Company history

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

The first prototypes included equipment for measuring drilling resistance. The drilling resistance method was patented by Kamm & Voss in 1985 (Patent No.: DE3501841A1). Using the license from Kamm, IML has developed several drilling resistance measuring devices to series production readiness. The world’s first commercially mass-produced drilling resistancemeters were manufactured by IML in 1992 under the name Densitomat and marketed with the help of distribution partners.

Even these early drilling resistance measuring instruments used a drilling needle guide via a type of telescopic system, the basic principle of which is still used today in the most modern instruments. This is considered one of the greatest technical challenges in the history of IML, since the drilling needle, with a diameter of 1,5 millimeters at the shaft and 3 millimeters at the drilling head, is very fine and must nevertheless sit stably and at the same time be able to rotate with as little friction as possible.

wood testing devices IML RESI B-Series in the year 2010
IML RESI E-Series in the year 2010
IML RESI M-Series in the year 2010

The emergence of the product branches „dental systems“ and „precision parts“

From the beginning, IML focused on other product groups in addition to wood testing systems. While devices for eye diagnostics were initially inclouded, the product devision “dental systems” was established in 1992, which was developed in cooperation with various partners.

Later, the production of precision parts was added. Also in these two categories, IML always keeps up with the times and offers innovative as well as efficient solutions.

First IML-Articulator from the year 1992
IML-Arcon Articulator “today”
IML-Fully Adjustable Articulator S24 “today”
Production of precision parts
CNC-turning and milling parts with a small and big diameter in series

Expansion into an internationally active company

When IML moved its headquartesrs to the “Große Stadtacker” site in Wiesloch in 1993, the first cooperation with sales partners in Europe, USA and Canada had already been established. With transfer of the worldwide patents of the method of drilling resistance methode (Kamm & Voss) to IML’s possession, the distribution was steasily expanded.

Today, IML works with a worldwide network of distributors to provide a local presence, enabling closeness to customers. In addition, IML has had a subsidiary in the USA since 1997 and a branch in Australia since 2002.

Wiesloch “Großer Stadtacker”

The moving of wood testing systems into new professions

In the beginning of the company’s history, the interest for the wood testing systems came mainly from science, but today IML products are used in very different areas: tree care, inspection of wooden playground equipment, preservation of historical monuments and much more. In the early 2000s, IML made drilling resistance measurements interesting for the telecommunications industry, who then

realized for the first time the usefulness of the method of checking the stability of their wooden masts. Since this field was new to the telecommunications industry, IML offered courses on how to use the equipment. Thus, at the same time, the portfolio expanded to include a service of offering that was the kick-off for today’s IML seminars.

inspection of a wooden bridge
testing of a wooden mast in the USA
security testing in the playing ground – playing ground inspection and playing ground equipment inspection with IML wood testing systems.
drilling resitance- and Feed Force Measurement with the IML-RESI PD400 in the Schillerpark in Wiesloch during a traffic security inspection.
IML’s first seminar room
IML’s current seminar room in the seminar center

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.

Company expansion with IML Electronic

The establishment of IML Electronic in the year 2021 by Sebastian and Fabian Hunger bases on the takeover of argus electronic. Since more than 25 years, argus electronic stands for high-quality solutions for measurement devices and automation.

1994 Rolf Pohlmann founded argus electronic. Since then the company has been developing and manufacturing innovative products for the
sectors tree safety diagnosis, atmospheric measurement technology, agricultural dosing technology as well as offering special solutions. In the process, argus electronic established itself internationally and built distribution channels in Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Australia.

Location in Rostock

The two companies, argus electronic and IML Electronic, are on the one hand connected by their activities in the same sector, but also by their enthusiasm for the manufacturing of precise, high-quality and innovative measurement devices.

Because of the previously depicted connection between argus electronic and IML, cooperations had come about in the past several times. When a follow-up of argus electronic had become apparent in 2021, both companies decided together to have IML take on the operations of argus electronic as of 2022. For this purpose Sebastian and Fabian Hunger founded the company IML Instrumenta Mechanik Labor Electronic GmbH, under whose name the whole assortment of argus electronic will be continued to be offered. The company seat in Rostock and all staff members remained persistant and now form IML Electronic.

IML-PiCUS Sonic Tomograph
IML-PiCUS TreeTronic
IML-PiCUS TreeQinetic
IML-PiCUS TreeMotion
IML-PiCUS Calliper
IML-PiCUS Tension

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.

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