From a start-up to a global player:
25 years of Clean-Lasersysteme GmbH
Inspired by the idea of cleaning surfaces with light, Edwin Büchter and Dr. Winfried Barkhausen founded Clean-Lasersysteme GmbH in 1997.
The two managing partners had previously researched and worked at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) in Aachen. They were therefore well experienced in laser technology – but hardly anyone else in the world knew at the time that such a laser process for cleaning and de-coating surfaces even existed.
Edwin Büchter remembers: “Sometimes it was not easy to explain how the laser systems worked. Some imagined the hand-held optics like a hair dryer, others thought of Star Wars or Ghost Busters. Over and over again, private individuals wanted their houses cleared of graffiti and vehicles cleaned. Unfortunately, however, that doesn’t make sense from a technical point of view, or the laser systems were simply too expensive for that.”
As the first customers from the automotive and aerospace sectors tested the process, Büchter and Barkhausen moved to the TechnologieParkHerzogenrath (TPH) in Kohlscheid and hired their first employees. With the first important reference customers and a more advanced laser technology, the company was ready to expand. In 2007, the company moved into its own building at the Dornkaulstraße in Herzogenrath.
The German Environmental Award of the German Federal Environmental Foundation granted by the German President in 2010 finally provided trust in the sustainable technology.
The two founders invested the award grant in the neighboring property in Dornkaulstraße in Kohlscheid and proceeded with the construction of another production building.
Nowadays, almost all premium automotive OEMs use clean laser technology, as do the aerospace industry, engineering companies, the electronics industry, food production companies, printing plants, medical technology companies and research institutes. Other exciting applications involve restoration projects, such as in ancient Egyptian burial chambers and at the Aachen Cathedral and the Town Hall.
Dr. Winfried Barkhausen emphasizes: “Our customers know that they can count on us and our quality. And we know that this is to a large extent the achievement of our staff. We are very proud of our great team.”
Clean-Lasersysteme GmbH, called cleanLASER, employs a staff of some 140 people and has approximately 2.000 installed systems in operation. The company also generates strong impulses worldwide: our partners distribute the cleaning systems in more than 20 countries.
The product portfolio ranges from a portable compact laser to the high-power gantry system for complete battery production.
Büchter aims at generating further jobs and economic success factors for the region: In his role as project coordinator of the LASER.region.AACHEN technology alliance, he supports the structural change of the Aachen and Heinsberg region in cooperation with more than 40 partner companies in a long-term way , thereby establishing networks between numerous fields of knowledge, industries and technologies.