Thomas Vester

Dear colleagues from Oemeta, Dear customers and business partners,Oemata can look back at 100 years of company history with pride. Oemeta’s historical path is marked by two World Wars, changes in strategy and location, and both economic and oil crises. Throughout all of this Oemeta’s core has remained the same: A mid-sized family-run business, which, based on its committed and loyal employees, has developed into an innovative and internationally positioned company.

The courage and determination of the founding fathers to establish, build up and expand a company in the middle of the First World War, only to start again from scratch at the end of the Second World War, deserves the highest respect. Today, a founding family still manages Oemeta.

In order to focus on products, and also to promote international activities, the management’s decision to sell part of the business (grinding tools) in the early 1990s was future-oriented.

Nowadays, Oemeta’s presence is global. It has eight subsidiaries and/or partners, employs a workforce of 200 people, and is one of the market leaders in the metalworking fluid sector.

By concentrating on fluids for the machining of many different materials, Oemeta is able to offer its customers a constantly improved package, consisting of technologically leading products, consulting and services. The holistic view of customer needs and the resulting economic, environmentally and human compatible solutions is, and will remain, the key focus.

I thank and congratulate everybody who has contributed to this success story: the founding fathers and the following generations, as well as today’s employees, who have the honour of continuing this great company history.


Thomas Vester
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

1916 - 1920


Gustav Däbritz and Otto Schmitz establish Oemeta GmbH in Berlin focusing on the production and distribution of oils, oil substitutes and greases.

The company name Oemeta derives from the German words ‘Oel’ and ‘Metall’ (oil and metal)


The production of water-soluble drilling oil and similar cooling liquids for machine tools starts in rented premises in Berlin, on Königsberger Straße, then on Chaussee Straße.

Foundation of the company Nord­deutsche Schleif­scheibenfabrik GmbH (North German Grinding Wheel Factory) in Liebsgen, Germany.


Purchase of the site in Bötzow-West (about 8 km northwest of Berlin’s city limit) with the existing premises of the former Berliner Müll­verwertungs­gesellschaft (Berlin waste recycling company).

The company changes its name to OEMETA Chemische Werke GmbH.

Oemeta offers two types of product: drilling oils, and ceramic and resin­bonded grinding tools. Due to this product combination, Oemeta enables its customers to make their production processes ef cient in the fast-developing mass production industry.

In 1915, the water-miscible, emulsifiable cooling lubricant is invented in the USA. The term ”soluble oil” was then commonly used for this type of product. The label ”metalworking fluid” was initially introduced in the 1970s.

1921 - 1945


The start of drilling oil production in Bötzow, and manufacturing of grinding tools in Liebsgen.


The manufacturing of grinding tool in Liebsgen is closed down, liquidated and moved to Bötzow.


The production site in Bötzow is continuously adapted to the growing business.


Due to the combat operations, the sales and administration offices in Berlin, Uhlandstraße/ at the corner of Kurfürstendamm, are completely destroyed. The production site in Bötzow is seized and dismantled by the occupying power. The company owners are left without compensation and escape to West Germany.

From today’s perspective, the products commonly used at this time are simple. They consist of mineral and natural fatty oils, with a mixture of sulfonates and soaps for emulsifying and corrosion protection.

The development of the aerospace industry and the light metals now being used places new demands on the performance of products. For the first time, lubricating additives are applied to fulfill these requirements. In order to extend the service life of water-miscible drilling oils, biocides (such as phenols) are increasingly used.

1946 - 1953

Associates (from left to right) Dr. Schmitz-Lammers, A. Däbritz, E. Winkler

1946 - 1948

A new start in the emergency quarter in Unterschlechtbach (Waiblingen County Baden Württemberg). The company rents facilities from Hahn & Kolb. The Winkler family joins the shareholder group as a third associate. An application is submitted to get a business licence from the relevant authorities for the production of cooling lubricants and grinding tools. A licence for the manufacturing of grinding tools is granted in Mannheim, and the cooling lubricant licence is granted in Hamburg. As Oemeta has no machines or facilities of its own, an agreement on the production of cooling lubricants is made with Julius Schindler GmbH, Hamburg. The company headquarters moves to Mannheim.


A search for production sites in and around Hamburg begins, a suitable location is found in Uetersen, Schleswig-Holstein. The production of cooling lubricants starts in the rented facilities of Hermann Behrendt in Uetersen. At almost the same time, the grinding tool manufacturing begins in Mannheim.


Foundation of the Chemische Fabrik, Uetersen, with the aim to purchase the property from Hermann Behrendt.


The Uetersen site is purchased and the building of a new grinding tool production facility begins. Some of the employees, who previously worked in the production site in Bötzow, relocate to Uetersen and help with the initial manufacturing of grinding tools.


The headquarters relocates from Mannheim to Uetersen, the remainder of the grinding tool operation moves to.

After World War II, both the metalworking and the chemical industry are in a reconstruction phase, with highly limited availability of raw materials. The formulas for the fluids are constantly adapted to match the state of the market. Natural raw materials, such as animal fats and their derivatives, play an important role. Even today these are widely used in cooling lubricants.

The new grinding tool factory is equipped with the most modern manufacturing technology and allows the production of grinding wheels up to 800 mm in diameter.

