50 Years – an Exciting Company History

From Metalworker through to Global Player

We would like to invite you to join us in a short time journey. You may learn about the 50 years of history of Probst, growing from a small swabian metalworking workshop to a global player.

A warm thank you to all customers, business partners and employees, which have attended us along our way.

1961: The Founders

Company founder Ernst Probst and his wife Helene

"I will start my own business again"

Ernst Probst (1920 – 2007) son of a self-employed carpenter was born in Kirchberg/Jagst. After an apprenticeship as metalworker and his return from captivity as a prisoner of war in 1947, Ernst Probst was dealing in agricultural machinery from 1951 to 1959. Afterwards he worked as a foreman in the mechanical maintenance department of a precast concrete factory.

It did not take too long and his decision was clearly figured out: "I will start my own business again". His wife Helene (1924 – 2009) felt a bit uneasy about it but forcefully supported her husband. Helene Probst was the first employee and later on became the fairy godmother of the company.

1961: Laying the Foundation for Company History

The first workshop

The first steps

In 1961 Ernst Probst established his company manufacturing grabs and material handling equipment in a small garage at Silcherstraße in Erdmannhausen – this is how things got started. The office with typewriter, drawing board and telephone was located nearby at the house of the family.

The first order was to design a grab for handling concrete blocks with a forklift. Other challenging tasks followed which resulted in proper solutions. Thus further orders came in due to word-of-mouth recommendation.

1964: The first Clamp from Series Production – Polyp 64 for Tower Crane Operation

The mechanical clamp Polyp 64 for tower crane

Generating contacts, Orders coming in

The mechanical clamp Polyp 64 for tower crane operation was the first product from series production.

First relationships to construction equipment dealers could be established via building contractors. Potential customers became aware of Probst, first brochures were printed and distributed. Within short time a precast concrete factory placed a significant order – a clamp for handling concrete manholes was demanded for. It should fold up like an umbrella. The clamp was a striking success.

1969: The First Patent – Block Loading Grab AKZ

Block Loading Grab AKZ

Production is extended

Till this day Probst is taking pride in the first company’s patent – it is the fi rst hydraulic parallel squeeze block loading grab for truck loading cranes with a large opening range. At that time a significant milestone in development of handling technology.

These days the block loading grab AKZ still is one of the most important products at Probst. Production was extended and Ernst Probst hired a foreman to have more time on his part to design new products and to visit customers.

1980: First Attendance at BAUMA Trade Show

Exhibition Stand at the international trade show BAUMA 1980

Probst goes International

In 1980 Probst decided to participate in BAUMA trade show for the first time. Attending in the worldwide most important and largest trade show was a major step towards attracting worldwide attention. This was a solid fundament to grow on export markets rapidly.

Two years before, in 1978, Martin Probst, one of the sons, entered the company after having completed his mechanical engineer studies.

1983: First Hydraulic Installation Clamp HVZ for concrete pavers

Hydraulic Installation Clamp HVZ for concrete pavers, used in 1983

First Hydraulic Installation Clamp HVZ for concrete pavers

In 1983 another milestone was achieved and the range of products was extended by the HVZ Hydraulic Installation Clamp for paver laying. With this clamp it was possible to lay a complete square meter in one go. This clamp started the long-standing success story of selling by product demonstration on the construction site. Even today, the Probst team of experts is advising the customers competent and with a practical orientation directly on site. The better solution will be found.

1984: Formation of the Branch in England

Ernst Probst and Charles Bolland when the first trailer load of goods for the UK branch left the headquarters

First Branch Abroad

Already at the beginning of the nineties the use of concrete pavers was very common in the United Kingdom. It was obvious to expand further by opening an own distribution and service branch right there. 1985 it was finally at the time to open Probst’s new establishment and it was possible to serve the U.K. market, which got more and more important, perfectly from there. This was also a gateway to new markets, because the British construction companies were already active worldwide at that time. Charles Bolland, the manager of the branch, played a substantial role for the success of Probst products in England.

1988: Paver Laying Machine VM 203

Launch of the Paver Installation Machine VM 203

The big hit!

In 1988 Probst launched his first paver laying machine, the VM 203. The totally new designed machine was not just meeting the requirements of the growing market for mechanical paver installation. It also rewrote the rules.

The product was presented to the amazed trade experts for the first time at the GaLaBau fair in Nueremberg/Germany. The compactness and agility, as well as the reliability immediately convinced a lot of customers. Till today, this machine is an important cornerstone in the range of Probst products.

1991: Opening of the Branch in Könitz/Thuringia

Staff members of the Könitz branch 1991

Fall of the Berlin Wall

The reunion started an economic boom and ended up in an unexpected sales increase.

