Family run business – Living our values

As a family-run company, we are not committed to shareholder value, but first and foremost to our customers and employees. And have been for 85 years. In the third and fourth generation. We are proud – and humbled at the same time – that we to this date employ 600+ people.

Glass is our passion, that is why we give our best every day. Expanding our portfolio of technical solutions and engineering platforms. As a full-line supplier, we offer our customers added value that they won’t find anywhere else. So, we can offer our employees perspectives. Not just empty words, but real actions. Visit us in Schönsee. You will see: Perfection in craftsmanship on an industrial scale, technological excellence and a down-to-earth Upper Palatinate mentality are a unique combination.

Our values

Vertrauen

Trust

We live family values and treat each other with respect. We act with consideration, sincerity and fairness and rely on a trusting relationship.

Ehrlichkeit

Honesty

We act with transparency and adhere to rules, procedures and agreements. We communicate in a straightforward and honest manner.

Nachhaltigkeit

Sustainability

We take responsibility for people, the environment and society. We operate on a long-term basis and use resources conscientiously.

Innovation

Innovative strength

We create an innovation-friendly climate that encourages dedication and joy at work. We identify ourselves with the company and its goals.

Our goals

Enthusiastic customers. We inspire our customers with our competence, reliability and above all our flexibility. We advise truthfully and objectively. We support new projects straight from the first conception phase on. Based on innovative development work and sophisticated production technology, we create customized system solutions that offer our customers significant added value.

Unbeatable quality. Projects run smoothly thanks to partnership-based cooperation at eye level, across department and company. Errors occur, are not concealed, but are eliminated in a joint effort all in the interest of our customers. We deliver the best possible quality and assume project responsibility, including raw materials and vendor parts.

Motivated employees. Our business success is largely based on the qualification, experience and passion of our employees. Therefore, it is our policy to train and educate each and every one of them. By setting an example, we motivate them to act responsibly and with a focus on results. Together we create the basis for high-quality jobs and offer the people who work for us and their families a future in the region.

Secure jobs. Protecting our employees from dangers in the workplace is an important concern for us. In order to prevent industrial accidents, we provide optimally suitable personal protective equipment. In addition, we raise our employees’ awareness of preventive behavior in regular training courses. Detected risk factors are eliminated or secured as good as we can.

Every day we are motivated and committed, with enthusiasm and creativity at work – for you. But fun and humor are equally part of the working world of a successful family business.

Technology, precision and versatility in glass – since 1935

Our customers’ products clearly stand out from their competitors. Because they are more elegant, easier to use, more durable and because they have features customers have never seen anywhere else.

Our core task is to develop new manufacturing methods and adopt them for reliable series production on an industrial scale. After all, moderately driven automation and pragmatic digitization not only helps us to manufacture products of the highest quality for years to come, but also to secure our jobs in the region and thus lay the foundations for our continued development.

  • 1935
  • 1952
  • 1970
  • 1989
  • 2008
  • 2015
  • Today
  • 1935: Beginning

    Johann, Josef I and Josef II Irlbacher (from right to left) in front of the workshop in Dietersdorf

    At the beginning of the 20th century, Johann Irlbacher learns the craft of glass polishing in a glass grinding shop in the Upper Palatinate. After the First World War, the gradual decline of the artisan flat glass production, which had been based in the Bavarian-Bohemian border region for centuries, begins – industrial processes produce flat and uniformly thin glass; the process of polishing becomes increasingly obsolete. To escape this structural change, Johann Irlbacher founds a glass processing company in a small workshop in Dietersdorf near Schönsee in 1935 and soon specializes in the production of photo plates and slide glass.

  • New beginnings 1952

    The cheeky schoolboy, who helps in the production in 1962, is Josef II Irlbacher and thus the third generation.

    After the chaos of the war, Josef I Irlbacher, son of Johann Irlbacher, resumes work in the company. The company is in need of new products. Until the late 1960s, the glass viewing window for the fuse screw caps, commonly used at the time, becomes a top seller. Initially manufactured by hand, Irlbacher soon devises a mechanical process to produce these glass plates cost-effectively, precisely and in large quantities.

  • From the 70s: From specialist to all-rounder

    Irlbacher’s first mass product: Through the thin glass plate, people could instantly see whether the fuse was “blown”.

