The years 1922, 1937 and - finally - the acquisition in 1992 all mark major milestones in the history of this tradition-steeped enterprise located in the district of Döbeln. It was back in 1922 that the two business people, Oemig and Sander, got together in Hartha to produce small electric motors at a factory in Dresdener Strasse with a workforce of 25. Only three years later, what was then Alfred Oemig & Co. AG had outgrown the premises and the enterprise made its first move, in December 1925, to the former cigar factory Gustav Oemig at Dresdener Strasse 99.
As the workforce grew and the product range expanded, the limits of production capacity were again reached after a number of years. So, in 1937, eighty years ago, a new plant was set up for 280 employees in today's Sonnenstrasse. The number rose in the course of World War II propelled by the location's significance for industrial and arms production.
Plant Hartha – yesterday and nowadays
Restart after the war
Nonetheless the plant survived and in fact only a few days after the end of hostilities in May 1945 started making ladles, tea strainers, whisks and other household items. But then, at the end of November, it was almost completely dismantled, only six employees were allowed to make goods for everyday needs until mid-1946, when Alfred Oemig & Co. AG was expropriated.
Anyways, the production of electric motors was resumed and the workforce grew continuously in the years that followed. As VEM Elektrokleinmotoren- und Gerätewerk Hartha, the enterprise developed into one of the biggest electric motor manufacturers in the former GDR, at times employing up to 1,200 people in Sonnenstrasse and several branch locations in and around Hartha. With the Fall of the Wall, the state-owned enterprise plunged into the most severe crisis in its history and was eventually closed down in 1991.
But then, the very next year, 1992, there was a fresh start for the location when the Neuss-based auto-industry supplier Pierburg acquired a part of the company from the Berlin-based Treuhandanstalt (trust agency). The first product to be manufactured by Pierburg in Hartha with only a handful of workers was a modern vacuum pump. A year later, in the autumn 1993, the first electric motors for electric fuel pumps were being shipped out. These were followed in 1995 by electric motors for secondary-air pumps and then a product due to become a best-seller for the location: the electric recirculating water pump. This had been developed in-house and was the first product from Hartha for which Pierburg filed a patent application. So far, over 50 million such pumps have been manufactured. Another success story was an all-electric adjustable pump for the engine's main cooling circuit. In its latest edition, this pump is already engineered to address the higher cooling requirements of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Today, the Hartha plant provides jobs for almost 340 people and ranks among the biggest employers in the region. Given the trend toward cleaner engines and modern engine designs, on-demand pumps are becoming increasingly important. Recently, this has prompted a series of investments to cater for the surging demand for pumps "made in Hartha". There are also a number of newcomers to the production program such as electric oil and vacuum pumps, which are about to be launched onto the market.
Pierburg is staging numerous events to mark the 25th anniversary of its Hartha location: a day especially for those celebrating their own anniversaries and former employees, a summer party, a day for families and friends, and an event addressing potential apprentices — altogether a rich and varied program of events worthy of this special occasion.
Last but not least, Pierburg is taking the opportunity to re-emphasize its close ties with the town of Hartha. A soccer tournament held on June 11 serves as an occasion for Pierburg to officially assume patronage of the Hartha stadium, which is now named Pierburg Industriestadion Hartha.