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Going global while remaining local

A one-man operation in 1984 — today a Holding company with over 350 employees worldwide. From a small steel tank manufacturer, the Echterhage Group has grown into an international medium-sized company in the 30 years since its inception. The foundation stone was laid by the Managing Director Jürgen Echterhage in 1984 when he purchased the facility for the construction of steel tanks in Neuenrade (today HBE GmbH).

Subsequently, Jürgen Echterhage made the right decisions and placed trust in the right business partners. This was also the case when he founded VSE Volumentechnik GmbH together with Axel Vedder, which has been developing and manufacturing volume sensors and highly advanced evaluation electronics since then. In 1990, HBE expanded its product range to include hydraulic and drive technology components. Horst Echterhage becomes managing partner.

Only four years later, Jürgen Echterhage founds the general contracting company ECO.PLAN GmbH & Co. KG together with his wife Ruth Orthaus-Echterhage. In 1997, the company opens a branch office in Dresden. The Group continues to grow: In 1998, the Group acquires DST Dauermagnet-SystemTechnik GmbH in Hattingen, with its partner and Managing Director Heinrich Wittschier.

In the new millennium, DST moves to Neuenrade and ECO.PLAN opens another branch office in Coesfeld. Furthermore, Beinlich moves to a new manufacturing and administrative building in Gevelsberg. In 2001, Ruth Orthaus-Echterhage joins the advertising agency plakart as a partner and since then has been managing it together with Karin Braukhaus-Becker. This specialist for advertising, communication and marketing also moves to Neuenrade.

In the years to follow, business activities abroad are intensified. In Varese, Italy, the Group acquires Oleotec S.r.l in 2003. In the USA, IC Flow Controls, Inc. is acquired. The founding of German Fluid Systems (GFS) Co. Ltd. in China with a joint venture partner as well as of UK Flow Ltd. as a subsidiary in the United Kingdom is planned for 2004. BEDA Flow Systems Pvt. Ltd. in India with a joint venture partner from New Delhi is subsequently founded in 2005.

In Germany, ECO.PLAN and Höne Immobilien are consolidated in 2003. Since then, Manfred Höne has been the second Managing Director.

In 2007, ECO.PLAST, PU and Plastic Parts is founded as the European representative of Pfeda in New Delhi, India. The corporate seat is Neuenrade.

With the project "Service-Wohnen Mühlendorf" (serviced apartments) in Neuenrade, ECO.PLAN and e.holding inaugurate a residential complex that is a conceptual and architectural milestone in the region.

In 2010, Detlef Lengelsen takes over Horst Echterhage's position as Managing Director of HBE. In April the same year, Ruth and Jürgen Echterhage are chosen as "Manager of the Year 2009". Chista Thoben, the economic minister of North Rheinland-Westfalia, praises this entrepreneurial couple for their remarkable economic achievements, as well as their exceeding social competence and commitment to education.

2014 is a year of big changes. UK Flow and Hydrotechnik UK becomes a joint venture. Under the name "UK Flowtechnik Ltd.", the company distributes products of HBE, VSE, DST and Beinlich.

In the same year, HBE Fluid Equipment is being founded. The affiliated subsidiary is located in Shanghai, China and is responsible for sales in the Chinese market.

Additionally, HBE celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2014. Furthermore, Suco-VSE moves to its new premises in Le Mans.

Also in 2014, VSE celebrates its 25th anniversary with over 700 international guests.