In 1956 Franz Forster took the first step towards creating what has since grown into the Forster Group: he set up shop in a former scythe-making factory where he produced embossed signs under the name of “Franz Forster Metallwarenerzeugung”. The product range was quickly extended to traffic signs.
Screen-printing technology added a major new impetus to sign production, opening up new opportunities for manufacturing, design and quality. The company expanded to include plastic processing and plastic coating in its range, and it turned out its first displays and merchandising systems.
To meet rising demand, new sales offices were established, first in Vienna in 1973, and the second one in Salzburg one year later. In the early 1970s, the company delivered its first overhead directional signs.
In 1977 Franz Forster acquired a plant at St. Peter/Au for the production of noise barriers. In 1981, the company opened its new headquarters just outside Waidhofen/Ybbs. Forster started to produce signs for indoor and outdoor use, built up a new focus on shelving systems for libraries and introduced screen printing for engineering products (1985).
Forster founded Forster Metallbau GmbH and expanded production at its St. Peter plant. In addition to its emphasis on noise barriers and vendor parts for industries, it diversified into shelving systems.
The decade was punctuated by a number of new foundations within the Group:
– 1987: Colberg & Forster GmbH at Peine (Germany)
– 1989: Arbitec-Forster GmbH, domiciled at Neuss (Germany)
– 1994: Forster Ecospace Limited in Oxfordshire (UK)
– 1995: Forster Industrietechnik GmbH at Oberland (Austria)
The three Forster companies domiciled in Austria were awarded the ISO 9001 Certificate in the autumn of 1995.
In September 2000, the Company set up Forster Archiv- und Verkehrstechnik GmbH in Switzerland, domiciled at Oetwil am See, as well as establishing a sales office at Yverdon for Western Switzerland.
The introduction of digital printing launched the Company into new avenues for advertising products. The new technology found applications in all other product ranges offered by Forster, such as imprinted noise barriers and shelves.
In 2007, the Company founded Samodef-Forster Sarl to cover the shelving market in France. In May 2008, it established its first operation in Slovakia, Forster archivna a dopravná technika s.r.o., which is successfully marketing noise barriers, traffic engineering products and shelving systems in the country.
Since September 2009, Forster Verkehrs- und Werbetechnik GmbH, Forster Metallbau Gesellschaft m.b.H. and Forster Industrietechnik GmbH have an all-encompassing environmental management system and are certified pursuant to Austrian Standard EN ISO 14001. In May 2015, an integrated management system for occupational health safety according to OHSAS 18001 was introduced in all three Forster enterprises domiciled in Austria. In 2019, the requirements of ISO 45001 were already incorporated in the integrated management system and a sustainable management system pursuant to ONR 192500 and ISO 26000 was introduced.
The Company first set up in 1956 has grown into a group employing approximately 700 staff in Austria and abroad.