For more than 100 years in meanwhile fifth generation Schmedt is the supplier for all bookbinders, restorers and the graphic industry. Due to our own machine production and the production location in Germany, you can count on consistently high quality combined with first-class service.
...how it all began
The foundation stone of the company was laid at the end of the 19th century. At that time the company was called Dau & Companie with its headquarters in Hamburg. The purpose of the company was the trade with bookbinding supplies. Deliveries were made with the Hamburg "Schottsche Karre".
The great-grandfather of the present owner, Hans-Hinnark Schmedt, acquired the company at the beginning of the 20th century.In the 1930s, Käthe Schmedt, the grandmother, took over the company and led it with a strong hand through difficult times with war, destruction and reconstruction. In the 1950s, the father Hanns-Heinrich Schmedt finally joined the company and set the course for its development into an internationally active mechanical engineering company. It was he who, with the PräGnant embossing press, laid the foundation for a series of machines that are now used all over the world.
The PräGnant for embossing was presented to the public for the first time at the Drupa in 1967 and made Schmedt internationally known. As a wholesaler for bookbinding supplies, the company had always had good contacts with bookbinders and was thus the first full-range supplier for this industry as early as the 1960s.
The company grows
The actual birth of Schmedt took place in the mid-1970s. The company was now called Hanns-Heinrich Schmedt and had two production sites: The wholesale business in Wandalenweg in Hamburg and the machine production in Wessenstedt near Uelzen, south of Hamburg. In 1974, the sole proprietorship became a KG and Hanns-Heinrich Schmedt was honored by the BDBI for his services to the bookbinding trade. At the end of the 1970s, Hans-Hinnark Schmedt, the fourth generation of the family, joined the company. He introduced the first computer and "advertised". Modern management moved into the Hamburg offices, and in the mid-1980s, the company's management was joined by brother Hans-Jörn Schmedt, a mechanical engineer who took over the manufacture of the pre-machines.
Two business units establish themselves on the market
Driven by the two brothers, new machines were developed, such as the PräLeg hanging machine and the PräForm embossing press. With these two machines, Schmedt became THE specialist for the production of machines for the bookbinding trade. Further machines followed blow after blow.
In the meantime, production was carried out on ultra-modern CNC machines. Parallel to this, the product range of the wholesale business developed more and more and became indispensable for the craft bookbinders. Schmedt offered the right machines for the material and became a sought-after partner for the production of hardcover books in short runs. With the help of computer technology and an enterprise resource planning system, Hinnark Schmedt optimized the commercial area and was the first in the industry to publish the first catalog and price list at the end of the 1980s. From then on, these formed the basis for the calculations of many bookbinders.
At the beginning of the 90s, the company changed from a KG to an oHG and moved into its own building. There are now 15 employees. 1995 followed the first own booth at the Drupa and an extension of the Hamburg plant. After Hanns-Heinrich Schmedt left the company, the change of name from oHG to e.K. took place at the end of the 90's. Hinnark Schmedt is the owner of the company. The mechanical engineering company, which has always been located in Wessenstedt between Lüneburg and Uelzen, was expanded once again. Now, 15 employees work in machine construction alone and the same number in Hamburg.
Move and opening of new operating sites
From 2000, Schmedt transformed into a modern company with two operating sites and a branch in Munich (formerly Braunwarth & Lütke). In 2003, the wholesale business moved to a new building. More offices and a larger high-bay warehouse for the more than 10,000 articles. The Drupa 2004 generates a great demand for machines and is the trigger for the new building of the machine factory in Bienenbüttel. Meanwhile, 40 employees work for the company. The first webshop is opened.
New corporate identity and design
Schmedt becomes a brand and gets a new corporate identity and logo. 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of mechanical engineering at Schmedt and the machines also get a new color.
Drupa trade show and training company
In 2008, Schmedt is present at Drupa with a 180m² booth. Digital printing and the production of photo books require pre-machines. Schmedt now employs 50 people and educates 6 young people.
Newly developed machinery and first hardcover catalog
The beginning of the 2010s is marked by a deterioration of the overall economy and the book manufacturing industry. Schmedt adapts to the new requirements and develops new machines with a modern design. At the same time, many processes in the company are optimized. A new hall is added to the plant in Bienenbüttel. In Hamburg a new demo center is built next to the old building, for the demonstration of Schmedt's machines. For the first time a catalog is sent out as hardcover.
Introduction of new PräLeg and PräKant
At Drupa 2012, Schmedt introduces the new PräLeg for book block hooking and the new PräKant for case-making (turning-in) to the industry. This Drupa will be a turning point for the printing and finishing industry, as digital printing and the ability to produce short runs and one-offs becomes ever more important.
Hardcover Days, new webshop & Frankfurt Book Fair
In 2013, after the cancellation of Digimedia, we held the 2nd Hardcover Days together with the BDBI. This was the first time the Hardcover Award was presented together with the Bindereport. This was an event for the book and book production. In addition, there was also an open day for the friends of the Sendung mit der Maus.
Due to the market development, Schmedt has adapted its own structures and its international dealer network. Since 2013, the focus has once again been on craftsmanship. Developments such as the mobile PräGnant XS embossing press and the presentation at craft trade shows demonstrate this commitment. In doing so, the company supports the book manufacturing trade not only by selling suitable products and machines but also as a sponsoring member of many institutions. In addition, the debut at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014.
