The Rehart success story began in 1983 in Ehingen at Hesselberg in Bavaria in a small empty, almost dilapidated forge. Klaus Schülein ventured into self-employment with his idea - the regeneration and hard cladding of worn components for the brick and tile industry.
Time jump: After 38 years of building up and developing the company, investing a lot of sweat and heart and soul, and overcoming countless challenges, he hands over the management of a successful, medium-sized company to the next generation and slowly fades into the background. Not an easy step, but a wise one to put the company on „young“ and sustainable legs for future challenges.
In 2023, Rehart celebrates its 40th anniversary. Philipp Schülein, the son of Klaus and Christa Schülein, heads the globally active company, which has become a permanent fixture in the brick and tile industry, with his three-person management team. But it is not only among brickmakers that Rehart, with its products and services, has become a valued brand over the years. The company is also successful on the market in the areas of mechanical engineering, optimisations, waste water technology, hydroelectric power and water lifting systems as well as wear protection in all possible forms.
„Especially the initial phase, when nobody knew us, was very difficult and challenging,“ the company founder recalls. „Regenerating, i.e. the reprocessing of worn parts, was a new ‚environmental idea‘ for most companies in the brick and tile industry that first had to catch on and gain a foothold,“ Klaus Schülein continues. Important resources are conserved by considerably longer running times of machines and „regenerating instead of throwing away“. The buzzword „sustainability“, which is used almost inflationary nowadays, has always been at the centre of Rehart‘s company philosophy from the very beginning.
After exciting early years, the first participation in the leading ceramics trade fair Ceramitec in Munich and many a setback, success came with small steps. The 250 square metre production area and the spatial potential in the old forge quickly became too small and a suitable location for a new building was sought. An unbeatable offer from the mayor at the time ensured that Rehart remained loyal to its founding village and in 1990 a first production hall with 1,000 square metres and office space were built in Ehingen in Middle Franconia. Many years later, the production area has grown to over 7,500 square metres in five halls, the administration works in a modern office building and sufficient floor space for planned expansions has also been acquired.
But it is not only the space requirements that have increased over the years. Although the core activities - i.e. regeneration and hard cladding for the brick industry - still play the most important role, Rehart brings its know-how in dealing with wear and screws to many other areas. Both sewage technology, i.e. the equipment of sewage treatment plants, and agricultural technology as well as biogas plants are industries in which Rehart’s products are used. Non-metallic coatings against wear with the ceramic composite material nanoseal are also used, especially in pump renovation and in areas where chemical wear is a challenge. And - in keeping with the theme of sustainability - the company’s hydropower plants produce „green electricity“ and contribute their share to climate protection.
Over the 40 years, a group of companies, the RehartGroup, has developed with Rehart GmbH (which includes the sites in Ehingen, Netphen and Langenhagen), Rehart Thüringen GmbH, Schnelldorfer Maschinenbau GmbH and two companies abroad.
In his business life, Klaus Schülein has always had the right instinct when it came to acquiring other companies, investments or even the founding of new companies. Rehart is on a sound footing and is well equipped for the future thanks to its broad product and service portfolio.
At the headquarters, 110 specialists are currently employed, from welders to managing directors. A further 22 employees are spread across the other production sites. A particular point of pride are the nine apprentices in the areas of metal construction, machining, product design and administration. In 2022, a turnover of more than 24 million euros was achieved for the first time, a very pleasing milestone in Rehart‘s history.
Thanks to the product diversity, the focus on quality, sustainability and renewable energies for many years, Rehart GmbH is optimistic about the future. Their challenges lie in the areas of automation of production processes, further training of employees and the constant further development of their products and services, in order to not only keep up with the ever faster market developments, but also to actively shape them.
Rehart emphasizes that the customers from the ceramics industry have been with it since the start and remain a crucial and reliable guarantor of its success to this day.
To mark its 40th anniversary, the company is planning a big anniversary weekend in autumn 2023. From 29 September to 1 October, there will be a staff party, an event for customers and a big open day, among other things. With this celebration, Rehart wants to say thank you to all employees, customers and companions who have made the company what it is today over 40 years. „We are proud of what has grown here over the years and are very much looking forward to celebrating it in a fitting manner! With the open day on 1 October, we are offering all interested parties and customers the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes at Rehart and hope to see many astonished faces in view of the diversity of our activities and products,“ says managing partner Philipp Schülein with the upcoming celebrations in mind.