150 Years of Pioneering Spirit

Rudolph Otto Meyer

From a craftsman business to a worldwide company

Imtech Germany celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008. Craftsman Rudolph Otto Meyer founded the small business Rud. Otto Meyer (ROM) in 1858, initially specialising successfully in the construction of greenhouse heating systems. Within a few decades, the heating construction company had expanded to become the largest German service provider for the building services sector, trading as Imtech Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG since 2002.

Pioneers of company history

For the employees of ROM / Imtech, engineering has always been a means to an end, rather than an end in itself: it is a tool to help people achieve a more pleasant and safer existence. This attitude is evident from the company’s many pioneering achievements: the invention of the Strebel boiler, for example, the forerunner of present-day boilers, for which ROM employee Joseph Strebel applied for a patent back in 1883, or combined heat and power which was developed by ROM and used for the first time in 1888.

1858 - Young business in the Peute district of Hamburg: it all began with greenhouse heating...

Greenhouse heating posed particular challenges for the heating industry back in the mid-19th century. Soon after the company was founded in 1858, Rudolph Otto Meyer’s heating business in the Peute district of Hamburg rapidly became established as a highly regarded specialist in this field, becoming sought after in the most exclusive circles.

1888 - Pioneering combined heat and power achievement: Hamburg City Water Mill

Even back in 1893 ROM realised the benefits of a technology which is now known as combined heat and power: where both power and heat are generated within the same power plant. Power had been generated for surrounding hotels, shops and warehouses by the city water mill, "Stadtwassermühle”, located right in the heart of Hamburg, since 1888. ROM had thus created the first power plant in Germany based on the principle of combined heat and power.

1893 - Revolution in heating technology: the Strebel boiler

Around the turn of the century most residential properties in cities were still heated by individual coal-powered systems. With the development of the cast iron Strebel boiler in 1893, ROM played a major part in the early days of the international success story that was central heating, enabling the dream of "wall heating” to become a reality for more and more people.

1932 - Habemus Papam: district heating for the Vatican

White smoke above the Sistine Chapel – in future this will merely mean that a new Pope has been elected. Thanks to the pumped water-heating system installed by Rud. Otto Meyer, the entire Vatican was heated by a single central supply building with effect from 1932. Pope Pius XI gave the system his official blessing.

1934 - Goes on. And on. And on. Factory ventilation for Volkswagen

Ferdinand Porsche had built the first prototype of the Volkswagen by 1934. A factory to mass-produce the forerunners of the Beetle was constructed in what we now know as Wolfsburg in 1939. The ventilation system for the factories, supplying 9,000 production line workers with fresh air, was provided by ROM.

1940 - ROM under bombardment: further expansion after destruction

Allied bombers over Hamburg: ROM’s warehouses and workshops in the Hamburg district of Wandsbek were completely destroyed. The employees built generous new premises on a newly acquired construction site which formed the basis for a renewed expansion of the company.

1970 - A first for Germany: undersoil heating for the Olympic Stadium in Munich

The famous tent roof of Munich's Olympic Stadium wasn't the only thing to be based on a network structure – another sort of network can be found under the turf: Germany’s first undersoil heating system, constructed and installed in 1970 by Rietschel & Henneberg, a subsidiary of ROM. Alongside heating engineering issues, the installation depth was also critical as the ground would also be used for events such as javelin and show jumping.

1973 - Always a favourable wind: air conditioning on board the "Sea Cloud”

Ventilation and air conditioning on ships is a very specific problem – after all, ships are exposed to far more extreme ambient conditions than office blocks. It becomes even more complex in the case of a historic sailing ship such as the "Sea Cloud”, built in 1931, which has been refitted and modernised a number of times by ROM since 1979.

1985 - Absolutely dust-free: clean room technology for the computer chip industry

With the boom in personal computers, demand for clean rooms to manufacture computer chips is constantly on the increase. ROM developed and constructed the first clean rooms for the chip industry. Imtech is now one of the few European clean room specialists in the micro and pharmaceutical industry.

1999 - New standards: Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, China

At 88 storeys tall with a total height of 421 meters, the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai became the world’s third tallest building when it was completed in 1998. ROM assumed responsibility for all the heating and air conditioning equipment – merely distributing heating and hot water to all 88 storeys presented a major challenge in its own right. Air conditioning was just as complex, but is particularly important in a building which has no opening windows.

2002 - ROM’s new partner: from ROM to Imtech

Rud. Otto Meyer and Rheinelektra Technik, which was taken over by ROM in 2001, have been trading as Imtech Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG since the start of 2002. The Dutch company Internatio Müller N.V., now known as Imtech N.V., became a new partner of Rud. Otto Meyer GmbH & Co. KG back in 1997.

Imtech today

Imtech Germany currently employs 5,200 staff members and achieved in 2010 an operating revenue of 1,306 million euros. The company’s strength lies in the variety of services it offers, ranging from energy technology for power plants via air conditioning for cruise ships, right up to clean room technology for the microchip industry. With over 60 branches, Imtech has a presence throughout Germany and in a number of Central and Eastern European nations.