The German trailer manufacturer Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Groundbreaking innovations such as the hydraulically supported pendulum axle and the self-propelled modular SPMT have given the company a unique reputation.
To this day, Scheuerle is still a family-owned and run business. Since 1988, it has been part of the Transporter Industry International Group (TII Group) belonging to the multi-entrepreneur, Senator E. h. Otto Rettenmaier. Its innovative products are delivered to customers throughout the world. Starting as a blacksmith's forge, today it has developed into a dynamically growing enterprise with multi-million revenues. Looking ahead to the future, Scheuerle will continue to enter new markets around the world with the help of new products.
In 1869, master blacksmith Christian Friedrich Scheuerle acquired a blacksmith's forge in the town of Pfedelbach, thus laying the foundations for the vehicle factory. The decisive step into the future was made by his grandson, Willy Scheuerle. In 1937, he founded the Willy Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik which produced the first heavy-duty vehicles. A year later, he built a new production hall on the outskirts of Pfedelbach where the headquarters of Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik is still located today.
Modern heavy-duty vehicle construction begins in 1937
Willy Scheuerle paved the way in the modern heavy-duty transport sector with a range of innovative technologies. As early as 1937, the first low loaders with detachable bogie units and mechanical all-wheel steering were realised. In 1959, Willy Scheuerle and his team developed the construction principle of the hydraulically-supported pendulum axle which facilitated the mounting of several axles in a row in order to carry higher payloads. This technical solution remains the basis of modern day heavy-duty transport.
Bestseller SPMT stands for innovative strength and reliability
Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik has made a name for itself through its outstanding engineering capabilities and excellent vehicle quality. In particular, the invention of the SPMT (Self Propelled Modular Transporter), a modular self-propelled transport platform that can be used in numerous ways and which can be used to transport loads to locations around the world due to its flexible container dimensions. With a total of around 10,000 axle lines, Scheuerle is the world market leader in this segment. In addition, the SPMT and other heavy-duty combinations have enabled the company's customers worldwide to set many world records along with numerous entries in the Guinness Book of World Records.
2019 is characterised by strategic realignment
For the Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik, which is part of the TII Group, 2019 is seen as the year where both the product range together with the corporate strategy have been undergoing an overhaul in order to be able to fully meet the requirements of demanding customers worldwide as well as to open up new market segments. After 150 years, it is certain that the vehicle manufacturer is guaranteed not to be considered a thing of the past but instead is a world-leading, highly innovative company that offers its customers exactly the products they need for realising their special, sometimes even unique transport assignments.
A more comprehensive look:
1949 saw the birth of the modern heavy-duty transport sector. In Pfedelbach, a village in the agricultural-based Hohenlohe region in southern Germany,, the first low-bed trailers left the Willy Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik. Equipped with a detachable bogie unit and patented all-wheel steering system, the Willy Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik integrated two innovative technologies for the first time on this particular vehicle. Without this, the segment of special heavy-duty transport vehicles would be unthinkable today.
From a smithy to a vehicle factory
The beginnings of this traditional company go back even further namely to the year 1869. At that time, exactly 150 years ago, master blacksmith Christian Friedrich Scheuerle acquired a blacksmith's workshop in Pfedelbach and thus laid the foundations for the subsequent vehicle production factory. It was his grandson, Willy Scheuerle, who was endowed with plenty of entrepreneurial spirit and was responsible for setting the course for the future with growth and innovation very much in mind. After graduating, Willy Scheuerle took his first career steps as a design engineer in the famous Maybach engine factory before he turned to manufacturing vehicles for timber transport and haulage businesses at his parents' company. In 1937, he laid the foundation stone for later success through the founding of the Willy Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik. Just one year later, the company founder built a new, more modern production hall on the outskirts of Pfedelbach where the head office of Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik is still located today.
The hydraulic pendulum axle revolutionises heavy-duty transport
After the Second World War, Willy Scheuerle had to rebuild his factory as it had been completely destroyed. From then on it was full steam ahead. In 1949, Scheuerle's first low-bed trailers still featured a mechanical steering system and mechanical axle compensation. The payloads of these low-loaders with two or more axles were sufficient however to transport loads ranging from ten to one hundred tonnes. Already in 1956, Willy Scheuerle and his team developed the construction principle of a hydraulically-supported pendulum axle which facilitated the mounting of several axles in a row. The production of multi-axle heavy-duty vehicles began. A groundbreaking invention because even today the hydraulic pendulum axle is still the main principle of modern heavy transport operations worldwide. Shortly thereafter followed the introduction of the hydraulic axle compensation.
First self-propelled vehicles the IAA 1966
However, producing purely pulled vehicles was a situation soon to be changed. At the IAA 1966 in Frankfurt, Scheuerle presented the first vehicle with hydrostatic self propulsion which went by the name of "Willymog". The Hohenlohe-based engineering expertise knew no boundaries. The development of hydraulic multi-directional steering for ship section lift transporters marked another milestone in the industry. This technology made it possible to turn the pendulum axles via the steering wheel in the driver's cab to a 90-degree position. Two years later, in 1972, followed the world's first electronic multi-directional steering for self-propelled heavy-duty transporters. Another unique innovation that allows the pendulum axles to turn to any required position.
