Starting the company and taking over market leadership:
from wrought iron production to market leader in the area of bronze and aluminium pigments. Carl von Schlenk-Barnsdorf invested in the Weiss & Feyertag wrought iron manufacturing facility in Barnsdorf, Germany and in 1879 he used it to establish his own company. Milestones in the early decades of the SCHLENK company include starting aluminium powder production in Barnsdorf in 1892, becoming a publicly traded company in 1897 and opening the first production factory in the USA in 1904.
Wartime and loss of top market position:
After World War I, Carl Schlenk`s sons Arthur and Wilhelm took over the largest company in this industry. In 1928 SCHLENK acquired the rolling mill in Bernlohe and established the metal foil division. In the following years, the worldwide economic crisis and more war resulted in severe difficulties for the company. Years after the war was over, however, a spirit of optimism returned and Germany transformed itself into a leading industrial nation. In 1954, SCHLENK produced aluminium pastes for the first time in Barnsdorf. Just two years later, the company also began to produce aluminium powder for the aerated concrete industry.
Stabilization and internationalization:
In 1957 Günter von Schlenk-Barnsdorf became the chairman of the board in the third generation of family leadership at SCHLENK. In 1961 his brother-in-law, Dr. Eckart Scharowsky, joined him in this position. Modernization projects and the development of new production technology for aerated concrete aluminium powder were carried out in Barnsdorf and completed in 1966. In the 1970s, SCHLENK started producing foils with thicknesses of 7-8 microns. With the establishment of subsidiaries in the USA, France and Brazil, SCHLENK become a global player. In 1990, the year that East and West Germany were reunited, investments were made in a 20 roll wide strip rolling mill in Bernlohe for producing very thin copper foils. In 1992 and 1998, SCHLENK acquired two Eastern European locations: in the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
Innovation and sustainability:
In 1995 Joachim von Schlenk-Barnsdorf became a managing director and in 1998 chairman of the board in the fourth generation of family leadership. The strategy of the corporate group is now determined by global megatrends including globalization, population development and the scarcity of natural environmental resources. The plant in Bitterfeld was opened in 1999. Here raw materials are produced for the new product lines of the parent plant in Barnsdorf. From 2004 to 2020, SCHLENK operated its own pigment plant in Jiangsu Province in addition to the already existing mixing center in Shanghai. In 2020 SCHLENK acquired a manufacturer of vacuum metallized foils in Kansas (USA). With this step, SCHLENK now guarantees its own supplies of an important pre-product under its own management. Technological innovations in all areas of the company are focused on efficiency in terms of energy and resources. The company continues to develop environmentally friendly and green technology products as well. The solar industry, manufacturers of building materials that contribute to energy efficiency and producers of solvent-free color systems are becoming important customer groups.