The interview with founder and president Peter Christiansen and the milestones of our almost 50-year existence:
Half a century of Chriwa!
On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the company group celebrates the special year with various activities. In June, a large staff party takes place on the factory premises. Here the Lüneburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce presents the Christiansen family with the certificate of honour for the anniversary and praises in particular their outstanding performance as a training company. The mayor of Hambühren gives an appreciative speech of thanks and pays tribute to Mr Christiansen's commitment and professionalism in water treatment technology.
Here's to the next 50 years!
From the garage into the world.
How it all began...
Peter Christiansen, the founder of Chriwa, reports:
Peter Christiansen: In 1973, I started supplying water treatment systems in the small garage of my then flat in Celle. It all came about somewhat spontaneously and was the result of my earlier training and work activities.
My career, until I was able to study mechanical engineering, included an apprenticeship as a machinist in a renowned machine factory in Hamburg, where I was trained on engines and machines, among other things. The sea, the water, the ships and the port in Hamburg led me further to what I did after my apprenticeship. I got the job as an assistant engineer in a large Hamburg shipping company. After two years at sea, I then got the opportunity to start my mechanical engineering studies at the University of Hamburg.
After my studies, I did an additional degree in business administration at the Technical University of Munich. When I finished my studies, I was entrusted with the complete construction management and commissioning in a sintered water project in Romania. The water project had a treatment capacity of 1,600 m³/h. I successfully completed it and handed it over to the customer.
Did you already have contact with the element of water in your childhood? When did the love for sailing come? Did you always do it privately or also for sport?
As a toddler, I was always at the seaside with my family, so I learned to swim and love the sea very early. As a schoolboy, I learned to sail in a sailing school and also did the necessary sailing licences. On top of that, I also learned to dive and got a diving licence. Therefore, it was actually a happy coincidence that after my general studies in mechanical engineering I then ended up in the profession I love so much, "water", which also has a lot of future for humanities issues.
So I changed my profession from mechanical engineering to the very interesting and promising field of water treatment. I then changed jobs to the most renowned water treatment company in the world at the time, where I finally found myself in the field of water treatment technology.
What have you always particularly enjoyed? Travelling, getting to know people, developing certain solutions?
To this day, I enjoy getting to know foreign cultures and people. Developing and delivering intelligent solutions to the respective needs of the customers spurs me on.
The often unfair dependency on employees and the company structures that were incomprehensible and far too complicated for me have always bothered me.
That's why it appealed to me to set up my own company in my field of expertise, water treatment, where I could manage staff in a way that I thought was appropriate and decent.
Did you always have a certain vision or guiding principle? Something that spurred you on? A quote?
My guiding principle in life was to be able to determine for myself how I could successfully build up a company together with employees, which today exists as a group of companies that has meanwhile supplied plant technology to more than 110 countries around the world. My quote is: Whoever delivers clean plant technology, based on intelligent solutions, to their customers with decency and looks after them, builds friendships with the customer and this is the basis and perspective for our future.
That is why I attached great importance to partnership and teamwork from the very beginning and with this help, the foundation stone for the company "Peter Christiansen Wasseraufbereitung" was laid as a partnership in a rented flat in 1973.
After a few years - in 1975 - the company "Peter Christiansen Wasseraufbereitungstechnik" bought an office building on a leasehold plot, so that we then had the opportunity for the first time to pre-assemble plants ourselves and were therefore no longer dependent on suppliers and subcontractor partnerships in all areas of performance.
As the company grew, we decided as early as 1983 to acquire a larger company site in Hambühren in order to have enough floor space here to start our own production as the company continued to expand. For the first time, there was sufficient storage capacity and manufacturing facilities under the company name "Chriwa Wasseraufbereitungstechnik GmbH" (change of company form: 1980).
What are you particularly proud of?
I am proud of the fact that we, the staff and I together, have been able to build up a group of companies that today supplies plants to more than 100 countries around the world. In addition to water treatment technology, the companies CUSS and AWG complement our portfolio with wastewater treatment and swimming pool technology.
Today, Peter Christiansen leads the company's fortunes as President. He is a family man, married, has 5 children and is the happy grandfather of his grandchildren. The company holding now consists of 3 companies and successfully supplies water treatment plants to over 110 countries worldwide.
