THE BEGINNING

Weber and Moulen

The origins of WEMO trace back to Amsterdam in the 1950s. Gerard Weber worked at the toolmaking company ‘Amsterdam’ and encountered a punch unit, an American invention. However, his current employer showed no interest in it. Ben Moulen, a trader in leather supplies and a customer of Weber, had holes punched in leather goods by Weber. This led Moulen to become fascinated with Weber’s idea of the punch unit. Together, they decided to establish the company WeMo (Weber and Moulen) in 1959; a sales office for punch units, located in a former bakery in Amsterdam. After three years, the paths of the commercial-minded Moulen and the technician Weber diverged, as Moulen wanted to grow the business further and Weber sought more challenges in technology.

 

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Moulen and Hoekstra

At that time, Sip Hoekstra worked as a tool designer at Davo in Deventer and knew Ben Moulen as a supplier of WEMO punch units. Hoekstra developed a specific solution in the field of universal punching technique at Moulen’s request, a stamp with a die, but the problem was that Moulen could no longer get deliveries from the toolmaking company in Amsterdam. “Then we’ll make it ourselves,” Hoekstra must have said. Moulen had full confidence in the 25-year-old technician, offered Hoekstra a job, and asked him to move from Raalte to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where Moulen was then conducting sales of the punch units from his home. He acquired land in the industrial area on Dommelstraat in Den Bosch (since Brabant has a tradition in tool production, as Moulen knew). On July 1, 1964, WEMO was officially registered with the Chamber of Commerce in Den Bosch.

 

Moulen was the commercial man, and Hoekstra was the technician and inventor. Hoekstra led the staff, consisting of a toolmaker and a turner. Moulen imparted his business acumen to his partner. The young entrepreneur learned to drive in a field, obtained his driver’s license within a few weeks, and traveled north with a bag full of stamps in a Volkswagen Beetle. In Friesland, he sold his first punch units, and later as a setup, the punch machines became a reality!

 

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The Development of Punches

Development progressed rapidly. A few years after starting, WEMO switched to manufacturing special stamps for products that could no longer be made with punch units. The tools—both punch setups and stamps—could only be used under heavy presses of sometimes hundreds of tons. In 1973, with 25 employees, WEMO began producing hydraulic cylinders, the WEMO hydro-units: tools with the power source included. This marked the beginning of all specialized machines.

 

Bending Units

Between 1975 and 1978, WEMO developed the first bending units at customer request. Subsequently, in 1978, the first punch-bending machine was developed. Punching and bending, including tube punching, became WEMO’s specialty.

Thus, within 15 years, WEMO grew from a small start-up into an innovative, rapidly growing company. This concludes the early years of WEMO’s origins. Read the follow years here: THE GROWTH.

 

 

 

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