Grimma. The halls of the Grimma industrial area in the Bahnhofstraße are a beehive of activity. From everywhere, the hustle and bustle of production can be heard, and motors are humming. 25 years ago, few manufacturing enterprises had found their way to the former premises of the chemical and plant engineering complex.
A first-time tenant in building 7.3 was FAUN Viatec GmbH, which opened a production plant and a service base for wet vehicles in the new federal states in 1992. Back then, the company still traded under FAUN Müller Umwelttechnik GmbH. It started with a team of 30 colleagues, many of whom are still on board today.
Just four years later, the company entered the road sweeping business, assembling sweeper kits in the production halls. Why were they just assembling the kits, and not driving forward their own development processes? In terms of its company history, FAUN was no stranger to road sweeper machines, so a separate construction department was set up. In 1998, the first sweeper to be manufactured and constructed in-house was driven out of the factory gates, and the success story of the still young FAUN Viatec GmbH continued its upward trajectory.
Today, road sweepers from the Mulde area are a true hidden gem and a team of 130 colleagues now work at the Bahnhofstrasse plant. The demand for, and variety of machines have also increased, so the team relocated in 2007 to a new plant on a 5,000 m² site in building 48.2 – 48.4.
FAUN Viatec has developed into a specialist within the industry and is one of the leading suppliers in Europe. 300 vehicles leave the production halls in the Bahnhofstrasse every year, going on to sweep the streets in all corners of the world. The product line ranges from small 4 m³ sweeper machines for city centre areas, up to large 12 m³ vehicles on a 3-axle chassis, or special vehicles such as the TERRAJET, which is used for maintaining runways.
Research and development is of primary importance to the sweeper machine specialists. New developments over recent years have been special filter sweeper machines aimed at reducing fine particulate matter in cities, for example, or a hydraulic drive for reducing emissions. 25 years ago, who would have thought that the sweeping machines made in Saxony would be such a success story for Germany and international markets. Yet another reason to celebrate this special anniversary. “In addition to the excellent structural and infrastructural prerequisites, it is our employees, however, who generate our progress and success,” explains Managing Director Helmut Schmeh. “We aim to train our professionals ourselves from the very outset. Nowadays, finding the right specialist staff with enthusiasm for the industry is not easy. In addition, we have to compete for talent with major companies such as BMW or Porsche in Leipzig. But the thing that sets us apart from the “major players” is that at FAUN, young people get to contribute their unique abilities to a great extent, and to realise their ideas. Here, staff don’t have to work on assembly lines, but rather we require individual work and we build our sweeper machines with enthusiasm for the task.”
FAUN Viatec GmbH is a part of the KIRCHHOFF Group, which is active all over the world. In 2016, the corporate group achieved a turnover of nearly 2 billion euros with its business segments Automotive, Ecotec, Mobility and WITTE Tools. The KIRCHHOFF Group currently employs approximately 11,500 people in 51 plants across 18 countries.