We protect, design and drain. The ACO Group – a strong family you


We protect, design and drain. The ACO Group – a strong family you
We protect, design and drain.
The ACO Group – a strong family you can trust.
Everything under one umbrella? Hardly. The ACO Group employs
more than 3 000 people world-wide in 28 countries and four
continents. The dynamic international exchange of expertise and
the decentralised management structure create cohesion across the
ACO Group and creates flexibility for in local markets.
Employees at ACO business locations happily agreed to act as models
for the red pages in this brochure.
Many thanks to one and all!
ACO founder Josef-Severin Ahlmann and managing
partner Hans-Julius Ahlmann
How family-oriented can a company be today?
Family-owned companies have advantages: the owners identify closely with their
company, and personally stand for the company’s principles. This generates
credibility, dependability and continuity for staff and customers alike. All the
negative headlines appearing in the press about major public corporations
dramatically confirm the harm that can be done when there is no personal loyalty
and responsibility.
ACO is a healthy, family-owned business and family-oriented company.
What does this mean? A good family has shared values which instill trust and
dependability. Conflicts can be discussed without shaking the shared foundations.
A family means protection, support and motivation. It profits from outstanding
individual performance and promotes talent; a family keeps regenerating itself from
strong roots.
I am delighted in your interest in ACO and hope that you enjoy reading this
Hans-Julius Ahlmann
The historic Pferdehalterei on the banks of the
Eider river is home to ACO Group Corporate
headquarters. Also in the picture: King Offa.
Find out more about him on the last page of
this brochure.
Who we are:
Our company – growth from healthy roots
The ACO Group – well positioned world-wide
ACO world-wide – global player with solid foundations
What we do:
Infrastructure and drainage – maintaining future mobility
Ecology – clean solutions for our environment
Protection and hygiene – highest safety levels in sensitive areas
Aesthetics – accents for good architecture
Daylight and fresh air – boosting quality of life and architectural value
How we work:
High-tech and craftsmanship – our products
Continuity instills trust – for our clients and partners
Careers with hearts and minds – ACO people
Where we are heading:
Staying alert – quality and innovation
Keeping in touch – art in Carlshütte
The ACO group companies worldwide
Who we are:
We are the company with three red columns in our logo.
Our name is internationally synonymous for surface drainage
systems. ACO products are found in countless places around the
world - at traffic intersections, airports and shopping centers.
We are also a company with intelligent solutions for civil engineering
and construction, building services and environmental technology,
landscaping and sports grounds, as well as agricultural buildings.
We have Northern European roots and healthy offshoots around
the world. We therefore love water and broad horizons.
Who we are
Our company – growth from healthy roots
Our history began with sailing-ship captain, Otto Friedrich Ahlmann.
In 1780, he chose to pursue a business career on land; a good move,
as his success went on to prove. His sons and grandsons became bankers,
factory owners and the operators of a profitable iron-trading business
within Scandinavia.
One generation later, the Ahlmann family business activities
centred around the Carlshütte foundry in Rendsburg, which developed
during the 19th century into North German’s largest iron foundry. Cast
iron baths from Rendsburg enjoyed huge popularity since the 1920s and
were exported to 50 countries.
ACO’s birth came at a difficult time: the young Severin
Ahlmann began his career as a businessman in 1946.
A dip into the Ahlmann family album: (from left
to right) Otto Friedrich Ahlmann II (around
1830), ACO founder Severin Ahlmann at his
desk (1949), and Iver Ahlmann, one of the two
sons of the third ACO generation, during his
company internship (2002).
Concrete is the solid foundation
for the new company ACO in 1946
A few months after the end of the
Second World War, Severin Ahlmann
founded ACO in Rendsburg. His company
produced concrete parts for civil
engineering, sanitary terrazzo elements,
and concrete windows for buildings and
agricultural structures.
ACO flourished and expanded its range in
the 60s to include pre-fabricated garages
and drainage channels made from glued
fibred concrete boards.
ACO DRAIN ®: new material
expertise gives birth to a
global brand in the 70s
The innovative production of drainage
systems made of polymer concrete
gave ACO the technical edge to become
market leader in line drainage. With its
new product ideas, ACO was also able
to open up new market segments such
as construction, agricultural buildings
and stadium construction.
