Jürg Zwahlen – Photo: Birchmeier
The extensive product assortment of Birchmeier AG extends from small hand spray devices to spray systems for carrying on the back or on carts and is used worldwide in the house or garden, in agriculture, in the most varied trades and in industry. The traditional Swiss company can look back on over 140 years of history. It has won many awards for innovation during this time. Jürg Zwahlen has been the main shareholder and president of the board of directors since 2003.
Mr Zwahlen, you are not only president of the board of directors, but also a real tinkerer yourself, and were involved in many innovative inventions of your company. Which invention are you especially proud of?
Zwahlen: First, about the tinkerer statement. When you mean a do-it-yourselfer who is a little bit odd and spends his nights in the basement tinkering, then this description is only partly accurate when it comes to me. If you mean a through-and-through passionate searcher, then that’s more like it … so, which inventions am I especially proud of? I like the term “idea” better, and it’s more comprehensive, looks at things in their entirety. Interestingly, it’s not an idea or one of the inventions that I think of first. All ideas or inventions have their importance for me. All of them have their history. I find all of them exciting and worth remembering. Especially as experience.
These also and especially include the knowledge gained from each project. I should also say that there is always a problem to be solved or an idea at the start. Each has its very own characteristics. And every idea takes a different path to the finished product with a different history. It is usually also the case that other “tinkerers” or “designers” have also been involved before the finished product is on the market.
Granomax – Photo: Birchmeier
Do you test all of your inventions and new products yourself at home in your garden?
Zwahlen: Some of them originated in my garden! For example, I think of the AquaNemix, for spreading nematodes, or the Granomax, the scattering aid for fertilizer. All of the ideas or inventions and new products are oriented to practical usage. Always! Only with well-founded knowledge is it possible to develop new products with customer benefits. Practical work in the garden encourages equilibrium and relaxation, but also always provides indications of where there is a need for new devices or solutions.
AquaNemix – Photo: Birchmeier
In your opinion, how will spraying technology continue to develop in the coming years? What requirements do customers have?
Zwahlen: Well, spraying technology, as you call it, is a very limiting term. If I expand this term a little to include the technologies, we are active with, meaning spraying, dispensing, foaming and scattering, and attempt to find a common denominator, there are factors that are defined from inside, thus by us as a company, and such that are characterized from outside. From us you can expect that we will continue to aim for high quality. Terms like durability and robust, reliable products have characterized our brand. You can expect the same with regard to innovation.
Innovation is part of the Birchmeier DNA. From outside we expect increasingly sophisticated requirements from our customers, and especially a strong sense of environmental awareness. I can’t and would prefer not to say any more about this. Especially because only one thing is certain: we can’t imagine today how quickly everything will change around us. Let’s look at the last 20 years. It could be that the changes in the next five years might even be far greater. No one can still predict that today. However, it’s going to be exciting.
Further information: birchmeier.com