Krantz computer

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Krantz Computer GmbH & Co. KG

legal form GmbH & Co. KG
founding 1968
resolution 1976 (acquired by Varian Associates )
Seat Aachen , Germany
Number of employees 120
sales more than 10 million DM
Branch Minicomputer
Status: 1976

Krantz-Computer was an electronics company based in Aachen , which was founded in 1968 by the Aachen-based family company Krantz Anlagenbau and was involved in the development and construction of mini computers . Software development was added later, so that the company also made a name for itself as a system house. On November 26, 1976, the company was taken over by Varian Data Machines , a division of the electronics company Varian Associates as a wholly owned subsidiary. Less than a year later, Varian Data Machines was bought by Sperry Univac . With this, the Aachen system house also came to Sperry, at the end of 1981 to the Stuttgart system house IKOSS and at the end of 1998 to Atos .


The parent company Krantz Anlagenbau had already been active in Aachen as a manufacturer of textile machines and later of air conditioning and heat supply systems since the second half of the 19th century . In the boom in computer development in the 1960s, the company's management wanted to face this innovation and first founded the company "Krantz Electronics" in 1968 together with Walter Ameling and Egon Wiethoff, which was renamed to "Krantz Computer" around 1970 due to name disputes. As "Krantz Computer GmbH & Co. KG" the electronics company remained with the parent company and specialized in the manufacture of hardware for both technical-scientific and commercial applications. The focus was on production, whereby a high turnover could be achieved by concentrating on electrical, environmental and software tests as well as final assembly with relatively few staff.

In the next eight years, Krantz Computer produced more than 330 installations for the graphics industry , traffic technology , production data acquisition , building technology and process control . In 1976 Krantz Computer achieved sales of more than DM 10 million with its 120 employees. But high development costs, which, despite support from the Federal Ministry of Research and Technology, at times amounted to up to 30% of total sales, led in 1976 to the fact that the company was taken over by Varian Data Machines with all its employees and all rights and obligations.

Hardware development and production were shut down, instead the focus was on project business and customer-specific software development. As of now, Varians V77 was used as a minicomputer. As early as 1977, nine months after the takeover, Varian Data Machines was bought by Sperry Univac, so that the Aachen-based system house also came to Sperry. The independence was largely retained, and the V77, now as the Univac V77, continued to be used. In 1981 the Stuttgart software house IKO Software Service GmbH (IKOSS) took over the Aachen system house with around 60 employees at the time. The project business from then on specialized in production control and banking software, with IBM's Series / 1 mostly serving as the base computer . The number of employees increased, which is why the company moved to a new building in Oberforstbach in 1988 . After various investments, the French Atos group finally took over the company that had emerged from Krantz Computer in 1998.

Products (selection)

The product range mainly comprised mini computers of the Mulby brand for direct sales and project use. The first model was the Mulby M , an 8-bit computer which, with this limitation, could only carry out arithmetic operations to a limited extent, but was particularly fast in processing characters and therefore ideally suited for text and remote data processing. The Swiss telecommunications device manufacturer Autophon used Mulby-M-Computer to control large display boards at airports such as Frankfurt Airport , at train stations and stock markets. These information display systems were in use for many years, even when they were technologically obsolete. Approx. 20 Mulby-M systems went to the company Schlafhorst in Mönchengladbach for production monitoring.

left a Mulby 3 for the typesetting machine control ("Intexta"), with tape drive and two hard / removable disk drives, right a Mulby 3 with hard / removable disk drive, tape drive, punched tape reader and 8 "floppy disk drive

In 1974 Krantz Computer launched the Mulby 3 , which was given the model names 3/10, 3/20 or 3/35 depending on the equipment. This further development of the own minicomputer should be a "German alternative to the American challenge" ( advertising slogan from 1974 ). The Mulby 3 was a 16-bit computer with up to 64 kilobytes of main memory, which, like the Mulby M, was initially designed as a core memory , but was gradually replaced by semiconductor memory . What was new was that, in principle, registers were no longer used, rather arithmetic operations could be carried out directly in memory. Together with the macro assembler provided by the Muldos operating system, this led to a very effective use of the computing and storage capacities and thus enabled complex tasks to be taken over. Examples include the first computer-controlled operations control system (RBL) at Üstra in Hanover (1975), the U-Stadtbahn control in Essen (1976) or the setting machine controls at Gruner + Jahr (1975) and the Wiener Kronenzeitung (1976) call. Another Mulby 3 was delivered to Tolyatti in what was then the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s and used in the Lada plant there.

A real specialty of the Mulby computers was that up to four monitors could be connected as operator and output unit, which read their data (24 lines with 64 characters each) directly from the memory via a video channel. Instead of the line-by-line input / output that was common at the time, this enabled free and fast addressing within the entire image area. The Muldos operating system also enabled the connection of numerous peripheral devices such as keyboard, printer, magnetic tape, punched tape reader and, for the first time, disk storage with a capacity of 5 megabytes (MB), optionally also 50 MB.

A Mulby-3 calculator and also a Mulby-M calculator are now in the holdings of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View , Santa Clara County

After the takeover by Varian, Krantz presented the newly acquired computer systems with special user software packages at a joint stand at the 1977 Hanover Fair , including the V77 with the Total database system and the V77-200 for commercial purposes with an RPG II program for financial accounting .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Handelsblatt of December 8, 1981, the computer newspaper (Konradin-Verlag) of December 16, 1981
  2. Press release of January 21, 1999
  3. Varian buys Krantz: Development was too expensive in: Computerwoche of December 17, 1976
  4. Computerworld, August 8, 1977
  5. Use of Krantz computers at the Computer History Museum
  6. ^ Mulby 3 system description (D-MUSY-301), Krantz Computer, Aachen, January 1976
  7. ^ Mulby 3 Computer on: Computer History Museum
  8. ^ Mulby M-Computer, built in 1970; Artifact details on: Computer History Museum
  9. Krantz-Varian: New V77-.Minis in focus ( memento of the original from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on: ChannelPartner April 29, 1977 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /