We are market forerunners

We are a corporation-independent, medium-sized company from Frankfurt am Main specializing in the construction of special systems as well as the development and production of control systems and other electronic components. One of our strengths is our great vertical range of manufacture. Since we manufacture all essential steel construction elements such as cabins, frames, shaft doors and shaft equipment in our own metalworking shop, we are largely independent of the supplier market and can meet many customer requirements beyond the usual dimensions and standards.

Our history

On April 1, 1967, Alfred Thoma, a trained electri­cian and elevator installer, founded Thoma Aufzüge in Frank­furt am Main. The Bava­rian Swabian had previously built up a successful branch in the Main metro­polis for an elevator manu­fac­turer from his home­town of Augs­burg within a few years. But now the passio­nate tech­ni­cian and tinkerer wants to go his own way. Initi­ally, Thoma will focus on the deve­lo­p­ment and produc­tion of elevator controls. The compon­ents are so good that they are also in demand among the major elevator construc­tion compa­nies. At the same time, the founder signs a coope­ra­tion agree­ment with a southern German elevator manu­fac­turer. He sells, assem­bles and main­tains its systems in the Rhine-Main area. However, these are controlled with Thoma’s elec­tronic compon­ents. From the very begin­ning, they were among the most important compon­ents for the newcomer to the industry, which is why the company was renamed Elec­tronic Lift Thoma (ELT) in 1979.

On the road to success with quality and flexible solutions

Within ten years, the specia­lized small busi­ness grows into a company that can hold its own against the “big players” in the industry with quality, flexible produc­tion and inno­va­tive tech­nical solu­tions. Due to the good order situa­tion, Thoma decides to buy the property Schön­berger Weg 6 in Frank­furt and to build a modern produc­tion hall with a small office wing there. In 1980, the new loca­tion is ready for occup­ancy. The capa­ci­ties now make it possible to build up to 100 elevator systems per year. Elec­tronic Lift Thoma is now a medium-sized company that has occu­pied its market niche as a “noble forge” of high-quality and indi­vi­du­ally desi­gned eleva­tors from its own production.

Six elevators — one control system

In 1984, a major order from the Hoch­tief construc­tion group for twelve elevator systems in the so-called Poseidon buil­ding at the Frank­furt Trade Fair was ground­brea­king. A special chal­lenge: Six of the systems, each with 19 stops, are to be operated via a central group control system. Thoma is the only supplier who has the confi­dence to do this. Since such an elec­tronic compo­nent (a group control for six elevator systems) does not yet exist on the market, the tech­nical know-how of the company’s founder is once again in demand, and he deve­lops and builds the required control system himself without further ado. This control system func­tioned without any note­worthy problems for over 25 years and was only replaced by a desti­na­tion selec­tion control system during a revi­ta­liz­a­tion of the entire building.

At the end of the 1980s, a genera­tion change became appa­rent: After studying electrical engi­nee­ring, Alfred Thomas’ eldest son Bene­dikt joined the company in 1987 and took over the manage­ment of the Service & Main­ten­ance divi­sion. His two younger brothers follow him: Jan Thoma begins his acti­vi­ties in 1988 in the assembly depart­ment and learns all the work at the base. Nikolai Thoma also joins the company two years later and initi­ally becomes respon­sible for the electrical division.

Thoma provides innovative impetus

Gleic

The tasks of the company founder are succes­si­vely passed on to the next genera­tion: Jan Thoma takes over the manage­ment of sales, produc­tion and assembly and Nikolai Thoma is addi­tio­nally respon­sible for orga­niz­a­tion and finances. 

Again and again, Thoma Aufzüge provides inno­va­tive impulses in elevator construc­tion and sets tech­nical stan­dards: In 1989, the company deve­lops its first own micro­pro­cessor controls, which are soon used. They replace the tried-and-tested relay controls and enable a wide range of new control options. The first frequency controls followed in the early 1990s. Thoma also deve­lops most of the compon­ents required for this itself, as the products are not yet avail­able on the market at this time.

At the same time, digi­ta­liz­a­tion progresses: In 1993, the design depart­ment in the company’s plan­ning divi­sion is comple­tely converted to CAD.

