111 years of progress – anniversary year at Altendorf.

The story of the success of Altendorf is the story of the success of a machine: the sliding table saw invented in 1906 by Wilhelm Altendorf. Kurt and Willy Altendorf, the founder's sons, decided in 1956 to focus exclusively on manufacturing sliding table saws according to the "Altendorf system", turning Altendorf into a specialist and setting the Altendorf sliding table saw on course to conquer the world. The number of Altendorf sliding table saws put to work in carpentry, cabinet-making and joinery workshops and wood, metal and plastics processing companies around the world has now surpassed 150,000. 


111 years of family company history.

The sliding table saw came into the world in 1906 when craftsman Wilhelm Altendorf developed the first Altendorf in Berlin. Wilhelm had not long before set himself up as the owner of a factory for office and shop equipment in the imperial capital. Berlin was booming at this time and there was no shortage of work to be had finishing and fitting out commercial premises. The existing table saws were not really up to the job as far as Wilhelm was concerned, however, as they lacked the accuracy necessary for precise trim cuts. His solution was to build a saw that allowed the material to be fed past the saw blade while firmly supported on the sliding table so that an initial square cut could be made. This is still the defining feature of the sliding table saw principle. This first innovation has been followed over the intervening 111 years by a great many more innovative developments that together make life very much easier for over 150,000 Altendorf customers working with a sliding table saw and ensure that wherever in the world they are based, they have the tool they need for optimal productivity (remember an Altendorf can deliver productivity gains of up to 35%). The first 40 years of the Company's existence saw two world wars, which together lasted a whole decade. Wilhelm Altendorf decided in 1919 to relocate the Company to his home town of Minden because of the crushing effect on business of the political unrest in Berlin around the time of the birth of the Weimar Republic. When the father of the sliding table saw died in 1948, his sons Kurt and Willy Altendorf took over the management of the Company. Eight years later, in 1956, they decided that the Company should concentrate solely on manufacturing sliding table saws in the interests of productivity. This move paved the way for the global success of the "Altendorf". A third generation of the Altendorf family joined the Company at the end of the 1950s in the form of Erika and Wilfried. Wilfried Altendorf and his brother-in-law Siegfried Thiele followed a consistent strategy of continuous international expansion during their time at the helm, as a result of which the Altendorf name is now recognised as synonymous with the sliding table saw in more than 130 countries around the world. Tom Altendorf – representing the fourth generation of the family – took the reins in 2002. Tom shares operational responsibility with Jörg F. Mayer (Managing Director with responsibility for sales) and Wolfgang Ruhnau (Managing Director with responsibility for business administration).


111 years of innovations.

Until 1956, Altendorf manufactured all kinds of different wood processing machinery, with development work spread across numerous new machines and a considerable number of existing models. The Company has 14 entries in the register of patents and utility models in the years 1920 to 1934 alone. Not one of them relates to the sliding table saw though; instead they are concerned with other wood processing machinery and exotic-sounding (to modern ears) developments such as a "Grain and baking flour mill" and a "Feed unit for the production of cigar box boards". Inventor and inveterate optimiser Wilhelm Altendorf clearly had a wide range of interests. Fortunately he also managed to turn his hand to the critical job of promoting the Company and marketing its products in the trying periods of reconstruction following the two world wars. In 1934 Altendorf developed the first sliding table to be mounted on pairs of rollers; previous versions had relied on runners. This invention opened up the possibility of attaching devices for a whole range of different applications, making the sliding table saw more versatile in use and enabling it to become a key tool of the woodworker's trade. Altendorf's priorities since the 1950s have revolved around technical improvements (of which there have been a great many) and the never ending task of optimising the different machine families (the F 90, the F 45 and the TKR range of table saws). The Company has been pioneering the development of CNC axes for sliding table saws since the 1990s. Its first rip fence with motorised adjustment (ELMO) debuted in 1989 and was soon followed by CNC height and tilt control for the saw unit. The F 45 ELMO and its three CNC axes quickly proved a winner in the higher price segment. The mid-1990s saw Altendorf unveil the F 45 POSIT c.a.t.s – the first machine with four CNC axes and the capacity to work with panel sizing programs from production planning – and usher in the age of the Computer Aided Table Saw (the fourth axis to be motorised was the crosscut fence). The F 45 POSIT c.a.t.s was the first (and for a long time only) sliding table saw to close the loop and support a fully integrated, centrally controlled production operation.  The latest generation of the F 45, which Altendorf introduced in 2015, does away entirely with manually adjustable height and tilt systems for the saw unit. Today every F 45 control unit controls the two-way tilt function for the saw unit too – another feature unmatched in the market. Altendorf has been innovating with a passion for 111 years. Customers will be pleased to hear that despite this, it still has big plans for the future of the sliding table saw. 


Altendorf – the success story.

In 2006 Altendorf celebrated its centenary. The company's success story is also the story of the sliding table saw itself. Invented in 1906 by Wilhelm Altendorf, the sons of the company's founder, Kurt and Willy Altendorf, decided in 1956 to concentrate solely on manufacturing sliding table saws featuring the "Altendorf system". Thus Altendorf became a specialist, and the stage was set for its sliding table saws to begin their conquest of the world. Over 150,000 of these sliding table saws have been used to date in carpentry workshops and joineries as well as in the woodworking, metalworking and plastics-processing industry.

1906

Berlin: company founded and invention of the sliding table and edging circular saw to the "Altendorf system" by Wilhelm Altendorf

1919

Relocation of operations to Minden, Westphalia

1930

Wilhelm Altendorf's sons Willy and Kurt join the company

1948

Death of company founder Wilhelm Altendorf

1956

Product range streamlined with concentration on manufacture of the Altendorf sliding table saw, series production introduced

1963

Annual production exceeds 1,000 machines for first time

1971

Wilfried Altendorf and Siegfried Thiele take over management of the company

1974

Move to present production premises at Wettinerallee, Minden

1975

Annual production exceeds 3,000 sliding table saws for first time

1984

First Altendorf subsidiary on foreign soil set up in the USA

1988

Altendorf Australia founded

1989

Opening of Altendorf Infocenter

1992

Kurt Altendorf retires from active involvement in the business

1995

Altendorf Qinhuangdao established
Death of Willy Altendorf

1998

Expansion of administration offices in Minden

1999

Altendorf Asia established

2000

Takeover of Müller Minden Maschinenhandelsgesellschaft mbH
World record: The 100,000th Altendorf leaves the factory.

2002

Tom Altendorf joins the company

2003

Siegfried Thiele retires from the business

2005

Death of Kurt Altendorf
Erection of shipping and logistics centre at Minden headquarters

2006

Opening of new sales and service centre at Minden headquarters
Company celebrates its centenary

2007

Opening of Altendorf do Brasil

2011

Opening of Altendorf India Pvt. Ltd

2015

Introduction of the new F 45
New management team
Tom Altendorf (Managing Director and Partner), Jörg F. Mayer (Sales Director) and Wolfgang Ruhnau (Commercial Director)

Altendorf Generations.

Born a family business, still a family business.

Wilhelm Altendorf

(1874 – 1948)

Inventor of the sliding table saw and founder of the company

Siegfried Thiele

(1934 – 2014)

Managing partner until 2003

Willy Altendorf

(1904 – 1995)

Managing partner until 1995

Wilfried Altendorf

(born 1941)

Managing partner until 2013

Kurt Altendorf

(1910 – 2005)

Managing partner until 2002
Father of Wilfried Altendorf

Tom Altendorf

(born 1976)

Managing Partner

The factory in Minden today.