"Asked when it gets particularly difficult!"

Interview with Rudolf Alda, authorized officer, head of industrial furnace technology and Helmut Telaar, authorized officer, operations management of Airtec Thermoprocess GmbH

Airtec Thermoprocess headquarters in Rhede, Münsterland
Competence on 1,800 sqm: Company premises in Rhede, Münsterland

In many industrial manufacturing processes, parts have to be thermally treated. Only after such treatment do they have the desired product properties. Such thermal treatment often takes place in industrial furnaces. As a reliable quality supplier of such mostly individually built furnaces, Airtec Thermoprocess GmbH from Rhede in Westphalia has made a name for itself.

"We provide good advice to our customers, offer them all-in-one solutions, and are known for meeting delivery deadlines," assures Rudolf Alda, authorized signatory and head of industrial furnace technology at Airtec Thermoprocess GmbH. "Another strength is our long-term collaboration with specialized companies such as small locksmiths or electrical companies. These partners are familiar with our processes and proactively think on our behalf." "Additionally, we are independent of banks and make quick decisions," adds Helmut Telaar, authorized signatory and operations manager.

All from One Source

Industrial furnaces and turnkey automation systems, ventilation construction, and rental of industrial furnaces are also part of Airtec's expertise, as are subcontracted hardening and heat recovery. "We exclusively work in the construction of special systems," says the head of industrial furnace technology. "We do not offer standard solutions. We are consulted when things get particularly difficult, when assembly is not so straightforward, or when it comes to particularly large or heavy furnaces. In the planning and development phase, we always work very closely with our customers. With us, they get everything from a single source, including the engineering. We have a very high production depth and employ exclusively skilled workers. Beyond furnaces, we also deliver everything that goes with them, for example, conveyor systems and safety fences. We are particularly strong in furnaces in the temperature range between 200 to 400 °C, but we also build furnaces up to 600 °C."

Rudolf Alda, Authorized Signatory, Head of Industrial Furnace Technology at Airtec Thermoprocess GmbH
Rudolf Alda, Authorized Signatory, Head of Industrial Furnace Technology
Helmut Telaar, Authorized Officer, Operation Management of Airtec Thermoprocess GmbH
Helmut Telaar, Authorized Officer, Operation Management of Airtec Thermoprocess GmbH

New Rental Model

As a new business model, Airtec also rents out small, easily transportable, and plug-ready chamber furnaces. "We have been doing this since 2020," explains operations manager Helmut Telaar. "The rental is interesting for customers who need furnaces for individual experiments or to cover production peaks. Another pillar is contract tempering. Rudolf Alda: "Many clients have products that only need to be heat treated briefly. They have this done by us. For example, baking molds are treated again before they go to market."

The company also continues to work in ventilation construction, which it originally emerged from. "We design and build ventilation systems for milling shops, foundries, and other industrial facilities that need air extraction, and deliver them as far as the Ruhr area," clarifies Helmut Telaar. "With our machinery, we handle everything here on site, including sheet metal processing."

Another major topic for Airtec is the construction of heat recovery systems, which use the heat from industrial furnaces. "In doing so, we try to keep energy losses as low as possible and also overhaul existing systems," says Rudolf Alda. Whether industrial furnace, ventilation system, or heat recovery – all systems are of course installed and commissioned on site by experienced fitters. This is also part of the service, including maintenance and repairs.

Industrial Furnaces Worldwide

The industries that Airtec serves include primarily automotive suppliers, manufacturers of electric motors and wind turbines, as well as mechanical engineering and the plastics industry. While the industrial furnaces are in demand worldwide, the focus for the other products is on Germany and the neighboring countries. "We receive many orders through recommendations from satisfied customers," Helmut Telaar is pleased to say.

Airtec Thermoprocess Continuous Oven
Complex Facility: Continuous Oven

To attract more customers, the company is present at trade fairs such as THERMPROCESS and K in Düsseldorf, as well as Fakuma in Friedrichshafen. Current considerations also include presence at US trade shows. Search engine optimization and the website are other marketing channels; social media like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook are primarily used for recruiting new employees.

Digital Control

The origins of the company date back to the 1980s. At that time, the current Meier Process Technology was looking for a reliable furnace builder, as company head Aloys Meier was dissatisfied with the suppliers. Thus, he founded his own furnace construction company and in 1993 took over a bankrupt metal construction company in Bocholt, along with its workforce. Today, Airtec, now based in Rhede, employs 52 people and, together with Meier Process Technology, Meier Plant Service, and DVA Holland-Merten, forms the Meier Group. Airtec's facilities are already equipped with the latest Siemens control systems. Moreover, each furnace is equipped with a remote maintenance module.

"With process optimization and heat recovery, we keep an eye on sustainability as much as with the conversion of our hall lighting to LED and our plasma cutting plant with leftover material utilization," emphasizes Rudolf Alda. "Additionally, we have just obtained an offer for the construction of a photovoltaic system." The working atmosphere at Airtec is familial, everyone uses first names and the hierarchies are flat. Joint celebrations strengthen the sense of belonging. "For the coming years, we plan healthy growth, want to expand our know-how further, and aim to achieve the position of 'The Special Furnace Builder'," outlines Helmut Telaar the plans for the future.