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 jaw 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 “Bayerische Berg-, Hütten- und Salzwerke AG” together with other Bavarian state-run 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.
Upon special request, BHS delivered the first rotor impact mill for an application in the recycling industry – the customer was more than just satisfied. This marked the beginning of the business unit Recycling & Environment.
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. This move furthermore supplements the company’s process expertise in the field of solid-liquid separation with regard to the drying, mixing, and reaction process steps.
BHS-Sonthofen Process Solutions Co., Ltd. in Shanghai (China), founded as a sales company, is responsible for the distribution of system solutions of the Filtration and Drying & Reaction Processes divisions of subsidiary AVA GmbH u. Co. KG for process industry customers in China.
The newly founded subsidiary BHS Control Systems GmbH & Co. KG. acquired Thoma Elektrosteuerungsanlagen GmbH from Babenhausen near Memmingen on 1 January 2020. BHS Control Systems will offer its own control technology for the entire portfolio of BHS and AVA in the areas of mixing, shredding, recycling, filtration, drying and reaction processes in the future.