Zeuna Stärker, a German organisation (2002 annual turnover 750 million Euro), was employing 2 200 highly skilled and qualified people worldwide and was a global leader in exhaust design and technology at the time ArvinMeritor bought it from the Stärker family. Known for its expertise in Research & Development, it served the upper end of the spectrum, with customers such as Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Ferrari, Lancia and Rolls Royce.
In 1990, Zeuna Stärker opened a branch in South Africa at the request of BMW, who required high quality exhaust manufacture and service. Their very first contract was to supply BMW South AFRICA with the BMW E36 (3 series) products.
Shortly thereafter, as a direct result of the MIDP, other OEMs began giving contracts to Zeuna Stärker, based on the fact that they would be able to benefit from the program.
Towards the end of 2002, Zeuna Stärker was sold to ArvinMeritor. At that stage, Arvin Meritor was a listed company on Wall Street and boasted a $7 billion turnover, and employed 27 000 people in 150 countries.
ArvinMeritor already had a presence in South Africa, with a plant in Cape Town. When it took over Zeuna Stärker, ArvinMeritor became the biggest designer and manufacturer of exhaust systems in the world.
In 2003, however, ArvinMeritor took a strategic decision not to produce exhaust systems in South Africa. It wanted to produce catalytic converters only and the Cape Town plant was able to do so.
AutoTube Manufacturing was therefore formed in October 2003 through a Management Buyout. The company’s first big contract was producing tubes for Eberspächer for their assembly of the BMW E90 3 series exhaust systems.
In September 2004, ATM achieved ISO 14001 Environmental Certification. In October of the same year, the company Philmec (PTY) Ltd, a subsidiary of ATM, was formed, which enabled ATM to produce its own bending consumables. The purchase meant that the company could keep some of the existing technology, and could also develop new technology. In November of the same year, ATM achieved ISO TS 16949 Quality Certification.
2005 proved to be a significant year. The company established Tubeworx (Pty) Ltd, a move that enabled them to produce their own raw material in the form of stainless steel tubes, using the most advanced technology available.
The company also made a number of investments in technology. First, the company celebrated the arrival of a new CNC 80 Boost Bender, followed by a new CNC Tube Former and Welder, which enabled ATM to manufacture tubes in round, oval and other shapes. A FIFO Roller System was installed in the Dispatch area, and a new CNC 60 Electric Boost Bender was commissioned.
A new milestone was achieved by ATM when it commenced with tube supply for the BMW E90, Renault Clio/Megane and Suzuki in 2005. ATM also began supplying HCV components to Fleetguard, now known as Cummins Emission Solutions, a subsidiary of Cummins Inc. Cummins is one of the largest automotive component manufacturers in the world. Today ATM remains a preferred supplier to Cummins Emission Solutions, as well as ArvinMeritor, now known as Emcon Technologies.
It is also an approved supplier to Benteler, also one of the largest component manufacturers in the world.
In October 2007, the company was purchased by Formex Industries and is now known as Formex Tubing.
In 2008, Formex purchased SPC (Stainless Precision Components). In 2013, all the tubing operations were relocated and consolidated at the Markman site in Port Elizabeth.