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Company history

Over the past half century and even longer, we have seen incredible advances in medical technology that have transformed the way doctors diagnose, treat and prevent disease. We at SCHÖLLY FIBEROPTIC GMBH are part of this transformation. Have a look on a part of our history in products, technology and solutions in the video.

Below you will find a summary of the milestones since our foundation in 1973 to the present day.

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Bold approach and down-to-earth vision

SCHÖLLY’s success story began in February 1973 and started between the kitchen and dining room, equipped with just a telephone and telex machine. As small as SCHÖLLY was when the company was founded in 1973, the company founders Regula and Werner SCHÖLLY knew from the outset that they would run a down-to-earth company that would shape its ideas with courage and visionary strength. SCHÖLLY developed from a manufacturer of a single device to a provider of complex and innovative visualization solutions. Initially active in the industrial sector, SCHÖLLY went on to discover the medical market. Driven at all times by a desire to develop the perfect product for its customers and their specific requirements.

From a small family business to a global player

SCHÖLLY has always valued valuable cooperations, and has been working intensively with Aesculap AG in the field of endoscopic visualization since the mid-80s. Initially formed in a joint venture, Aesculap later joined SCHÖLLY as a shareholder. In spring 2021, Aesculap AG became the main shareholder and, on 1 January 2023, the Schölly family will be withdrawing from the company. From this point on, Aesculap AG will be the sole shareholder of SCHÖLLY FIBEROPTIC GMBH.

Quote from Regula Schölly:
"It’s a big step for me, my family and the whole organization, but it’s the right one for the future of the company in these challenging times. The company must embark on new paths to continue to grow and safeguard the future of Schölly with its employees. Schölly will celebrate its 50th anniversary in February 2023. This is a good time to hand over the baton." 

Regula and Werner Schölly founded the company with courage and little equity in 1973. The Black Forest is known for the finest craftsmanship. Denzlingen near Freiburg was and still is an ideal starting point.

The company entered the market for cold light illumination for microscopy as a trading company with the first halogen light source and the first fiber optic light guides.

The company switched from retail to manufacturing and developed its first optomechanical control sensor for industrial bottling, paving the way for further growth.

Being open to new things and observing the world was typical for Werner Schölly. Around the mid-80s he started to take a closer look at the medical market and saw great potential for the company there.

The first plant in Denzlingen was built in 1984.

The path to endoscopy was paved and shortly afterwards, the first endoscopes were available for industrial use.

The first medical endoscopes were developed and manufactured in 1985, and in 1989 the first autoclavable 2D endoscopes entered series production. The first joint venture with Aesculap AG was also established in the same year.

SCHÖLLY was concentrating more on medicine and established a unique repair service – for customers worldwide and devices from all manufacturers.

The transformation from a craft business to an industrial company began. SCHÖLLY was developing intraoral cameras and started series production of medical cameras for endoscopy.

In 1993, the second plant was built in Denzlingen and SCHÖLLY expanded by 2109 m2.

1994: The first medical camera

The pioneering work in 3D visualization began in 1998. The first 3D endoscopes for 3D robot applications were developed and produced.

In 1998, Aesculap AG in Tuttlingen acquired 28% shares in SCHÖLLY. We became the Center of Excellence for visualization in the B. Braun/Aesculap Group.

From 2003 to 2006, SCHÖLLY expanded rapidly through new production sites, sales outlets as well as joint ventures and subsidiaries, most of which were established through personal contacts built over many years. From Japan and Bulgaria, the USA and China, to Brazil.

Plant 3 was built in 2007, thus creating further production capacity at the Denzlingen site.

In 2011, the 3D laparoscopy system EinsteinVision® was created as a hand-held variant.

In 2013, SCHÖLLY opened the fourth plant in Denzlingen. The first dedicated camera platform FlexiVision celebrated its market launch in 2015.

Werner Schölly died on 20 March 2016 at the age of 70. He had shaped the company for over 40 years and managed it with foresight. With his visionary power, he was able to advance the development of 3D technology in endoscopy at an early stage and transform it into new products.

The fully digital, miniaturized video chain was launched in 2020. Fluorescence imaging from SCHÖLLY became available in 2021. Surgery in the near-infrared light spectrum is a variant in minimally invasive surgery. SCHÖLLY developed a system for this purpose, where the user can switch between three NIR FI modes in addition to the white light display. In April 2021, the long-standing partner Aesculap AG became the majority shareholder. This continued and intensified the long-standing cooperation between the two family businesses.

SCHÖLLY is a global company that has been working in visualization for 50 years. We employ 550 people worldwide, 350 of whom are based in Denzlingen.

From 1 January 2023, Aesculap AG will be the sole shareholder of SCHÖLLY FIBEROPTIC GMBH.

Management with Managing Directors Stefan Schnekenburger, Markus Wintz and Günter Olbrich will continue to have overall responsibility for the company.

The integration will not change the previous business orientation. SCHÖLLY will continue to offer expertise in visualization for all interested customers.