The sports success story began in
1972 with the Munich Olympic
The contract to supply products to the
Munich Olympic stadium was more than
just a symbolic breakthrough for ACO.
With the exception of Moscow, ACO
Products have been used in every
Olympic Stadium up to, and including,
the Athens Stadium.
ACO’s international career
began in 1976
Its first production site outside of
Germany opened in Austria and Switzerland. France, USA and England followed.
The growth of the ACO Group led to
additional production sites, particularly
after the opening of Eastern Europe in
the 90s.
Strategic take-overs have
maintained and expanded ACO’s
market position since the 90s
Prestigious companies and brands like
the Scandinavian plastic processing
company Plastmo, and the casting and
fittings company AWK, were acquired
and integrated within the ACO Group.
These were joined by new business
activities such as stainless steel
processing, which employs more than
500 people in the Czech Republic alone.
ACO enters the third millennium
in a stronger position than ever
The acquisition of Passavant drainage
and separator technology in 2000 saw
the biggest take-over so far in the
German-speaking market. They were
joined in 2004 by the Danish Funki
Group, a major player in the pig
production market. The ACO family also
expanded internationally up to 2004 with
acquisitions in the USA, Australia, Central
Europe, and Scandinavia – accompanied
by a powerful expansion in Eastern
Europe. The global turnover of the
ACO Group rose to over US$ 550
Who we are
ACO products – compelling system solutions worldwide
The whole world builds with ACO. We develope, produce and market
products for the civil engineering, building construction and building
services sectors. In addition, ACO companies also service attractive niche
markets such as track and field construction, agricultural construction,
iron casting, special stainless steel construction, and animal husbandry
construction modules. Thanks to active growth and diversification,
ACO’s original core business has expanded and developed into a broad
mutually-complementary product spectrum which enables us to optimally
fulfil our mission: protect, design and drain.
The ACO Civil Engineering Section
ACO enjoys innovation and market leadership
in the world civil engineering market for point
and line drainage products. Our products help
create and maintain public and industrial
transport infrastructures.
ACO Construction Sector Products:
We maintain, protect and create added-value
with intelligent construction modules and
drainage systems for buildings and privately
used areas.
ACO Building Services Sector Products:
We uphold safety and environmental protection
with solutions covering all aspects of wastewater treatment, drainage within buildings, and
back-flow protection.
With intelligent product solutions, ACO occupied
a leading position in niche markets with a great
future, such as the construction of sport
The Agricultural division of ACO is the biggest
in mechanization and inventory for pig stables
in Europe. ACO offers stables, components
and full solutions, including electronic management systems. The products improve the
production results and are developed to take
care of animal welfare, the environment and a
user friendly design.
Who we are
ACO world-wide – a global player
with strong foundations
Today, ACO has independent firms in 28 countries on 4 continents. We
run our own production sites in 12 countries, including Australia and the
USA. Regardless of national differences, we put the ACO brand with its
Hans-Julius and Johanna Ahlmann in
good image, quality claims and core competency at the heart of our
Moscow. An ACO joint venture with a
great deal of potential starts in Russia
marketing activities. An international culture is the hallmark of the ACO
in summer 2004.
Group which fosters a creative balance between the family-based roots
and its cosmopolitan approach.
ACO England, Shefford.
ACO Austria, Baden.
Global development in sales in US$ million
ACO Group at a glance:
• more than 3.200 staff in 28
countries (Europe, America, Asia,
• 25 production sites in 12 countries
• turnover 2004: US$ 550 million
ACO Funki Denmark, Herning.
ACO Czech Republic, Přibyslav.
ACO Plastmo Denmark, Ringsted.
ACO Switzerland, Netstal.
What we do:
We develop, produce and market top quality products and system
solutions. We process polymer concrete, stainless steel, plastic, cast
iron and reinforced concrete. With our creative and pro-environment
production methods, ACO products fulfill the new demands for
technical innovation, economical application and sustainable
Our productivity is based on teamwork which harnesses everyone’s
individual talents – something we pride ourselves on and for which
it creates the necessary freedom to excel.
Drainage for piazzas, roads, bridges, tunnels
Protection for hygienic and
and extremely busy traffic areas.
environmentally-sensitive areas.