Elevators beyond usual standards

The company conti­nues to grow and conso­li­dates its repu­ta­tion as a reli­able and flexible manu­fac­turer of high-quality and tech­ni­cally sophisti­cated instal­la­tions. In 1994, Thoma completes its 1,000th elevator. To drive this deve­lo­p­ment and extend its tech­nical lead, Thoma estab­lishes its own moder­niz­a­tion department.

In 1996, the company premises in the Praun­heim district of Frank­furt are expanded once again. Here, elevator systems are constantly being deve­loped that the majo­rity of manu­fac­tu­rers cannot offer at a reason­able price: For the Bundes­bank, Thoma manu­fac­tures an under­floor elevator with a load capa­city of 15 tons, a total weight of 56 tons and deve­lops its own rail system for this purpose. A car elevator in which the car is rotated 180° during travel, a machine room-less elevator with a load capa­city of 1.6 tons, systems with a travel speed of 3 meters per second — time and again, Thoma deve­lo­pers solve chal­len­ging tech­nical tasks.

In 2002, the company founder and main share­holder Alfred Thoma leaves the company manage­ment and goes into his well-deserved retirement.

In the Wandel­halle Bad Wildungen, Thoma hands over the first comple­tely round glass elevator with self-suppor­ting glass shaft frame to the state spa of the health resort in 2006.

In the same year, Bene­dikt Thoma, the oldest of the three Thoma brothers, decides to make a funda­mental change in his life. He ends his acti­vi­ties in the manage­ment, leaves the company and emigrates to Canada.

The Thoma Lifter — compact solution for private homes

In 2010, the company draws atten­tion with the Thoma Lifter, a plat­form lift with glazed aluminum shaft frame for indoor and outdoor use. The compact design can be deli­vered and assem­bled as a whole and is parti­cu­larly suitable for equip­ping private homes with a lift.

In 2012, Elec­tronic Lift Thoma is renamed back to the tradi­tional Thoma Aufzüge brand. The renaming simpli­fies marke­ting (family name and product) and enables a unified name with the new busi­ness segment Thoma Lifter.

The fastest instal­la­tions for Thoma were realized in 2013: a group of three with fireman’s elevator and desti­na­tion selec­tion control and a travel speed of 4.0 m/s.

Once again, the company has to expand its capa­ci­ties: the produc­tion had become too small, the machinery obso­lete and the wareh­ouse no longer reason­able to orga­nize. After the new construc­tion and remo­de­ling, which had already begun in 2012, around 4500 square meters will be avail­able for produc­tion, wareh­ouse and office as of May 2014.

Components — Thoma quality from the Online Shop

The requests for compon­ents and spare parts are incre­a­sing, which is why Thoma decides to reor­ga­nize this area. In 2017, the new Thoma Compon­ents home­page goes online.

Unfor­tu­n­a­tely, not ever­ything always runs smoothly at Thoma either: 

Over the years, there are repeated disagree­ments between the remai­ning share­hol­ders Nikolai and Jan Thoma. Discus­sions focus on their personal future and the deve­lo­p­ment of the company. The long-stan­ding quar­rels end with Nikolai Thoma leaving the manage­ment and as a share­holder at the end of 2019. From then on, Jan Thoma will continue the strai­ght­for­ward, high quality-oriented course of the company founder Alfred Thoma. This will ensure the conti­nued exis­tence of the company, inclu­ding jobs.

Leadership team


All experts have more then 20 years
expe­ri­ence in engi­nee­ring and buil­ding elevators

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Abolfazl Bazzazan

is our “newcomer” and is respon­sible for service contracts in the sales department. 

Heinz Gries

is an expe­ri­enced elevator specia­list who has worked for many suppliers and has been applying his skills in our sales depart­ment for over 10 years. 

Tomasz Dabrowski

manages the wareh­ouse, moni­tors inco­ming and outgoing goods, provides the requested mate­rials on time and has been orga­ni­zing trans­ports in coor­di­na­tion with the assembly manage­ment for 20 years. 

