Travel with us through 75 years of RUBIG history

The RUBIG Group today is made up of four divisions – RUBIG Industrial Furnaces, RUBIG Heat Treatment, RUBIG Die Forge and RUBIG Technology. Many decades of experience in metal working and processing, its own on-site competence centre comprising R&D and a materials laboratory, and a dedicated, dynamic team with a creative and innovative approach, form the basis for RUBIG’s position as technology leaders. With its own sites in Austria, Germany, Slovakia, the USA and China, and customers in more than 42 countries, RUBIG is well established on the international stage. And it all began 75 years ago with one small drop forge...

In 1946, the Franz RUBIG & Söhne Metwallwarenfabrik is started in Wels in Austria, in a building which had been bombed during the Second World War. The founder, Franz Rübig, together with his sons Herbert and Helmut, reconstructs the badly damaged building by hand, and sets up a workshop there. RUBIG makes its mark on the market early on with its first product, the injection needle. But it is only the when the company develops its own linchpin that RUBIG has its big breakthrough. With this type of safety connecter, the emphasis is on bending not breaking – naturally without any loss of safety. This concept proves very popular in the agricultural sector and the construction industry, and so the RUBIG linchpin becomes not just the company’s first patented product, but also the trademark of the fledgling enterprise.

1946 - 1955

The founding father, Franz,

Der Gründervater Franz

with his sons Helmut (left) and Herbert (right). Helmut was originally trained as a blacksmith and Herbert as a clock and watch maker.

1946 - the founding building

1946 – das Gründungsgebäude

the Franz RUBIG & Söhne Metallwarenfabrik, and thus the first site in the RUBIG Group. The remains of the original walls are discovered decades later, when some water pipes are moved.

The building

Stein um Stein

was rebuilt stone by stone. At that time no-one suspected that the foundation was being laid for such international success.

Original notice from 1950

Originalbescheid von 1950

‘With regard to the application by Rübig & Sons KG, Wels, 21a Schulstrasse, for permission under industrial law for a plant for the production of metalware, the following ruling is issued, based on the result of the verbal negotiation carried out on the location on 30.3.1951 and the minutes of the meeting of the same date, which form an integral part of this decision: in response to their application dated 1.12.1950 [...] and on the basis of the plans submitted and approved, and against compliance with the conditions laid down in the minutes of the meeting, permission under industrial law [...] has been granted to Rübig & Sons KG, Wels.’

Injection needles


are the first products manufactured by RUBIG. In those days, these products were not disposable – the cannulas were cleaned, disinfected and re-used.

The RUBIG linchpin

Der RÜBIG Klappstecker

is the symbol of innovation, technological progress and the courage to embrace the new for the company.

Success with their first proprietary products gives RUBIG room for growth. Corresponding levels of investment in state-of-the-art production, extending the plant and expanding the product range follow. The development of the flat link chain signifies another important milestone in the company’s history. The chain is a further development of the Ewart chain devised in the 19th century. By changing the type of steel used and the production processes, RUBIG gives it improved resistance to wear, and makes it harder and tougher. As a result it is also ideally suited to heavy loads.
But, with its very rapid growth, RUBIG faces a challenge which the business will have to face repeatedly in the following years: the problem of space. So further premises in Schulstrasse are acquired.

1956 - 1965

The company’s new site

at 21 Schulstrasse – before and after conversion. Even then the family lent a hand. They managed to lay a new access road over the course of a single weekend.

Even in the 1950s

Bereits in den 1950er Jahren

importance was attached to efficient production lines when extending the plant, although of course this bears no comparison to the high levels of automation nowadays.

The board drop hammer

uses the energy (ram weight x height of fall) produced by the fall of the ram (as the hammer is called) for forging in the die. The ram is pulled back up by a lever mechanism. Investment in several forging hammers allows more flexibility in production and is necessary to meet high demand.

Toolmaking and a drop forge

Werkzeugbau und Gesenkschmiede

are inextricably linked. The latest technology was used even in the tooling machines – this picture shows a planing machine.

