STEINERT, founded by Ferdinand Steinert, can look back over a long and diverse history. Documents more than 100 years old provide evidence of our founder’s pioneering achievements; steeped in history, they are the starting point for an ongoing journey starting with the separation of compact clumps of iron right up to the high-tech filtering of delicate micro-particles. Right from the start, the objective of the founder Ferdinand Steinert was clear: efficient recycling!
Delve into the interesting facts and figures documenting our exciting history.
Founding of STEINERT
In 1889, Ferdinand Steinert founds “Ferdinand STEINERT Elektromagnetische Aufbereitungsanlagen” in Cologne. The new company initially works in small structures, but the market for the use of separation magnets is huge. While we have been aware of the phenomenon of magnetism since the eleventh century, it has so far been put to very little economic use.
The steel industry is one of the company's first customers. The design engineer Ferdinand Steinert develops magnets, which are used to recover iron from steel slag and steel waste, and from waste in foundries and iron works. It’s an effective procedure, which soon becomes more widespread as it becomes possible to separate coal from slag too. This further technical refinement is of great interest to the state railways, for example, which become a major client of STEINERT.
STEINERT grows with the trends of the time
At the start of the new century, the economic conditions are ideal for the new company. The order books are full, customers are flooding in from mining, shipbuilding, dockyards and the steel industry. Demand is increasing and STEINERT is growing with the technical challenges of the time. It’s been a long time since separator magnets had to work with chunky hammers or iron lugs alone, the objects to be separated are getting smaller and the technology is becoming ever more complex. Increasingly, the machinery working in coal pits has to cleanly filter smaller waste products, like thin igniting wires or bent drill rods, out of bulk material.
STEINERT responds by expanding its product range to meet the ever-changing market situation: magnets are now available for sale as standalone units. Alongside separation work, the lifting magnet market is growing in importance.
The birth of a strong corporate group
In 1931, Julius Christian Buchholz acquires “Ferdinand STEINERT Elektromagnetische Aufbereitungsanlagen”. The birth of the Metalloxyd holding company helps to consolidate the market position: the two companies complement one another perfectly. Customers benefit from a combination of development expertise and the way the strong synergies interact.
One of the first major results of the merger is the breakthrough in anodic oxidation. STEINERT is the first company to use anodised aluminium conductors to manufacture coils. The anodised coating, which is used as an electric insulation layer, eliminates the need to wrap or paint the aluminium conductors. This is a process which will be continually enhanced over the coming decades.
During the Second World War, most of the premises in Cologne are destroyed. But management and staff aren’t discouraged by the ravages of the war and swiftly push forward with reconstruction and expand the product range. STEINERT becomes established on the international market.
The new series of lifting magnets
After the years of reconstruction, STEINERT introduces innovative new products to quickly write the next chapter of its success story. In 1963, the company presents the prototype of a new range of lifting magnets on its own stand at the trade fair in Hanover. The benefits of this prototype are its low weight, improved magnetic capacity and low price.
At the same time, waste treatment and recycling gain in importance during the 1960s. Dwindling resources, calls for environmental protection, and an explosion of costs on the raw materials market make new technologies indispensable. STEINERT rises to these challenges with immense passion and the development of new products.
The first overhead suspension magnet
In 1966, STEINERT presents the first overhead suspension magnet which recovers iron from shredder material, municipal solid waste, demolition waste, waste and steelwork slag. Several thousand of these machines are put into use around the globe over the next few years.
End of the 1960s
At the end of the 1960s, STEINERT develops an innovative product that clearly marks the company out as a world market leader, displacing US competitors in the process. This is the Anofol strip. While the Americans use conventional copper windings in their coils, STEINERT is the first to use anodised aluminium strips. The compact coil, which can thereby be produced, is distinguished mainly by its excellent fill factor and extremely good heat dissipation. This innovation adds further drive to STEINERT’s growth and is also put to successful use in areas of industry new to the company.
Over the following years, development and production processes shift their focus increasingly towards separation. Economic change sees the market share of lifting magnets fall. But the company responds quickly and sees increasing demands on the part of customers as a new challenge.
The eccentric non-ferrous metal separator
In 1987, STEINERT presents the first eccentric non-ferrous metal separator used to recover non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium, copper, magnesium and brass, and which replaces the centric system. Once again STEINERT demonstrates itself to be a leading pioneer for an entire sector.
STEINERT 2000 + - New products and global focus
The new millennium starts with a deliberate injection of new blood from the next generation within the company and the expansion of intensive research and development, which will bring new, and in some cases unique, devices onto the sorting technology market over the coming years. New subsidiaries and sales partnerships also reinforce STEINERT’s global presence.
