Lazpiur 100 years

History

More than 100 years linked to industry in the basque country

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The Lazpiur family has been linked to industry in the Basque Country for more than 100 years and, more specifically, to the town of Bergara in Guipuzcoa. At the beginning of the 20th century, the municipality had an important industrial fabric, primarily focussed on the textile industry. As a result, the town became known as ‘‘the Ruhr bergarés’.

The family business was started by José Lazpiur Aguirrebalzategui, the grandfather of Miguel and Agustin, who now run the company. The first records date back to 1914, showing how he acquired a shoe manufacturing company, in which he was already a partner. He named it "José Lazpiur y Cía". It once reached a production of 70,000 pairs of shoes, employing a staff of 200. His great interest in mechanics led him to purchase machines imported from the United States, which made him highly competitive in those times.

The Spanish Civil War changed the circumstances of both the family and the company. José Lazpiur, who supported moderate Basque nationalism and the Republic, was forced to seek exile in Bilbao and the factory was seized. His sons joined up as Basque soldiers to fight against Franco.

The company changed hands and focussed on the leather cutting business in order to supply material to the rebel band. Once the war was over, and five years after its seizure, José Lazpiur finally got the factory back. At that time, Pepe Lazpiur, José's son (and father of Miguel and Agustin) joined the company after returning from exile in Sevilla. The family decided to make a change and to use the machinery to produce nails, although the shoe manufacture was still maintained as a secondary business.

Following the death of José Lazpiur in 1957, Pepe continued with the nail production. His son Miguel, after taking a Vocational Training course, suggested purchasing an Osuma lathe from a company in Mondragón. With the help of an industrial friend, Pepe Lazpiur ensured demand for the production with the new machine. Once the shoe manufacture had ceased, the company focussed on the machining of parts.

The nail business also ceased, following the purchase of a planing machine. In 1963, Agustin Lazpiur joined the company, supplying parts to local workshops. His brother, Miguel, helped out whilst doing his military service. Whilst at the barracks, he designed a screw pointing machine, which Agustin undertook to manufacture, and also a blade feeder, which became the first patent for Lazpiur in 1964. Many more were to follow.

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During those years, the boom in the cooperative business in the area (Gomecha, Impreci, Mondragón, etc.) helped the factory to increase its production and the orders received, making it necessary to move its business to a new building in 1970. At that time, Lazpiur only employed a dozen workers.

Customer service is an integral part of Lazpiur, leading the company to accept all kinds of assignments, however strange they may seem. In the course of its history, the company has manufactured cider presses, machines for pressure cooker parts, machines to make fried doughnuts, etc. The company took a qualitative leap forward when Mai commissioned the production of some insertion machines for the automobile sector. This was the seed for a much larger order: the project of the multinational Ford to dedicate an entire plant to manufacturing electronic circuits for the Ford Escort gear box. This marked the entry of Lazpiur into the automobile sector.

In the eighties, Lazpiur increased its staff to twenty employees and extended its facilities by purchasing a building close to a former customer. In 1984, the company also went into the area of forging tooling. Lazpiur became a supplier of the company Patricio Echeverría, which, in turn, supplied material to the multinational GKN. The latter purchased forged items from the Basque company in order to become established in the Basque Country and started to work with Lazpiur. This inadvertently was the company's first step on the road to internationalisation. Several years later, the company started to organise foreign language classes for its personnel and set up its first sales department. Until then, Lazpiur had always worked to meet demand, with no need for any sales initiative.

In 1998, GKN proposed forming a joint venture to manufacture forging tooling, with Lazpiur providing the technology. This represented a leap forward in the international market for this Basque enterprise. Two years later, the Zubikua enclosure manufacturing facilities were acquired.

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During those years, the boom in the cooperative business in the area (Gomecha, Impreci, Mondragón, etc.) helped the factory to increase its production and the orders received, making it necessary to move its business to a new building in 1970. At that time, Lazpiur only employed a dozen workers.

Customer service is an integral part of Lazpiur, leading the company to accept all kinds of assignments, however strange they may seem. In the course of its history, the company has manufactured cider presses, machines for pressure cooker parts, machines to make fried doughnuts, etc. The company took a qualitative leap forward when Mai commissioned the production of some insertion machines for the automobile sector. This was the seed for a much larger order: the project of the multinational Ford to dedicate an entire plant to manufacturing electronic circuits for the Ford Escort gear box. This marked the entry of Lazpiur into the automobile sector.

