Wölfel Group Turns 50 – a Brief Outline of the Company History

50 years ago, Prof. Dr. Horst Peter Wölfel founded his company in the basement of his apartment. Today, around 120 people work on the company's own campus in Höchberg in a wide range of engineering disciplines. A short look back in time.

How big can the new bell in the church tower be without compromising its stability? Does a newly developed car seat ensure comfort in light of its vibrations? What blasting concept will ensure that a 600-meter-long highway bridge collapses without danger? And where is that single loose screw that makes an entire production line run out of round?

For 50 years now, the employees at the mid-sized company Wölfel have been getting to the bottom of these questions with great technical expertise. But it was a long way getting there – and it all began in 1971 with two engineers in a basement in Höchberg.

 

First specialization: the design of safe power plants

Horst Peter Wölfel, a freshly graduated doctor of engineering, decides to go beyond pioneering work at the university in the field of software-supported simulation and calculation and founds a company: Wölfel Beratende Ingenieure. As a doctoral student, Wölfel had already dealt with the question of how nuclear power plants can be structurally protected against earthquakes, and thus this area became the focus of the young company.

To found the company, Wölfel left his alma mater in Darmstadt to settle in Höchberg near Würzburg. There, the first office was not built in a garage, but quite pragmatically in the basement of the house in which Wölfel's apartment was also located. The deciding factors in favor of Höchberg were its proximity to Wölfel's parents' home in Wertheim and its convenient location in terms of transportation. The special field of activity brought the company rapid success and thus the number of employees grew steadily, resulting in the move to Otto-Hahn-Strasse.

Horst Peter Wölfel's call to the TU Darmstadt, where he takes over the chair of machine dynamics and keeps it until 2006, as well as new opportunities for vibration experts in more industries, also with intelligent products as a supplement to engineering services, initiate a transformation process in the mid-1980s, in which the new subsidiary "Wölfel Messsysteme Software" (today Wölfel Monitoring Systems) is founded.

 

Groundbreaking at the HITech-Zentrum: The company campus is created

These measures and a further diversification of the fields of activity around vibrations, structural mechanics and acoustics let the company grow further, which is why Prof. Dr.-Ing. Horst Peter Wölfel takes the big plunge in 1996 and lays the foundation stone for further expansion with the HITech-Zentrum in Höchberg's Max-Planck-Straße. In 2014, Wölfel Wind Systems is founded, which develops and produces systems for vibration monitoring and reduction for wind turbines – both onshore and offshore.

Today, in the by now three buildings of the HITech-Zentrum, about 120 employees work at Wölfel in the most diverse fields of engineering.

They continue to deal with issues relating to vibrations, structural dynamics and acoustics, also with specifically local projects in Würzburg: Are the students in the Grombühl dormitory shaken out of bed by trains directly passing by? And what noise protection measures need to be planned for the new urban district at Hubland?

In line with our anniversary motto "fifty and forward," we are looking forward to continuing to answer tricky engineering questions together with our customers in the future.

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