    In the 1970s, with the arrival of Josef II Irlbacher, a phase of dynamic growth begins which continues to this day. New materials, such as heat-resistant borosilicate glass, are added to the linecard. New processes such as centerless grinding, sawing, gluing, sandblasting and ferreting are added to the portfolio. New customer segments are consistently addressed. Companies from the fittings and measuring instrument industry, the lighting sector as well as architects and designers become aware of the family business in the Upper Palatinate.

  • 1989: Second facility

    Space at last: Plant II in Schönsee finally opens for business.

    The Dietersdorf plant had been operating at the limits of its capacity since the mid-1980s, and new production space was needed. In 1989, the second plant in Schönsee am Lauber Berg is opened. In the same year, the end of the “Cold War” moves Schönsee overnight from the edge of Europe to its geographical center.

  • 2008: IMPAtouch – Milestone in HMI technology

    The very first IMPAtouch product is still in production today; the series are interchangeable.

    With Günther and Stephan Irlbacher the fourth generation joins the family business. Step by step additional processing and finishing processes for flat glass are introduced. New customers are added. The plants are enlarged, and highly qualified employees are hired.

    The most important step towards becoming a system supplier is taken in 2008 with the in-house development IMPAtouch – electronics on glass. With the evaluation of the touch sensor signals directly on the cover or display glass, Irlbacher changes the world of industrial HMIs forever. Already the first products are technological challenges; a steep development curve begins.

  • 2015: Representations worldwide

    Plant II from 1989 is still standing – can you find it on the aerial photo?

    On the occasion of the company’s 80th birthday, the new screen-printing facility starts operation; production now takes place in three shifts in a clean room covering 2,000 m². Material locks keep dust and dirt out. The two plants have grown to four; more than 400 people work for the Upper Palatinate family business. With agencies in just under a dozen countries, Irlbacher is pushing ahead with internationalization.

    Numerous awards, from “Bavaria’s Best 50” to the German “Climate Protection Company”, impressively underline the company’s philosophy of offering its employees the best development prospects – while keeping its ecological footprint as light as possible.

  • Today: The consistent path from glass supplier to system supplier

    Tablet PC for the visually impaired. Touch guidance for writing. 32 Braille letter matrix below the screen for reading.

    Based on the IMPAtouch engineering platform, which had been developed in-house, Irlbacher is gradually expanding its solution construction kit. New challenges and applications arise. Light and directed light, finger guidance and haptics, functional integration, ITO matrix and IR sensors, optical bonding…

    More than 600 people work for us today, and the ten subsidiaries have grown to over 50 worldwide. Join us on the highway of glass innovations and benefit from 85 years of experience.

    The more sophisticated the products become – and the more complex the technological processes involved – the more difficult it is to manage tolerances across the entire supply chain. This is why Irlbacher is increasingly growing into a system supplier that provides ready-to-install subsystems or complete devices. Supported by an ecosystem of carefully coordinated services – ranging from sourcing to assembly, from packaging to logistics.

Quality Management

Perfection in craftsmanship on an industrial scale. We do not only want to maintain our quality standards, but also be able to provide objectively quantifiable proof at any time. We are therefore proud that our processes have been in accordance with DIN ISO 9001 since 2003. Since 2019 our quality management has been certified according to DIN ISO 9001:2015.

Our purchasing department emphasizes impeccable supplier management. Our “zero defect” strategy can only work if the performance of our suppliers and service providers is beyond any doubt. Constant opportunities for self-checking by workers throughout the entire production process, from receiving goods to final check with 100% optical inspection, help us to meet our high-quality standards.

But even good things can be improved: Our continuous improvement process (CIP) encourages all levels of the company to identify and implement optimization possibilities in terms of customer satisfaction and production quality.

Certificate ISO 9001:2015

Certificate ISO 50001:2011

R&D and test laboratory

Our own basic research is the foundation to develop our company further. This is the only way we can make full use of the possibilities of raw materials – or give our partners indications for the purposeful adjustment of parameters for new materials. Another task is the development of new manufacturing and machining processes. We need to understand the physical and chemical effects involved in these processes in detail in order to define reliable process windows for industrial production.

Our test lab is equipped with numerous measuring instruments to monitor single batches of delivered raw materials as well as our own processes. This way we can deliver flawless quality products to you at all times. However, some of our customers need even more. Therefore, our lab not only has a wide range of different test methods, which are of course subject to test equipment monitoring, but also the specialists who are able to interpret the measured data.

Thanks to our many contacts to colleges, universities and inspection- and analysis institutes, we have access to additional measuring technology and experienced specialists. An example of this are UL and CSA approvals for the markets in North America.