Protecting, designing and draining – solutions for people and the environment
In many sensitive areas affecting our lives, ACO product systems make
an important contribution to environmental protection, the creation and
maintenance of infrastructures, and ensure the safety of industrial,
commercial and transport activities. In addition to pure functionality,
our products frequently also set deliberate aesthetic accents.
Design and functionality in construction, civil engineering and landscaping.
What we do
Infrastructure and drainage – maintaining future mobility
The expansion, protection and maintenance of transport routes are
today’s challenge and one of tomorrow’s key infrastructural challenges
globally. ACO system solutions ensure the highest levels of safety for
traffic and industrial areas. ACO’s channels, gratings, outflows and
access covers are optimally designed for extreme loads and special
installation conditions. Our quality, innovation and safety set standards
world-wide. They are the benchmark for standardisation, and go well
beyond to create a standard of their own.
Point and line drainage prevents dangerous
aquaplaning and increases the service lives
of transport infrastructure such as bridges
and fly-overs.
Formula 1 relies on the world market leader. Numerous racing tracks around the world, such as
the Nürburgring and Hockenheimring, and the Formula 1 track in Shanghai, have state-of-the-art
ACO DRAIN® systems.
ACO access covers are particularly safe and
Line drainage on railway platforms is
ACO access covers and drainage systems
economical thanks to their long service lives
unobtrusive and prevents dangerous accidents
ensure the highest levels of safety and
and low maintenance costs.
and discomfort associated with puddles and
functionality in numerous major airports
pools of water.
around the world.
Harbours are modern service centres. Reliable
Because of the special risks involved, tunnel
drainage is an important feature of efficiently
engineering complies with strict safety
functioning port facilities.
specifications. ACO tunnel channels drain
more than 20 km of tunnels in the Alps alone.
What we do
Ecology – clean solutions for our environment
We take care of the practical side of environmental protection, and
uphold clean water cycles in industry, commerce and agriculture. Our
forward-looking processing technology for biological sewage treatment
helps use valuable water resources prudently, economically and in an
environmentally-friendly way.
One of the many faces of ACO: our Amphibian
tunnels and routing systems encourage
conservation of the environment and habitats.
Innovative high-performance biology in our
processing technology plants creates proenvironment solutions for sewage treatment.
ACO system solutions and separators ensure
A combination of percolation and surface
groundwater protection and waste water
drainage is an economically and environmentally
treatment in particularly sensitive areas.
sound way of controlling rain water.
Protection and hygiene – highest safety levels in sensitive areas
We uphold safety and hygiene in hospitals, industrial kitchens and
production facilities with fast and effective interior drainage systems.
Our pumps and anti-flooding systems provide effective protection against
flooding and sewer problems. Stainless steel and cast iron drainage
channels also make an important contribution to fire protection because
they prevent fires spreading through ceilings from floor to floor.
Our anti-flood systems prevent floods resulting
We ensure hygiene and occupational safety with high capacity drains with gratings, waste outlets
from sewers overpressured by swollen rivers
and drainage channels made of stainless steel, cast iron and plastic.
or extreme rainfall – events which are forecast
to become more frequent in future.
The polymer concrete, plastic, cast iron
and stainless steel materials we use in pen
construction ensure high levels of animal
husbandry, hygiene and cleanliness.
What we do
ACO stainless steel and cast iron gully
gratings, shoe scrapers, and covers for
perfect design down to the finest detail.
Aesthetics – accents for good architecture
In addition to perfect function, high aesthetic quality is a key element
of ACO’s brand philosophy. This provides the added value enjoyed by
our customers and honoured by the industry – many ACO products have
won awards for their innovative design.
Individually designed cast iron access covers
Individual design: cast iron elements such as
for special accents in roads and paths, e.g.,
park bench feet, planters and bridge elements
a city coat-of-arms.
are produced from individual designs.
Designing with uncluttered lines: a slot rather
than gratings form a clear unobtrusive joint in
the paving.
