Tradition and innovation

Approval certificate from 1907


Josef Schonlau founds a machine factory and iron foundry in Geseke. Agricultural equipment and machines as well as the necessary castings are produced.

Josef Schonlau

Company’s founder

1930 – 1960

In the 1930s, production is successively expanded to include plant construction – especially for the cement industry. After the death of the childless founder, Franz Bartscher (nephew of the founder) joins the company as managing owner. There is a shift of emphasis from mechanical and plant engineering to pure foundry.

Franz Bartscher
Josef Schonlau

Company’s founder

Franz Bartscher

approx. 1942

The maintenance and its staff during World War II.

from above left: Josef Bals, Johannes Schütte, Willi Siefers, Hubert Kneer, Hermann Brock, Bernhard Thiele, Fritz Schulte, Willi Lorenz, Albert Knies, (?), Joh. Richter, (?), Fritz Hellweg, Joh. Bohle

The maintenance and its staff during World War II.


Schonlau was one of the first companies in Germany to start production of the then new casting material nodular cast iron (cast iron with nodular graphite).

> Get to know our today’s product diversity

Machine mould casting 1965


Franz Bartscher’s son-in-law, lawyer Hanns-Peter Dürkes, takes over the management of the company.


Hanns-Peter Dürkes


Introduction of the material ADI.


Schonlau will be a pilot project of the program ” Improvement of Living Space in Mixed Situations“ of the state government of NRW. One of the most extensive environmental protection programmes in the region is initiated.


Completion of the pilot project. The living environment has been significantly improved, the workplaces have been humanised, the moulding facilities, etc. have been renewed and brought up to the latest state of the art: Investment volume: DM 12 million. As can be seen today, the existence of the company is secured in the long term.


Markus-Peter Dürkes (born 1968), graduate in business administration, becomes a partner in the company. From 2002, Mr. Dürkes will assume sole management responsibility as a managing partner in the fourth generation, after having been responsible for sales management of the Agriculture Technology Division for 6 years.


Markus-Peter Dürkes


Introduction of the material GJV (vermicular graphite cast iron).


Hanns-Peter Dürkes


Markus-Peter Dürkes


The Great Fire

Just in times of economic upswing, a major fire destroys more than two thirds of the buildings, and adjacent production halls are also affected. The heart of the foundry, the melting shop, the sand preparation plant and parts of the automatic moulding plant were completely destroyed. The total damage amounts to more than 10 million euros.

The chance in the crisis:

The owner family decides to rebuild and thus to save 120 jobs. Production processes and environmental protection measures are significantly optimized. After a record-breaking seven weeks, the first furnace is up and running again, – production is initially only temporarily in the open air. After nine weeks, the new sand processing plant (Eirich) is ready for operation. Above-average commitment and an exceptionally productive cooperation between management and team lead to this top performance. We are rightly proud of it! Even relevant trade magazines reported on our successful reconstruction, some even with a cover story.


Construction of the new 1,100 sqm dispatch hall.

Commissioning of the new annealing furnace for stress-relieved and ferritic annealing.

Dispatch hall 2007


Renewal and extension of the shake-out station (Webac) for the hand moulding shop and the boxless moulding line.


Reconstruction of the automatic slats forming line and expansion of the hand moulding shop.

Extension / new construction of the cooling station of the automatic boxless moulding plant.

Introduction of the material Ni-Resist, – especially suitable for the food industry and the marine sector.

Block form cooling track 2010


Establishment of professional consulting, support and coordination of mechanical processing for our customers. For this purpose, two new jobs were created and appropriately trained employees were hired.


Purchase and subsequent expansion of an additional warehouse for hand-moulded and boxless-moulded patterns with a storage area of 3,500 square metres.

Model warehouse 2012


Construction of the new 800 sqm production hall for the automatic boxless moulding line and the associated new core shop.

Expansion of the existing core shop and investment in new (Laempe) core shooters.

Block form 2013


Extension / upgrading of the automatic boxless moulding line: Result: capacity increase of almost 70%.

Dispatch hall 2007

Block form cooling track 2010

Model warehouse 2012

Block form 2013


Extension / building of the hand moulding shop. Result: Annual capacity increased by 2,000 tons. The number of employees increases to 150.

Introduction of the energy management system and certification to ISO 50001.

Installation of a heat recovery system to heat the core shop, the pattern store and the pattern shop.


Purchase of a further warehouse for patterns of the automatic moulding line with 1,000 sqm storage space.

Model warehouse 2016

Learn more about our environmental thinking and how we are working to protect our planet.


Construction of the hand moulding shop “2” with an annual capacity of 1,500 tons.

Further expansion of the core moulding shop with an additional Laempe core shooter.

Expansion of our range of materials to include solid solution hardened iron grades.


The pleasing growth of the company in recent years has allowed sales to rise to over € 30 million for the first time in the company’s history. The number of employees has increased to 170.

Model warehouse 2016

Environment and sustainability

Learn more about our environmental thinking and how we are working to protect our planet.

Environmental issues


In the last 10 years, more than € 16 million have been invested in the company, mainly in the production facilities to increase capacity in various moulding areas and to further improve the quality level.

Schonlau Truck 2020


Dirk Lücker-Corzillius becomes further managing director of the company in January 2021.
Mr. Lücker had been purchasing manager since 2003 and member of the management team since 2017.

Today we are an economically healthy family business, producing 200,000 castings per year from 5,000 different models, which adds up to around 12,000 tonnes per year. We supply 250 customers, mostly from the mechanical engineering industry.