The Swiss FRANZ GYSI AG and the KLINGER Group have been working together for a total of 90 years. Their collaboration spans multiple generations of the Klinger and of the Gysi family. We asked Franz Gysi, CEO of FRANZ GYSI AG, to take us on a trip down memory lane.
Franz Gysi’s story begins with an unexpected remark: “This partnership, which has in the meantime lasted for almost a century, almost did not happen.” The CEO of one of KLINGER’s most valued partners continues: “In 1929 my grandfather, he was also called Franz Gysi, saw an insertion placed by KLINGER in the Austro-Swiss trade gazette. He immediately applied. Being a trader, he was turned down in favor of an engineer.” A year later, however, the insertion was back. And so was grandfather Gysi. Karl Klinger remembered the name and was intrigued by the man, who would not take “no” for an answer. After two meetings in Switzerland, Franz Gysi had a general agency contract in his pocket and a piston valve sample in his hand. On the way home, he passed a facility with a smoking chimney. Turning around, he paid the operators a visit. And sold his first KLINGER valve.
Like father, like sons
Piston valves, level gauges, gasket sheets and ball valves soon found their way to Switzerland. KLINGER brake pads were even sold to the Swiss army. The Gysi sons, François and Reinhard, spent time at KLINGER factories to learn about the products. The two companies also moved closer together geographically. A Swiss KLINGER R&D hub was established in a building owned by the FRANZ GYSI AG in Suhr. Even today KLINGER Switzerland, located in Egliswil, is only ten kilometers away from the Gysi family enterprise.
The next thirty years
“Our” Franz Gysi entered the family business in 1986 – and was immediately packed off to Gumpoldskirchen to learn about gaskets and valves. At that time the FRANZ GYSI AG almost exclusively sold KLINGER products. And more would be sold after the asbestos ban came about in 1995. “I brought customers to Egliswil several times a month and we presented the new asbestos-free products,” says Franz Gysi, whose friendship with Thomas Klinger-Lohr stems from this time. Following KLINGER’s acquisition of Kempchen AG, Franz Gysi acquired its sheet punching subsidiary and renamed it GYSI Dichtungstechnik AG. This enabled him to add metal gaskets and compensators to his product portfolio. Asked why this partnership is still a success today, Franz Gysi states: “The basis for our good relationship is respect, fairness and a firm commitment to entrepreneurship. And from grandfather Franz and Karl Klinger to Christoph Klinger-Lohr and myself, this hasn’t changed one bit.”