Hans Müller (1916–2013)
Hans Müller, founder of the Muller Martini Group and pioneer in machine construction for the graphic arts industry has died at the age of 96 in Zofingen, Switzerland.
What started out in 1946 with the first pad and booklet stitching machine developed by Hans Müller gave rise to a global company group that enjoys outstanding international renown. Today, innovative system solutions and services from Muller Martini on all continents enable printing houses and finishing companies to position themselves successfully on the graphic arts market.
Many Muller Martini machines still bear the hallmark of company founder Hans Müller, a trailblazer who set several crucial milestones for the industrial production of print products. Five years after the first pad stitching machine, he constructed the first perfect binder, followed by the first saddle stitcher with automatic signature feeders, coupled with a three-knife trimmer in 1954. While the competition at that time could stitch at most 1,000 copies per hour, the new fully automated machine quadrupled that rate and even offered improved quality thanks to Hans Müller’s technical expertise. In 1956, he astounded the graphic arts industry with “flying stitching heads”, which for the first time stitched without stop and go, enabling a further significant increase in production speed.
With the founding of the Grapha printing press factory in Maulburg, Germany (1964), the integration of Martini AG in the Swiss village of Felben (1969) and of VBF Buchtechnologie in the German town of Bad Mergentheim (1998), and the development of a worldwide sales and service network, the group consolidated its position as the leading system provider in the graphic arts industry.
The company’s success was based on the constant focus Hans Müller placed on the needs of customers over the years. “I’m happy that I’ve managed to provide our discerning customers with innovative and market-driven solutions in the form of our machines. Some solutions were developed in response to suggestions by customers and in close cooperation with them,” he once said in an interview. Another important factor for success was the high esteem in which the company holds its employees. “I find it highly gratifying that I could give many people interesting tasks.”
It is indicative of Hans Müller’s deep commitment to the company and its employees that he went almost daily to his office at the Muller Martini head office in Zofingen even at an advanced age. With Hans Müller’s passing, the world has lost a pioneer who shaped the graphic arts industry for decades.