20 years of H2O

The H2O headquarter is situated in Steinen, in southern Baden near the Swiss frontier. © H2O.
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Many mints and companies from the supplying industry know H2O GmbH. In 1999 the company began as the spin-off from Mannesmann Demag and has been an owner-operated company since then. The company’s headquarter is in Steinen in Baden. H2O GmbH nowadays forms part of the worldwide most experienced experts in the sustainable treatment and recirculation of industrial wastewater. With the efficient and safe VACUDEST vacuum distillation systems more than 100 employees in the headquarter and in the subsidiaries in Switzerland, Poland and China achieve wastewater-free production for customers in more than 50 countries throughout the world.


Extension building in Steinen

Just in time for the celebration of 20 years of H2O GmbH, the extension building at the company’s headquarters in Steinen, Baden has been finished. The construction work lasted almost a year: the production hall, which is 3 times larger, now offers up to a week shorter production times and the extension of the 2nd floor gives space for 20 additional office workstations. Have a look at the work in fast motion.



Matthias Fickenscher, CEO of H2O GmbH. © H2O.


“I feel joy about the success and also deep gratitude.”

Mr. Fickenscher, Congratulations on 20 years of H2O. Have you already realised this correctly? What is the feeling when your own company has grown out of its teenage years?

I feel joy about the success and also deep gratitude. Our project “H2O” has received a lot of support over the years. This ranges from the first customers who put their trust in us to the associations who helped us to organize and structure a company. But the most important thing were the people who put their heart and soul into serving the cause and who pushed the young company forward with all their strength.

Looking back on the last 20 years – are there things you would do differently?

More calm and composure, some things cannot be forced. I took on responsibility at the age of 29, so I had to learn that at a young age.

Which social and economic trends will have the greatest influence on business in the future? What challenges do you see for H2O GmbH?

There are signs that there won’t be any “continue like this”, as people finally realize that every generation has borrowed the earth only to pass it on to the next generation. And this next generation rightly expects us to leave an intact environment behind. So the unspoken truth is that we must all give up some of our wealth so that we can produce and consume sustainably. We at H2O want to play our part by helping our customers to produce more sustainably. But we also have to start on our own doorstep. The installation of a photovoltaic system and the gradual switch to electromobility are just as much a part of this as the expansion of the existing groundwater cooling system, which helps to save many tons of CO2.

The success of H2O speaks for itself. Already more than 1,600 installations in over 50 countries around the world. They now employ over 120 people. How do you think the market and H2O will develop over the next few years? What do you see when you risk a look into the future?

The global demand for vacuum evaporators for the realization of wastewater-free production will continue to rise worldwide and so will the supply. The big question that has to be answered is which business model will prevail. Will the evaporator be a component that is produced as cheaply as possible and ordered from the catalogue or web shop? Or do customers need a “solution provider” who designs a system tailored to their individual needs? Probably there will be a reason for existence for both models in the future and every manufacturer has to position itself clearly. The more successful a product becomes, the greater the intensity of competition. We have to accept that our success does not remain a success in itself, but that we have to assert ourselves on the market every day with our services. And that means not resting on our laurels, but “rolling up our sleeves and getting down to business”.


The VACUDEST XL16.000 is the 19th size in the product range of H2O. © H2O.


The new VACUDEST XL16.000

At the same time of the company’s birthday, by the end of June the first VACUDEST XL 16.000 left the production of H2O GmbH. This unit complements the VACUDEST series by the 19th size. “The plant was developed on customer request – it closes the gap in the upper performance range, which is urgently needed by the ever larger industries,” says Sales Manager Jochen Freund. With a capacity of 16.000 cubic meters per year, it completes the VACUDEST series between the smaller XL 12.000 and the more than twice as powerful VACUDEST XXL 30.000.

Optically, the XL 16.000 differs from its sisters only in its dimensions. With a good 4 meters in height and 5.9 meters in length, it is around 60 centimeters taller and longer than the smaller XL 12.000.


More details about the extension building were unveiled in this article.

H2O is not only located near to the Swiss border but also to CoinsWeekly’s offices. So, in 2013, of course we visited the company in our neighbourhood and got many interesting insights.

Not much later, a private mint in the USA paid a large sum of money because they had dumped cyanide into a river causing by this a mass death of fish.

To learn more about their services and product range visit the H2O website.

And if you don’t want to miss anything regarding the zero liquid discharge production, you might wish to subscribe to the H2O newsletter for free.