, History 2020

Bright ideas since 1985

Since the foundation of Z-Laser in 1985, the company stands like no other for innovation, quality and reliability in the industry. The founder, Kurt-Michael Zimmermann, focused on a strong development department already in the first years and recognized very early on that innovation leadership is the key for a successful company in the laser industry.

Our company history

  • 1985

    Diploma in industrial engineering K.-M. Zimmermann founds Z-LASER in Freiburg. The company initially specializes in the new development of laser systems for positioning assistance.   ... at the LIGNA wood trade fair in Hanover. Development of the 3D measuring system Vision 2000 and presentation of the first diode lasers.
  • 1989

    ... at the LIGNA wood trade fair in Hanover.
    Development of the 3D measuring system Vision 2000 and presentation of the first diode lasers.
  • 1991

    Development of the 3D measuring system Vision 2000 and presentation of the first diode lasers.
  • 1995

    ... Bangalore (India)
  • 1997

    ... German Pavilion New Delhi (India)
  • 1998

  • 2000

    Z-LASER has established itself as a constant on the market with individually applicable laser systems. Z-LASER is the market leading laser manufacturer for the textile industry, tire production, concrete and prefabricated house industry and medical technology. The demand is cross-industry.
  • 2001

    Integration of the company Lasertechnik Deutschland GmbH into Z-LASER.
  • 2002

    Development of speed-dependent power control of laser projectors, new optics, mechanical and electronic designs
  • 2005

    ...at 134 Merzhauser Strasse. The location here offers room for growth and, thanks to direct access to public transport, makes it easy for employees to get to the company. There is also a large car park available for visitors and employees.
  • 2008

    Foundation of Z-LASER Italia Srl. (Milan).
  • 2010

    Foundation of Z-LASER America Inc. (Montreal).
  • 2011

    In the middle of the year the Z-LASER own solar park was established. From now on Z-LASER generates a considerable part of the energy demand via the in-house solar system.
  • 2011

    Introduction of the ZQ product range.
  • 2011

    The entire internal production processes were examined using lean management methods and adapted to the latest international standards.
  • 2013

    Z-FIBER, fiber coupled laser Front view - Introduction of the fiber-coupled lasers ZFSM / ZFMM - today Z-FIBER - Presentation of the camera- and laser-based measuring system Z3D-Control.
  • 2015

    From January 2015 Dipl.-Ing. Rüdiger Ruh will lead the company as Managing Director / COO.
  • 2015

    At that time, Z-LASER was already working with more than 60 partners worldwide and now has about 85 employees thanks to strong growth in the OEM sector for customized laser solutions.
  • 2016

    The workforce as well as the production volume has steadily increased, so that we have again expanded our production area.
  • 2017

    The workforce as well as the production volume has steadily increased, so that we have again expanded our production area.
  • 2018

    The laser projector ZLP1 is presented and successfully introduced to the market.
  • 2019

    New managing director Dr. Hans Ebinger, repositioning and revision of the corporate design, installation of the company advisory board with Kurt-Michael Zimmermann, Dr. Ralf Lauterbach, Dr. rer. Nat. Dieter Pauschinger
  • 2020

    Z-LASER celebrates its 35th company anniversary.

35 years Z-LASER –
35 years laser, light
and passion

 “I myself am quite astonished that even
35 years since the foundation of my engineering office in 1985!

, History 2020

“This is the future”

Kurt-Michael Zimmermann (KMZ) looks into the distance before he continues: “And how it all began… when a fellow student showed me the red laser dot for the first time. It was immediately clear to me: this is the future. I was and still am extremely fascinated by lasers. With only one cylindrical lens in the beam path, you already have a perfect line with infinite applications. Ingenious! That was the first idea and then after a long night at my place of study in Karlsruhe, the company name Z-LASER was the second”.

With two suitcases from the Black Forest to India

When the young industrial engineer set up his own business, the main focus was on solutions using gas lasers to display cutting lines when sawing wood. As a gifted salesman, he initially traveled through the Black Forest and spoke at sawmills to sell his innovative solution for cutting wood. Later he traveled the world and presented his products internationally. An amusing anecdote from India still makes the entrepreneur smile today: “In 1995, two suitcases full of lasers and exhibition material were taken to Jaipur in India for the famous Indian stone fair; naturally with great hope for good business, because India is a major supplier of granite and marble.

The organizer had reserved me on the list, but no stand. Without further ado he made me an attraction at the exhibition and reserved the lecture tent for Z-LASER and advertised Z-LASER 4 times a day over the loudspeaker system of the whole exhibition. Also the Minister of Economy of the state of Rajasthan did not miss the opportunity to have the lasers explained in front of a running TV camera. In front of the tent a huge bunch of interested and curious Indians constantly gathered. Never again in our company history we had such a permanent onslaught of interested people.

