50 Years KELLER – A Look at Our Anniversary

Tobias Keller
09. January 2024

This year we are celebrating our 50th anniversary. When our father Hannes W. Keller founded KELLER in 1974, he planted the seed of the strong tree that the company would grow into over the next five decades.

All beginnings are difficult

In the 1970s, when glittering disco balls and wide flared trousers were «en vogue», KELLER was born. To advance the development of silicon pressure sensors according to his own ideas, our father founded the company «H.W. Keller dipl. phys. ETH Druck- und Kraftmesstechnik».

The beginnings of our company were difficult. I remember our father often improvised and used our mother's oven for hours to check the sensors over temperature. And there were times when he was unable to pay his few employees' wages due to a lack of orders. He couldn't get bank loans anywhere because they didn't believe in his idea. It was only thanks to our grandfather's monetary support and father's great resilience that the KELLER company managed to stay alive during this time.

From a one-man operation to a global player

The first few years were characterised by major challenges. Sometimes it seemed as if the pressure on father and his fledgling company was greater than on his pressure sensors. But his perseverance paid off. KELLER soon stabilised and the first international orders started to roll in. What catalysed our growth was the fact that we entered the market as a supplier of pressure transmitters at the beginning of the '80's as an already established OEM pressure transducer supplier. This step significantly influenced and ensured the development and survival of the company. Over time, KELLER was to become synonymous with extremely reliable pressure measurement.

Healthy growth

In an industry where change is the only constant, KELLER has achieved an average growth of 3-5 % per year over five decades. Purely organically, without any company acquisitions. A steady increase that can be attributed to continuous innovation, highly qualified, and committed employees and a solid understanding of customer needs.

The market was always highly competitive and the pressure to deliver ever more accurate, stable, and efficient sensors was constantly increasing. But KELLER proved that we could not only handle pressure – but we also used it to constantly improve.

Looking back, we are very pleased and grateful to say that we have had no redundancies for economic reasons in five decades, not even in the major recession years of 2009 and 2020, when we had to deal with a 20 % drop in sales but were able to compensate for this in the following years. The KELLER tree, which had in the meantime become strong, weathered these storms with flying colours.

The path to the digital future

Looking ahead to the coming decades, KELLER is facing new challenges and opportunities. Digitalisation is penetrating all areas of life, and our pressure sensors are also required to become even more intelligent and networked.

Perhaps in the near future we will develop pressure sensors that not only measure the physical pressure, but also detect the mood in the room so that we can react to it in a meaningful way? Admittedly, a touch of science fiction. However, KELLER has proven many times that the future begins today.

Conclusion: 50 years of precision, innovation and durability

In a world where pressure often prevails, KELLER has shown that it is not only possible to withstand this pressure, but also to use it to develop and grow with it. Today, with half a century of experience, we are even more solid, even more competent, even more alive. However, we do not see ourselves exclusively as a manufacturer of market-leading products. Rather, we see ourselves as part of something bigger, where each one of our employees can make a valuable contribution.

May our strong KELLER tree continue to put down strong, solid roots and grow healthy branches for the next 50 years. May we continue to handle pressure excellently and continue to develop sustainably to secure our many hundreds of jobs. May we continue to keep pace with constant social and technological change. May our tree live for a long time to come!

Sincerely
Tobias Keller

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