We have been a manufacturer of tools for the packaging industry for almost 100 years – worldwide. But this was not always the case. The company started as a small craft business in Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg. Back in 1923, it was far from foreseeable that the company would one day become a group with 1,600 employees and many trading partners, agents, joint ventures and representative offices worldwide. But it was above all the good network that the Marbach family built up over many decades that contributed significantly to the international success of the Marbach Group. Today, we are represented on almost all continents and is on site for our customers.
Strong partners lead to success.
His good network helped Karl Marbach Senior already in the early and later in the war years to successfully lead the company out of the crises of the early 20th century. It was the inquiry of a friend that led him to deal with the subject of steel rule technology in the first place and thus to sell a promising product. During and after the Second World War, it was almost impossible to obtain the right material for diemaking. Here, too, the network of Karl Marbach Senior helped. Peter Marbach, managing director of the Marbach Group: "Of course, my grandfather's network did not directly influence the later expansion, but it showed us the right direction: with strong partners at your side, you can remove the obstacles on the way to success better!"
The first expansion of the Marbach company was still regional at the main location in Heilbronn: an own department for toolmaking in 1957. About 30 years later, Marbach Werkzeugbau – meanwhile an important pillar of the group of companies - finally became legally independent. This coincided with the start of internationalization at Marbach in the 1980s.
Expansion: From Germany to Europe.
The expansion of the Marbach company started in 1980 with the formation of the department for foreign trade business. This new sales department established contacts with major customers in various European countries.
In 1984 the start for the international orientation of Marbach was made in France. In the same year, Marbach took a share in the leading manufacturer of cutting-dies in Great Britain, the company "Arden Dies Ltd." in Stockport. A subsidiary in Switzerland was also founded in this year. In the 1990s, Marbach became more and more international: in 1990, the company acquired a stake in a company in Turkey and shortly afterwards further expanded its business activities in France.
Then, in 1996, the expansion into the Eastern European market began. This would later prove to be a very important strategic decision. After numerous participations, founding and takeovers in just a few years, sites in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Ukraine were now part of the Marbach Group. In 2019, the two traditional Polish plants in Tarnowskie Góry and Kielce were expanded by a new plant in Poznan.
But Marbach has also been well represented in Scandinavia for decades. Peter Marbach tells: "A very intensive business relationship with Lars Liljelund started already in April 1974. He was Marbach's representative in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. His son Tom continued this cooperation afterwards." Since his retirement, there is a Marbach employee in Sweden who is responsible for this region.
Across the big pond: from Europe to America.
Marbach's expansion did not stop on the European continent, however. Karl Marbach Junior flew across the ocean for the first time in 1970 and visited Ray Miller and his company Atlas Dies in the USA. From this, a friendship based on partnership developed. After Marbach-Werkzeugbau succeeded in entering the North American market with a major order at the end of 1996, the decision was made to establish a service base in the USA. Together with the long-time business partner Atlas Dies, the company Marbach tool & equipment, Inc. was founded in Elkhart, Indiana (USA) in 1997.
In 2011, Marbach finally took off on the American continent: first with the company "Cripack" – a franchise partner in Colombia. Finally, in November, "Marbach America Inc." was founded in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the area of die-cutting technology. Operations started there in 2012, and seven years later the company was already expanding, establishing a subsidiary in Michigan City, Indiana, in 2019. Also in 2019, Marbach Die Supplies launched a subsidiary in the fast-growing market of Mexico. There, Marbach materials have since been supplied to Mexican and North American cutting-die and packaging manufacturers. But internationalization did not only take Marbach to the West.
Eastern expansion: Russia & Asia.
Marbach's eastward expansion did not end in Europe either. Since 2000, there has been a franchise partner operating 7 locations in Russia. Also in 2000, the Marbach Group entered the Chinese market by opening a sales office in the capital Beijing. Then in 2013, a production site was established in Asia: "Marbach Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd." is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In summer 2018, Marbach established a new subsidiary in Tianjin, China, together with the machine manufacturer Masterwork. There, mainly cutting-dies for the Chinese folding carton industry are manufactured.
From representatives to partners: Africa.
In addition to Europe, America and Asia, the Marbach Group has been active in Africa for a very long time. The Egyptian-German joint venture "Marbach Egypt" was already opened in Alexandria (Egypt) in 1995. Peter Marbach remembers the beginning of Marbach's involvement in Egypt: "During drupa, our representative, Mr. Shaheen, had the idea to establish a production facility for cutting-dies in Egypt, as there was a huge demand there. We studied the market and had everything we needed in November 1993. We signed the letter of intent in early 1994, and by October the production building was completed." This was followed by another franchise partner in Saudi Arabia in 2001.
The Marbach network: Worldwide presence.
But it was not only internationally that the Marbach Group grew, also in Germany it expanded its operations by several locations. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Marbach Group took over three German companies at locations in Bünde, Haan and Geyer. These new locations were all carefully chosen and brought Marbach closer to the customer in the truest sense of the word throughout Germany.
Today, Marbach consists of a global network of more than 20 production and sales offices as well as joint ventures and franchising partners. Peter Marbach reports: "Antarctica is the only continent where we are not represented. In Europe alone, there are 13 production sites, 2 of which are joint ventures and franchising partners, and 4 sales offices and agencies. In Russia, Asia, America and Africa we have our own production facilities, joint ventures, sales offices and representatives. We also have Australia covered by a representative."
What started as a small handicraft business has become a global, world market-leading group of companies almost 100 years later, thanks to good decisions, strong partnerships and strategically important expansions.
The Marbach Group celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023. Despite the now sizeable company of more than 1,600 employees worldwide, Marbach has never forgotten its roots. Because Marbach is aware that the roots of the company's success story are found in the people, the employees, who have supported the company through the last 100 years.
We have published a new whitepaper on our knowledge platform, the Experience Hub, on the topic of optimizing make-ready times.
In 2023, Marbach, whose exciting success story is unique, will be 100 years. But how did we become the corporate group we are today? One of the most important decisions here was certainly the investment in the very first CO2 laser system for cutting-die production in Europe. In the years that followed, laser technology became a cornerstone of the success of the Marbach Group – and pioneering for the entire die-cutting technology worldwide.