"It all started with an answering machine and a small workbench that I had rented in a metalworking company," remembers Johann Glösmann. The graduate production engineer can look back on 35 years of self-employment during which he built up a company that ranks among the leaders in its sector. Salmco Technik manufactures slicers for the food industry and exports them worldwide. Colombia was recently the 70th country to be added to the list of nations to which Salmco delivers. The broad international scope is due to the global appetite for salmon. "While in the early years our customers came from the classic salmon farming countries they are to be found on all continents today," says Glösmann. "Salmon is bought fresh or frozen and processed close to the market.” It makes no difference whether the customers process the salmonids fresh or frozen because the Hamburg-based company is the only one in the world to offer both cold and soft slicers.
Salmon inspired the company name and it has remained the species that is processed most on the Hamburg machines. But the application range of the frequently customized solutions is much wider: "Our machines can process 38 different species of fish and various kinds of poultry", says Glösmann as an indication of their versatility. The latest innovation is a slicer unit that portions maki sushi with millimetre precision to make attractive snacks.
1.5 million for land and buildings
Company founder Johann Glösmann invested about 1.5 million euros in the new site and buildings. Salmco's new premises – as unlikely as it might sound – are built on the site of a former salmon smokehouse. The 50-year-old building was completely renovated, equipped with new electrics, high-speed data lines, and a fibre-optic connection to create a modern environment for the mechanical engineering company. Glösmann currently has twelve employees. The order situation would justify more but the shortage of skilled workers in machine construction is also noticeable at Salmco. About 35 slicers leave the production hall every year…which over the years has added up to 1,283 slicers. A significant feature of the slicers is their "robust and uncomplicated design", says Glösmann, "which makes for a long service life". From spare parts deliveries and customer service figures it can be seen that some machines have already passed the 200 million-slices mark and are still in operation. The oldest of them is over 30 years old and thus almost dates back to the company’s founding.
Over the course of more than three decades the slicers have improved considerably in terms of performance, consistency of slice appearance, hygiene, work safety and ease of operation, with development being continuous rather than in leaps and bounds. "We are constantly developing our machines in response to the demands of the market. Customer feedback is extremely important in order to offer a market-driven product," says Glösmann. This customer orientation is part of Salmco’s market success and is expressed in the company’s long-standing business relationships. The first invoice that Glösmann wrote was to the company Hagenah from Hamburg. And even today the fish processor and wholesaler (that now belongs to Edeka Minden-Hannover) still has a Salmco machine in operation.
André Nikolaus, SN-Verlag