October 1983: In an old, almost dilapidated forge in a small village in Middle Franconia, Klaus Schülein takes the plunge into independence. With his idea of regenerating and hard-plating worn-out components, he wants to get a foothold in the clay brick and tile industry, before “conquering” the market.
The idea became reality: 38 years later, Klaus Schülein is managing a globally operating company group, which has become an established name in the clay brick and tile industry. But it is not only among brickmakers that REHART (incidentally, the name is derived from the company’s original core activities, Regenerieren [Regeneration] and HARTplattieren [HARDplating]) has over the years become a much respected brand with its products and services. In machine engineering, optimization, waste water technology, hydropower, water lifting equipment and wear protection in all possible configurations, the company is operating successfully on the market.
Sustainability from the start as the company philosophy
“Especially in the early stages when nobody knew us, it was very difficult and challenging,” the company founder recalls. “It wasn’t an easy job convincing seasoned brickmakers of the idea that, for example, a screw in an extruder would work much longer and more efficiently if you replaced the cast coating with a steel structure with highly wear-resistant plating. For most of them, the regeneration or reconditioning of worn-out components was a new-fashioned ‘environment idea’, which first had to gain a foothold. With much longer service lifetimes and ‘regenerating instead of throwing away’, important resources are saved. The focus of our company philosophy was on sustainability from the start. Looking back, I am very grateful to all those brickworks that gave us as REHART the chance to prove ourselves back then.”
After some exciting early years, the first trade fair presentation at ceramitec in Munich as well as many a setback, success gradually came in small steps. The 250 m² production area and the spatial at the old forge became too small and the company looked for a suitable site for a newbuild. An unbeatable offer from the mayor at the time meant that REHART remained true the village in which it had been founded, and in 1990 a first production facility with 1 000 m² and offices were built in Ehingen in Middle Franconia. Many years later and the production area has increased to over 7 500 m², the company administration works in a modern office building and sufficient land for planned expansions has already been acquired.
Milestone: R&D optimizing extruders
An important milestone in the company history was the research and development work on optimizing extruders. The combined effect of screw and lining brings an average energy saving of 30 % – the solution developed has become REHART’s most successful patent. The successes achieved with this and the confidence of the brickmakers gained by the company were the foundation stone for the subsequent developments in machine engineering for the clay brick and tile industry.
In his business life, Klaus Schülein has always had a good nose when it comes to acquiring other companies, investments or setting up new companies, e.g. in Russia or Romania. The group of companies has a healthy footing today and is well equipped to face the future with its wide range of products and services.
“I can only wonder at what has developed from my idea over the years. I am particularly proud of many long-standing employees who built up REHART with me, shaped the company and led it to success,” explains Klaus Schülein. “It is a special gift for me that my son Philipp is following in my footsteps. Since June 2017, he has been working actively in the company with us, and he was appointed by me into its management in 2019,” adds Schülein.
Philipp Schülein taking on responsibility
On joining the management, Philipp Schülein took on increasing responsibility at REHART, and since then he has made an impact on the company’s development and strategic orientation. With his expertise and closeness to the people, he has earned the respect and recognition of the over 130 employees, and the customers, too. Philipp greatly values good and respectful communication and a team-oriented working environment. With this, REHART is set for further healthy development, benefiting its employees and its customers now and in the future.
On 1 October 2021, the company celebrated the first REHART-Oktoberfest. At this celebration, Klaus Schülein informed the employees that after 29 years, at the end of 2021, he would give up his post as managing director and transfer the company management completely to his son Philipp. Klaus Schülein said goodbye with a very emotional and grateful speech to “his” employees. When asked about his best experience in his 38-year REHART history, he replied: “The best thing about this success story for me has been that from one idea and a made-up name, a brand has grown in the clay brick and tile industry, which has since evolved into an established player!”
From 1 January, he won’t be turning his back completely on the company, but he will be cutting back on his activities substantially, to concentrate on cultivating contact to the various companies in the group, He wishes his successor, amongst other things, motivated employees who are happy to invest with him in the future of REHART, wise decisions and the courage to get back up again after any defeats.
Die als Familienunternehmen geführte Unternehmensgruppe hat ihre Verwaltung in Ehingen/Bayern. An diesem Standort produziert die Rehart GmbH auf über 7.500 qm Hallenfläche. Von der Zentrale in Ehingen aus werden fünf Unternehmensstandorte und elf Vertriebsstandorte koordiniert.
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