Moving the limits of what's possible

The company history dates back to 1867, when Gottfried Schober founded a factory in Augsburg under his own name. The business used traditional techniques to manufacture winches and hoists.

The company was bought by a young engineer named August Pfaff in 1902, who retained the original name of "Windenfabrik Gottfried Schober". The business then focussed on mass production and was able to increase sales from 400 winches in 1903 to a remarkable 2000 in 1909.

The business' development was severely impaired during World War I and the global depression, then in 1932 an order from the Deutsche Reichsbahn for rail winches brought new hope. Following World War II, the company started afresh and gradually built itself back up.

The 1960s saw the company open its first international branches: Austria first and then Switzerland shortly after. At the same time, the company added the first products for drive engineering to its portfolio: the spindle lifting elements.

Another milestone was when the company acquired a brand new plant in Derching, situated east of Augsburg, in 1972. This was the time at which the firm changed its name in recognition of its founder: Pfaff-silberblau Hebezeugfabrik.

The company's international presence grew in the 1980s and 1990s with the founding of additional subsidiaries in various European countries. The company's involvement in linear technology was strengthened by the acquisition of Alltec Antriebstechnik in Heilbronn in 2001.

As well as its products for lifting and drive engineering, the company became increasingly prominent in systems technology with offerings including complete lifting systems for rail cars. These ventures were then split off in 2004 to the Pfaff-silberblau Verkehrstechnik arm of the Group.

At the end of 2007, we moved into the new plant and admin site in Kissing. Located south of Augsburg, the new site represented the latest standards and requirements in every respect, including a brand new production line.

Since 2008, Pfaff-silberblau has been a 100% subsidiary of the US-based Columbus McKinnon Corporation. Pfaff-silberblau Hebezeugfabrik and Alltec Antriebstechnik have been combined under the new name of Columbus McKinnon Engineered Products since 2011. The use of Pfaff-silberblau as a brand for the drive and lifting engineering products and the systems solutions based upon them ensures the name's survival and carries on its long-standing tradition.

In 2017 the 150th anniversary "Pfaff-silberblau" was celebrated in a big party with all employees and many guests.