Gerold Fleissner - Pioneer of textile-,
man-made fiber- and nonwovens industry
passed away at 92 years
With Gerold Fleissner the complete textile industry has lost
a visionary person with activity, responsibility and social
commitment who has enriched all the industry with his inventions
In 1984 Gerold Fleissner took over the general management of
the company with more than 800 employees, after his brother had
died. Before that time he was responsible for the technical
The foundation of the Fleissner company was laid by Johann
Christian Fleissner 1848 in Asch, Bohemia with a blacksmith's
workshop with 8 journeymen. In the next generation Karl
Fleissner started to produce steel constructions, lifts,
centrifuges, household washing machines, dyeing apparatus and
other textile machinery, soon a foundation was added.
In 1929, with Hans Fleissner, father of Gerold, drying of
textiles became the favorite sector and he developed the first
perforated drum dryer and applied a patent for it. This was the
birth of the through-air principle. More patents were granted.
Thus, Fleissner quickly made a name for themselves in the
industrial countries allover the world.
The turmoil of world war 2nd forced Hans Fleissner to found
the company anew in 1948/1951 in Egelsbach near Frankfurt/Main,
In 1968 Hans Fleissner handed over the company to his sons
Heinz and Gerold. Heinz was responsible for the commercial
management of the business and Gerold for the technical part.
In the middle of the sixties, the man-made fiber producers
had developed fibers such as polyester, polyamide, polypropylene
and polyacryl that were ready for production.
Since Fleissner had been successful in the rayon industry for
many years, they quickly managed the first step and
break-through as biggest supplier worldwide for staple fiber
lines. The presence on the world market was further strengtened
when in 1965 the North-American branch office of Fleissner INC
in Charlotte, N.C. was founded.
After the death of his brother Heinz, Gerold took over the
management of the entire company in 1984.
The increasing importance of the Asian market required
Fleissner's presence in this region, which was realized by
opening an office in Beijing/China in 1993. Thus, Fleissner was
represented by its own offices and other commercial agencies in
more than 80 countries worldwide.
In addition to the already expanded production program for
man-made fiber, wool, woven- and knitted goods and carpets,
Gerold Fleissner with the support of his Vice President Alfred
Watzl, has constantly developed the nonwovens sector built-up
since the sixties, so that Fleissner became one of the leading
manufacturers of high-duty processing lines for the
The new development of the hydroentanglement system AquaJet
allowed to produce a completely new generation of nonwovens, a
complete pilot line with the width of 1 m available in the
technical center in Egelsbach was installed to run customer
trials with speeds upto 500 m/min.
With the aquisition of Messrs. Mohr in Ansbach in 1995
Fleissner was also leading with this branch operation in
production and delivery of istallations for the production of
fiberfill wadding webs.
At this time the perforated drum drying principle invented by
his father Hans - more than 40000 drums were operating already -
has been further developed and optimized by Gerold Fleissner in
a revolutionary manner with the High-Tech through air drum to
meet the high requirements of modem production lines.
This made it possible to enter a new production field, which
had been new for Fleissner until then - the drying of
air-permeable filter papers and soft-tissue for toilet paper and
kitchen rolls, with speeds upto 3000 m/min.
To be able to fabricate those huge machines with drum
diameters of upto 5 m, a new workshop of 15 m heigh was built by
Gerold in 1990 already.
With entrepreneurial far-sightedness Gerold Fleissner as
pioneer and visionary in one person has strengthened the
company's position on the world market by several cooperation
agreements. Contracts were concluded with Beloit USA for the
delivery of complete tissue lines and with Danweb Denmark for
the production of complete airlaid nonwoven lines. With Voith
Sulzer an intensive cooperation for the delivery of filter paper
production lines with integrated High-Tech Dryers was started.
The agreement with Georgia Pacific USA, to use their patent
for the production of hydroentangled sandwich products with
fiber layers and airlaid pulp layers made this technology
available for Fleissner customers to exclusively produce
low-cost standard and also "flushable" wipes.
With the cooperation of world famous machinery suppliers and
engineering companies like
Zimmer, Uhde, Du Pont, Hoechst, BASF, Courtaulds, Rhodia,
Lenzing, Dilo, Schlumberger, Fehrer, Trützschler, Temafa, Celli,
Reifenhäuser, Ems-Inventa etc. Fleissner was able to supply
complete turnkey lines.
Gerold Fleissner also attached special importance to today's
demands for machinery with advanced process control systems and
non-polluting technology. The latest findings of research
engineering and environmental technology have been implemented
in the Fleissner lines.
The cooperation with universities, research institutes,
machinery- and textile associations, fiber manufacturers and
customers has always been a key subject for Gerold Fleissner.
The Fleissner story is a success story of all four
generations of entrepreneurs, whose chief aims were a high level
of development of machines and the satisfaction of their
customers. And it is also four generations of employees who have
contributed to the fact that the name Fleissner always was a
synonym for technical progress.
Gerold Fleissner also appreciated the work of his worldwide
agencies for their successful contacts with the customers and he
knew about the great importance of the media and textile
magazines for their fruitful cooperation all over the years.
For reasons of having no successor to continue his life's
work, Gerold Fleissner decided in 2003 to sell his company to
Zimmer AG, a subsidiary company of mg technologies in
Frankfurt/Main in order to be successful in the worldwide
competitions. Zimmer operated for more than 50 years in the area
of plant engineering for the polymer- and fiber industries.
In 2006 Zimmer sold Fleissner to the private company
Trützschler GmbH in Mönchengladbach due to changes in the mg
Thus, Trützschler completed its nonwovens production program
which so far comprised fiber opening and blending lines as well
as Erko´s cards and needle looms.
The sale of Fleissner GmbH & Co Egelsbach to Zimmer was by no
means a signal of Gerold to retire. Quite the revers, he
continued to run Fleissner Nonwovens Ansbach, that part of
Fleissner property which was not sold to Zimmer.
He concentrated to supply successfully complete conveyor belt
oven lines for drying and thermobonding of waddings.
Gerold Fleissner also continued to develop a new drum dryer
with even better temperature and air flow uniformity and
supplied many lines to his customers.
In 2009 Gerold Fleissner finally decided to liquidate
Fleissner Nonwovens Ansbach for reasons of advanced age. Even in
this moment he showed his primary commitment to his customers by
finding a way to guarantee spare parts supply for the Ansbach
A success like this is not possible without having a strong
woman with power and principles on his side. His wife Elisabeth
Fleissner kept Gerold's options open and so he could fully
concentrate on the company's welfare. But beside that Elisabeth
was also a great support to the company itself.
With love and full activity she cared for the customers and
as well for the employees and thus contributed to the high
reputation of the company worldwide.
Which customer does not remember the numerous glorious
Fleissner exhibition stands at the ITMA's, Techtxtil, INDEX, and
many other local shows worldwide.
After a powerful life full of activity and commitment both
Gerold and Elisabeth deserve recognition and gratitude for their
magnificent life's work and we wish Elisabeth Fleissner many
more years in good health.