Electronic multi-directional steering clears the way for a bestseller
The electronic multi-directional steering paved the way for a true classic in this vehicle segment: the SPMT (Self Propelled Modular Transporter). Since then, the SPMT has been synonymous with this transport technology that is used to move the world's heaviest loads weighing several thousand tonnes. Thanks to its container dimensions, the SPMT can be transported to locations worldwide and used very flexibly. Up to now, it is the best selling vehicle from Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik. With more than 20,000 axle lines on the market today, the SPMT provides the largest international fleet thereby making the company the world market leader for heavy-duty vehicles with hydraulically-supported pendulum axles in this segment; this resulted in being the recipient of an award this year presented by the Wirtschaftswoche newspaper.
An investment due to a technical fascination
The multi-entrepreneur and Senator E. h. Otto Rettenmaier recognised the enormous potential of the specialist vehicle manufacturer. On 1 February 1988, he acquired Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik in order to lead it into a promising and secure future and then in 1995 combine forces first with the French heavy-duty specialist Nicolas (1995) and later Ulm-based Kamag Transporttechnik (2004) under the umbrella of the Transporter Industry International Group (TII Group). "I acquired Scheuerle, Nicolas and Kamag through my fascination for technical innovation", commented owner Otto Rettenmaier.
Unique products make world records possible
In the meantime, Scheuerle's customers secured a range of world records and entries in the Guinness Book of Records with their unique products. In 1987, for example, the Goliath modular transporter combination transported a petrochemical plant facility weighing more than 2,000 tonnes. Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik's first entry in the Guinness Book of Records was through a road transport of 1,800 tonnes in the same year. The engineers did not rest on their laurels but hurried ahead with giant strides. As early as 1989, they were responsible for setting the world record through an off-road transport assignment carrying 6,500 tonnes and moving 5,000 tonnes in 1990 for the heaviest road transport. Events continued at a very fast pace. In 1991, they constructed what was at the time the world's largest side girder deck with a span of 43 metres and a monoblock ship section lift transporter - the world's heaviest payload on a single vehicle: 700 tonnes. In 1994, the record for the heaviest off-road transport was now 11,000 tonnes. In 2004, the best-selling SPMT set the record for an off-road transport with the transportation of an oil and gas platform weighing 14,350 tonnes on 500 axle lines. The salvage of the Sewol Ferry in 2017 marked the last world record to be set. In the process, the modular vehicles of the SPMT and K24 series moved a gigantic 17,280 tonnes.
Extremely high-performing individual objects for astronomy
The two world's largest antenna transporters, lovingly named "Otto" and "Lore" after the owners of Scheuerle, are also recognised for their outstanding technical characteristics. Since 2007, the international research project ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) has been using these to transport gigantic radio telescopes up to heights of 5,000 meters above sea level in Chile. In 2012, the SPMT's secured Scheuerle another entry in the Guinness Book of Records by transporting a huge technical plant facility in the Middle East.
Scheuerle set to deliver many groundbreaking innovations in the future
Naturally, those who show so much ingenuity over the decades do not stop there either today or in the future. As part of the TII Group, Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik is working hard to keep upgrading its product range as well as adding innovative vehicles and services. The company's appearance at the world's leading trade fair for the construction industry in Munich – the bauma – is where Scheuerle once again testified to this fact by presenting its latest special transport solutions for, among other things, the transportation of construction machinery and the wind power industry.
Transport solutions for the most challenging tasks
In addition, the vehicle manufacturer offers both standardised and individualised transport solutions for use on public roads with payloads ranging from 50 to several thousand tonnes. Furthermore, vehicles are available for plant, bridge and tunnel construction as well as the shipyard and steel industries, mining and aerospace, whose flexible combination options theoretically allow unlimited payloads. There are also customised special vehicles for numerous industrial applications along with special vehicle designs for the North American and Australian markets. The focus is always on meeting the requirements of the company´s international customers. The production of the vehicle factory is also geared to accommodating the requirements of the future.
2019: congratulations from the EU Commissioner and personnel restructuring
At the bauma, EU Commissioner and former Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Günther Öttinger congratulated the managing partner of the TII Group, Susanne Rettenmaier, and the CEO of Scheuerle, Gerald Karch, on the long-standing existence of Scheuerle. In addition, the company successfully appointed a new management team last year. This represents the rapid on-going internationalisation of the company and a wealth of experience acquired through the leadership of comparable innovative companies. The overhaul of the existing product range and new innovative products will open up new international customer groups for the vehicle manufacturer. With this, Scheuerle has set the course for the future - as master blacksmith Christian Scheuerle did when he bought a blacksmith's forge 150 years ago in a small village in the Hohenlohe area.