For the first time in the company history, ERNI’s revenues exceed 200 Mio. Euro. Barbara and Hans Erni break the ground for an extension of the factory in Thailand. The location counts 400 employees. Worldwide ERNI employs more than 1300 people.
ERNI consequently pursues a clear focusing strategy in its core business «connectors». The cable assembly division is spun off and taken over by the local management.
Focus markets of ERNI
A new dawn is breaking. ERNI gets a new vision, leadership principals, values and a vision picture 2020. The company achieves record numbers both in revenues and profit.
ERNI vision picture 2020
Hans Erni and Rudolf Hausladen take over the leadership in the ERNI Group of Companies together as Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO.
Hans Erni, President, and Rudolf Hausladen, CEO
After 29 years of service for ERNI, Walter Regli steps down from his office as CEO of the ERNI Group of Companies on his own wish. He remains Chairman of the Board of Directors until the General Assembly Meeting 2015.
Walter Regli, President and CEO of the ERNI Group of Companies
ERNI acquires the company Abotron, domiciled in Hägendorf, Switzerland, and its subsidiary in Lamphun, Thailand. Abotron employees some 120 people at that time and is in the cable assembly business.
Building of ERNI Thailand in Lamphun
To keep up with the constant growth of the location in Adelberg, Germany, its forth tract is inaugurated. The building hosts a state-of-the-art molding department as well as numerous final assembly machines.
Ground-breaking to the fourth extension of the factory in Adelberg, Germany
The ERNI Trust is terminated. The Erni family founds the Ernst & Elsa Erni foundation and donates 20% of the ERNI shares to it. The beneficiaries of the foundation are all ERNI-employees worldwide. Hans and Robert take over the majority of ERNI by holding 40% of the ERNI shares each.
Hans and Robert Erni with their grandmother Elsa Erni-Gallmann
ERNI acquires the company Wiftech, located in Mels, Switzerland, which produces customer-specific cable assemblies and employees some 30 people at that time.
On the patron estate of ERNI in Brüttisellen, Switzerland, originates a modern office- and Factory building. It becomes the new home of ERNI’s Swiss companies and its global Headquarters.
New building of ERNI Switzerland in Brüttisellen
ERNI acquires the company Pewamat, which focuses on customer-specific Printed Circuit Board assemblies. Out of it arises the company ERNI Electronic Solutions, located in Göppingen, Germany, which employees 60 people.
Building of ERNI Electronic Solutions in Göppingen, Germany
From super compact mezzanine concepts all the way to shock and vibration-resistant connectors for peripheral systems, ERNI plans to selectively expand its product line, with diversification making the company more resistant to turbulence in specific industries. In the “2005 European Customer Survey of the Electronic Connector Industry” conducted by market research institute Bishop & Associates, ERNI takes fourth place among the top 31 connector manufacturers.
ERNI titles its new line of cable connectors “MiniBridge”. With a high load capacity, high flexibility and very small dimensions, MiniBridge connectors can be used for practically any application imaginable, from automotive, to industrial, to consumer electronics.
Themed “Festival of millions”, the ERNI company party spreads a feeling of excitement. Sales again reach the previous high level and management prepares itself and the company for the future.
Working under the motto of “What is already good can always be improved”, ERNI reinvents the classic D-SUB I/O line. The redesign, with SMT connections punched and formed in a single operation, improves the contacts with 100 percent coplanarity. Larger soldering surfaces and mountings absorb greater tensile and compressive loads. At the same time, the series is expanded to include new applications (high current). The logic behind the redesign is every bit as simple as the result is effective: more robust, higher precision components give rise to more solid, exacting connections. The optimization for varied connection and assembly types increases customer productivity.
A proven and widespread standard is redefined: The new qualities of ERNI’s D-Sub connectors are impressive and the product is introduced to developers via a global mailing.
ERNI acquires a license from DaimlerChrysler for optical backplanes, expanding the company’s know-how in optoelectronics. ERNI becomes a research partner for the coupling and decoupling of optical signals as a result of these skills. The restructuring activities introduced in 2001 continue. A painful process that also costs jobs, but is necessary in order to secure the future of the group. Production in the United States is stopped and the new “ERNI Electronics Inc.” emerges, a 100 percent sales and marketing company. Production is now concentrated in Adelberg, however a comprehensive investment program is started in order to optimize the quality and productivity of all processes.
Single and multidimensional optical connections (such as the optical polymer wave guides in circuit boards shown here) promise data capacities far beyond the limits of copper wire technology. As a partner for optical-electronic connectors, ERNI participates in the NeGIT research (Next Generation Interface Technology) and subsequent Future Board project promoted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMFT).
With transmission rates of up to 10 Gbit/s, ERNI reaches new dimensions for copper conductors. Based on the ERmet series, ERNI develops the next generation of connectors together with Tyco. With this leap in performance, existing infrastructures with copper lines can transmit much more information than previously assumed.
ERmet ZD is a line of connectors for serial data transmission. The shielding allows for data rates of up to 10 Gbit/s. The demo set illustrates the design of the first series connectors.
The dot com bubble bursts and market prices tumble. The capital once in abundance for high tech firms now trickles, with the telecommunications markets especially taking a big hit. Sales at ERNI are also much lower, whereby ERNI production in the United States (which is geared to telecommunications applications), feels the greatest impact. In order to secure the future of the entire organization, ERNI needs to be restructured and focus on future-oriented core areas.
Promise kept: the works outing promised in the boom year is carried through, despite the changed business situation. All ERNI employees at the Adelberg location visit their colleagues in the United States in several groups.
Innovation and know-how are the core of our competitiveness. This raw material – knowledge – must be freely available to all employees, who in turn incorporate their ideas. The same applies to our customers, whose exacting details on requirements and conditions for use are a necessary input for development work. Conversely, customers profit from the depth of knowledge acquired by ERNI in all sectors of tele- and data communications. ERNI in Adelberg begins the new millenium with the company’s largest growth rate ever (52 percent) for a total sales of DM 200 million, generated by some 600 employees.
The top floor of the ERNI administration wing in Adelberg is a frequently used communications and training center for seminars, product presentations, brainstorming sessions and development forums, to which customers and suppliers alike are often invited.