1954 - 1970


Reconstruction of the production facilities for cooling lubricants during ongoing manufacturing; demolition of the old building from the inside.


Today’s administration building is created.

1956 - Employees’ 40 year anniversary newspaper.


The painter and sculptor Johannes Ufer creates a relief representing different materials for grinding tools in the entrance area of the administration building.


Oemeta becomes a member of the Verband der Schmierstoffindustrie e. V. (German Lubricant Manufacturers Association).


Donation of a bell to the nearby, newly built Church of the Redeemer in Uetersen.


Construction of a washing hall for the cleaning and recycling of barrels with rolled edges. The first structural and technical expansion of the grinding tool production facilities.

1969 - 1970

The laboratories are extended and renovated to increase capacity.

This period is characterised by the development of numerous new metalworking fluid technologies, which are supported by the re-strengthening of the German chemical industry.

The first synthetic, mineral oil-free and half-synthetic products (“Frigidol”, ”Frigilux“), as well as products with a low mineral oil content (“Oemeta Universal”, ”Frigomet“) are introduced to the market. They are much more stable than conventional soluble oils.

The complete burning technology is successfully renewed. Bell furnaces with heat recovery and afterburning systems are now in use.

1975 - 1998


Construction of a new bell furnace (9 m3) for the manufacturing of grinding tools.

© Hermes Schleifmittel


Oemeta joins the UNITI Bundesverband mittelständischer Mineralölunternehmen e. V. (German association of small and medium-sized companies in the fuels, lubricants and heating fuels sector).


The Schmitz-Lammers family leaves the company and sell their shares to the co-partners.

Uetersener News: ”Oemeta sells production site to Hamburg Company”, 17 December 1992


At the end of 1992, the grinding tool business is sold to the Hermes Schleifmittel GmbH & Co KG. The aim is to concentrate on cooling lubricants and international expansion. The number of employees decreases from 144 to 50. At this time, the export quota for metalworking fluids is below to 20%.


Formation of Oemeta China, Wuhan, Hubei.


DIN EN ISO 9001 certification is awarded.


Foundation Oemeta UK, Banbury, Oxfordshire. Previously established as a Sales Office on 1 July 1993. The Winkler family sell their company shares to the Vester family (descendants of the founding Däbritz family).

In the 1970s, cooling lubricants containing boric acid become established in the market. Oemeta starts the ”UNIMET” series as robust high volume product.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Oemeta develops the world’s first water-miscible cooling lubricant based on ester oils, “ESTRAMET“. This product allows the user to process aluminium alloys much more efficiently than before. High efficiency is also the benefit of the biggest metalworking fluid innovation of the 1990s: With great success, Oemeta introduces the revolutionary multifunctional oil system ”HYCUT” to the market.

The grinding wheel factory is continuously modernised with significant investment.

2000 - 2011


For the first time, the export share exceeds 50%.


A new logistics hall is built to store finished products and raw materials.


Oemeta USA is formed in Delaware. The current headquarters is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Oemeta Canada is formed in Ingersoll, Ontario.


A new administration, logistics and production site is built in Wuhan. Oemeta Poland is established in Wroclaw. The modernisation of all laboratories commences (service, research & development and production laboratory).


The first environmental management certification is awarded: DIN EN ISO 14001


Oemeta is the first chemical company in Schleswig-Holstein to introduce a management system for occupational safety, and receives an award. Construction of a new tank farm. A process control system for fluid production is introduced.


Oemeta Singapore is founded.


The foundation of Oemeta India, Pune.

HYCUT establishes itself as “the” product for the machining of engine components. Today, HYCUT products generate more than 50 % of the Oemeta group’s complete sales. Chemical legislation becomes more and more restrictive in Europe. Oemeta further develops its range of boron-free products. In 2003, the boron-free ALUMET AL 900 is successfully introduced to the market, five years later the advanced formaldehyde-free product NOVAMET 910 follows.

2012 - 2016


Modernisation of the entrance area keeps the former stylistic elements. The social spaces are also updated.

The cooling lubricant for the industry – supervised by cool experts.


Oemeta CR is established in Brünn, Czech Republic


Start of production in China, the first production site outside of Germany. The purchase of new tanks enables greater storage capacity.


Purchase of a property in the USA for a future production site.


Today, Oemeta is an internationally positioned company with almost 200 employees worldwide.

In 2012, the EU Biocides Directive becomes effective, which significantly complicates the application of biocides in water-miscible cooling lubricants, and makes it much more expensive. In response to this, Oemeta offers the first boron- and biocide-free cooling lubricant with long-term stability in 2013.

In 2015, Oemeta develops a series of machining oils based on the new synthetic gas-to-liquid technology. For 100 years, the Oemeta brand stands as the technology leader and enables its customers to work efficiently. This philosophy will continue into the future.

2018 - 2019


In May 2018 the third production site was inaugurated in Salt Lake City/Utah. Therefore, Oemeta is better prepared to satisfy the requirements of the market. The third production site is a milestone in the history of Oemeta and another sign for the steady growth and the internationality of the company.


Oemeta has made it into the TOP 100 in the innovation competition’s 26th edition. Based on a scientific classification system, TOP 100 rates the innovation management of SMEs and the successful innovations that have resulted from this. Oemeta made a big impression in the independent selection process, especially in the category ‘innovative processes and organisation’.