Our History

30 Years MICROSENS - History

30 Years MICROSENS – A success Story

The founding of MICROSENS would certainly be a top story in today's start-up scene: Three graduates of TU Dortmund University found a technology company in the Technology Centre Hamm. The first idea: high-performance sensors for environmental measurement technology. The actual success: MICROSENS is one of the leading German manufacturers of smart technology for networking buildings and industrial plants. The innovative company from Hamm looks back on an exciting corporate history.

A historical review: Environmental sensor technology as a starting point

In 1993, the idea of developing intelligent sensors for environmental technology was born. This idea is also manifested in the name of the new start-up: MICROSENS is derived from Micro Sensor Technology.
The first prototypes of the sensors, which transmit their data via fibre optics, are created. The team decides on Ethernet as the transmission protocol.
It soon becomes clear that the transmission technology used is much more useful for industry than environmental sensor technology itself. The still young fibre optic technology is expensive at this time and at the beginning of the nineties is used almost exclusively for wide area data networks in telecommunications. This is where the three young engineers see and seize their opportunity.

Fiber conquers the networking world

MICROSENS was one of the first German companies to recognise the potential of fibre optic technology and presented the first fibre optic transceivers at the exponet in Düsseldorf in the mid-nineties. Hannes Bauer remembers those days with pleasure: "Trade fairs had a completely different status back then. We all looked forward to the trade fairs. And rightly so, because at our first trade fair participation, all the big market players came to our stand to get to know our 10 Mbit fibre optic transceiver for Ethernet."

The first own product laid the foundation for the MICROSENS Fiber To The Office technology. The Micro Switch enables to connect the copper data cable of computers and telephones to the fibre optic network; hence the term Fiber To The Office, or FTTO for short.  Starting with the first product, the company developed a complete solution portfolio in the following years. In the meantime, thanks to digitalisation, most things can be controlled via data networks (keyword IOT) or even supplied with power and operated (LED lights / Power-over-Ethernet PoE).

MICROSENS - Made in Germany 

Many things have changed at MICROSENS over the years and decades, but the company headquarters including development and production has always remained in Hamm.Marco Hipper joined MICROSENS in 1998 and is now responsible for the company's purchasing and production processes. He also looks back fondly on his early days: "In the beginning, our production was completely manual. All circuit boards were assembled by hand using simple mechanical equipment. The production facility itself was still divided with metal grids, which we then dismantled together after work. From the beginning, we all pitched in and enjoyed our work. For me, this hands-on mentality is typical for medium-sized enterprises and I am pleased that we have retained it despite the professionalisation of our processes."

With the increasing sales volumes, production had to be continuously expanded and optimised. Soon automatic assembly machines were purchased, processes were automated and in a variation of the Lean Management principle MICROSENS introduced its own "Lean Light System". In contrast to many other manufacturers, MICROSENS always remained loyal to the Hamm location. A decision that is now paying off, Frank Konrad, Managing Director of MICROSENS, is convinced: "Our components are often used as part of our customer's critical infrastructure. We are proud to offer our customers high-tech products that are developed in Europe and manufactured in Germany. In addition, our flexibility and our competence as a manufacturer strengthens our competitiveness."

„Anfänglich war unsere Produktion komplett manuell. Alle Platinen wurden per Hand mit einer einfachen mechanischen Apparatur bestückt. Die Produktionshalle selbst war noch mit Metallgittern unterteilt, die wir dann gemeinsam nach Feierabend demontierten. Von Anfang an packten wir alle mit an und waren mit Spaß an der Arbeit. Diese Hands-on Mentalität ist für mich typisch für den Mittelstand, und ich freue mich, dass wir uns diese trotz der Professionalisierung der Prozesse erhalten haben.“

Marco Hipper
Head of Production & Purchasing

From Hamm to the world

The FTTO technology from Germany created great interest in many other countries. From the very beginning, the three founders made use of their potential and expanded worldwide: their own sales office in Singapore, intensive business relations with Japan, France and Poland - for a medium-sized German company, the degree of internationalisation was remarkable.

In the same year, the company from Hamm realised the largest project in the company's history up to that point: Terminal Area A of Dubai International Airport, which opened in 2013, was equipped with several thousand FTTO Micro Switches from Hamm. Other internationally renowned large-scale projects followed in the years to come:

Smart Building Solutions 

No one at MICROSENS wanted to rest on their laurels; instead management kept looking for new challenges and markets. Once again, the company recognised the potential of a network technology. Frank Konrad, who took over the management of MICROSENS in 2013, had the vision of Smart Building Solutions. The network technology available in many buildings should in future also be used in building technology to control lights, heating or blinds. The concept, which is becoming increasingly important today in the course of more efficient energy use in buildings, was still in its infancy at that time. MICROSENS was working on concrete products and solutions and exhibited for the first time at the Light + Building in Frankfurt in 2014.  

In the following years, MICROSENS continuously expanded its product lines in the area of Smart Building Solutions. Above all, the PoE+ standard, which enables higher outputs of 30 watts, contributed significantly to the further development of PoE Lighting. Hannes Bauer is convinced: "In Germany, the boom is only just beginning. In the United Arab Emirates and India but also in other European countries, you can already find significantly more smart building solutions." He also sees great development potential for the technology with the background of of MICROSENS being taken over by Zech Group in 2019. MICROSENS has been integrated into Zech's Building Division, which combines all companies that provide services relating to the construction of real estate. An ideal environment for future-oriented smart building solutions.

30 years of MICROSENS - The success story continues

Hannes Bauer is still in charge of product development and is the only active founder still celebrating the company's 30th anniversary. One thing is certain: MICROSENS is well positioned within Zech Group for the next 30 years. Dirk Korn, commercial director at MICROSENS, is also convinced: "Our diversified portfolio, the quality of our products and the commitment of Zech Group form an ideal basis for stability and growth for us as a medium-sized company." The clear commitment to our european locations provides our employees with trust and security and spurs them on to further innovations. The high-quality FTTO network technology together with the sustainable solutions in building technology are sold in numerous countries around the world by competent partners. Due to the traditionally very close connection, the company maintains its own sales offices in France and now also in Dubai. The historically close relationship with the neighbouring country Poland is reflected in the fact that the company operates its own sales and development teams here. The future speaks IP - MICROSENS.