Milestone 2/10: Gröninger Sixties
Late Fifties/early Sixties
In the late Fifties/early Sixties the company started selling machines in the Netherlands, sourced from a German factory called Schlosser. In the following years the Kärcher owners were met at the Hannover Messe. At that time Kärcher was producing steam generators and hot air heaters while Schlosser manufactured machinery for the concrete industry. These machines were added to the Gröninger sales portfolio. In this period very close ties were developed with the Kärcher family.
When Günther’s son Ralph G. Gröninger joined the company in 1965, he initially was moved to the Kärcher factory in Winnerden (Germany), in order to learn more about technology and machinery. Although he lacked any form of technical education, his heartbeat increased just by thinking about and working with technology. Ralph gathered a lot of knowledge and experience, which later came to the benefit of the development of Gröninger. Since 1965 his brother Frank H. Gröninger also was temporarily stationed in Germany, at Thyssen’s competitor (and later partner) Krupp, to learn everything related to the trading and the steel industry. In 1967 the brothers joined Gröninger on a permanent basis.
Even before that time the Gröninger company sold (apart from Kärcher steam generators and air heaters used in for example the concrete industry), the first so called Dampf Strahler DS 350. This was the first ever high-pressure cleaning unit, develop by Alfred Kärcher himself in 1950, for the professional market. It is hard to pinpoint a date but Gröningers experience with the high-pressure technology probably dates back to the mid or late fifties. Although the biggest market for the systems sold and commodities traded by Gröninger were the construction and concrete sectors, the foundation was laid for the current activities in (high pressure) cleaning systems.