Ferrum is an old, traditional company in Switzerland with over 100 years of history. But the foundry business got less and less profitable until this part of the production ceased last year. Together with an employee we had the opportunity to visit the location which usually is NOT accessible, as the area is still in use and guarded for the remaining business.
Back in 1910, master foundry man Emil Fröhli constructed a metal foundry in Rupperswil in Switzerland’s canton Aargau. Seven years later, on may 12th 1917, after Johann Friedrich Roth and Walter Hediger relocated their engineering business from Niederlenz to Rupperswil and acquired the Fröhli foundry, the Ferrum AG got established. The primary activity of the new company is the manufacturing of machines and equipment for the (food) canning industry, including can sealers. Some years of struggling business followed until a change in management was able to turn the company to success in 1926. The product range constantly evolved with washing and ironing machines for large-scale laundries in the 30’s and washing centrifuges and the first chemical centrifuges, with car-washing machinery added in the 70’s. In 1965 the company built and moved into a new metal castings foundry in Schafisheim. When I was a kid, the foundry was just a little over 15 years old and I was walking between the buildings with my grandfather when going to the nearby forest…
Today Ferrum AG is successfully operating worldwide with canning, centrifuge and washing technology. But as the markets are opening and concurrence from other countries appears, the foundry business got less profitable – so a big investment to rehabilitate the over 50 years old foundry asked for a decision. So last year the foundry in Schafisheim closed and the building should be demolished by summer this year. One of the buildings is already gone and made space for gravel mining which is more profitable. Just next to the old foundry, Ferrum constructed newer buildings which are housing the management, engineering and other departments. So needless to remind again: no urbexing without permission on the company’s premises as they are used, fenced and guarded!
Since I remember the buildings from my childhood, I thought about asking the company for permission to take pictures inside the foundry. But as always: some things get postponed again and again until… a few months ago, Toni joined our photo group and told us that the foundry is not in use anymore. So: UrbEx it is! As an employee of Ferrum, he organized the permission for the group to visit the old foundry on a Saturday. And so we did. As the foundry got permanently updated and upgraded, it would have been a waste to just simply destroy all the machines in there. So currently external companies are disassembling the equipment they bought from Ferrum and making it ready for transport. Due to that, a small part of the building was not accessible because the leader of the disassembling team, responsible for the onsite safety, did not want an uncontrolled gang of photographers in the danger zone. Never mind: we worked around it. There was plenty of machinery, old molds and parts which have not been claimed or picked up by customers.
The actual state also gave quite an impression about foundry business: In the dusty air, every step left a print in the thick black dust and a small cloud behind. A metal foundry is neither a clean environment nor an easy or healthy job…
Latest pictures from Ferrum
Ferrum is a “work in progress”. As I got over 200GB of raw photos shot on the 23.02.2019, currently I spend some time to create a new picture and post them sporadically. Here you can find the latest entries.
Like you can take the crane and drive to the sunset…
Shot in the old Ferrum foundry on a nice Saturday evening.
A forgotten remote control for one of the many cranes insider the old foundry.
The factory work floor of the old Ferrum foundry.
Shot through a dusty office window…
The storehouse in the back of the old foundry where molds and parts are still waiting to get picked up by the customers.
If you like to see a little about the edit of this picture, check here http://fenkhuber.photography/the-storehouse-the-edit/.
Along the outside wall of the old foundry, the crane was used to lift metal in to the oven.
The control console of one of the many rail cranes inside the old Ferrum foundry.
In one of the dark corners of the old foundry, an old arc welder stays hidden and without power…
On the top floor of the old foundry an old compressor lays under a thick layer of black dust, unused since years.
A part of the air filtering system and some old filters in the old foundry.