BAD HALL, AUSTRIA — Alois Gruber Sr., the founder of global extrusion company Agru GmbH, died on June 23. He was 89.
Gruber was born in 1925 and grew up in Steinbach an der Steyr, Austria. After World War II he obtained a master craftsman's certificate in metal works and opened his first workshop in Waldneukirchen in 1948, under the name Alois Gruber GmbH.
He started the business mending pots, making stoves for farmhouses, and making stainless steel frames.
In 1954, he moved his workshop to Bad Hall, Austria, the current global headquarters for Alois Gruber GmbH. He started plastics processing, and the Agru unit, in 1961.
The introduction of plastic pipe, fittings and sheet to the Agru product line resulted in a steady growth of the business. Agru claims to be the world's first company to manufacture sheet with widths of five and seven meters using flat cast die technology.
Gruber continued to play an active role in the company until 2004. Today Agru employs more than 1,000, with factories in Austria, the United States, China, India, Germany, Poland and South America.