Markus Kühnemuth

is respon­sible for produc­tion in the metal area, espe­cially cabin construc­tion. He has 28 years of profes­sional expe­ri­ence and has been with Thoma for 23 years. 

Stefan Kempf

is in charge of instal­la­tion in the field. He is respon­sible for construc­tion site inspec­tions, clari­fi­ca­tions on site and carries out the accep­t­ance tests. 

Andreas Kunz

is in charge of accoun­ting and human resources and has been with the company for ten years. 

Dieter Plate

is respon­sible for project manage­ment (internal sales) and has been with Thoma for 18 years. He is the contact person when it comes to clari­fying construc­tion-related issues and orga­ni­zing TÜV appointments. 

Marcus Dilsch

is in charge of mate­rials manage­ment, purcha­sing and wareh­ousing at Thoma and is also respon­sible for looking after the vehicle fleet. Dilsch has been with the company for 24 years. 

Zan Buljan

is in charge of the electrical depart­ment. He is also respon­sible for service and main­ten­ance. He has been working for Thoma for 26 years. 

Volker Fritz

is in charge of sales. He has been working at Thoma for 25 years and has 27 years of profes­sional experience. 

Klaus Barth

heads the design depart­ment and is thus respon­sible for all plan­ning services. He has 33 years of profes­sional expe­ri­ence in his job and has been a member of the Thoma team for 27 years. 

Jan Thoma

the youn­gest son of the company founder, manages the company. He started there in 1988 as a helper in assembly. As a teen­ager, he earned his pocket money by solde­ring circuit boards for his father. 

our founder

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Alfred Thoma

A high quality stan­dard, our own flexible produc­tion and great know-how in the construc­tion of special systems and indi­vi­du­ally desi­gned eleva­tors are our essen­tial trade­marks. The conti­nuous stri­ving for impro­ve­ments and optimal solu­tions, you could also call it inven­ti­ve­ness, are also part of the Thoma “DNA”. They are the legacy of the company’s founder, Alfred Thoma, a man who was an inge­nious tinkerer, inventor, tireless entre­pre­neur and vigo­rous hard worker all at the same time, a patri­arch in the most posi­tive sense.

Older employees who expe­ri­enced him as a boss still speak with a certain rever­ence of the “old man,” whom some locks­miths and fitters some­times called “Chief Silver Curl” or “White Shark” behind closed doors, in allu­sion to his prema­tu­rely graying, wispy hair, but also because they respected him as their “leader. Both of these attri­butes suited the powerful appearance of this strai­ght­for­ward, ener­getic entre­pre­neu­rial perso­na­lity, a man for whom dili­gence, relia­bi­lity and honesty were non-nego­tiable virtues.

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From elevator fitter to respected entrepreneur

Without these quali­ties, Alfred Thoma would probably not have followed such an unusual and impres­sive career path. It led the “boy from Bava­rian Swabia”, who had herded cows bare­foot in his child­hood, via an appren­ti­ce­ship as an electri­cian and elevator fitter, finally to a successful and respected elevator manu­fac­turer, who held his own against the big players in the industry time and again with tenacity and an inge­nious under­stan­ding of technology.

In 1953, Thoma completed his appren­ti­ce­ship at the Kamm­garn­spin­nerei in Augs­burg. As an electri­cian, he main­tained elevator systems there and began to become enthu­si­astic about this tech­no­logy. He

decides to join Bauer Aufzüge — another Augs­burg company — and learns how to manu­fac­ture and install complete elevator systems from scratch.

Because of his good work, Thoma is sent to Frank­furt with the assign­ment of setting up a branch office there for the company. He has only his toolbox in his luggage when he arrives in the city. Bauer, he hands over a branch office with 30 employees in 1967.

With will­power and inventiveness 

After some minor fric­tion, Alfred Thoma parts ways with the company and decides to go into busi­ness for himself. Initi­ally, he mainly manu­fac­tures control compon­ents and signs a coope­ra­tion agree­ment with another southern German elevator manu­fac­turer. Thoma sells the latter’s systems in the Rhine-Main region and installs and main­tains the eleva­tors. From the very begin­ning, however, they are equipped with his own products — control systems from his company Thoma Aufzüge.