The advances made in sensors and computer technology enable the specific development of FSS colour sorting systems and ISS® induction sorting systems. Both types of machinery aim to further increase the amount of metal produced using 100% mechanical processes. During this boom period for raw materials, it is especially the ISS® induction sorting system first launched in 2001 - which enjoys global acceptance on the metal recycling market. In parallel to this, new markets open up in the recovery of refuse-derived fuels, wood treatment and plastic recycling.
STEINERT enters a new sector with the development and presentation of the HGF high-gradient magnetic filter. The matrix separator with permanent magnets enables incredibly fine magnetic elements to be removed from process liquids for the first time with an efficiency of more than 90%. Today, the STEINERT HGF is used all around the world. It has also become established in the biotechnology sector, enabling this promising field to also benefit from innovative STEINERT technology. In 2003, the HGS high gradient magnetic separator is presented. This separates out the finest magnetic components in salt and construction chemicals.
STEINERT goes to the USA
The tremendous success of STEINERT products on the North American market results in the founding of STEINERT US LTD in St. Petersburg, Florida, in conjunction with a long-term agent. Customers in the USA soon benefit from the expanded infrastructure and reward the new company with more and more orders.
From Australia to China
An important step towards recognising customers all around the globe is the takeover of Sturton-Gill in Australia in 2004. Currently known as STEINERT Australia Pty. Ltd., the Melbourne-based company is one of the leading manufacturers of magnets in the Asia-Pacific region and is a supplier to the expanding local recycling industry and the global minerals industry. A significant share of the products manufactured are exported from Australia to China.
Global demand: the non-ferrous metal separator
STEINERT’s high-quality products are a real hit with customers. For example, around 2200 non-ferrous metal separators with an eccentric magnet system were sold by the end of 2007, making it the most popular eddy current separator in the world.
STEINERT’s success continues. An efficient sales network is built up with dedicated and established companies in Brazil and Japan.
Yet further expansion
The majority takeover of RTT Systemtechnik GmbH, Zittau, and the name change to RTT STEINERT GmbH in 2009 expands the product range yet further: the UniSort brand is developed and enters production. STEINERT is still the only manufacturer of magnetic and sensor sorting technology for recycling.
In 2009, our STEINERT US headquarters moves into a larger facility in Cincinnati.
Separation of black plastics added to the range
By developing and launching the UniSort BlackEye, STEINERT once again demonstrates its pioneering spirit for the development of new leading technologies: this sensor-based sorting machine doesn’t just separate plastics by colour, but also by polymer class, such as PE, PP, PVC and styrene. As well as black plastics, the UniSort BlackEye can therefore correctly sort plastics of all colours. Not only does this benefit the environment but also the recycling industry, as it allows mixed plastics to be recovered and recycled more profitably.
Combining sensors and responding flexibly to the future
Our STEINERT KSS (combination sorting system) is a platform for various sensors which includes 3D, colour and induction recognition. The system can also be fitted with a fourth sensor (near-infrared, X-ray transmission or X-ray fluorescence sensor). The software developed in-house at STEINERT also allows new recognition algorithms to be produced and, if necessary, used at short notice to overcome new challenges.
Opening of the Test and Development Center
On September 22nd, 2020, STEINERT again demonstrates the way forward. STEINERT opens its Test and Development Center in Pulheim, just 4 miles as the crow flies from the company’s headquarters in Cologne.
The impressive figures speak for themselves; While STEINERT welcomed over 500 visitors a year to its old test centre, at around 3.500 m², the new site has almost three times the space. The new test facility has 300 m of conveyor belt and more than 35 highly-skilled staff that work on the 3 separate sorting lines for metal recycling, waste recycling and mining, delivering technical innovations and highly efficient test procedures.
As part of their visits and material tests, customers can now benefit from the most recent developments to an even greater extent and see the entire range of applications for themselves: from magnetic separators to sensor-based sorting systems, such as X-ray transmission, X-ray fluorescence and near-infrared.
Expansion of the waste recycling line in the Test and Development Center
The STEINERT Test and Development Center is complete. Right now, customers can use the waste recycling test facilities on an industrial scale. The quantities involved and the preparatory stages for materials match those of a real material recovery facility.
Equipped with the very latest optical sorting machines and STEINERT’s magnets, the facility also includes preparatory stages reflecting a real-life scenario. To find out more, interested customers need simply get in touch with their STEINERT contact and make an appointment for a visit or testing.