More than 35 years ago, Erich Hunger founded the company IML. In the meantime, it developed to an internationally active family business with more than 60 employees. It stands for innovation, precision as well as efficiency. The core products are wood testing systems, for which IML holds the position of the market leader. IML’s additional product branches are dental systems and the manufacturing of precision parts.
The beginnings of IML – from 1985 to 1992
The company lML was founded in 1985 in the Technology Park of the University of Heidelberg. At the beginning, there was mainly a close cooperation with science, which resulted in the first prototypes for the fields of eye diagnostics and wood examination.
State-of-the-art CNC machines were used for production as early as 1985. In 1992, the proximity to science also developed into a collaboration with Professor Dr. Claus Mattheck of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the inventor of the Visual Tree Assessment (VTA) method, which is still being used to this day.
The development of drilling measurement devices
Among other things, devices for drilling resistance measurement counted to the first prototypes. The method of drilling resistance was applied to patent in 1985 by Kamm & Voss (Patent No.: DE3501841A1). By using the license of Kamm, IML developed several drilling resistance measuring devices until they became ready for serial production. World’s first devices for drilling resistance measurement produced commercially in serial production were produced by IML in 1992 under the name Densitomat and were put in circulation with the aid of sales partners.
These early devices for drilling resistance measurement already used a drilling needle guidance with a variant of a telescopic system, whose basic principle is still used in state-of-the-art devices. This counts as one of the biggest technical challenges in IML’s history, as the drilling needle is very fine with a diameter of 1,5 millimeters at the shaft and 3 millimeters at the drilling head and still has to sit firmly while having to be able to turn as frictionless as possible at the same time.
The emergence of the product branches „dental systems“ and „precision parts“
From the very beginning, IML bet on additional product brances. While initially devices for eye diagnostics counted towards them, the branch “dental systems” established itself in 1992, which emerged in cooperation with various partners.
At a later point in time the production of precision parts had been added. Also in these two categories, IML keeps up with the times and offers innovative and efficient solutions.
Expansion into an internationally active company
When IML relocated the company seat to Wiesloch onto the site “Großer Stadtacker” in 1993 , the first cooperation with sales partners in Europe, the USA and Canada had begun already. With transition of international patents of the method of drilling resistance measurement (Kamm & Voss) to IML, the distribution has been expanded continuously.
Today IML works with an international network of sales partners to offer a presence locally and to thereby enable closeness to customers. Beyond that, IML operates a branch in the USA since 1997 and since 2002 in Australia.
The moving of wood testing systems into new professions
While at the beginning of the company’s history, the interest about wood testing systems primarily came from science, IML products today find appliance in very different areas: In tree care, the maintenance of wooden playground equipment, in monument preservation and may more areas. During the early 2000, IML made the drilling resistance measuring interesting for the telecommunications
industry, which thereupon recognized the method’s benefit for inspecting their wooden masts’ stability. Because this sector was very new for the telecommunications industry, IML started offering courses for the usage of the devices. Thereby our portfolio expanded itself by the addition of service offers, which was the kick-off for today’s IML seminars.
Development of the IML PowerDrill®
A special milestone was achieved by IML by further developing the electronic and mechanic products, already successful on the market to the new measurement device IML PowerDrill®. At the IML PowerDrill® the measurement data is not only saved and processed electronically, but the data can be evaluated at a later point in time, too.
Furthermore, the IML PowerDrill® measures the feed force in addition to the drilling resistance. The expansion of the by IML patented feed force measurement makes it possible to earn even more precise results. In the meantime even special models of the IML PowerDrills® are in operation, by which divers can test wooden constructions under water.
Further expansion – from 2012 until today
With rising demand for the products, the number of employees grew constantly, too. As a result the company seat had to grow along. Thus IML moved in 2012 to a 17.000 square meter big site in Parkstraße in Wiesloch with a 5.500 square meter big office and production building. Since 2020 an additional 3.000 square meter large storage space as well as a 180 square meter large seminar center with an outdoor practice ground.
Today’s family business
Currently several family members are incorporated at IML into several divisions and continue the company’s philosophy together with the team, which consists of 60 employees. Beside Erich Hunger especially both of his sons Sebastian and Fabian Hunger helped shape the future of IML since the years 2004 and 2012. The invention and implementation of new techniques is always teamwork at IML, nonetheless.