The production of flat link chains

Die Produktion von Flachgliederketten

is at that time still in its early stages. But even then the chain links have the typical RUBIG shape. The crane, as well as the oil tank still exist today and, what’s more, they’re still in the same place!

RUBIG has always been ahead of its time

RÜBIG war schon immer seiner Zeit voraus

with ‘women in technology’ as well.

The 60s – a time of upheaval and movement; but also of independence and economic prosperity. For RUBIG, this decade does not, of course, signify revolution on a large scale, but the acquisition of its first hydropower plant does mean a significant step towards greater independence and self-sufficiency – after all, a proper smithy needs its own energy source! This made the production process much more cost-effective and allowed RUBIG to focus on the aspect which would become its hallmark – its high quality standards. These also manifest themselves at the start of the 70s in the slogan ‘Safety through quality’.

But it’s not only the high standards placed on the company itself and the efficient management of the business that are decisive for RUBIG’s ongoing growth. The most important factor for success was and is the team. The people who roll up their sleeves every day, set to work and propel the company forward, with creativity, innovative spirit and drive. They are the foundation and the catalysts in any successful business story.

1966 - 1975

Joint works outings

Gemeinsame Betriebsausflüge

help weld the team together. Then, as now, RUBIG places great value on team spirit among employees. This is why, even today, a number of events and activities are offered every year, to bring colleagues who work on different sites closer together.

the Hofmühle

Die Hofmühle

the Hofmühle in Wels Lichtenegg means it has its own, clean energy.

‘The team spirit at RUBIG is unique. Since it was founded in 1946, we have always enjoyed long years of service from our employees, sometimes of 35 years or more, and we often have whole family clans working in the company. This, for me, is the best confirmation that as a business we have done something right. No survey feedback is more effective than recommending your employer to your family and friends.’ 

At the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, RUBIG set a course for expansion – in every area:
expansion in the value chain – the idea for an in-house commercial heat treatment plant is born.
With the acquisition of a second generating plant in Schafwiesenstrasse, clean and secure energy is also guaranteed for the new branch of the company.
Expansion along international borders – the RUBIG safety linchpin wins new customers worldwide.
In order to meet demand, the first international branch office is established in Freilassing in Germany. One after the other, the first agencies in France and England open. The patent for the linchpin, the first in the company’s history, now becomes the first global patent.

1976 - 1985

with the company’s branch office

Mit der Vertriebsniederlassung

in Freilassing, RUBIG crosses international borders for the first time.

At international trade fairs

Auf internationalen Messen

is a great hit at international trade fairs.

The mechanism

Der Mechanismus

for a board drop hammer is being delivered and installed.

Precise mechanical processing

Eine gewissenhafte, mechanische Bearbeitung

contributes greatly to the quality of a forged part. But working on the drill in the 70s is significantly more laborious than it is today.

By the early 1980s

Anfang der 1980iger

the range of products made by RUBIG Die Forge had become more extensive and included a wide variety of parts for the automotive industry, such as the connecting rod shown here. It was later built into the Puch MS50 moped. Also shown here is the first hydraulic hammer used in the RUBIG Die Forge.

The Puch MS50 Moped©

Das Puch Moped MS50<sup>©</sup>

contains connecting rods forged by RUBIG. / MN Anzeigenservice GmbH

The official founding of RUBIG Heat Treatment in 1986 – at that time the first commercial vacuum heat-treatment plant in Upper Austria – marks the company’s first step towards becoming a comprehensive centre of competence for metal working. The in-house materials engineering laboratory makes RUBIG stand out from the other commercial heat-treatment centres and gives it a significant competitive edge. Helmut Rübig dedicates himself to achieving this milestone, along with his sons, Günter and Paul Rübig. Early on they recognise the huge potential for synergy held by the new site in Schafwiesenstrasse. In addition to forging tools and products, the components can, after production, also be heat-treated on site.

