Milestones & History
In 1828, three citizens of Aalen, Germany, purchased a wire drawing facility which had been located on the Erlen-Au meadows on the Kocher river since 1795.
In 1875, the company, which was then called Erlau, became a joint-stock company; it is now the oldest one in Southern Germany. Around the same time in 1875, Carl Rieger, Friedrich Dietz and 16 employees went a few kilometres up the Kocher river to a green field now known as Island of Peace to found a chain forging company that would produce wire mesh trays for use in drying kilns for malt, hops and chicory.
By 1880, the company had already received a deed of honour with royal approval for the high-quality chain products it produced, which were used primarily for agriculture.
In 1900, RUD entered the industrial age, and the forge became a factory: a Voith water turbine and steam power from a traction engine provided forward-thinking energy, and the world’s first experiments with electric chain welding were successful. At first, manual production of chains at an open forge went hand-in-hand with industrial manufacturing.
Then, in 1910, the first “ladder chain” was produced – initially for rubber tyres on “motor carts”, then later on cars. This innovation, which would lead to a massive amount of advanced chain development, came from Unterkochen.
In 1925, the third generation of the Rieger family started at the company (co-founder Friedrich Dietz didn’t have any children). In 1935, Werner Rieger invented the original RUD track chain, which became known as the mother of all modern snow chains.
After World War II, the company began to supplement its tyre chain business by entering the quality chain sector.
In 1953, RUD received both official permission to produce high-strength chains, and the H1 ranking. The company was then certified as a chain manufacturer with integrated quality and environmental management systems in accordance with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
In 1955, the company began to produce tyre protection chains which were used worldwide to protect the tyres of pneumatic-tyred machines above and below ground.
1962, RUD received the “Industry in the Landscape” gold medal as an award for our innovative production site.
In 1972, a series of production and sales subsidiaries and branch offices were founded in rapid succession. Brazil was the first location, followed by Great Britain, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, France and Spain, and overseas locations in the U.S. and South Africa, then later China and India.
For the “centennial” in 1975, the company with over 1,000 employees founded two non-profit organizations: the Trude Eipperle Rieger Foundation and the Otto Rieger Foundation. They are dedicated to the promotion of culture, science and the public spirit – with considerable financial involvement.
Erlau AG, RUD's long-time competitor (and the company its founders came from) joined the RUD Group in 1988.
In 2003, Jörg Steffen Rieger Ph.D., Johannes W. Rieger and Florian Rieger, the fifth generation of the Rieger family, joined company management. In 2006, the youngest son, Dr. Benjamin T. Rieger, joined company management. The management board is headed by their father Dr. Hansjörg Rieger.
In 2006, RUD received the BG Prüfzert trade association label (“Label der Berufsgenossenschaften”) as the top performer with approval for quality grade 10 sling chains in accordance with PAS 1061 and individual parts for quality grade 10 sling chains.
2007: Top performer with approval for ICE special-grade goods, quality grade 12
2009: Approved as an aviation company for Bundeswehr (German army) aviation devices
With around 1,700 employees, a turnover of 190 million euros and an active presence in more than 120 countries, our RUD family-owned company achieved its best ever results as a chain manufacturer in 2014 from an investment and organisational perspective. Voted a “Hidden Champion of the Twenty-First Century”, our highly motivated team has also been an outstanding performer in the IT sector, winning both the “Best in Cloud 2013” software award and the internationally renowned “Cloud Champions Award”, which was presented to us by boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Another clear sign of our continued impressive development – even in consideration of the fact that 2015 is the year of our 140th anniversary – is the construction of our largest ever production hall, which started in 2013 and is now complete, providing us with a total surface area of 4,300 square meters at an investment rate of 10 million euros.
In 2015, RUD celebrated its 140th anniversary with a family day. After the initial VIP reception, where RUD’s managing director Dr Hansjörg Rieger greeted the many representatives of public life in the region attending the event, it was “all systems go” for a record-breaking number of visitors – over 3,000 were counted at the RUD gate.
2018 Fusion of Erlau AG with RUD Ketten Rieger & Dietz GmbH u. Co KG - to further strengthen the Erlau brand and to integrate it into the RUD Group network..