kugelfischer. The company name is changed to KGM Kugelfabrik Gebauer GmbH. The managing director continues to be Walter Gebauer II and Johannes L. Richter.

1981

Johannes L. Richter, as managing director, and FAG (Kugelfischer) chief executive Wilhelm Schüssler take over management of KGM.

1993

Hit by a cash-flow crisis, the group puts stand-alone subsidiary KGM Kugelfabrik Gebauer GmbH up for sale.

1994

It is bought through a management buyout on 1st July 1994 by the Richter family and five shareholders from the senior management team.
The company name KGM Kugelfabrik Gebauer GmbH is retained.

1998

DQS certifies KGM for the first time under DIN ISO 9002.

2002

DQS certifies KGM for the first time under ISO/TS 16949.

2005

The factory buildings are extended.

2007

DQS certifies KGM for the first time under DIN EN ISO 14001 ‘Environmental Standard’.

2008

Matthias Richter joins the senior management team.

2010

The company’s external profile is revised, with the name changing to KGM Kugelfabrik GmbH & Co. KG.

2012

KGM opens a subsidiary in Kunshan, China.

Firmengelände in Kunshan, China
KGM premises in Kunshan in greater Shanghai. Stefan Steinmetz becomes Technical MD.

Stefan Steinmetz becomes Technical MD.

2013

Celebration of the 100-year anniversary.

2014

Land is purchased to extend company premises.

2015

First building activities to extend the production capacity of the KGM factory are completed

2016

The year of large-scale production expansion begins. Ballcenter GmbH & Co. KG becomes operational.

KGM exposed regularly at the Hanover Fair.