Change of name and in-house events
In 2015, a change of name to Schmedt GmbH & Co.KG took place. With this, we want to ensure that the company will continue in the family tradition in the future.
In addition to Paperworld in Frankfurt, various events again took place in the in-house demo center: the 3rd Hardcover Days with the presentation of the Hardcover Award and various events with cooperation partners.
New machines for on-demand book cover production
2016 was dominated by Drupa and the new PräDeka XL machines for semi-automatic book cover production and PräziSheet for automatic cutting of cover sheets. In addition, the online store was relaunched and has become even more convenient. Now, the most ordered spare parts for Prä machines can be ordered online as well.
Presentation of PräziBind
In 2017, Schmedt was at various trade fairs and organized the 4th Hardcover Days itself. A prototype of the PräziBind perfect binding system with Ribler technology was shown for the first time: layflat binding also for short runs. In addition, the complete catalog was reissued as a hardcover.
Expansion to include restoration needs
We were also present at various trade shows in 2018 and demonstrated several new machines. The PräziBind layflat binding system is now in series production. The wholesale range was expanded to include, among other things, printable binding materials for digital printers and the "restoration supplies" area.
Restoration supplies catalog, Hardcover Award & new machines
Schmedt publishes its first printed catalog for restoration supplies. By expanding the portfolio, restorers can now also find more and more products at Schmedt. This is an important step for Schmedt, as the topic of restoration and preservation of cultural assets is becoming more and more relevant in the bookbinding market.
In addition, the company is participating in the Hunkeler Innovationdays and hosting the 5th Hardcover Days, which will feature workshops and machine presentations as well as the Hardcover Award.
Three new machines were presented at the Hardcover Days: the entry-level casing-in combination PräLeg XS and PräForm XS and the PräziEdge book edge printing machine. With the small casing-in solution, Schmedt completes its entry-level case-making solution (PräDeka system) and now also offers a complete solution for producing hardcover books in the entry-level segment. The solution is particularly interesting for digital printers who want to start producing hardcover books in-house. The book edge printer offers an innovative way of finishing book blocks and softcover books and expands the range of equipment and machines for finishing books.
Company succession secured: Since 1 September 2020, Constantin Schmedt has strengthened the Schmedt management team as the second managing director. This marks the start of the fifth generation. Purchasing Manager Daniel Herter has been appointed as new authorised signatory. Together with Markus Menzel (Sales), Jörn Schmedt (Mechanical Engineering) and Ulrike Schmedt (Human Resources), he will strengthen the relevant business areas in the future. Hans-Hinnark Schmedt remains managing director.
Constantin Schmedt most recently worked as a strategy consultant at Accenture after graduating with a Master's degree in Finance from ESADE in Barcelona in 2019. He previously worked for three years at Ernst & Young as a management consultant. In the family business, the 28-year-old is now responsible for marketing and drives various digitalisation initiatives.
"Our family business has always been a part of my life, so I'm even more excited to actively join now and contribute my accumulated experience," says Constantin Schmedt, who developed a sales concept for the Schmedt product PräziCover (combined endsheets) during his master's thesis, among other things. "In the process, I realised that there are many exciting topics and untapped potential in our small company."
Constantin Schmedt has already successfully implemented his first project in his new position: Schmedt is now offering virtual demos of the machines - live via zoom from the in-house demo and training centre in Hamburg. "Interested customers can now book an appointment on our website and see how our machines work from a safe distance and clarify their questions and concerns directly with our experts," says Constantin Schmedt.
Strengthened out of Covid-19 pandemic
After 2020 was not an easy year economically for Schmedt, 2021 developed very positively in the machine segment. Drivers for this were in particular an increased interest from digital printers to produce hardcover books in-house, coupled with subsidies for investments and the possibility to successfully present machines digitally worldwide. Thanks to the strong performance of our manufacturing team, all orders were served despite delivery difficulties in raw materials, and on average 20% more machines than in a regular year were able to be delivered.
First non-family managing director
As of January 01, 2022, our long-time director of sales Markus Menzel has been appointed managing director. This is a big step for the Schmedt family, as this is the first time in the company's history that a person not from the family has joined the management. At the same time it is an important step into the future for the company. Constantin and Hans-Hinnark Schmedt are happy about the additional support and glad that now even more the continuity of the company is secured.
Markus Menzel joined Schmedt in 2009 and was initially responsible for field sales in the northern region. Based on his industry expertise gained at digital printing press manufacturer Océ (now Canon Production Printing), he quickly learned the ropes and took over key account management in 2010. After Schmedt decided to close the field sales department in 2012 due to profitability, Markus Menzel was the only field sales employee to remain with the company. In 2015, he was promoted to director of sales and since then has successively taken on more and more management activities, so the appointment on January 01 was a very natural transition.
Relaunch Webshop & Schmedt.de
The webshop that had been implemented in 2016 was replaced by a new version. We were particularly interested in improving the shopping experience for our customers and making it easier to find and order the right products.
At the same time, we took the opportunity of a new system and merged the digital presence of our two central business units, material and machinery.