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From a Locksmith’s Workshop to a Global Technology Group

Voith, a family-owned company, is celebrating its 150th anniversary guided by the motto “Welcome to the Next 150 Years”
  • Voith President and CEO Lienhard says: “There are enormous opportunities for Voith.”
  • Throughout 2017, 19,000 employees at 160 global locations will be celebrating the event
  • Ceremonial Act with guests from around the world at the headquar-ters in Heidenheim in the summer
  • Voith will support 150 charitable and social projects around the globe
Heidenheim, Germany. Voith is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017. On January 27, 1867, Friedrich Voith took over the locksmith’s workshop owned by his father, Johann Matthäus, which was located in Heidenheim on the river Brenz. That was the beginning of the family-owned company’s global success story. “We don’t know what Friedrich Voith imagined at the time,” says Dr. Hubert Lienhard, President and CEO of Voith, “but today we see what became of his ideas and dreams as a result of hard work, passion, and the dedication of generations of Voith employees: a global technology company with around 19,000 employees in more than 60 countries, which has made industrial history in many of its markets over the last 150 years. A family-owned company with strong values and a unique company culture.”

Welcome to the Next 150 Years

“We are proud of our rich, successful history. But in our anniversary year, we will primarily be looking to the future,” says Voith CEO Lienhard. “That is what we mean when we say ‘Welcome to the Next 150 Years.’ Friedrich Voith saw the major opportunities in his time, and seized them decisively. We have preserved this entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit. We want to take a decisive role in shaping the fourth industrial revolution in the 21th century following the example of our grounding father Friedrich Voith, who was one of the pioneers of the first industrial revolution.”

The company is targeting an additional expansion in 2017, in particular through digital applications. For this end, the company built the new Voith Digital Solutions Group Division in which the company brings together its activities in the fields of IT, automation, software and sensor technology.

“In our founding year, 1867, electricity, paper and mobility were restricted to a limited number of people. The world was a different place. Since that time, Voith technologies have helped to change things,” Lienhard says. “Today, we are on the threshold of major new opportunities. The world of industry is becoming a digital one. We are looking forward to that. The people at Voith are at home with change – there is no other way to grow that old.”

The Voith story – innovations, internationality and sustainable corporate leadership

As a visionary and courageous entrepreneur, Friedrich Voith recognized the enormous opportunities that industrialization offered in the second half of the 19th century. With innovations like the wood grinder and the refiner, Voith made paper available as a mass-market product for the first time. The first complete paper machine was shipped as early as 1881. By 1899, Voith was already delivering the first paper machine to the then czardom of Russia. At the same time, Voith became known as a global pioneer in hydropower. The first Voith turbine left the factory in 1870. In 1903, the company shipped what was at the time the world’s largest turbine for a hydropower plant in Niagara Falls. In 1910, Voith constructed China’s first hydropower plant.

The company’s innovative power and internationalization continued into the 20th century, when groundbreaking innovations like the Voith Schneider Propeller (marine propulsion), the Kaplan turbine, developing the hydrodynamic principle (Föttinger principle) for countless applications in the field of short-distance public transport and in industry as well as the deinking process that made it possible to use scrap paper in paper manufacture, are inseparable from the Voith name and are now considered industry standards.
Aside from technological milestones and international growth, the name Voith has also stood for corporate social responsibility since the company’s foundation. Under Friedrich Voith, the company was one of the first to introduce health insurance for its employees. For more than 100 years, Voith was a pioneer in dual education programs and today provides training based on the German vocational training model in many locations, such as in Brazil and China.

Today, the Voith technology group is active in five markets: Energy, Oil & Gas, Paper, Raw Materials, and Transport & Automotive. With approximately 4,000 active patents, the company is the technological leader in many fields of industry.

At the heart of the festivities: the employees

“In the anniversary year, we would like to celebrate with the people who have made and continue to make significant contributions to Voith’s success story: our employees,” says Voith CEO Hubert Lienhard. “I want the celebrations to be just as international and diverse as Voith itself.” Between February and the end of July, the company is planning around 260 employee events and family days worldwide for employees from all of the company’s approximately 160 locations. Guided by the motto “Welcome to the Next 150 Years” the local celebrations will be organized to fit each location.

In summer 2017, the festivities to mark the company’s 150th anniversary will reach their high point in Heidenheim, where Voith was founded and still has its headquarters: On July 14, the event for the approximately 4,500 employees who work at the location will take place. On the following day, July 15, the employees will have the chance to show their families around where they work. The Ceremonial Act in summer forms the conclusion of the anniversary and will focus primarily on the future of industrialization. Guests from the worlds of politics, business, and culture are expected to celebrate the company’s 150-year history and its future at the Heidenheim congress center.

Supporting 150 social and charitable projects around the world

For 150 years, the Voith company has been owned by the Voith family. A key element of Voith’s history was, and still is, its strong focus on values and adoption of sustainable corporate leadership. “Voith has been and is a good neighbor at all its locations around the world,” according to Lienhard. “During the anniversary year, it is important to us to give something back to the communities and locations that Voith has called home, in some cases for many decades.”

That is why the company will further expand its traditionally strong support for cultural, social and sporting activities at its locations during the anniversary year. With the motto “150 Good Causes” in mind, Voith will support 150 local projects in the areas of culture, schools, education and research, as well as sport. This support will be provided at every location by Voith employees.

In addition to these activities, a total of 150 sporting events will be held for a good cause at the locations, which employees will organize based on their favorite sports. Voith will donate €1 for every kilometer over the distance traveled during these events combined, up to a total of €150,000, to an international education project.

About the company

For 150 years, Voith’s technologies have been inspiring customers, business partners and employees around the world. Founded in 1867, Voith today has around 19,000 employees, sales of €4.3 billion and locations in more than 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe. Being a technology leader, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive.

Welcome to the Next 150 Years


Dirk Böckenhoff

Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA

St. Pöltener Straße 43
89522 Heidenheim


t +49 7321 37-3456

f +49 7321 37-7107