A Visit to the ABUS Factory in Germany
Late last spring, I hopped a flight to Germany on assignment for Momentum Mag. I was to tour the ABUS Mobile Security factories and manufacturing facilities near Dortmund, Germany and report on everything that goes into creating the very best bicycle locks around. It was an illuminating experience. The fine people at ABUS – Nick, Axel and Joan, among many others – were gracious hosts allowing deep access to their design, engineering, and product development departments. Over two full days, I toured the many facilities this 90-year-old company has in the region.
I was surprised to see how much of what ABUS does is by hand. From lock cylinder assembly, to testing, designing and even building all of their own tools (and the tools to build these tools, where does it all begin!?) the handmade method often takes precedent. I learned how a longer shackle idea on a padlock gave way to the modern U-lock, debuted by ABUS back in 1971. From there, the company refined and redesigned mobile security, striking gold once again with a unique folding lock debut in 2004 – the Bordo, their most successful bicycle product to date. ABUS has a strong reputation not only for top-quality product, but as an excellent employer. Their child-care, maternity and family-oriented wellness policies seem to benefit everyone. Employees are often in it for the long-run, many on for decades, some celebrating 40+ years with the company. I was impressed with the working conditions, too – for a factory space there was ample natural light, greenspace outside most windows, and these windows open to allow fresh air and birdsong to infiltrate the sometimes clang of steel stamping and oil scent in the air. It was clean and tidy like you might expect from a German enterprise, something my inner Virgo loves about this culture!
This, too, was my first time in Germany, so that was an added exciting element. As you may have seen, I stuck around for a few days after the factory tours to explore Bavaria, making it further south than anticipated into Austria, then on a whim, the Dolomites in Sud Tirol, Italy. More posts coming up from these adventures as well. Enjoy!
Wetter/Hege & Rehe, Germany, 2014.