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100 years of DURABLE: Keeping a close eye on the ever changing workplace environment

From the first clip folder to innovative modern work concepts: German brand manufacturer DURABLE has been impressing customers with pioneering workplace solutions for 100 years – both nationally and globally.

DURABLE – the name says it all. Though the brand from the Sauerland region of Germany has only had this name since the early 1950s, the idea behind it has been the company’s guiding vision for its entire 100-year history. Future-proof solutions for modern forms of work, enduring quality and award-winning designed products, DURABLE have always been and remain pioneers in innovation, efficiency and aesthetics. Long-term partnerships with retailers and continuous employee development are also key components of the company policy that targets sustainable success.

Around the world, the way we work has changed significantly in the past 100 years. The classic office with a typewriter are just as much a thing of the past as transporting goods in carriages. Computers, mobile devices and methods like Kaizen and agile working have changed the working environment just as much as the increasing flexibility in when and where we work. As a result, DURABLE currently offers a wide selection of modern workplace products for many different industries: from tablet holders to cable management systems, from mobile organisation to labelling and presentation concepts.

DURABLE Milestones

Family-owned company:

  • It all started on 7 February 1920 with metal indexing tabs – the state-of-the-art filing system at the time. Karl Hunke and Wilhelm Jochheim founded a company together to produce them in Iserlohn. DURABLE is still owned by the founding families, making it a textbook example of the impressive success of German family-owned companies around the world.

Modern production and logistics:

  • At the end of the 40s, DURABLE begins production of plastic items such as indexes.
  • In the 50s and 60s, the company builds and commissions modern production facilities to the latest standards, enlarging and upgrading them continuously in the following decades. DURABLE’s first administrative building with open-plan offices is constructed in Iserlohn – a highly innovative form of workplace design at the time.
  • In 1993, DURABLE purchases another production facility in Gotha and builds a new plant there in 2000.
  • Also in 1993, DURABLE builds a modern distribution centre in Iserlohn-Sümmern, which is expanded considerably once again in 2016.
  • In 2006, the Stettin plant is commissioned, adding another new, large production facility.
  • In 2019, DURABLE makes a significant investment in the German location of Kamen-Methler, building a modern production hall with collaborative robots supporting workers there for the first time.

Expansion through acquisitions:

  • On 1 January 2010, DURABLE takes over the Idealplast brand, diversifying its range of desk accessories and plastic containers by adding products from one of the leading providers in this segment. The product series for desks and industrial applications are continued under the umbrella brand DURABLE.
  • In October 2010, DURABLE acquires part of the company Atlanta, known for its trolley and waste bin series. The new products complement DURABLE’s facility management ranges, for which the German brand is an established provider.
  • Expansion from Sauerland to the world
    From an early stage, DURABLE has been amongst the more export-focused companies in the paper, office and stationary sector.
  • DURABLE founded subsidiaries in England and Sweden in 1980, in the Netherlands in 1991, Belgium in 1997, France in 2000, Austria and in the USA in 2001, and Italy in 2015, a market it had been serving by sales representatives since 2005.
  • The company is also represented in Russia (since 2002) and has sales representatives in Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland.

Outstanding product innovations:

  • The first clip folder rolls off the conveyor belt at DURABLE in 1959. Filing without punching: DURACLIP was the first filing product of its kind to hold paper together without damaging the individual pages. The invention is so revolutionary that the company needs to create a market for it first. In total, 500 million units have been sold since then. Without the clip folder, billions of sheets of paper would be lying about all over the place today.
  • In 2009, DURABLE brings a brand-new form of flexible presentation to market: DURAFRAME, the info frame. Millions of this multi-award-winning product have been sold. The magnetic info frame is used in almost every sector, and still boasts strong growth today, which is why we have strategically expanded the range with a variety of versions. In 2018, DURABLE invests in its first TV campaign to promote this fantastic product to a wider audience.
  • In 2012, DURABLE launches a stylish, multi-award-winning organisational product, the VARICOLOR drawer box. Every drawer has its own colour, which not only adds a touch of colour to the working environment but also helps users to organise their filing system efficiently. Due to its great success, the VARICOLOR family has been expanded with boxes in different drawer sizes and new modern colours.
  • In 2015, DURABLE moves into a new segment with its LUCTRA luminaire brand. The LUCTRA table and mobile luminaires have won many awards and provide healthy working light in the office or at home. The professional, biologically effective LED lighting system uses the latest scientific findings on the effect of light on people (Human Centric Lighting). LUCTRA light can replicate natural daylight almost completely, supporting the individual’s inner clock and promoting a sense of well-being.

Latest innovations to support modern work trends:

  • The TABLET HOLDER range makes efficient work and presentation with tablets possible.
  • The CAVOLINE cable management system tames tangled cables in the workplace and at home.
  • The QUADRO multi-functional trolleys combine versatile uses with stylish elegance in vibrant colours.
  • With its innovative DURAFIX ROLL, DURABLE offers a completely customisable roll of magnetic strips for positioning information quickly, at trade fairs or at POS for example.
  • DURABLE’s monitor mounts offer a particularly flexible solution for ergonomic workplaces.

Responsible corporate management:

A holistic approach to sustainability has been a key component of DURABLE’s corporate management for decades. “Companies that operate sustainably are more successful in the long run. In keeping with our vision of quality, our primary objective is to balance commercial, economic and social interests,” explain DURABLE’s Managing Directors Horst-Werner Maier-Hunke and Matthias Laue. “Besides great customer satisfaction, the top quality of our products, long-term commercial success through liquidity and profitability, this also includes continuously improving our environmental performance.” DURABLE’s latest sustainability report contains details on the goals the company has already reached and the measures that are currently being implemented.

Visionary entrepreneurs

Horst-Werner Maier-Hunke

Besides its founding fathers, DURABLE’s long-standing Managing Directors Horst-Werner Maier-Hunke, Dieter Wäscher and, since 2006, Matthias Laue have played vital roles in the company’s success story. Under their leadership, the company has become an internationally successful player in the last forty years. Thanks to their feel for trends, their innovation and entrepreneurial vision, DURABLE generates a turnover of EUR 100 million today, employs a workforce of 700 and sells its products in over 80 countries.

In this anniversary year, Horst-Werner Maier-Hunke will gradually hand over the baton to Rolf Schifferens, who is on board as Managing Director since January 2020.

Fresh look

DURABLE is kicking off the new corporate century with an refreshed corporate design that references existing brand elements and transforms them into a modern forward-looking design. “The new corporate design emphasises our ambition to create modern, clear, excellent solutions for the workplace,” explains Martina Heiland, Press Officer at DURABLE.

For more information visit www.durable-uk.com, email hello@durable-uk.com or call (0) 1202 897071.


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