1991 : LEMO lands in Hungary
25 years ago, LEMO decided to strengthen its Eastern European presence. Having sensed an enormous potential in a Hungarian company, LEMO acquired part of it, trained its staff and developed the plant. What became REDEL Elektronika Kft, fulfilled LEMO’s expectations and has continued to develop.
It was on 1st April 1991, only a year and a half after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Eastern Europe had started opening up and LEMO was keen to be there. REDEL Elektronika Kft was founded in Budapest, after having acquired part of the electrical connector production unit of the previous State-owned company KONTAKTA. Until then, it was the German LEMO subsidiary that delivered LEMO products to customers in Hungary and the neighboring countries.
Just like other former Eastern bloc countries, Hungary had to adapt its production capabilities, its economy and society. LEMO was well received in these circumstances. “The staff welcomed this acquisition, remembers Gábor Vancsisin, former managing director, now retired and a member of the Board. Large State companies were dismantled, causing unemployment, whereas we were able to keep our jobs.”
Employees were carefully selected and trained. “In the beginning, LEMO tested us a lot — explains Gábor Vancsisin. Training courses were organized in Switzerland. We had to learn about production documentation, adopt technological and quality requirements — in short, learn LEMO’s philosophy! ” At the same time, Swiss experts would visit REDEL Kft. “These exchanges were extremely beneficial, adds the former MD. We greatly appreciated the attention and interest that LEMO management showed us, as well as all the help and positive attitude of our Swiss colleagues.”
From many aspects, the first two years reflected the period “before the fall of the Berlin Wall.” For instance, administration was fully manual. “Technical documents were stored in filing cabinets. When manufacturing orders were placed, we used to copy documents by hand and transmit the sheets to production.” The purchase of a photocopier quickly changed this laborious task. Another example was that salaries were paid in cash by the company cashier. The Hungarian banking system was rapidly modernized and by 1994 bank account transfers became possible.
Just like the whole country, REDEL Kft was progressing fast. The offices and the production workshops were brought together in the building located at Vágóhíd street. In 1996 an office block was built including a laboratory. The machine park was regularly modernized. Much progress was also brought about in the field of environmental protection, one of LEMO’s central concerns. Quality and production volumes have continued to increase.
By the end of 2007, REDEL Kft had developed so successfully that expansion became necessary. The construction of a new plant was decided on an 8,000 m2-land that LEMO had purchased back in 1991. The inauguration took place in 2010. It is one of LEMO’s most modern factories. The plating department is among Central Europe’s most high-tech installations. Thanks to an automatic water treatment system, waste water is treated before reaching the public sewage network, in compliance with LEMO’s strict environmental regulations.
During the last five years, the Hungarian factory’s production has increased by 5 to 10%. It continues to play the key role that LEMO had envisaged. This is where the REDEL P medical connectors are being assembled. “The assembly processes have been transferred from REDEL SA in Ste-Croix, Switzerland, explains Sándor Szücs, current Hungarian MD. We perform the complete assembly, complying obviously with the Swiss quality standards!” LEMO has never stopped developing the Hungarian subsidiary’s potential. REDEL Kft is ready for much more: only about 50% of the new building’s capacity is currently being used.
“Amongst all the modern equipment, there is an old Bruderer stamping machine that is still highly productive, considering her age! ” adds Sándor Szücs. She is the last relic from the soviet era, symbolizing our amazing progress.