And it is this that first awakens the entrepreneurial spirit in the three men. The heat treatment technology has scarcely been established before their thoughts start to turn towards the next step in expansion – their own furnace manufacturing plant. It is not long before this idea is realised: in 1992 the opening of a further site in Durisolstrasse in Wels is celebrated. Investment in technological expertise secures the long-term growth of the heat treatment and industrial furnace areas – because here, too, the synergistic effects can be fully exploited. Even today, the plasma nitriding technology developed in-house is an example of a significant driving force for both branches of the business.

1986 - 1995

The original building housing

Das Gründungsgebäude

RUBIG Heat Treatment, next to the generating plant on the millstream.

The early team

Das frühe Team

at RUBIG Heat Treatment (ca. 1990) – some of the staff in the photo were with the company when it started in 1986; others are still with the company.

The new company premises

in the Durisolstrasse. This is where the future furnace manufacturing plant started. The toolmaking shop was also temporarily housed here in the 1990s.

The first PLC controllers

Die ersten PLC Steuerungen

for the installation – over 30 of these are still in operation.

RÜBIG MICROPULS<sup>®</sup> Plasmanitriertechnologie

RÜBIG MICROPULS<sup>®</sup> Plasmanitriertechnologie

supports the technology for both the systems and heat treatment to the present day. Plasma, which together with solid, liquid and gas, is the fourth state of matter, is produced when very large quantities of energy are added to a gas. This can be achieved by using either heat, radiation or electrical voltage.

Günter Rübig

Günter Rübig

assumes leadership of the Die Forge side of the business in 1993, when his father and uncle retire, and also of the two other business units when they are amalgamated into the GmbH (limited liability company).

By the turn of the millennium, RUBIG is bursting at the seams in all directions. By 1997 the global success of the MICROPULS® plasma nitriding technology requires the expansion of the production facility for industrial furnace manufacturing. Shortly after this, the Die Forge division is extended with the addition of a production hall in Mitterhoferstrasse; only the toolmaking shop remains in the premises on Schulstrasse. The space freed up there is used to bring the toolmaking shop, temporarily housed in Durisolstrasse, back to Schulstrasse. But the smithy soon outgrows the space in the Mitterhoferstrasse premises. The administration, marketing and dispatch departments find a new home in the building opposite.
The company’s other locations follow the pattern laid by RUBIG Heat Treatment. Expansion is inevitable. In 2001, the entire division moves to Griesmühlstrasse and acquires the most advanced commercial heat treatment plant in Europe at the time. And the Heat Treatment division also moves not just over the town border to Marchtrenk, but also north-east into Slovakia. In 2005 RUBIG Slovakia is founded. The new location is Nováky – the centre of the automotive industry in Slovakia.

1996 - 2005

The Rübig brothers

Die Brüder

Paul (far left) and Günter (far right), celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary and show customers and business partners the heat treatment process.

RUBIG Heat Treatment

RÜBIG Härtetechnik

from vision to the most advanced commercial heat-treatment centre in Europe.

The groundbreaking ceremony


at RUBIG Heat Treatment’s new location.

RUBIG Heat Treatment’s new production hall

Die neue Produktionshalle

is a winner in Europe, with the shortest throughput times. The picture shows one of the case hardening lines.

One of the first

Eine der ersten

plasma nitriding plants in production and the MICROPULS® plasma generator – the heart of every RUBIG plasma nitriding system.

The original RUBIG SK building

Das Gründungsgebäude

in Nováky. The largest overseas branch of the RUBIG Group is soon established here.

The expansion course the company is following also progresses rapidly in this decade. In 2006, RUBIG Aluminium GmbH is established at 4 Griesmühlstrasse. With the addition of this important business area, the RUBIG Group extends and rounds out its portfolio as a competence centre for metal working. This strategic step proves successful – by the end of the decade, the new area has already expanded to include a branch in Pilsting in Germany.
RUBIG Heat Treatment, to which the newly established branch is officially assigned, is also set on a growth trajectory. The plasma nitriding and hard coating sectors are proving to be tech markets of the future. MICROPULS® technology becomes a flagship for the company.
Die 2007 gegründete Motortechnik legt den Fokus ihrer Aktivitäten auf die Entwicklung und Fertigung von Hochleistungskartmotoren und Hinterachsen.

