Company History | MELAG


MELAG Medizintechnik GmbH & Co. KG
Geneststraße 6 -10
10829 Berlin
T +49 30 75 79 11-0
F +49 30 75 79 11-99



Post-war period in Berlin. The company in which Alfred Gebauer and Kurt Thiede worked as managers lies in ruins, everything is destroyed and there is no chance that they will be employed. Then an opportunity arose for the two of them to find new employment in a small production plant for laboratory devices. But as the conflict between East and West intensified in the early fifties and since the employer was in the Soviet sector of Berlin, they decided to found what would now be called a start-up in West Berlin, more specifically in the French sector. So on 1 May 1951 the operation of the two founders Alfred Gebauer and Kurt Thiede started as Gebauer & Co. with two mechanics employed. The founders had the idea of focusing exclusively on hygiene in the medical and dental sector, and this focus has been continued by MELAG Medizintechnik to this day. Let us look at the remarkable development of this family company in the past 65 years.

  • 1951
    Side view hot air sterilizer Type C1

    The first type C1 hot air sterilizers are produced.

    The production of the first devices was very difficult as it was hugely difficult for a company that was so small to obtain materials for production. So the two founders made a virtue out of necessity and bought aluminium lunch boxes, which they used for the outer housing of the devices. The result was the type C1 hot air sterilizers. Astonishingly, the first two devices were able to be delivered to Honduras immediately.

  • 1952
    MELAG advertising from 1952

    The trademark MELAG is registered.

    The name MELAG is made up of three words “MEdicine”, ”LAboratory” and “Geräte” (devices). Quickly, the name MELAG came to mean quality, innovation and value for money among customers.

  • 1953
    Production hall of MELAG in 1953

    Expansion of production: Gebauer & Co. is already employing 10 people.

    The development of the Cold War and the looming division of the city of Berlin made it hard for the company to move in the right direction when it came to growth. But clever engineering combined with a consistent focus on quality meant Gebauer & Co. were slowly but surely able to establish themselves in the hot air sterilizer market. By employing the second engineer, Gebauer & Co. were taking steps to develop new devices and therefore encourage further growth. The quality of the devices prevailed. The young company was already on track for success at both a national and international level and celebrated the delivery of the 5,000th device in 1953.

  • 1954
    Diagonal view first steam sterilizer Type 150

    Development and sale of the first steam sterilizers (autoclaves)

    Both then and now, developments in the hospital sector were the drivers of the requirements in the private practice and dental sector too. The option of sterilizing instruments and operation material and low temperatures that were therefore compatible with the materials used by using steam sterilizers (autoclaves) was increasingly of interest in the private sector too. The company founders Alfred Gebauer and Kurt Thiede recognised this early on and made use of the technology of the large hospital autoclaves for what are known as small autoclaves too. With the type R, they developed the first small autoclaves with automatic ventilation and registered their first autoclave patent.

  • 1961
    MELAG booth on trade fair in 1961

    Sales reach more than a million DM for the first time

    The first MELAG autoclaves were made out of aluminium while the new 152 type and 172 type autoclaves were made of brass. Their reliability made them a real challenger to the leading product on the market at the time. The devices were increasingly in demand on international markets too.

  • 1966
    Founder of MELAG at medical trade fair

    MELAG has now existed for 15 years and is already delivering in 24 countries.

    MELAG still stands for innovation, performance and robustness not just in the field of steam autoclaves. At Interhospital 1966 in Stuttgart, Alfred Gebauer and Kurt Thiede presented steam autoclaves with a chamber volume of 19 litres to the German and international market for the first time.

  • 1971
    Second generation managers of MELAG

    Arrival of Dr Steffen Gebauer and Christian Thiede

    Once the sons of the two founders had completed their training and gained experience from working in other companies, they joined the company. By this point, the company was called MELAGAPPARATE GmbH and had a turnover of 2.5 million DM.

  • 1973
    Founders and second generation managers of MELAG

    Dr Steffen Gebauer and Christian Thiede are appointed managing directors.

    The appointment of Dr Steffen Gebauer (left) and Christian Thiede (right) as managing directors was an expression of the desire of the founding fathers for the company to continue to be run as a family company in the long term.

  • 1982
    Gebauer Senior and Junior at MELAG booth

    Dr Steffen Gebauer and Alfred Gebauer at MEDICA

    Dr Steffen Gebauer and his father at MEDICA 1982, a trade fair that was very important at the time and continues to be to this day in terms of making and maintaining international contacts.