The milestones of Chriwa
Foundation of the private company - Peter Christiansen Wasseraufbereitungstechnik
Move out of rented office space into the first small company and production building of our own in Westercelle.
Change of corporate form to Chriwa Wasseraufbereitungstechnik GmbH.
In order to meet the requirements of a much larger production volume, it was necessary to acquire a new large company site - Hambühren was chosen as the new location in connection with the Celle region.
1985 - 1987
Establishment of an internationally oriented distribution system.
Installation of extensive operating software for administration, production and construction (including 3D CAD).
21.12.1988 - Foundation of the company CUSS Chriwa Umwelt-Systemtechnik und Service GmbH for the development of a new production area: plants for the remediation and removal of contaminated sites and pollutants as well as biological wastewater treatment plants.
1989 - 1995
Due to the opening of the Eastern European markets, the existing distribution system was expanded and the personnel and production capacities (skilled personnel in all areas as well as the production facilities) were increased.
Founding of subsidiaries in Eastern and Southern Germany and in various European countries.
Development of own production data acquisition, process visualisation and electronic control systems.
Introduction of extensive and comprehensive operational controlling for Chriwa and CUSS.
After its foundation in November 2001 in Hambühren in the district of Celle in Lower Saxony, "AWG Innovative Wasser- und Abwassertechnik GmbH" is now firmly established in the German market with its focus on water treatment for swimming pools.
The first projects were, among others, a seal pool water treatment in the Frankfurt Zoo or a drainage water treatment with pre-filtration and reverse osmosis in the MHH Hannover.
The capacity of office space was increased by 30% and the production facility was almost doubled by the construction of 2 new assembly and storage halls with a working area of 3,000 m².
2005 AWG receives the order for the aquapark in Wroclaw, with 7 large water circuits, including rinse water treatment plant with UF+RO as well as a membrane cell chlorine electrolysis plant 2 x 5,000 g/h. Contract volume >1,000,000 euros.
2008 - 2009
Foundation of a superordinate holding company to control the various company divisions.
The rapid growth of the CUSS team makes it necessary to move into our own office building in Hehlenbruchweg, Hambühren.
2010 - 2012
The container production is outsourced to an independent manufacturing company - "FaProTec" (Factory for Process Technology). For this purpose, a production hall of approx. 3,000 m² was built and equipped with modern machines and production equipment.During this, the capacity of the plant pre-assembly could again be increased by about 30% with approx. 1,200 m², which brought significant advantages in the throughput time, especially for large plants.
At the end of 2012, Chriwa received the largest single order in its history in Latin America and successfully completed it by mid-2014.
2015 - 2019
Chriwa delivers many complex and large plants worldwide:
In 2015, construction work began on a major project in Algeria: The new construction of a well brackish water desalination plant to produce drinking water. The plant equipment consists of horizontal filter units and powerful pumping/dosing stations, polishers and reverse osmosis, and today enables a capacity of 29,520 m³/d to supply approx. 250,000 people.
Chriwa is building a large multi-stage brewing water treatment plant for a beverage company in South Korea with a total capacity of 10,000 m³/d.
In 2017, Chriwa completed a triple full desalination plant and condensate treatment with mixed bed filter for a chemical industry in Russia.
Chriwa has designed, implemented and installed a large number of drinking water treatment plants worldwide in accordance with demanding international and national standards: Another well water treatment of brackish water desalination for a waterworks in Algeria. Capacity: 30,240 m³/d with pumping stations, filtration and fine filtration and reverse osmosis.
2020 - 2021
Relocation of AWG from Eicklingen to Hambühren in Hehlenbruchweg. This way, all 3 companies of the holding are close to each other.
The production of "FaProTec" is integrated at Chriwa.
Joint appearance of all three companies on a new homepage with a new company slogan: water matters - we care.
To this day, about 150 people are directly or indirectly involved in the success and reputation of Chriwa, CUSS and AWG products.
We protect the well-being of people, as pioneers in the treatment of the most precious commodity on earth: water
To protect the environment, to preserve nature and to give you the best pure water.