The efforts by the company Imperial-Werke in Bünde to cover the need for cast parts for furnaces and stoves using their own production facilities lead them to build an iron foundry. On 29th October 1949 the first grey castings were produced in the Karlshütte iron foundry. At the time, the plant had a workforce of 63 that produced 60 tonnes of cast iron parts every month. In the following 20 years, the plant was developed, expanded, modernised and rationalised which boosted the cast parts production volume to approx. 500 tonnes a month with a workforce of 86 employees. This huge growth was owed to the installation of an automatic casting and moulding system from BMD, making the company one of the most modern foundries in Europe.
1968 was marked by the beginning of a recession in the furnace business and Imperial joined forces with the company Schott Glaswerken to develop the first glass ceramic hob. The company switched its furnace production over and cast the last coal furnaces in 1971. This was the start of a switchover to produce cast parts to customer specifications. The first customers were AEG-Motorenbau, BOSCH, Olympia and Kochs-Adler. On 01.12.1989 the company Imperial-Werke was sold to Miele. The foundry was not taken over and was run as an independent company by the Thiele family. The foundry was initially called "Imperial-Werke Gießerei GmbH" but, due to contractual agreements, the foundry needed to relinquish the name in 1994 and it was decided to return to the original name "Karlshütte". To meet customer requirements, lots of investments were made in subsequent years. Amongst other things, in the year 1992 the manual ore mixing system was replaced by the construction of a fully automatic ore mixing system, and in 1995 the BMD moulding system was replaced with a fully automatic moulding system from the company Heinrich Wagner Sinto (HWS). After commissioning the first electrical furnace in 1997, it was possible to also produce nodular castings. In 1998 the entire production volume produced by the 65 employees of the foundry was 2,706 tonnes generating sales of 9.7 million DM.
On 29th October 1999 the company celebrated its 50th anniversary. To be able to react flexibly to customer needs and boost performance, a new core shooter machine of the type TYP Laempe LL10 was commissioned in 2001 and in 2004 an EIRICH sand preparation plant based on the Evactherm® procedure was commissioned. In 2007 the annual tonnage has already reached 4,397 tonnes. Thanks to the perfect interplay of the individual production areas, the Karlshütte iron foundry is now able to produce cast products of an excellent quality.
In summer 2008 the company was certified by the Deutschen Gesellschaft zur Zertifizierung (German Association for Certification) thereby confirming that the implemented quality management system complies with the requirements of the standard DIN EN ISO 9001:2000. In June 2009 the company DQS recertified the quality standard of the system.
In 2012 the company Eisengiesserei Karlshütte underwent restructuring following the ESUG insolvency proceedings and Volker Ahring was appointed commercial managing director and partner next to Mr Karl-Heinrich Thiele.
The developments of the past 3 years enabled the company Eisengiesserei Karlshütte GmbH to take over the bankrupt company Metallgiesserei Schmidt GmbH in Osnabruck in 2015 thereby expanding the product range from iron casting to aluminium and heavy metal casting. During the takeover, the company Metallgiesserei Karlshütte GmbH was founded as a legally and commercial independent company.
At the beginning of 2016 the sales and services divisions of the two foundries were centralised within the company Karlshütte GmbH.
Today the Karlshütte Group has a workforce of approx. 120 at the production sites in Bünde and Osnabruck.
Formation of the company Eisengiesserei Karlshütte as a plant belonging to the Imperial Group run by the family Thiele.
Sale of the company Imperial Werke to Miele – the company Karlshütte remains independent.
Restructuring of the company Karlshütte as a result of the ESUG insolvency proceedings; Volker Ahring is appointed commercial managing director and is given 10% of the company shares.
On 1.10.2014 Karlshütte takes over four hand moulding units from the Bünde-based company ‘Brockfeld & Meyer’ when the company ceased operations. This allows Karlshütte to broaden its specialist competence in its own company. The goal is to start hand moulding again and to produce hand moulded parts of up to approx. 1.2 tonnes.
The company Metallgiesserei Schmidt GmbH in Osnabrück is taken over and the company Metallgiesserei Karlshütte GmbH is founded. The product range is expanded to include the materials aluminium, bronze and copper. Also, Karlshütte GmbH is founded as a service and sales company.
The iron foundry Karlshütte GmbH will be able to hand mould cast parts up to approx. 1 tonne in the newly installed hand moulding shop as of 1.12.2016.
The customer relations to the iron foundry operation Wilhelm Güsken GmbH & Co. KG are taken over as per 1.12.2016.