  • 1993
    Diagonal view steam sterilizer Type 25

    MELAG quality now in hospitals too.

    The cost situation in hospitals led to an outsourcing of increasing numbers of surgical operations to outpatient surgical clinics. The demand for practice-oriented large sterilizers (chamber volumes 80-100 litres) increased as a result, and with the type 25 MELAG provides a compact, high-performance large sterilizer in accordance with EN 285 for this area. The innovative construction with a patented internal steam generation and automatic conductivity measurement are just a few reasons for the major success of the type 25 in surgical clinics and hospitals.

  • 1995
    MELAG Managers with Vacuklav 31

    Dr Gebauer with his wife Marlies Gebauer and Christian Thiede at the presentation of the first practice autoclave with a fractionated pre-vacuum

    With the highly innovative practice autoclave Vacuklav 31, MELAG brought the technology of the large hospital sterilizers into the private and dental sectors for the first time, thereby enabling an equivalent level of sterilization to be achieved in private practice as in hospitals. The small sterilizer with a fractionated vacuum process, built in series for the first time, manages without cooling water for the first time and was developed in accordance with the principles of EN 13060. The equipment of the Vacuklav 31 with a patented, air-cooled vacuum system makes this autoclave a particularly high-performance, reliable device.

  • 2001
    Dr. Steffen Gebauer give a speech for 50 year anniversary

    MELAG celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2001!

    What began as a start-up in 1951 was a leading global company with a significant share in more than 70 export markets. From the initial specialisation in hot air sterilizers and later steam sterilizers (autoclaves) via water treatment units, sealing devices, sterilizing packaging and incubators, MELAG has remained true to its specialisation in practice hygiene and instrument decontamination, and is therefore the only manufacturer in the world with this consistent focus. At two events, IDS and MEDICA 2001, Dr Steffen Gebauer thanked the company’s loyal customers and good partners from the past few decades.

  • 2007
    View of the MELAG complex of buildings

    The production capacity is increased by taking over the adjacent building.

    More than 350,000 devices have already been delivered around the world and the number of devices produced annually exceeds 10,000! The additional production capacity for this was obtained through the purchase of the adjacent building in 2007. Now, more than 200 employees produce the highest quality MELAG devices over an area of 20,000 m².

  • 2010
    Front view of MELAtherm 10

    With the market introduction of the thermal disinfector (RDG) MELAtherm took the next step to becoming a system provider.

    After almost ten years of development work by several development teams made up of 34 highly specialised engineers and computer scientists, the sale of the MELAtherm thermal disinfector started in 2010. MELAG is therefore the first leading global manufacturer with a system solution for practice autoclaves and thermal disinfectors, water treatment units, sealing devices and software for documentation and approval.

  • 2016
    Production hall with autoclaves

    In new dimensions with an eye on the future

    Of the 350 employees, 145 engineers and computer scientists are responsible for the improvement and maintenance of existing products and the development of new procedures and products. MELAG therefore impressively highlights the importance of quality and innovation for the future. Products by people for people. The focus on products exclusively for infection prevention and practice hygiene means MELAG as a family company continues to be able to improve the entire product range continuously at a leading international level and develop and produce exclusively in Berlin, Germany. The following apply to us both today and in the future: competence in hygiene and quality - made in Germany

  • 2019
    MELAG Management 2019

    Niklas Gebauer, Sebastian Gebauer and Antti Thiede are appointed managing directors.

    At the beginning of the year 2019, the management board had been expanded. Once the sons of Dr. Steffen Gebauer and Christian Thiede gained experience from working in other companies, they joined the MELAG management board. The third generation of Managing Directors continue to run the company as a family business.

  • 2021

    MELAG online keynote for the presentation of Careclave

    On the 13th of January 2021 MELAG presented Careclave for the first time ever in an exclusive online keynote, revealing the secret of the innovative 4-in-1 solution. According to the motto "Join the Revolution", the entire presentation of Careclave was streamed live online and was followed by hundreds. With this world premiere, Careclave gained attention and importance in the dental world even before its official market launch.

  • 2021

    MELAG celebrates 70th anniversary!

    After 700.000 happy customers in 70 years of company history, MELAG is celebrating its birthday this year! From a 2-man start-up to the world market leader in instrument reprocessing: for more than 70 years, we have taken pleasure in implementing ideas for the best possible reprocessing workflows and have ensured the highest level of patient and instrument protection since the company was born in 1951. To this we toast and look forward to the next 70 years full of passion, innovation and attention to detail. Thank you and Cheers!

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