The firm belief in doing things better, achie­ving goals with will­power and inven­ti­ve­ness, and the urge to “show others how it’s done” have always been important driving forces for Alfred Thoma. As early as 1969, in the company’s second year, he and a handful of men assem­bled a system with 14 stops at Bad Homburg’s Untertor. In the same year, the industry newcomer completes 14 instal­la­tions. At that time, Thoma Aufzüge was still basi­cally a three-man opera­tion, supple­mented by a few assi­stants, in which Thomas’ older sons also worked a few years later.

His first employees were a sworn troop. For anyone who wanted to work for Thoma, the willing­ness to work hard for good money was the ticket. “I went three times to apply,” says Horst Zschen­der­lein, who ulti­mately worked for Thoma for more than 50 years and is consi­dered one of the “vete­rans” in the company. “At the first inter­view, they said I was too weak.” But in the end, “the old man” reco­gnized his will to work, “and will was all that mattered.”

Moti­vator, driver — and fair employer

In the first few years, the boss himself lent a hand, accom­pa­nied all trans­ports and also helped with unloading and assembly. Even inju­ries did not stop him from working, reports Zschenderlein.

Thoma was always a moti­vator and driver and always set a good example. If someone in his team objected, he coun­tered in his own way. His motto: “If you don’t want to do it, I’ll do it myself.” Alfred Thoma was incor­rup­tible in every respect. Some­times the boss pushed his people until he himself was exhausted. Over­time was normal, espe­cially when a dead­line for the comple­tion of a plant was approaching.

At the same time, he was always generous and fair when he was satis­fied with the perfor­mance of his team, some­times in an uncon­ven­tional way. He let employees use a company car for family vaca­tions, handed out cash bonuses after a decent perfor­mance, bought rounds of pizza and beer, or spon­ta­ne­ously incre­ased the hourly wage by a few pennies when someone fetched a cold beer for him. Because when it came to his favo­rite drink, he was and remained a Bava­rian: Thoma, who had chosen to live in Frank­furt, also enjoyed a wheat beer at lunchtime.

Thomas tech­nical skills convince

But it was not only the fair­ness and physical presence of the hands-on tinkerer that secured him the loyalty of his work­force. Thoma also won over the work­force with his tech­nical skills. “He was dynamic and deter­mined,” one former employee describes him. “And we always had the feeling that what he put his hand to, he could do.”

At that time, the loyalty of the employees went so far that one of them once priva­tely lent the entre­pre­neur a large sum of money when the house banks did not want to grant an important loan despite a good order situa­tion. Sure, those were diffe­rent times, but the example shows the team spirit that shaped Thoma’s corpo­rate culture and still does today.

With its tech­nical deve­lo­p­ments — espe­cially the inno­va­tive control systems — Alfred Thoma surprised its custo­mers and compe­ti­tors time and again. They enabled fast but at the same time very comfor­table elevator rides. In 1978, he presented his inno­va­tive controls at the Hanover Fair and subse­quently sold them in large quan­ti­ties. Thoma expanded his company in Frank­furt during this period and from 1980 onwards manu­fac­tured more than 80 elevator systems per year.

An inge­nious tinkerer who is trusted by customers

Thoma deve­lops micro­pro­cessor controls, machine room-less eleva­tors, new designs for heavy-duty eleva­tors and uses gearless drives for high travel speeds at an early stage. The fact that Thoma Aufzüge has estab­lished itself over many years as a specia­list for parti­cu­larly deman­ding instal­la­tions is prima­rily due to the inven­tive spirit of the company’s founder Alfred Thoma, his passion for maste­ring tech­nical chal­lenges and sear­ching for optimal solutions.

Of parti­cular impor­t­ance in 1986 was the supply and instal­la­tion of twelve elevator systems in the “Poseidon-Haus”, a high-rise office buil­ding on Theodor-Heuss-Allee oppo­site the trade fair in Frank­furt. There, Alfred Thoma realized, among other things, a group of six eleva­tors with 19 landings and a travel speed of 2.0 m/s, which were in opera­tion for more than 25 years by means of relay control.

Without knowing it in advance, Thoma once again performed pionee­ring work.

