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Producing profitably in these parts


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Georg Schünemann GmbH – also known as SAB, an abbreviation of the company’s former name Schünemann Anlagen Bremen – designs, produces and markets high-pressure valves, special filters and complete filtration systems for marine and industrial applications.

The company supplies shut-off valves, flow-regulating valves, safety valves, distributors, pressure reducers and complete valve systems to the German and international navies, shipyards, the gas industry and offshore installations worldwide. The filter portfolio comprises single and duplex filters, self-cleaning automatic filters, marine filters and special designs made to meet technically challenging projects or individual customer requirements. Customers include shipyards, chemical and petrochemical irms, municipalities, paper mills, power suppliers, steelmakers and many other industrial clients.

Originally founded as a tobacco trader in 1937, SAB was newly established as a mechanical engineering business in 1946. “At the start, the company focused on filters,” says Managing Director Wolfgang Linster, who joined SAB eleven years ago after having worked for one of the company’s customers. “Later, it started developing valves for military ships.”

Particularly in the last decade, SAB has grown tremendously. “Today, we employ 70 people and have a turnover of 12 to 16 million EUR, depending on project size,” explains Mr. Linster, whose leadership style is based on partnership and flat hierarchies. “I am in close touch with our staff, at every level of the company. A cooperative atmosphere is very important for a motivated workforce. It is important to analyze existing procedures and improve them if necessary, but it is even more important to involve each individual employee in this process. We have a very informal work climate, which is appreciated by most but not everyone. But I believe it is better to be authentic than a pretender.”

The product offering of SAB is complemented by comprehensive services ranging from emergency repairs to periodical maintenance through to spare parts deliveries and continuous research and development. “We help our customers design new products, develop customer-specific solutions and create new, innovative valve and filter products to meet changing market demands,” Mr. Linster describes the company’s R&D strategy.

Wolfgang Linster
We want to acquire new customers through unique product solutions that add value to our customers’ processes. Wolfgang LinsterManaging Director

In all new developments, first-rate quality is given top priority. “This goes for all our products but especially for our valves which are designed for pressures of up to 400 bars,” states Mr. Linster. SAB is a highly international business with customers across the globe. The company works together with international distribution partners and exports a lot to Europe, South Korea, India and the Arabian Peninsula.

In contrast to this, it is firmly rooted in Germany as a manufacturing location. “We make almost everything at home,” says Mr. Linster. “With the right organization and the right decisions, you can run a profitable, competitive production operation in Germany. The secret of our success lies in batch size optimization. We define our lot sizes with the objective of attaining maximum profitability. In addition, unlike many of our competitors, we attach great importance to maximum product availability and have a rather large stock that enables us to meet customer demands at the shortest notice. This gives us a significant competitive advantage.”

SAB is also following up with robotics and additive manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing to enhance its competitive position further. “Our goal is to be among the frontrunners in these areas in our industry,” states Mr. Linster. “The challenge lies in keeping qualified jobs for our employees over the next ten or 20 years.”

In the near future, SAB will implement several construction measures to adapt its production capacity to growing market demand. At the same time, the company will continue to modernize its manufacturing equipment and push new product development.

“Particularly in the filter segment, we want to acquire new customers through new, unique product solutions that add value to our customers’ processes,” explains Mr. Linster.