The beginnings of today's Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz GmbH go back to Johann Samuel Schwalbe, a craftsman who established his mechanical engineering workshop in Chemnitz in 1811. In the course of the decades, the small family business initially known as “J. S. Schwalbe & Sohn” developed into a renowned enterprise by the end of the 19th century. In 1873, the company was converted into a public limited company, and from then on it was called “Maschinenfabrik Germania vormals J. S. Schwalbe & Sohn”. By the beginning of the 20th century, the engineering works had several branch establishments in the Chemnitz region. Already at that time, the export business extended to South and Central America, Australia, China and Russia.
Although the Chemnitz enterprise, too, had to struggle with crises and bottlenecks during the period up to World War II, production kept on running continuously. After the devastating bombings in the year 1945, the company premises were reduced to rubble – the engineering works were forced into a new start. Thanks to the commitment of the employees business operations could be continued under a new name starting from July 1946. After the transfer to national property, the enterprise was now called VEB Germania.
At the end of the 1950s, two sectors of priority began to evolve in production. The establishment of a separate plant engineering and construction branch was preceded by the establishment of the plant construction control centre at the beginning of October 1959. In October 1964, the fields of apparatus construction and plant engineering and construction were separated and did trade under different names in their main fields of activity. Plant engineering and construction was called VEB Anlagenbau Karl-Marx-Stadt, apparatus construction was called VEB Germania Karl-Marx-Stadt.
VEB Anlagenbau was able to realise substantial projects at home and abroad. For instance, the enterprise was responsible for the erection of the fertiliser complex in Schwedt (1964) and handled several contracts for VEB Leuna Werke (1965 until 1974). International projects followed, among others a plant for butanediol synthesis in Novocherkassk/Russia (1968), a LDPE polyethylene plant in Novopolozk/Belarus (1972) and an oxosynthesis plant in Perm (1972).
During the period after the Berlin Wall had come down, VEB Anlagenbau found a competent partner in Lurgi GmbH from Frankfurt/Main. The step was ventured to leave the chemical plant construction combine Leipzig/Grimma by 1 January 1990 and to continue operations independently as VEB Anlagenbau Karl-Marx-Stadt. After conversion to a corporate entity and several changes of name, the plant engineering and construction enterprise finally traded under the name Lurgi Anlagenbau Chemnitz GmbH starting from 1 July 1990. During the following years, the Chemnitz-based company was able to implement many ambitious projects, among them a natural gas underground storage facility in Puchkirchen/Austria (1992), plants for ethyl benzene and styrene in Russia/Salawat (1993) or a zeoforming plant in Gorlice/Poland (1996).
In the end of the 1990s, further projects were successfully implemented, for instance in Bitterfeld-Wolfen (2002), Pratteln/Switzerland (2000) or Marl (2002). In the year 2004, Joachim and Jörg Engelmann opted for a management buy-out. This step prevented the Chemnitz location from being closed down and saved several hundred jobs. Ever since, Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz GmbH – which became the new name in 2004 – has been on its way to the top: Plants in Novy Urengoi/Russia (2004), Kalamkas/Kazakhstan (2005) and Haidach/Austria (2007) may serve as examples of successful projects.
Also in the new millennium, Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz GmbH is oriented towards expansion. The takeover of the company HUGO PETERSEN in the year 2005 and the merger with the Polish enterprise BiProTech (2006) were important steps towards an expansion of plant engineering and construction.
Today, we do not only look back on a successful history of 50 years as a plant engineering and construction company in Chemnitz, but we also continue to be oriented towards innovations in technology and engineering sciences. We have a positive outlook on the future and look forward to implementing projects and tackling challenges together with you as our clients.