Schleswig-Holstein Design Prize
Beautiful looks and reliable functioning of
Sub-structures for illuminated strips and lights
ACO water supply and drainage solutions for
for the creative design of piazzas and public
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2001
Innovation Prize Award
GaLaBau 2000
German Product Design Prize 1998/1999,
nominated for 2004
Our transparent plastic light panels for ceilings
use daylight and provide aesthetic and
economically attractive solutions in private
and commercial buildings.
What we do
Daylight and fresh air – boosting quality of life and architectural value
From cellars to roofs, ACO products create a successful comprise
between maximum daylight utilisation and energy-saving architectural
design. ACO light shafts, window systems, domed roof-lights and light
panels provide the modern answer to economic system solutions for the
renovation and construction of private and commercial buildings.
ACO window systems comply with the latest
Much more daylight and fresh air for cellars.
thermal insulation and energy-saving directive
Our windows, light shafts and grating covers
complement one another to form a harmonious
system solution for new and renovated buildings.
Our transparent plastic light panels and domed
roof-lights for roof structures harness daylight
and provide aesthetic and economically
attractive solutions in private and commercial
How we work:
No question: everyone in the ACO family works hard to guarantee
commercial success. Hard work is needed because we are in a sector
that works under extreme time and cost pressure. We counter this
with a powerful force: commitment, customer-orientation and
optimism. Our success proves we are pursuing the right strategy.
ACO continues to grow, even in difficult times, and is a reliable
partner for its employees, suppliers and customers.
How we work
High-tech and craftsmanship – our products
We manufacture our products world-wide at 25 modern
environmentally-compatible production sites.
ACO’s high quality and productivity is based on the Group’s world-wide
expertise. In-depth research and development, and manufacturing competence built up over many years, create a solid platform for the processing
of our most important materials: polymer concrete, stainless steel,
plastic, cast iron and reinforced concrete.
Polymer concrete: ACO is easily the world’s
biggest producer of polymer concrete. The
first drainage products made of polymer
concrete were launched at the end of the 60s
– they are still in use today and show no signs
of damage. 13 of the ACO Group’s sites
produce the polymer concrete products which
launched ACO on the road to success.
Cast iron: we have developed the traditional locations in Kaiserslautern and Aarbergen into
high-tech production sites enjoying a high level of competitiveness in the international markets.
Together, the foundries produce around 80.000 tonnes per year. The Michelbacher Hütte in
Aarbergen is one of Germany’s oldest foundries, with a history going back to 1652.
Plastic: many ACO products benefit from
the innovations and further developments
generated by our plastics manufacturing
activities. We process more than 10.000
tonnes a year, including PVC, polycarbonate
and polypropylene.
Stainless steel: around 3.000 tonnes of stain-
Concrete: we have produced reinforced
less steel sheet are processed annually through-
concrete collectors and pump shafts for
out the ACO Group world-wide. High levels of
underground use for over thirty years.
investment ensure that our production plants
Together with our metal and plastic collectors,
are always state of the art, and produce inno-
this makes us the market leader in Europe.
vative and competitive products.
How we work
Our relationship with the sea is a living part of
our history: sailing trips with our customers
and employees are an integral part of our
corporate culture and keep us fit to tackle
lulls and headwinds wherever they occur.
Continuity instills trust – for our customers and partners
Trust is not created in a vacuum, it is the result of good personal
experience. This is an area where we benefit from the family-orientation
of our company: we conduct our business on a person-to-person basis. In
this way, we build up lengthy business relationships with our partners
– business relationships which have proven satisfyingly robust even
during choppy periods.
Product information
ACO markets more than 10.000 products
which need product information. The
products are specified by architects and
engineers, sold by construction material
retailers, and used by workmen. An
enormous amount of product information
is, therefore, required. Our response is
to have an excellently trained field sales
team and a wide range of up-to-date
printed and digitil product information
and user instructions.
Information & motivation
The ACO family enjoys sending out
invitations. We cement contacts and
create forums for the active exchange
of experience at trade fairs, technical
presentations and seminars. We highlight
our roots by using the Sea for communicative sailing trips. There is no better
way of emphasising the obvious:
We are all in the same boat.
ACO: a strong brand which gets
our message across
The value of our brand is difficult to
assess in monetary terms, but its value
for our marketing activities is obvious
every day. We strengthen our brand with
a standard corporate design, the quality
of our products, our fair competitive
conduct, and systematic communications
and public relations work.
www.aco.com is a very useful way of getting
to know the ACO Group and finding the
information you need about the company, its
products and its references.
