13/09/2023 – Measuring technology specialist Sikora celebrates 50th anniversary
Half a century of innovations
Sikora proudly looks back on its company history as it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Since 1973, the company has been developing and producing innovative measuring and control technology to increase its customers’ productivity.
Ideas, passion and a pioneering approach are the mainstays of the company's success. This anniversary honors the achievements of the past and is a milestone to the future.
1970s and 1980s: The beginning
In 1972, Harald Sikora, a 36-year-old living in Bremen, Germany, invented a non-contact measuring device for the continuous measurement of cable insulation, wall thickness and concentricity during manufacturing. This technology that later established itself as a global standard became the basis for a start-up. From the very beginning, the pursuit of perfection was part of the young electrical engineer’s guiding principle: “There is nothing that cannot be done better. And that works best with clever ideas, passion and an ear for the customer.” An attitude that characterises Sikora’s culture through today.
On November 1, 1973, with the foundation of Harald Sikora's one-man business, the company's success story began, driven by a multitude of technological advances. An inductive measuring method for power cables that measures the position of the cable, the so-called sag, made the company well-known in the high-voltage cable industry. Laser technology, which uses line sensors to enable non-contact diameter measurement of wires and cables in the production process, also conquered the market. The company grew, and in 1979, it changed its name to Sikora Industrieelektronik GmbH.
1990s: Growing product portfolio and internationalization
In the 90s, Sikora added many more products to its portfolio. Among them were X-ray devices for measuring the wall thickness of three-layer medium, high and extra-high voltage cables during the cable production. These devices display the measuring results in fractions of a second and enable the operator to immediately make any needed adjustments. Even today, X-ray measuring devices from Sikora are part of the industry standard for CV lines. Worldwide, approximately 1,800 devices are installed and ensure reliable quality control. Sikora meets the global demand for measuring devices from 1991 on and has established a worldwide sales network, with the first representative offices in the USA and China.
2000s: Further diversification
The success of the X-ray measuring system for CV lines was the basis for the development of an advanced, new series of X-ray measuring devices. They were designed for the measurement of wall thicknesses in core and sheathing lines, which was not previously possible. With the next generation of X-ray measuring systems for the high-voltage cable production, Sikora gained a market share of approximately 90% worldwide in the power cable segment. In 2000, the first subsidiary opened in the USA, followed by China and Italy. Over the next several years, numerous other international locations opened. This success was echoed in the 2002 decision to transform Sikora Industrieelektronik GmbH into the stock corporation Sikora AG.
Since 2004, Sikora has applied the experience gained in the cable industry to the hose, pipe and tube market. X-ray and laser technologies became standard here as well. In 2009, the entry into the glass fiber market with innovative measuring devices for quality control in the drawing tower began. In addition to the focus on quality, material efficiency and sustainability have become critical over the years. Economic in addition to ecological advantages gain importance in quality control. Sikora measuring devices assist manufacturers in these endeavors by reducing material and scrap.
2010s: Headquarters expansion and innovative technologies
The extended product portfolio and the increase in employees were influential in the 2011 decision to construct a new building for R+D and service at the headquarters. At the same time, in line with the succession plan, the company was divided into two business segments: the Sikora Holding GmbH+Co.KG and the Sikora AG. For the first time, Sikora launched a system for the inspection and sorting of plastic pellets, marking the entry into the plastics industry. In the tube, pipe and hose market, a millimeter wave-based measuring system for plastic pipes was introduced. The company continued to grow and opened a new 4-story building in Bremen in 2019 for production, R+D and other employees to have spacious and creative working environments.
2020s: The present
Within 50 years, the one-man operation has grown into a globally active manufacturer and supplier of measurement, control and inspection technologies. The 350 employees in Bremen and the 15 international subsidiaries support customers worldwide with innovative solutions and service to increase productivity and for a sustainable future. At Sikora, sustainability is not just an empty phrase. With the help of these measuring systems, manufacturers can save plastic material. This makes their production more economical and simultaneously protects the environment. By using Sikora measuring devices, up to 5 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide are released annually, simply because less plastic material is produced. “I am very proud and humbled by how the company has developed over the 50 years,” says Harald Sikora. He adds: “Then as now, the secret of Sikora's success is characterised by innovations that always keep the customer one step ahead in the market; our passion for the products and the consistent focus of all activities are on the customers.”
20XX: Focus on the future
Sikora does not reside in its past, but has ambitious future plans. “We look with pride at our past, at 50 years of measuring technology at Sikora”, says Christian Frank, CEO at Sikora. “The 50 years are an absolute success story written by our employees. I have great respect for this team achievement and am very proud to be a part of it. It is our claim to offer innovative solutions for our customers today and in the future. This includes further developments of existing products as well as new technologies that meet the diverse requirements of customers, such as in the areas of digitalization, circular economy and electrification. We also want to meet the demand for technical solutions for quality control from a single source and further develop our portfolio in this respect,” says Frank. The close partnership with the customers is also essential for Frank in the future: “We thank our customers for the trust in the last 5 decades and look forward to the further cooperation in the next 50 years. We, the Sikora team, still have a lot of plans.”
Proud of the decades of success
“For the anniversary, Sikora developed a logo that captures the spirit of the anniversary while combining pride in achievements and a forward-looking attitude,” says Katja Giersch, Head of Corporate Communications at Sikora. Circular shapes evoke associations with cross-sections of cables, tubes and layers as well as pellets. At the same time, they symbolize a cross-section of the dynamic company history with many highlights marked by dots. The color magenta complements the typical Sikora blue and cyan and gives the look a fresh modernity. "Three simple words sum up what Sikora is celebrating: 50 years of groundbreaking ideas, the passion and commitment of the Sikora team and the focus on a successful future," says Giersch.