Egon Ernst along with his wife and an employee began manufacturing tools, jig equipment and injection molds in a one-time carpenter's workshop in Oberkirch-Zusenhofen. 50 years later, the ERNST Group has more than 750 employees and is one of the world's leading manufacturers of precision-formed metal parts. The family-run business still has its headquarters in Zusenhofen. The company group has three international branches situated in France, the USA and China.
Revolutionary forming technology
Egon Ernst and his team have made the company a development partner of the global automotive industry with expertise, vision and courage. Product highlights include, for instance, synchronizer rings in the transmissions of modern cars. In the past, such components were sintered, forged or cast. ERNST has now succeeded in manufacturing them from a single sheet of metal by merely stamping and forming – that was a real technological revolution. These days, ERNST produces more than 16 million synchronizer rings per year in Germany and China.
Persistently pushing the frontiers of what is possible
The story of the synchronizer rings stands for the company’s spirit that has made it so successful. “When it gets especially demanding, go straight to Ernst”, is what people in the industry would say. Over the decades, the ERNST specialists have constantly extended the boundaries of the achievable in forming technology.
Tackled structural change early on
Today's challenges include digitization, autonomous driving and electric mobility. This leads to entirely new demands on the ERNST product range. "We were quick to adapt to more complex parts in smaller quantities," reports Matthias Ernst, Executive Director and son of the founder.
In addition to mere metal forming – machining and welding as well as assembling component groups have long been part of the product range. The latest major investment at the Zusenhofen site is a 1,500-ton transfer press combined with a wide range of further processing options. This enables high-strength materials to be formed and processed with extreme precision. The design and technology ensure the necessary flexibility even for smaller series. Herbert Gieringer, fellow partner and Technical Director, is certain that, "We are not only prepared for the changes in the automotive industry. We can also offer appealing solutions for other industries such as manufacturers of electrical appliances."
With esteem and a sense of solidarity with the homeland
On the 50th birthday of his company, company founder Egon Ernst is gratified despite all of the adversities: "The company is in good hands and is developing very well under the given circumstances.” He is very appreciative to all the people who have made this success possible. "The employees are the company's most important capital" has been his motto right from the beginning – and thus, his homeland and its inhabitants have always been particularly close to his heart: "Some of the employees had their doubts at first. Nevertheless, internationalization has ensured that the home base has been strengthened". Many families in Zusenhofen and the surrounding area are still grateful to him to this day.