Additionally, a great deal of technical information
can be acquired directly from our internet sites.
A strong brand which is carefully managed
to ensure that our corporate identity always
reflects the high quality of our products and
Regular presentations at trade fairs are a key
The dialogue at a personal and technical
instrument for directly and personally finding
level with our customers, partners and further
out what our customers urgently require.
processors is a sure way of maintaining good
relations and continuing shared commercial
How we work
Careers with hearts and minds – ACO people
The ACO family opens up optimum professional opportunities for
creative minds and precise thinkers, workmen and theoreticians,
all-rounders and specialists, experienced hands and job-starters.
As a dynamic and performance-oriented company, we need people
with a wide range of qualifications – and assist people in acquiring
qualifications if they have the enthusiasm and personal commitment. Is
this a conservative or a particularly modern approach? We don’t know.
What we do know is that it helps us to be successful as a business, and
be a first choice employer for numerous committed colleagues in a whole
range of disciplines.
Where we are heading:
We will continue to use the challenges and opportunities in an
expanded Europe just as we use the dynamism of our markets in Asia,
America and the Near East. Wherever we do business, we want to
remain market leader or quickly become the market leader. Providing
our customers with intelligent communications and integrated
solutions plays a crucial role here. We will not shrink at making the
necessary investments to achieve our goals. Our core competencies
"protecting, designing and draining” have enormous potential in many
fields of business and markets around the world – such as through the
harmonisation of EU directives; new infrastructures in Eastern Europe
and China; and the global changes in climate. As a company, we
intend to expand further and remain independent with transparent
and decentralised structures. We intend to remain a reliable partner
for our customers, business associates and employees, and nurture an
environment in which people enjoy going the extra mile.
Where we are heading
Staying alert – quality and innovation
The international exchange of ideas and networking within the Group
provide us with a major source of innovation potential with which we
can very quickly launch new products or upgrades to the market. The
force driving this innovation is fed by close market observation, trend
identification, and detailed discussions with ACO dealers and users. In
this way, we develop innovative products that already satisfy
tomorrow’s requirements – such as new energy legislation, wastewater
treatment directives, barrier-free construction regulations, not to mention
the changing climate in many parts of the world.
There is only one aspect where our dedication is not satisfied by
regulations and trends: quality. Although international quality standards
are a welcome measure in principle, they also lead to concessions in some
important areas – compromises we are not prepared to accept. With our
own quality standards we create reliable benchmarks way beyond ISO
and EN standards.
Modern products and production methods are
Staying alert for us means dynamically and proactively changing with
computer simulated to ensure that the highest
levels of quality and economic efficiency are
the market, at the same time as remaining faithful to the principles
incorporated as far as possible at the start of
each development phase.
underpinning our success.
An innovation from ACO Technologies in England.
The new Q-Max drainage system involves the collection and storage of surface water. The large
volume construction (up to 60 cm pipe diameter) made of MDPE (middle density polyethylene) can
be quickly and easily handled and is extremely strong thanks to its integration within the pavement.
A feast for eyes and ears.
The Carlshütte and its surroundings regularly
provide an evocative backdrop for artistic and
cultural events. Nobel Prize Winner Günther
Grass at the premises.
Mónica Gonzáles, untitled, 2001, steel.
Ole Hempel, contemporary portraits, 1999
Corten steel, stainless steel, copper, six pieces.
Keeping in touch – art in Carlshütte
An end that promises new creative input: the shut-down Carlshütte
foundry in Büdelsdorf near Rendsburg was once the economic heart of
Kunst in der Carlshütte gGmbH
An initiative of the ACO Group
and Büdelsdorf council
the entrepreneurial Ahlmann family for several generations.
It is now the heart of ACO’s programme of cultural sponsorships.
Kunst in der Carlshütte (KIC) combines this fascinating industrial
location with modern art, theatre, ballet, readings and concerts,
which attract thousands of culture enthusiasts every year. Around 100
international artists are brought together every summer by "Nord Art”,
the highlight of the events calendar.
