Knipex has been manufacturing pliers for over 130 years. PHPI takes a look behind the scenes at the German company.
There aren’t many companies who have specialised in one type of product and prospered for over 130 years, but German firm Knipex is just such a success story – all thanks to its expertise in pliers. With over 1,000 different pliers across its product ranges, the company manufactures many types, catering for many different applications a professional tradesperson will encounter.
The Knipex story starts way back in 1882, when the company’s founder, Carl Gustav Putsch, helped by his two apprentices, set up the company. It is still a family-owned enterprise to this day. Based in Wuppertal Cronenberg in Germany, the factory grew from just one building into the impressive complex it is today, exporting its tools to 100 countries across the world.
“It’s fair to say that the secret to Knipex’s success and longevity is based upon the quality of the pliers and the innovations our in house experts constantly create and bring to market,” explains Alex Garami, UK Sales Manager. “Providing exactly the right tools for every application – always in the most suitable design and size – is the aim.”
Walking around the vast factory in Wuppertal you can see at first hand the manufacturing techniques and craftsmanship which have been developed and perfected over the years, as well as the passion for making professional tools which is found right across the company. There is even a lovingly curated museum that tells the story of the company, its products through the years and the history of ironmongery and plier making in the region.
It gives visitors a true sense of how and why Knipex grew into the global company it is today and why its tools continually seek to set the bar higher for pliers and hand tools. Manufacturing high quality pliers for professional tradespeople is not a simple process and, although the factory is extremely modern, some of the work has to be done by hand, such is the craftsmanship involved.
“Almost everything is manufactured on site in Wuppertal, including the specialist tooling required for forging, grinding and machining the specially hardened steel, which is important for our quality control. It keeps our more innovative pliers truly unique to Knipex,” continues Alex. “The quality control process is very strict. It is what we have built our reputation on and it’s what we are known for across the trades.”
As an example of the detail and thought that goes into the manufacture of the tools, PHPI recently got to grips with the Siphon and Connector pliers. These feature 25 fine adjustment positions and are designed to be ideal for tightening and loosening siphon screw connections, pipe fittings and round union nuts. Knipex also manufactures these tools with interchangeable plastic jaws for use on more sensitive surfaces, such as plastic pipe fittings.
With product ranges called ‘Cobra’ and ‘Alligator’, you also get the sense of the power and grip these tools can provide.