BHS-Sonthofen has been around for more than 400 years. Our history is unique – what started in 1607 in the diocesan iron-smelting works in Sonthofen has been shaped into a leading technology company over the centuries.
The company’s history began more than 400 years ago, when an iron smelting facility was built at the present headquarters. Back then, the works produced wrought iron from iron ore mined in the region.
The iron smelting industry in this region was discontinued. This marks the end of furnace operations at the "Königlich Bayerisches Hüttenwerk Sonthofen" (Sonthofen Royal Bavarian Smelting Works). The site adapted by focusing on the production of a wide range of machinery, equipment and foundry products.
The first twin-shaft mixer for concrete production is shipped from the factory. What began small – with an initial mixing trough filling of 0.15 m³ – is constantly being developed further due to the high demand for concrete. Today, the largest twin-shaft batch mixer holds up to 9 m³ of hardened concrete per batch and is known worldwide as the ‘original product’ among concrete mixers. For major international projects, it is considered an international industry benchmark. In 2019, the company delivered the largest twin-shaft mixer in the corporate history to date with a filling volume of 28,000 liters.
The first crusher was built and used at local construction sites. The advantages of mechanical assistance at major construction sites became quickly apparent, prompting BHS to develop further shredding machines over the coming decades. This was the origin of today’s range of shredding machines.
In the wake of WWI, “Hüttenamt Sonthofen” became part of state-run “Bayerische Berg-, Hütten- und Salzwerke AG” together with other Bavarian enterprises. During this change, it was renamed “BHS-Hüttenwerk Sonthofen.”
BHS developed the first rotary pressure filter. Based on this, BHS engineers started to develop different filter types for the efficient separation of solids from liquids. This lay the foundation for today’s Filtration Technology division.
In the early 1990s, the State of Bavaria sold its shares in “Bayerische Berg-, Hütten- und Salzwerke AG.” This resulted in the BHS plant Sonthofen becoming the legally independent company “BHS-Sonthofen GmbH.” Management, under the leadership of Dr. Christof Kemmann, took over all the company shares.
BHS delivered the first rotor impact mill for an application in the recycling industry to recover metals – the customer was more than just satisfied. This marked the beginning of the Recycling & Environment division.
Starting in the 1990s, BHS has been doing business on an international scale. Initially, the company mainly operated in German-speaking countries. At the end of the 20th century, BHS expanded across the globe. After moving into European markets, BHS established self-owned subsidiaries in North America (1998), China (2001), India (2007), Russia (2013) and finally Australia (2015).
BHS acquired AVA GmbH & Co. KG, a leading process technology company based in Herrsching am Ammersee (Germany), to strengthen its market position in the field of process technology solutions for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The BHS Group can now also offer thermal processes in addition to mechanical process technology.
Thoma Elektrosteuerungsanlagen GmbH from Babenhausen, a specialized provider of control systems for process technology systems, becomes part of the BHS Group was renamed as BHS Control Systems GmbH & Co. KG. BHS Control Systems now designs and develops proprietary control technology for the BHS Group’s entire portfolio.
The Filtration Technology division and Herrsching-based AVA, which was acquired in 2018, have joined forces to consolidate their process technology expertise. From 1 January 2021 they operate jointly as BHS-Sonthofen Process Technology GmbH & Co. KG, based out of Sonthofen, Germany. The wholly-owned subsidiary of the BHS Group serves as a system supplier for customers in the processing industry (chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, etc.).