Following the long-term orientation of the company policy, a distribution and manufacturing branch in Könitz, Thuringia, has been opened. Particular products are exclusively produced, maintained and demonstrated at this location by highly qualified and motivated employees.

1991: Introduction of the Vacuum-Technology

First generation of the JUMBOMOBIL JM

New "Handling-Technology" comes up

The use of vacuum-energy to handle industrial components was successfully applied in more and more industry sectors.

However Probst already knew that there is a big difference between working on a construction site and working industrial in clean and organized factory buildings. The solution was: Altering the standard vacuum components by combining them with the existing construction know-how, thus they can be used effectively on construction sites. This turned out well – Probst entered into vacuum-technology perfectly.

2000: First Welding Robot at the Branch in Könitz

The first welding robot welding a gripping arm of the Block Loading Grab AKZ

Manufacturing of Serial Products

The first welding robot was installed in 2000 at the branch in Könitz, Thuringia. Another milestone in the history of Probst!

From now on production could be effected even more accurate, faster and effi ciently. Finally this was the essential changeover from manual production into industrial production. Meanwhile there are working 3 welding robots at Probst, more investments are planned.

2000-2010: New Products, Procedures and Technologies

Visualization of bending stress for a structural component of a hydraulic grab (Result of a FEM-calculation)

Development of the "Uni"-series

Three-dimensional CAD software is introduced, FEM durability approval is standard now and many new devices are broadening the range of products. Universally usable products, the so-called "Uni"-series are designed. Often times they replace two or three devices by just one new "Uni"- product, so the product portfolio was tightened.

In addition to that it was possible to optimize the products using standardized components. This modular construction principle reduced costs and an even better product quality could be achieved.

2010: Offensive by Innovation with more than 10 new Products

New products presented in front of the headquaters in Erdmannhausen

The Trade-Highlights 2010

The financial crisis 2008/2009 did not leave Probst unaffected. Nevertheless the research and development department was working at full stretch on new products and further developments. These products were launched on time at the BAUMA 2010.

The results of this swabian innovation spirit were 10 imaginative novelties, like the screeding machine POWER PLAN PP, as well as the flagship for paver laying machines – the VM 401 or the vacuum-kerbstone-lifting device JUMBO BV vario.

2011: Probst Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Company

Managing Director Martin Probst during his official speech

Probst Greiftechnik Verlegesysteme GmbH, a global developer and manufacturer of grab and installation technology, fittingly celebrated its 50th anniversary on Friday 14th October 2011. Guests from over 25 countries accepted the invitation to the Erdmannhausen head office of the company founded in 1961. Guests from far-away Australia had come the furthest. In both the morning and the afternoon, numerous invited guests participated in a number of company tours of the production facility and the newly designed showroom. Around 350 people including guests of honour and staff celebrated at the evening gala in the “Halle auf der Schray”. In his official speech, Managing Director Martin Probst thanked the customers, agents, sales partners, suppliers and staff present for their longstanding, faithful co-operation and envisaged ideal conditions for further healthy growth in the future. District Administrator Dr. Rainer Haas and Mayor Lutz Schwaigert from Erdmannhausen highlighted the longstanding bonds and demonstrated their pride in having such a company in the district/town. With an entertaining multimedia show, Martin Probst then took his guests on a fascinating journey through time, through the 50-year history of the company from the small metalwork business to the present global player. New product innovations, highlights and the current position of the company were presented in a round of talks of the board with distribution, export and production managers. 11 dedicated members of staff produced a successful musical recital, in which the product codes of Probst products were worked into amusing song lyrics. The successful event was accompanied by music from a “mobile” 3-piece jazz band, which provided appealing classics from different places in the hall during the breaks. After the official element of the gala, the cordial get-together continued much longer in the lounge area – with delicious cocktails, good music and interesting conversation.

2011: Open Day at Probst with 2,000 Visitors

The demonstrations of the large equipment from Probst attracted great interest on the open day

In addition, the Erdmannhausen population and the families of the staff also celebrated with Probst. Around 2,000 visitors used the open day on Saturday 15th October to have a look behind the scenes of the international market leader for grab and installation technology. Here, many guests also participated in the regular tours around the development and testing, training and production departments and found out about the company’s latest products in the on-site showroom. At the large equipment demonstrations, even the smallest visitors were able to have a go sitting on an installation machine, which they obviously enjoyed. Additionally, quad biking and children’s face painting as well as a bouncy castle and a balloon competition provided ideal entertainment for the youngest guests. On the information stand of the trainees in the training workshop, slightly older guests were able to find out about the various training opportunities at Probst. The local German Red Cross and the Gastrupp e.V. society provided sustenance with hearty food and delicious drinks.