Dr. Jürgen UlderupBiography

Chassis Technology is a mainstay in the ZF Group. But where does this division originate?

Dr. Jürgen Ulderup

Lemförde, near Osnabrück, is the site of the headquarters of a group of companies, in which ZF took a majority holding (at that time 51%) in 1984. These companies included Lemförder Metallwaren AG with Lemförder Metallwaren J. Ulderup AG & Co. and their German and foreign subsidiaries. ZF subsequently increased this holding to 75.6%, and in 2003, acquired the remaining shares in ZF Lemförder Metallwaren AG, Lemförde, to make it a wholly owned subsidiary. In exchange, the former shareholder, the Dr.-Jürgen-Ulderup Foundation, received 6.2% of the shares of the ZF Group. Then, ZF Lemförder, as Car Chassis Technology division of ZF, developed and produced automotive components and complete front and rear axle systems for vehicles up to 3.5 t. In August 2011, the ZF Lemförder GmbH was merged into ZF Friedrichshafen AG and the competence in the field of Chassis Technology was pooled in the Chassis Technology division.

An entrepreneur who took social responsibility seriously

Global vision, ambition and consistent action – these were the characteristics of Dr. Jürgen Ulderup, long-serving proprietor and CEO of Lemförder Metallwaren. For over forty years, Dr. Ulderup worked for the commercial success of his company and the social concerns of his employees. On 20 May 1947, Lemförder Metallwaren-Gesellschaft mbH was entered in the Diepholz Commercial Register. The sole shareholder of the company was Jürgen Ulderup's father, Wilhelm. Wilhelm's son ran the business from the outset. Jürgen Ulderup would later describe the simple beginnings: “Back then, working with basic facilities, we manufactured anything that we could exchange or sell. In November 1950, Jürgen Ulderup took over as CEO and four years later held all the company shares. The name of the company founder and the first products supplied were remembered in the company trademark: the owl in a triangle, originally formed from three track rods. On 20 July 1963, the General Meeting passed a resolution to convert the company to a joint stock company. Henceforth, Jürgen Ulderup was the proprietor, sole shareholder and sole director. Even though domestic business was flourishing, Ulderup took an interest in the international market. In 1963, he secured a license deal in Brazil for the manufacture of track rods and drive shafts.

Company Development Milestones

  • 1947: Entry of Lemförder Metallwaren Gesellschaft mbH in the commercial register on May 20, 1947.
  • 1953: The first branch factory in Dielingen starts operations.
  • 1960: Construction of the Wagenfeld plant.
  • 1962: Foundation of Maschinenbau Damme GmbH.
  • 1963: Conversion of the Lemförder Metallwarengesellschaft into a stock corporation; Dr. Jürgen Ulderup is sole shareholder and director.
  • 1967: The company agreement for the foundation of Elastmetall is signed.
  • 1968: Lemförder Metall Argentina SRL in Buenos Aires is the first international outpost.
  • 1972: Lemförder Metallwaren is 25 years old: At year-end, the company records about 2 200 employees.
  • 1983: The nonprofit Dr.-Jürgen-Ulderup Foundation is established.
  • 1984: ZF acquires 51 percent of the Lemförder Group.
  • 1991: Dr. Jürgen Ulderup dies at the age of 81.
  • 2003: ZF owns 100 percent of the shares; in parallel, the Dr.-Jürgen-Ulderup Foundation holds 6.2 percent of ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

Further information