Their success and their investment in technological advancement over the previous years help RUBIG survive the economic crisis of 2008. After the downturn, the Group recovers quickly, and in 2011 the Die Forge division takes an important step in the direction of economic upturn with the acquisition of a new forging hammer. This move allows the business unit to ensure longer service lives and an increase in production capacity.

On 30 July 2012, the ground-breaking ceremony for RUBIG’s new heat treatment plant in Prievidza, Slovakia, takes place. With this, RUBIG is the first investor from abroad to open a branch in the extensive industrial park in Prievidza, which covers 30 hectares. Also in 2012, a service branch of RUBIG Industrial Furnaces is established in Rockford, Illinois, in the USA. Both sites are officially opened the following summer. One of the first people employed at the USA site, and the future ‘American face’ of the RUBIG Group, is a colleague who has completed his apprenticeship in industrial furnace installation as a plant fitter, and who has lost his heart on the other side of the pond. Admittedly he had fallen in love with a lady, not the company. But we were very pleased to be able to support the couple in their new-found happiness.

2006 - 2015

State-of-the-art plants

for aluminium tempering guarantee the highest quality, with an optimum balance between yield strength, elongation at break and tensile strength.

In MEGA, RUBIG combines not only its technologies

but also its passion. The Rübig family are themselves been kart racers. It is, therefore, not surprising that scientific curiosity about the technology involved, combined with a love of the sport, should lead to such promising results – in the industry as well as on the racetrack.

RUBIG Heat Treatment

also gets a makeover. In 2007 investment is made in a new exhaust air system for the case hardening line.

The new forging hammer

Der neue Schmiedehammer

arms RUBIG Die Forge for an economic upturn after the crisis.

The new RUBIG SK site

Der neue RÜBIG SK Standort

in Prievidza. The flagship services of RUBIG SK will be primarily gas nitriding and case hardening.

The new service branch

of RUBIG Industrial Furnaces in Rockford, Illinois.

RUBIG Industrial Furnaces Taicang is established in 2018, functioning as a sales and service branch which provides customers with a comprehensive, professional service. This move takes RUBIG into its third continent.
With the establishment of RUBIG Technology GmbH, founded in 2020, the building that formerly housed RUBIG Heat Treatment in Schafwiesenstrasse in Wels is completely modernised. The laser, as the central element, offers almost unlimited potential in this area of the business. Technologies and processes such as laser deposition welding, laser hardening, and laser cutting and welding can be further developed and optimised here.

2016 - 2021

Herbert Rübig

Helmut Rübig

with his sons Paul (far left), Wolfgang (centre right) and Günter (far right), on the occasion of the company’s 70th anniversary.

RUBIG Industrial Furnaces Taicang

In der RUBIG Industrial Furnaces Taicang

- two members of staff act as guides for customers of RUBIG Industrial Furnaces in China.

The focus

Der Fokus

of the newly established RUBIG Technology (RTG) is the development and testing of new technologies, in particular for plant and processes for surface technology, heat treatment and manufacturing technology.

RUBIG Industrial Furnaces

breaks their own record – a furnace with an effective height of 6 meters and another with an effective height and diameter of 3 meters each are the largest furnaces that RUBIG has ever produced.

The RUBIG Group is now a high-tech supplier in areas including aeronautics, the automotive industry and medical technology. The development and advancement of new ideas are as important a catalyst for RUBIG as they have always been. Thus the Group strives to meet the new challenges in society, with, for example, PVD technology and research into antiviral and antibacterial coatings.

Harald Plöckinger, Günter Rübig, Bernd Rübig
Geschäftsführer Harald Plöckinger (links) mit Günter Rübig (Mitte) und Geschäftsführer Bernd Rübig (rechts).