Our history - our journey through time

100 years – not many people live that long. Not many companies reach this venerable age either – and even if they do, maturity is rarely accompanied by an increase in strength, scope and outlook. In our anniversary year, we are stronger and more visible than ever. We are more internationally oriented than ever before, but we are still very much a family company. We are also living proof that “medium-sized company” and “market leader” is not a contradiction in terms.

(Johannes Winklhofer’s foreword to our 2016 brochure “100 Years iwis")

The company history, and with it the history of the Winklhofer family, is and always has been about moving forward. It is characterized by a relentless determination to advance and develop, rather than to be content with stagnation, complacency and mediocrity.

We were, we are and always will be proud of our commitment to striding ahead – as our history clearly shows. This is why we chose “The journey of those striding ahead” as the central theme of our chronicle and our anniversary year 2016. To this day, “striding ahead” is a fundamental principle and core vision of our company. We never stop – we keep moving ahead on our journey through time….

Our journey began long before 1916….

Our 100th anniversary chronicle “Join us on a journey through time…” contains a number of nice stories and accounts of special occasions that we would like to share with you. Incidentally, besides the print version, our interactive multi-media online publication “Journey of those striding ahead” gives you a completely new insight into our history, placing historical awareness in an entirely new context.

Today finds us more future-oriented and more innovative than ever before. In strategic and commercial terms, we are constantly looking and moving in the same direction: forwards! Yet after taking a close look at our past, one thing is certain: our history, our heritage, the sum of our experiences, our setbacks and successes, are the guarantee of our stability. These deep roots help us to keep our feet firmly on the ground – and also enable us to reach for the sky.

The journey of those striding ahead

Foundation of Wanderer-Werke

It all began in Chemnitz...

Johann Winklhofer-Maschinenfabrik

Foundation of our company Dec. 7th Johann Baptist Winklhofer (1859 – 1949) in Munich 

Name change to "Joh. Winklhofer & Söhne”

The two eldest sons Hans (1887–1933) and Fritz (1888–1972) Winklhofer join.

Production of bicycle chains begins

It all started with bicycle chains...

End of sales activities

for Wanderer-Werke goods

The sons join their father

Dr. Rudolf (1890 – 1977) and Otto (1900 – 1990) Winklhofer

Doubling of production space

due to the new building the Albert-Roßhauper-Street.

Production start iwis timing chains

for the automobile brands Adlerwerke, BMW, DKW and Hanomag

Production resumes

Company is shut down; production resumes on July 26th

First duplex timing chains

series starts for Daimler-Benz (Mercedes-Benz 300 SL)

Expansion of industrial chain business

and debut as exhibitor at Hannover Messe trade fair

Gerhard Winklhofer joins

Gerhard Winklhofer (*1934) joins the company as Assistant to the Technical Director  

End of bicycle chain production

Focus on automotive and industrial chains

Chain tensioners

First chain tensioners delivered to Opel


Opening of a company kindergarten called “Kinderkette” for working families

A new era beginns

Gerhard Winklhofer takes over as Managing Director

Award for Vocational Training

Award for training excellence from Germany’s Federal President Karl Carstens

First systems order from the automotive industry

A milestone on the way to the development of timing chain systems

Joh. Winklhofer & Söhne GmbH & Co. KG

Harmonisation of shareholder structure and transformation into “Joh. Winklhofer & Söhne GmbH & Co. KG”

Expansion to Czech Republic

Foundation of “orwis ketten spol.s.r.o.” as an autonomous production subsidiary in Strakonice

Bavarian Quality Prize

was awarded to iwis for the first time in 1996

Johannes Winklhofer joins iwis

Johannes Winklhofer (*1964) joins as Managing Partner

Production facility in Landsberg

opens for the production of timing chain systems for the Automotive industry

Winner “Factory of the Year” Award

iwis production facility in Landsberg won for 1st time

Industry division expands

Acquisition of Flexon GmbH and expansion of the industrial division


Restructuring as “Joh. Winklhofer Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG“ with a total of 16 subsidiaries worldwide

iwis in China

Our production facility Nanhui beginns production of automotive timing chains near Shanghai

Start PVD pin production

First serial use of PVD pins in the automotive division

Start Plant Murray

in the US


Begin of serial production at the TRITAN coating plant in Landsberg

The next 100 years are to come

iwis celebrates its 100th anniversary

iwis systemtechnik GmbH

iwis group expands with the acquisition of iwis systemtechnik GmbH in Germany

Production site PingHu near Shanghai opens

with more production space for engine systems near Shanghai.

Asian R&D Center founded

Opening of the iwis Research & Development Center in Shanghai

Unimet Group

The corporate group expands: iwis merges the Unimet Group to the corporate iwis group


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