Many wanted our laser line, but unfortunately not a single one bought. At that time I did not find that so funny!”

, History 2020

Z-LASER 1995 at a well-known stone fair in Jaipur, India

Family business from the beginning

KMZ himself is an entrepreneurial child, a doer and forward thinker who appreciates the fact that he has been able to turn his passion into a profession in his beloved hometown Freiburg. Right from the start, the company was family-oriented: his wife Almut Zimmermann took over the personnel management and his sister Karin Zimmermann the bookkeeping. His son Laurenz has also been working in the company since the age of 13; first as a vacation job, then in the course of a dual study program. Laurenz Zimmermann is currently working as Sales Manager in the field of laser projectors.

KMZ itself is still chairman of the advisory board and continues to play an active role in shaping the company.

Future-oriented working conditions
for all employees

Early on, the young Kurt-Michael Zimmermann focused on a strong development department and on forward-looking innovation management. No less important to him was the realization of modern working conditions with flachen hierarchies, which make independent, creative work and respectful cooperation possible.

The confirmation that he had succeeded in this came during the financial crisis of 2008/09, when the fax machine stopped spitting out orders from one day to the next. The employees remained loyal to him despite short-time work and the team overcame the crisis without losses.

KMZ communicated openly, took its employees with it and was thus able to take a positive view of the company’s hardest times.

In general, the successful entrepreneur does not take himself too seriously…

…,When asked how the challenges have shifted over time, he answers:
“In the beginning, I wanted to quickly bring a saleable product to the market. The most important thing was to inspire a team that got down to work. And that is still the case today! The capital is motivated, thoughtful, well-trained and compatible employees who see themselves as the Z-LASER family.

In the past, it was a challenge to convince major suppliers such as SIEMENS to also supply us as Minifirma With the first small successes, a bank then also felt comfortable supporting us. I see today’s challenges in digitization and Industry 4.0; both will change us very much beeinflussen, change work processes and demand new product solutions.”

For more than thirty years Z-LASER has been doing pioneering work in the field of laser projectors; in 1989 Z-LASER developed the first non-contact 3D measuring system with the Fraunhofer IPM, which according to KMZ “was 10 years ahead of the world market and therefore unfortunately remained unsuccessful”.

Zimmermann Senior proudly tells what a success the introduction of the Z5 HeNe Laser was. Because this laser, which realized a 3-7 m long red line for board cutting, was established in 1987 after 2-3 years on various international markets, from Brazil to Singapore.

Or he goes into raptures when he talks about the innovative development of 2D laser projectors for CNC tables.

Broadly diversified product range

Today, the portfolio includes line lasers for positioning, laser projectors, lasers for image processing / measurement technology and OEM solutions, all of which are used in a wide variety of industries. The customers are from the food and automotive industry, medical technology, renewable energies and the trade.

, History 2020

Over 35 years of steady growth

Since its foundation, the company has grown to over 100 employees with an annual turnover of 15 million euros and subsidiaries in Italy, America and Canada. Over the years, new markets have been developed. Another big step was the move in 2005 from the city center of Freiburg to the company building in the Merzhauser Straße.

Permanently Z-LASER invests in area extensions, automated production processes and cross-functional management structures.

In 2018 a fresh wind came into the family business:
With the managing director Dr. Hans Ebinger, the company was able to win a physicist who brings along the best knowledge of the optical industry and a high affinity for sales.

You can tell that Ebinger is burning for the company: “Z-LASER GmbH stands for functional and robust laser products, real, interested customer proximity and innovative ideas. We deliver our own products for many industrial sectors, but also customized OEM solutions all over the world. With the will to lead in innovation and the commitment to be a social, successful and solution-oriented company, the
Z-LASER success story continues”.

, History 2020

From left to right: Laurenz Zimmermann (Sales Manager Laser Projectors), Dr. Hans Ebinger (CEO)

KMZ adds: “Where yesterday the carpenter wanted a red line on his board to be sawn, today 0.01 mm wafer-thin laser lines for measuring systems are in demand.”

Currently, there are fewer and fewer professionals who have to carry out more and more different activities professionally, so that visual help/display is becoming more and more important. The photonics industry is only at the beginning of its decades of expanding development.

Z-LASER will continue to develop positively, certainly with partners in growing markets. The laser is comparable to the wheel in the stone age. Lasers will become the basis for more and more industrial manufacturing and control processes. There are always challenges and they make companies successful.

, History 2020