Up to that time, there was no company in Germany that could centrally control a group of six elevators.

control of a group of six elevators.

The resourceful elevator manu­fac­turer only really realized what he had achieved when the eleva­tors were accepted and handed over. The respon­sible employees of the client, Hoch­tief, expressly thanked and praised Thoma, saying: “We knew you could do it!”

Honesty, commit­ment and transparency 

This trust of regular custo­mers, espe­cially Hoch­tief and Philipp Holz­mann AG, led to Hoch­tief orde­ring 30 high-perfor­mance systems for a high-rise buil­ding from Thoma in the early 1990s. The order was admit­tedly too large for his company’s capa­ci­ties. But the expe­ri­enced busi­nessman quickly joined forces with a compe­titor who was keen to “get on board”, and the two compa­nies handled the order together.

For a long time now, Thoma Aufzüge has had its own depart­ment working on tech­nical development.

Alfred Thoma’s youn­gest son Jan, who now runs the company, adheres to his father’s system of values and princi­ples, and thus success­fully holds his own in an incre­a­singly tough compe­ti­tive envi­ron­ment in which the only thing that often matters is cutting costs. 

An honest, binding and trans­pa­rent rela­ti­onship with custo­mers, reliability,

quality and a spirit of inno­va­tion are the legacy of Alfred Thomas, which will continue to guide Thoma Aufzüge in the future.


We are happy to be trailblazers

Innovation milestones

2022

the new Lifter Q 1.7

At the inter­na­tional trade fair for eleva­tors in Augs­burg, we will be presen­ting the Q1.7, the third model of our retrofit systems. This system is an elevator according to EN81 20/50. 20 meters lifting height, a payload of 675 kg or 9 persons and an opera­ting speed of 1.0 meters per second — these are the most important tech­nical data of the compact lift concept Q 1.7 from Thoma Aufzüge.

2019

Phar­maceu­tical giant Pfizer orders the supply and instal­la­tion of three special instal­la­tions, inclu­ding a large freight elevator. We advise the customer to unload this instal­la­tion. According to the stan­dard, the load capa­city should have been 12,000 kg in line with the floor area, but tech­nical measures enabled the load capa­city to be reduced to 6,000 kg. The lighter design saves manu­fac­tu­ring costs and is cheaper to operate due to lower power consumption.

2018

bus-system

The current control system was tech­ni­cally mature, but had many compon­ents and resulted in a lot of wiring, which was often diffi­cult for the instal­lers. We there­fore decided to build a new control system with a large number of decen­tra­lized compu­ters (bus system) and to stan­dar­dize all cabling (plug and play). From 2020, the first versions were tested on an internal elevator..

2015

robots

Für das Markus Kran­ken­haus in Frank­furt-Ginn­heim liefert und montiert Thoma Aufzüge For the Markus Hospital in Frank­furt-Ginn­heim, a long-stan­ding customer of the company, Thoma Aufzüge supplies and installs a special control system that enables trans­port robots to carry out fully auto­mated trans­ports throughout the building.The task was to create an inter­face between the elevator controls and the “on-site” trans­port robots, enab­ling fully auto­mated opera­tion by the robots. Unfor­tu­n­a­tely, this exci­ting project could not be completed. The manu­fac­turer had over­reached itself with a planned new deve­lo­p­ment. The new robots were not finished, which even­tually led to the cancel­la­tion of the project.

2013

fast triple

In the Triton Haus project, a very high-quality desti­na­tion selec­tion control system was put out to tender. Still in the plan­ning phase, the client — the Allianz Group — demanded that a test be made after the complete system had been executed, but in prac­tice this was very diffi­cult (780 people in 41.6 minutes, or one person every 3.2 seconds). With people, the test was hardly possible in real terms, so we executed a test program for auto­matic call input, which was checked by a specia­list engi­neer on site. The specia­list engi­neer, and thus we, were also super­vised by an expert.

2013

Thoma completes its fastest instal­la­tions to date: a triple unit with fireman’s hoist, special desti­na­tion selec­tion control and a travel speed of 4.0 m/s.

