The story of Henke-Sass, Wolf begins on August 15, 1921. Georg Andreas Henke, a maker of surgical instruments, founds his own company in a small basement in Tuttlingen. Born in 1892, Henke previously worked for a number of medical technology companies all over Germany to collect the experience he needed for the production of medical equipment. Soon afterwards, Henke managed to establish himself as a manufacturer of high-quality injection syringes, a growing niche market fueled by the medical progress of the 20th century. In 1932, ten years after the founding of his company, Georg Henke employed 50 people and moved into a larger factory building.
Georg Andreas Henke lead his company through the difficult years of the 1940's. During the Wirtschaftswunder in the 1950's syringes and cannulas became sought-after products. The discovery of the antibiotic Penicillin brought a growing demand for Henke's products and in 1952, on his 60th birthday, Georg Henke watched over a prospering company with 220 employees.
A growing company needs space to develop. That is why Henke bought a large factory building on Tuttlingen's Kronenstrasse in 1956. The building became the workplace for 400 employees and remained the headquarter until 2008. At the time, Henke was the third largest manufacturer of surgucal products in Tuttlingen. Today the building houses the local campus of HFU Furtwangen University.
In 1961, Georg Andreas Henke opens a new chapter: With the acquisition of Sass, Wolf & Co. the company enters a thriving market and soon becomes leading in the field of medical endoscopy. This date marks not only the begin of the basic lineup of products including medical and technical endoscopes and flow measuring technology, but also the provenance of our company name: Henke-Sass, Wolf.
In 1965, at age 73, Georg Henke sells the company to Litton Industries, a former US multi-industry conglomerate. Henke surprised with the announcement to enter in the production of single-use plastic syringes, emphasizing the advantages compared to glass-metal designs. In 1972, Henke in Tuttlingen and Sass, Wolf were finally merged into the Henke-Sass, Wolf GmbH we know today.
1976 marks the begin of a new era. Jochen Busch, today's proprietor of Henke-Sass, Wolf acquires the company amidst a complicated economy. Busch, togehter with his family, decides to reposition the company and to pursue a strategy of concentrating on medical endoscopy. Over time further areas of the current portfolio are established. The business units profit by a continuos transfer of know-how.
Laying the focus on medical endoscopy turned out to be the right decision. During the 1980's, Henke-Sass, Wolf outgrew its building in the city center. In order to continue the successful path a new factory building was opened in Tuttlingen's suburb of Möhringen in 1987. Up to this day It contains a state-of-the-art machine park as well as the company's headquarters.
From the 1980's on Henke-Sass, Wolf began to concentrate on the US market, where customers value an impeccable service and quick repairs of their instruments. After having cooperated for several years with sales partners and having established the brand Henke-Sass, Wolf in the United States, the subsidiary company Henke-Sass, Wolf of America was founded in 1991.
After the end of the Cold War, the new markets in Eastern Europe showed a high demand for medical products. The economic situation made it attractive to invest in a new factory. Therefore Henke-Sass, Wolf Polska was founded in 1994 in Nowy Tomysl in western Poland, making it possible for the company to make the best out of the new emerging markets.
In order to ensure technological leadership, Henke-Sass, Wolf acquired Nolte & Grzeszik from Göttingen in Lower Saxonia, a highly respected manufacturer of micro-optics and leading in research and development in this field. The acquisiton helped boosting innovative technology, ensuring the position of Henke-Sass, Wolf as a frontrunner in the medical technology sector.
In 2008 Mr. Busch's daughters join the Managing Board, ensuring the future continuity of management. In June 2008 the new Henke-Sass, Wolf building in Tuttlingen is completed. Consolidation of the Tuttlingen factory and expansion to 15,500 sq m of production space lead to advantageous synergies in the production processes. State-of-the-art, bright workplaces and an attractive canteen have been created on the industrial estate of Gänsäcker. Henke-Sass, Wolf is certainly looking forward optimistically to the future here as far as the new building's capacity is concerned – but the exceptionally positive business development in the following soon prompts considerations about extending capacity even further.
Nolte & Grzeszik, the micro-optical production company in the HSW Group, has grown to become one of the most important innovators in the micro-optical sector. As a 100-percent-owned subsidiary of Henke-Sass, Wolf, the company manufactures the lenses and optical components for the endoscopes. In 2015 a new building will increase production space for micro-optical production to 4,500 square meters.
The HSW group of companies gained a new member in 2015, when Henke-Sass, Wolf purchased Klaus Wenkert Medizintechnik GmbH – a strategic acquisition. Based in Seitingen-Oberflacht with 40 employees, the company is a leading OEM manufacturer of instruments in urology and gynecology – a sector for which Henke-Sass, Wolf also manufactures endoscopes.