(Left – “Klenkes” (statue in Aachen, Germany, erected in honour of workers in Needle factories who separated the good and bad needles with their little fingers) Right- Mr S Ganesh, founder of Altek Beissel Needles Limited.)
Sewing machine needle factory in India becomes a reality
Between the years 1992 and 95, Mr. Ganesh made several visits to Aachen, Germany, in single minded pursuit of setting up India’s first sewing machine needle factory. Mr Ganesh is a Chartered Accountant, Cost Accountant and Company Secretary with decades of experience in setting up new projects.
The drive of Lammertz and Mr Ganesh in their respective goals was destined to bring them together. A joint venture, Altek Lammertz Needles Limited, was formed in 1995 with Lammertz as an equal partner.
Lammertz management flew down from Germany in 1996 to finalise a business plan. Machines began to arrive at the Chennai plant from Germany. Functional experts followed to install the machine. The Indian technical team received extensive training in Germany.
High quality needle production begins
From day one, there was a laser-like focus on quality. We became the first Sewing Machine needle manufacturing company to win ISO and SATRA quality marks. The tests conclusively proved that Altek’s quality proved superior to Needles imported from Germany.
Lammertz bought back the needles manufactured by us and sold all over the world in their four prestigious brands.
German sewing machine needle industry moves to India and then imploded!
Our plant was soon followed by that of Schmetz. The manufacture of sewing machine needles came to an end in Germany. Groz Beckert, though they never manufactured needles in Germany, also started a needle factory in India.
Lammertz, Beka, Muva, Rhein, Schmetz all disappeared from Germany. Most of them were liquidated altogether after more than a century of existence.
But, the German companies committed the folly of supplying materials, consumable and service at exaggerated prices to their Indian factories. They tried to manage Indian operations from distant Germany. Thanks to the brutal competitive conditions, they continued to bleed losses. In 2003, Lammertz along with the other three brands were acquired by a competitor and liquidated. Similar fate was to await 150-year old Schmetz some years later when they also sold out to the same competitor. All employees in Germany lost their jobs. The centuries of accumulated knowledge in Needle making was in danger of being lost as well.
We successfully faced challenges
We lost the Lammertz brand but determined to remain an independent Indian company. Action and success came thick and fast-
2006 – We bought the rights to the name BEISSEL which itself was 150-year old company. We changed our name to Altek Beissel Needles Limited
2007 – Range of Needles was expanded and offered needles for woven, knit, embroidery and leather sectors. We began exports to over 50 countries around the world.
2008 – Entire range of Home Sewing Needles were developed. Prestigious brands in Europe switched their sourcing to us from other German brands. Therefore, needles reached all over the world via this route as well.
2010 – A new brand call King needles was introduced specifically for the Indian market aimed at MSME units. For the first time, they could experience top quality needles at attractive prices. King became an overnight success.
2015 – We started offering the entire range of Home sewing machine needles in our own brand BEISSEL aimed at the hobby market in developed countries.
2019 – We eliminated clutter in pricing models. In Household needles, it is “any needle, one price” now. In industrial needles, just four price groups instead of dozens followed by competitors.
Presently, we are one of just three companies around the world offering the entire range in industrial and home sewing machine needles.
We pioneered the transfer of sewing machine needle industry to India. BEISSEL is conscious of being inheritors to the legacy of two centuries of Needle making.
We are committed to carry forward the developments and put India on the world map as leaders in Sewing Machine Needles.