Sauter (right) hands over his two companies Krapf AG and Air-Lux Technik AG to long-time employee Lukas Knechtle.

Managing Director Lukas Knechtle is the new owner

News Corporate

After 26 years as owner of Krapf AG as well as Air-lux Technik AG, Heinz Sauter has handed over the two companies to long-time employee and managing director Lukas Knechtle. With the change of generations, the succession at the glass and facade specialist from Engelburg/SG is settled.

Lukas Knechtle, managing director and new owner, has been working for Krapf AG since 1997: After an apprenticeship as a metalworker and several years of practice in production and assembly, he successfully passed the master craftsman's examination in 2005. Until 2010, he worked as a project manager, then switched to sales and costing and took on tasks as deputy managing director. Lukas Knechtle has been managing director since 2016. Since January 1, 2021, he is now also the owner of the two companies Krapf AG and Air-Lux Technik AG.

Heinz Sauter will continue to work on a part-time basis in sales and development. As a member of the Board of Directors, he will also be actively involved in the further development of the companies and pass on his extensive experience from 30 years of facade construction.

National and international top references

Over the past 50 years, Krapf AG has developed from a classic locksmith's business into a facade construction company with 90 employees. In 1994, Heinz Sauter took over the company and transformed it into one of Switzerland's leading companies for metal and facade construction with a current turnover of around 30 million Swiss francs. In 2004, Krapf AG launched the air-lux sliding window system it had developed with patent-protectedAktiv sealing technology.

The company focuses on the Swiss market. Krapf AG's reference projects include, for example, the St. Gallen University of Applied Sciences, the Glatt Tower in Zurich, and the Cubic Innovation Center of Bühler in Uzwil. Currently, the company is involved, among others, in the hospital construction sites in Baden and St. Gallen as well as in the "Elefant" Lokstadt in Winterthur.

With its air-lux sliding window system, Krapf AG is working on projects both in Switzerland and abroad. The majority of these projects are carried out in cooperation with various sales partners, including in Germany, Russia, China, Hong Kong and the USA.

Milestones of air-lux executions are certainly the first high-rise residential building at Baarerstrasse 125 in Zug, the Diakonie Bethanien or the Nietturm-Bar in Zurich on the Swiss market. Abroad, private houses have been realized in China, Russia and the USA. Currently, high-rise residential buildings are under construction in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Wiesbaden.

Continuity and adherence to Switzerland as a workplace

Despite the current challenging market environment, the new owner is looking to the future with confidence, knowing that he will be able to take over two very healthy companies with a modern infrastructure and a highly qualified and motivated workforce. Due to his longstanding affiliation with the company and his solidarity with the employees, Lukas Knechtle will continue on the successful path he has chosen.

In addition to the development of the company's market position, Lukas Knechtle's priorities are to maintain Switzerland as a production location and to promote the company's internal know-how. In addition, the will to innovate and to realize exceptional façade constructions is stronger than ever.

"My goal is to continue in the proven style of recent years. The further development of the company in the current demanding time is connected with some challenges. I do not mean Corona, but for example the digitalization of all business areas, the changes in the construction industry due to Industry 4.0, but also the shortage of skilled workers. This is related to the loss of prestige in society towards a practical craft education, despite the very large development opportunities," explains Lukas Knechtle.

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