Carlshütte, Hall 1
Tina Schwichtenberg
"Frauen Deformation”
1999 – 2003,
ceramics, bronze,
56 pieces
The ACO Group Companies worldwide
Severin Ahlmann
Holding GmbH
ACO Polycrete Pty Ltd
Wentworthville, Sydney
ACO Passavant GmbH
ACO Drain A/S
ACO Productos Polímeros, S. A.
Maçanet de la Selva
ACO Produits Polymères S. A.
Notre Dame de l’Isle
ACO Drain A/S
ACO Drain AB
Alfa Techniques et
Construction S. A. R. L.
New Zealand
ACO Polycrete Pty Ltd.
AB Plastmo
ACO Severin Ahlmann
GmbH & Co. KG
Netherlands, The
ACO Passavant NV/SA
ACO Severin Ahlmann
GmbH & Co. KG
Advanced Technics
Company SA
ACO Drain Passavant GmbH
Bosnia and Herzegowina
ACO d.o.o.
ACO Building elements EOOD
ACO Polymer Products, Inc.
ACO Plastmo Oy
ACO Markant GmbH
ACO BOXX Vertriebs GmbH
AKF Systemelemente GmbH
ACO Passavant GmbH
ACO Beton GmbH
ACO Guss GmbH
ACO Gradevinski elementi d.o.o. Kaiserslautern
ACO Guss GmbH
Michelbacher Hütte/Aarbergen
The Representative ACO Offices
ACO Edelstahl GmbH
Czech Republic
ACO spol. s. r. o.
ACO Passavant spol. s. r. o.
ACO Passavant
Concrete Separators s. r. o.
Veseli nad Luznici
ACO Plastmo A/S
ACO Funki A/S
ACO Marine A/S
Hvidbjerg Vinduet A/S
ACO Durofarm GmbH
ACO Passavant B. V.
ACO Plastmo A/S
ACO Elementy
Budowlane Sp. z o. o.
Plastmo Profile Sp. z o. o.
ACO Building Elements Ltd.
United Arab Emirates
ACO Middle East (Branch)
United Kingdom
ACO Technologies plc
Shefford, Beds.
ACO Polymer Products, Inc.
Chardon, OH
ACO Durofarm Sp. z o. o.
ACO Yankee Plastic, Inc.
Riverdale, IA
ACO Polymer Products, Inc.
Lusitana ACO
Modesto, CA
Elementos de Construção, Lda.
ACO s. r. l.
ACO Ltd.
Plastmo Profile Ltd.
St. Petersburg
Inotec Sportanlagenund Edelstahltechnik GmbH
Serbia and Montenegro
ACO building elements d. o. o.
ACO Magyarország B. t.
ACO Stavebné prvky
spol. s. r. o.
Compasso s.r.l.
Bagnolo in Piano
San Felice
Poly Bauelemente AG
Plastmo Polska Sp. z o. o.
ACO Modulfarm GmbH
ACO Passavant s.r.l.
Osteria Grande (Bologna)
ACO Passavant AG
ACO gradbeni elementi,
zastopanje, d. o. o.
Sm̌arje pri Jelsǎh
He was blind, mute, bent and disabled,
but he miraculously gained the necessary
strength to protect the honour of his
father and defend his country from the
invading Angles: King Offa. According
to legend, the son of the Anglian King
Wermund stood on the northern bank of
the Eider river near Rendsburg before
pitching into what appeared to be a
hopeless battle against two princes
from Holstein.
But he won, with the rusty sword of his
blind father.
Later, Offa migrated with his people to
the island of Great Britain that had been
abandoned by the Romans in 442 AD.
Offa is still honoured in England today as
a mighty king.
The sculpture by the Kiel artist Peter
Niemann has stood close to our museum
harbour on the ACO factory site in
Büdelsdorf near Rendsburg since 1993 –
a seven-metre-high landmark.
The sword bearer exhorts us to avoid
mediocrity at all costs and to prove one’s
valour and commitment by viewing each
challenge as an opportunity.
Pastfach 320
D-24755 Rendsburg
Am Ahlmannkai
D-24782 Büdelsdorf
Tel. +49 (0) 4331 354 - 0
Fax +49 (0) 4331 354 - 130
ACO 11300/2004
ACO Severin Ahlmann
GmbH & Co. KG