PM Review Autumn/Fall 2021

Page 69

Plansee: A century of success

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A ‘hidden champion’ of PM: Celebrating a century of innovation and success at Plansee Situated in the picturesque Austrian Alps, and named after the mountain lake it sits near, Plansee SE has been innovating in Powder Metallurgy since 1921. From humble beginnings producing W lamp filaments, Mo wire for lighting and Mo and W heating elements, as well as semifinished Mo and W products, the company has expanded into a world leader in the fields of refractory metals and hardmetals, as well as a respected force for technical research and knowledge transfer. As the company celebrates its 100th year, Prof Dr Herbert Danninger, FAPMI, FEPMA, presents a detailed overview of Plansee past and present.

For tourists, Plansee is a beautiful mountain lake in the Western Tyrolean region of Ausserfern. For the materials community, however, the term Plansee is associated with a hundred years of excellence in special materials such as refractory metals and hardmetals; with a world-leading company in this field; and with a company whose history is closely associated with – almost synonymous to – the history of Powder Metallurgy. From humble beginnings, the company and its facilities have expanded into what is today a world market leader, and shaped this remote spot in the Tyrolean Ausserfern into a worldrenowned centre of PM science and technology. The Plansee company is also inseparably linked to the Schwarzkopf family, which has maintained ownership since its founding a hundred years ago – one of many highly successful family-owned enterprises that represent a lynchpin of European industry.

© 2021 Inovar Communications Ltd

Early years 1921–1945 The story of Plansee began in 1921, when Paul Schwarzkopf came to the Tyrol. Born in Prague in 1886, Schwarzkopf studied chemistry in Prague and Berlin, where he

recognised the potential of refractory metals quite early, having developed a process for tungsten (W) filaments for lighting, and had already established a number of small companies for refractory metals. In 1908, he had co-founded Deutsche

Fig. 1 Plansee buildings in December 1922

Autumn/Fall 2021

Powder Metallurgy Review

69


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