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