17/10/2017 – PFI Turns 60 — auf Deutsch lesen

In the beginning was the leather shoe

The success story of the Test and Research Institute Pirmasens (PFI) with a major focus on research and materials testing rests on footwear and leather.


Extraction of samples for chemical analysis © PFI


Measurement of foot motion © PFI


Its successful diversification exemplifies the innovative way in which the City of Pirmasens and numerous enterprises are overcoming structural challenges. In the beginning was the shoe. Numerous Pirmasens-based companies now operating in a wide range of industrial sectors can trace their origins back to shoemaking. During the “golden age” of the footwear industry right up to the 1980s, these companies were concerned exclusively with footwear and leather. However, the wealth of expert knowledge amassed during that era subsequently provided a valuable basis for development in new fields of activity.

The many pertinent examples include, for example, mechanical engineering, logistics, polymer chemistry, and packaging. Such diversification also marks one of the milestones in the success story of PFI. Founded in 1956, and hence now 60 years old, the Test and Research Institute Pirmasens e.V. formerly included the expression “for Shoe Production” in its name. Even though footwear and leather still play a key role in the life of the Institute, the areas covered and the portfolio of services offered have expanded enormously.

PFI’s testing services and research offerings have long been available to many other areas of industry as well as the leather and footwear sectors. The Institute operates state-of-the-art chemistry and physics laboratories and also has a certification office, a microbiology laboratory, and, not least among its facilities, a biotechnology department with its own engineering laboratory. Many of the research projects performed there on a pilot scale, such as those relating to fermentation, biomass, and thermal pressure hydrolysis, are already running successfully on an industrial scale in a biogas plant at Winzeln Energy Park.

The City of Pirmasens is a founder member of PFI and still maintains close ties with the Institute after 60 years. Thus the City is a member of the registered association and has a representative on the management board. A number of world-wide subsidiary companies operate under the umbrella of the PFI group. There are subsidiaries in Turkey, in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and in China.

More Information about the PFI (in German) you find HERE

Further articles for: