MEC Milestones

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MEC the Austrian Manufacturer of Industrial Battery Charger, back in 1989, the beginning

Perseverance, paired with a forward-looking mindset, is a source of strength to make things happen.

Guangdong Province, China, in 1989

Sprawling expanses of construction sites gave evidence of big changes ahead. It was a country extricating itself from a painful past, a country experimenting with one and every new system. An impatient youth with the strong belief of collective strength, fueled by the excitement with the upcoming, unknown challenges, was ready to swell into an economic force, beyond anyone’s expectations.

Union Way Factory, in 1989

A cluster of simple structures on a hill top: a modestly sized production floor, dormitories with bunk beds, canteen with open fire places and large cooking-woks on top. There were no phone lines. Flickering light bulbs gave evidence that there was electricity, again.

The summer heat was paralyzing, with wet-soaked shirt clinging tightly to the skin. The nights, spent under the mosquito net and wrapped into sweat-soaked linen, were filled with the nerve-racking buzz of insects, keeping sleep away until tiredness took over. The damp-cold winter seasons, spent inside the unheated concrete structures, were more preferable to the laundry-like summer days.

Our workers mostly came from the Northern provinces of China. Along with a small bundle of personal belongings, travelled all the way south with the hope for a better life for their kids, siblings or parents. They worked skillfully with the outdated machines, simple tools and fixtures. In hindsight, it was the lack of almost everything that made us think of ingenious methods and devices to achieve the results. Our people would often be around from sun rise till night through, they understood that the Company can quickly fail if the prevailing throat-cutting conditions were not met with resolution. Yet, the general mood was, even after long night hours at work tables, mostly cheerful.

Union Way Factory, in 1992

You can never expect what would happen back in the 1990s, in China. Local officials sent note that our factory on the hill top had to give way to a new road project. It was only weeks later that our buildings were dynamited, and the hill was flattened by an armada of bulldozers from “The Red East”. Whenever I now happen to drive along this new road, I always slow down at the point at which our old buildings once settled.

During the ensuing months of uncertainty our people loyally stood by the Company. We kept producing under impossible conditions, in nearby town. We soon acquired a plot of land and built on it the factory where we are still at, to these days.

Union Way Factory, in 2000

Year 2000 was the year we faced a precarious situation. Our most important OEM-partner “jumped ship” on short notice. With the only belief of the necessity to provide jobs to our workers, we decided to manufacture our own inductive components. A grueling work schedule was the price to be paid for the road to less dependence on unequal agreements. This near-disaster turned out to be a blessing in disguise; we launched our first MEC-labelled product within weeks, a timeline definitely not possible if we failed to work as ONE.

MEC Energietechnik GmbH or MEC, in 2007

Taking advantage of the solid manufacturing know-how that we have acquired for decades in the Southern part of China, we established MEC-Energietechnik GmbH or MEC, our European arm in 2007, in Villach, Austria. We believe direct communication with clients is necessary for us to understand the specific needs and constraints. By establishing foothold in Europe, we are here to serve you better, to become your global partner in power solutions.

Conclusion

We have experienced the period of great economic optimism in China plus different occasions of ups and downs. It is always as if we are taking up the challenge of a long-distance run, in which there are grinding miles of tiredness; but still, we can always look up and find the unexpected stretches of light. It is the loyalty of those who have been with us over the years and their perseverance, bringing in the quiet achievements from time to time, over decades, setting the solid ground for MEC.

Wilfried Steger
Founder and Managing Director of MEC