Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft

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Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft
Type Subsidiary
Predecessors SIG Holding AG
Founded 1860 (1860)
Headquarters Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland
Key people Graeme Hart
Products Weapons, packaging, Railways
Services Pistols, cartons, Railway vehicles and equipment
Revenue 1.260 Mio. EUR
Employees 4250
Parent Reynolds Group Holdings
Divisions SIG Combibloc (packaging materials)
SIG buildings in Neuhausen am Rheinfall (Switzerland)
SBB RABDe 500
SIG P220
SIG built CLRV L1 4004 in Toronto
ONR Northlander TEE train set

Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (German for Swiss Industry Company, known in French as Société Industrielle Suisse), or SIG, is the former name of SIG Holding AG, a Swiss company that has been active in various businesses during its more than 150 years of operation. Since the year 2000 the Society has undergone strategic refocus, concentrating on its core compentence in packaging technology. Today SIG comprises one division: SIG Combibloc, specializing in aseptic carton.

Since 5 November 2007, SIG Holding AG is a part of Reynolds Group Holdings Ltd., the private investment company of businessman Graeme Hart.

Railways[edit]

In 1853, SIG was founded in Neuhausen am Rheinfall (Canton of Schaffhausen, Switzerland), as a manufacturer of railway cars. In the late 1970s, SIG was one of two builders of Toronto's latest tram, the CLRV L1. Only the first six CLRV cars were made by SIG, the rest by UTDC. The tilting system of the SBB RABDe 500 was developed by SIG. The railway branch of SIG was sold in 1995 to Fiat and in 2000 to Alstom, today only components are manufactured in the Neuhausen works. SIG also manufactured 3 passenger coaches for the Trans Europ Express trainset used briefly by Ontario Northland Railway for their Northlander service (two power coaches were made by Werkspoor).[1]

Firearms[edit]

From 1860 to 2000, SIG produced firearms. The products were imported into the USA under the name SIG Arms.

Due to Swiss restrictions on the export of military weapons, SIG entered into a relationship with the German company J.P. Sauer & Sohn in order to allow SIG access to the world firearms market.

The first automatic rifle of the world - Mondragón produced between 1901 and ~1910.[2]

The SIG P210 pistol was developed between 1938 and 1945, and was adopted by the Swiss military in 1949 as the "Pistole 49". The single-action semi-automatic P210 brought SIG much acclaim, due to the precision manufacturing processes employed in its manufacture and its resultant accuracy and reliability. The P210 frame design incorporates external rails that fit closely with the slide, thus eliminating "play" in the mechanism during firing.

The P210 was replaced by the Swiss military in 1975 with the P220, dubbed the "Pistole 75". In a 1984 bidding contest to provide more than 300,000 sidearms to the US military, the SIG-Sauer P226 was narrowly defeated by the Beretta 92FS.

The SIG SG 510/(Stgw.57) Battle Rifles were produced by SIG from 1957 to 1983. Its appearance was similar to the German MG34 and used roller-delayed blowback used on the CETME/HK rifles.

The only general purpose machine gun produced by SIG was the SIG 710-3.

In 2000, the new company Swiss Arms took over the firearms branch of SIG.

Packaging[edit]

The first packaging machines were produced in 1906 on behalf of the Lausanne based SAPAL company (Société Anonyme des Plieuses Automatiques).

Most of SIG's earlier packaging equipment efforts were focused on small dry food items such as chocolates and candy. With the acquisition of Doboy Packaging in the U.S. on June 28, 1983, SIG grew its international presence. In 1989, through the acquisition of PKL in Linnich, Germany, SIG entered the field of aseptic liquid packaging. This business grows significantly and is later known as SIG Combibloc.

In 2000 SIG concentrated its group focus solely on technology for packaging of food and beverages. By this time many of their traditional businesses such as Arms and Rocktools had been divested. Management used the resulting cash to procure global businesses including Krupp Kunstofftechnik (Corpoplast/Blowtec/Kautex brands) and HAMBA in Germany; Ryka Blow Molds in Canada; and a substantial portion of the Italian conglomerate SASIB. The food-related (dry) businesses were organized under the SIG Pack division, while the beverage-related (wet) businesses formed SIG Beverages. Aseptic liquid packaging remained separate under SIG Combibloc.

This strategy, while intended to provide common customer bases with turnkey solutions for entire bottling or packaging lines, never gained enough momentum to be of any durable competitive advantage. Difficulties integrating vastly different businesses and employee cultures resulted in operational execution issues. In particular, high-profile commissioning and installation failures at SIG Beverages in 2003 and 2004 ultimately resulted in erosion of goodwill serious enough to be recorded on financial statements. A refocusing towards primarily aseptics and PET blow-molding resulted in a high number of divestitures and plant closures. The former SASIB wet businesses Simonazzi, Alfa and Meyer/Mojonnier were sold to Tetra Laval in 2005, while HAMBA and Kautex/Blowtec went into the hands of separate private investor groups. The food packaging businesses were sold to Robert Bosch Verpackungstechnik in 2004. The former SASIB dry unit Stewart Systems (bread and bun bakery production lines) was sold to UCA Group in 2004 and subsequently merged with AMF Bakery Systems in 2008. Laser guided vehicle manufacturer Elettric 80, part of the 1999 SASIB acquisition, was sold back to its original Italian owners in 2004.

The considerably slimmed-down SIG Beverages unit, focused on machines for PET bottle blow-molding machinery, was sold off to the German concern Salzgitter AG in March 2008. This sale encompassed the subsidiaries Corpoplast, Asbofill, Plasmax and Moldtec.

Today Combibloc is the last remaining business unit of SIG, its sole focus being machinery/materials for aseptic carton packaging.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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