2010

Thoma Lifter

The company pres­ents the inno­va­tive Thoma Lifter plat­form elevator at the Inter­lift trade fair in Augs­burg, Germany, and has the concept protected in 15 coun­tries with 3 indi­vi­dual patents each.
www.thoma-lifter.de

2003

remote service

With the new remote service, the systems are connected via a modem at Thoma, which does not require an addi­tional tele­phone line.

2000

Challenging orders are on the horizon 

With the construc­tion of a car elevator in which the car is rotated 180° during the elevator ride, Thoma Aufzüge once again demons­trates its compe­tence in solving tech­ni­cally diffi­cult tasks.

Thoma masters a tech­ni­cally very diffi­cult task by buil­ding the first three eleva­tors with gearless drives and a travel speed of 2.0 meters per second. The design is compli­cated because the gearless drives are located at the bottom on the side of the shaft. Another hydraulic freight elevator system executed in the project had to be equipped with coun­ter­ba­lance weights to reduce the drive line (current limi­ta­tion), a so-called trac­tion piston system.

In Kron­berg, the Braun company has its archi­tects build a new type of glass elevator. The special feature of the instal­la­tion are the glass doors with bottom drive. They consist of narrow glass profile frames into which the glass is glued from the front. Since such compon­ents are not avail­able on the market, Thoma has to make the doors himself.

The first machine room-less elevator with a travel speed of 1.6 meters per second goes into opera­tion. Thoma completes the first machine room-less elevator with a load capa­city of 1.6 tons. At this time, most of the compe­ti­tors are not able to offer an elevator of this design.

1998

56 tons elevator

The company completes the “Bundes­bank” under­floor elevator, which has a load capa­city of 15 tons and a total weight of 56 tons. For this, Thoma deve­lops its own rail system, as the under­floor elevator has accesses on three sides.

1997

1000 kilograms hydraulic elevator

For the BHF-Bank we renew six eleva­tors with 23 stops, 2.5m/s travel speed, one group of four and two firemen eleva­tors.

Thoma realizes and hands over a hydraulic elevator with a load capa­city of 1000 kilo­grams, a travel speed of 1.0 meters per second and a travel height of 24.5 meters.

1996

2.5 meters per second

The Frank­furt elevator manu­fac­turer completes the first triple elevator group with 20 landings and a travel speed of 2.5 meters per second.

1992

frequency control

Once again, Thoma Aufzüge provides inno­va­tive impetus: The company deve­lops the first frequency control systems. The company also deve­lops most of the compon­ents required for this itself, as the products are not yet avail­able on the market at this time.

1989

microprocessor

Elec­tronic data proces­sing is intro­duced at Thoma, step by step at first: From now on, all circuit diagrams for the elevator controls are drawn using CAD.Thoma deve­lops its first own micro­pro­cessor controls. The new tech­no­logy enables a wide range of control options and replaces the outdated relay controls.

1987

glass cabin

In the Northwest Center in Frank­furt, Thoma (at that time under the name Elec­tronic Lift Thoma, ELT for short) realizes the company’s first glass elevator, the so-called Red Shoe. The lift with its spacious glass cabin remains an important refe­rence for a long time and has been in opera­tion unch­anged for 35 years.

1984

six elevators

As part of a major order from the Hoch­tief construc­tion group, Thoma deve­lops a central group relay control system for six eleva­tors, each with 19 stops and a speed of 2.0 m/s. The Frank­furt-based elevator manu­fac­turer was the only company to offer Hoch­tief such a system with a group of 6 eleva­tors. The eleva­tors remain in opera­tion tech­ni­cally unch­anged for more than 25 years.

1978

the first “controlled” elevator system

Thoma deve­lops the first three-phase phase-angle control and hands over the first “controlled” elevator system. With great success, the entre­pre­neur exhi­bits his advanced controls at the Hanover Fair and subse­quently sells them in large numbers.

1968

the foundation

Company founder Alfred Thoma manu­fac­tures his first control compon­ents using relay tech­no­logy. The basis of this new control system were relays, which were manu­fac­tured by Siemens according to the speci­fi­ca­tions of the company founder, inclu­ding so-called holding relays (relays with magnets, which do not lose their last state in case of power failure).