In the eighties, Lazpiur increased its staff to twenty employees and extended its facilities by purchasing a building close to a former customer. In 1984, the company also went into the area of forging tooling. Lazpiur became a supplier of the company Patricio Echeverría, which, in turn, supplied material to the multinational GKN. The latter purchased forged items from the Basque company in order to become established in the Basque Country and started to work with Lazpiur. This inadvertently was the company's first step on the road to internationalisation. Several years later, the company started to organise foreign language classes for its personnel and set up its first sales department. Until then, Lazpiur had always worked to meet demand, with no need for any sales initiative.

In 1998, GKN proposed forming a joint venture to manufacture forging tooling, with Lazpiur providing the technology. This represented a leap forward in the international market for this Basque enterprise. Two years later, the Zubikua enclosure manufacturing facilities were acquired.

The number of employees at Lazpiur gradually increased to reach one hundred, headed by Miguel, in the business and technological development area, and Agustin in the workshop. In 2007, the global crisis affecting Europe began to show its effects. As a result, Lazpiur created an anti-crisis plan, giving absolute priority to maintaining all the jobs at the company. Lazpiur divested its share in the joint venture with GKN, although this British multinational continued to be one of its best customers, and also another joint venture in France. In this way, the company managed to remedy the situation in an exemplary fashion, returning to profits with no need for lay-offs.

In the inserting machine division, the company's customer Mai, was first acquired by a company in the USA which was then taken over by the multinational Lear. Thanks to the excellent quality offered by Lazpiur, Lear has become one of the company's tier one customers. Furthermore, a large number of multinationals from the automobile and other sectors place their trust in this Guipuzoca-based company.

As a result of the prestige accumulated over the years, in 2014 Lazpiur received an invitation from the International Forging Conference (IFC) to present a paper setting out the latest global trends. Lazpiur was the only Spanish company invited to do so.

In 2014, Lazpiur is holding its Centenary at one of the best moments of its history.

Company Timeline

  • 1875
  • 1875

    Birth of José Lazpiur Aguirrebalzategui in Bergara.

  • 1914

    First records of José Lazpiur y Cía as the owner of the shoe factory.

  • 1921

    Birth of José Lazpiur Elcoro.

  • 1936

    Requisitioning of the company by the Franco regime, lasting five years.

  • 1940

    José Lazpiur Elcoro starts up a nail workshop in the shoe manufacturing facilities.

  • 1942

    Birth of Miguel Lazpiur.

  • 1946

    Birth of Agustín Lazpiur.

  • 1957

    Death of José Lazpiur Aguirrezabaltegui.

  • 1960

    The Lazpiur family purchases its first lathe and Miguel Lazpiur joins the family business. Commencement of the machining work.

  • 1962

    Purchase of a planing machine and José Lazpiur Elcoro decides to cease marketing nails and joins the machining process.

  • 1963

    Purchase of a milling machine and Agustin joins the business.

  • 1964

    The first screw pointing machine in Spain. The company's first patent: an accumulator (developed at the Loiola barracks, during military service)

  • 1965

    Commencement of sales to the co-operatives of the Mondragón group and strengthening of the business.

  • 1969

    Move to the new building in Murinondo Auzoa in Bergara.

  • 1975

    First component inserting machines for Mai (entry in the automobile sector).

  • 1980

    Mai scheme to create a component inserting machine plant for Ford.

  • 1980

    Conversion to a public limited company. Construcciones Mecánicas José Lazpiur. A workforce of 16.

  • 1984

    Patricio Echeverría purchases a forge, which is subsequently acquired by GKN, representing the development of the forging tooling business.

  • 1984

    First extension of the building.

  • 1985

    Change of sales concept and creation of a sales team.

  • 1989

    Lazpiur takes the decision to work towards total quality.

  • 1990

    Development of the internationalisation strategy.

  • 1991

    Second extension of the building.

  • 1998

    Joint venture with GKN.

  • 1998

    Purchase of a new building.

  • 1999-2003

    Maitz project to collaborate with the Vocational Training School in Bergara.

  • 2000

    Purchase of the Zubikua enclosure making facilities.

  • 2009

    Third extension of the building.

  • 2012

    Miguel Lazpiur receives the Korta Award in recognition of his business career.

  • 2013

    Sale of the share in the joint venture to GKN.

  • 2014

    Lazpiur is the only Spanish company invited to present a Speech at the 21st International Forging Congress (IFC) in Berlin.

  • 2014

    Lazpiur centenary.