Have a look at our test laboratory

At Irlbacher you will find glass measurement experts offering the following measuring equipment:

  • Microscopic measuring methods in 2D and 3D are usually sufficient for our standard thicknesses of a few micrometers and are also faster than SEM measurements.
  • SEM/EDX – The scanning electron microscope (SEM) provides us with magnifications up to 1,000,000:1 with a high depth of focus. By using EDX we determine which chemical elements are present in a sample.
  • Mechanical strength – By using tensile and compression tests, or tear and shear tests, we check whether the selected material can withstand the expected loads – or whether adhesive and soldered joints will hold reliably…
  • Temperature and climate change test – How does the test object react when temperatures, humidity etc. change suddenly or repeatedly in a short period of time?
  • Tempering tests qualitative and quantitative – So that we can make reliable statements about tempered glass.
  • The ball drop test according to DIN 52338 qualitatively tests the response of flat glass when abruptly hit by a hard body with a small compact mass and high speed.
  • Heat-Soak-Test – Hot storage according to DIN EN 14179-1 helps us to detect potential early failures.
  • EMC testing – DIN EN 61000-6-x (or the equivalent VDE 0839-6-x) refers to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), especially the immunity of electronic components and assemblies.
  • Color measurements – according to DIN 6174. Not every CMYK or Pantone color can be converted 1:1 into a ceramic glass color. How big is the color deviation – and how much is it visible at certain viewing angles?
  • With transmission measurements, we determine the transmission of a glass in the range between 200 and 1,100 nm (visible light: 380…780 nm).

We will be happy to carry out further tests together with you or on your request.

Sustainability: Our joint responsibility

The picture above shows the “Gradlhöhe” at sunset. This hill is located northwards above the small town of Dietersdorf, where the story of our company begins in 1935. From the very beginning we have been processing raw materials, consuming water and energy. To reduce the ecological footprint to zero will probably never be possible. But that does not stop us from using our fullest commitment and smart ideas to keep our resource consumption and environmental emissions as low as possible. Sustainable management and business success must go hand in hand. After all, the generations to come should also be able to enjoy unspoilt landscapes – as shown in the picture above.

Energy management according to ISO 50001:2011 The systematic and continuous increase of energy efficiency in the production process became a verifiable company practice partly due to this certification. Everyone, from the management to the temporary workers in production, is working together to implement or even exceed the strict criteria of the standard.

Climate protection – since 1990

More than 30 years ago we started to recover process heat and installed the first oil-water heat exchanger. Since 1997 we have been purifying the wastewater from the grinding machines in a sophisticated process to make their use more sustainable and reduce water consumption. With the growth of the company as a whole, this plant has been rebuilt and upgraded several times. Today it treats 1.2 million liters of water. Per hour. This would be enough to fill a large 50-meter outdoor pool in around 100 minutes.

Since 1999, we have gradually equipped all ventilation systems in the production area with rotary heat exchangers. This closed-loop system saves 400 t CO2 and around 2.5 MWh of energy. Every year. Five years later, we started using geothermal energy. Today, almost 60 probes are in operation. Since 2009, the photovoltaics installed on the roofed employee parking spaces have been producing environmentally friendly electricity for our own needs; the installed capacity is 200 kWp. Our gas cogeneration plant with highly efficient power and heat cogeneration is currently under construction and will supply us with electrical power and heat from autumn onwards – with an efficiency of over 80%.

Bavarian Energy Award 2014 Every two years, the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy awards this prize to companies, research institutes, cities and municipalities that use energy and resources sparingly and show others the way to an ecological future with exemplary projects and concepts.

An independent jury selects the winners from around 160 applications in a multi-stage selection process. The main prize 2014 was shared with Wacker Chemie AG (optimized production process for photovoltaic cells) and Burkhardt GmbH (wood gasifier ready for series production).

The prize “Energy concepts and initiatives” was awarded to Irlbacher Blickpunkt Glas GmbH.

Climate Protection Company 2018 Nationwide only 39 companies form the Climate Protection and Energy Efficiency Group of the German Economy. This association, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), the Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMU) and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), can only accept members that meet far above-average energy technology standards for production processes, products and services.

Potential candidates for membership are subjected to a demanding examination with external review in order to guarantee neutrality and high-quality standards.

We are proud to be a part of this association, whose membership list reads like the “Who’s who” of the German economy.

You can find more information on the association’s website.

Memberships and Associations