Pyramid Computer

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Pyramid Computer GmbH
Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (Deutschland)
HeadquartersFreiburg i. Br., Deutschland
Key people
  • Josef Schneider, Operational Managing Director
  • Niko Hensler, Managing Partner
ProductsPlatforms for Interactive kiosk, Industrial PC and Server, Rack Server System
EUR in 2018
Number of employees
ca. 130 (2020)
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Pyramid Computer GmbH has been developing and producing IT solutions for network technology, network security, industrial PCs and industrial image processing since 1985. They develops and produces a wide range of self-service kiosk solution systems geared towards QSR and gastronomy. Pyramid Computer is the largest suppliers in this sector worldwide.

In cooperation with 3M, Pyramid brought the world's first, large format, multi-touch system to market in 2011. Pyramid conducted research with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering in Stuttgart on the topics of automation and Graphical User Interface (GUI). Pyramid has extended the application range of self-service solutions based on projective capacitive touch screens.

Pyramid Computer emerged in 1998 with BenHur, the world's first LINUX-operated multifunctional communication server. In 2004, Pyramid was the hardware supplier of genugate, the only firewall that was classified as Highly Restistant by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) at that time according to the international CC standard at that time. In 2008 Pyramid Computer played an important role in the construction of ATLAS, a mainframe computer (Gigabit Ethernet cluster) for the Albert Einstein Institute (Hannover)[1], which conducted research on the theory of gravitational waves with it. At the time of its commissioning, ATLAS ranked 68th among the top 500 fastest computers in the world with a performance of 32.8 FLOPS|teraflops.


Niko Hensler and Friedrich (Frieder) Hansen[2] are the co-founders of the current Pyramid Computer GmbH and managed the company together for 34 years. Hansen handed over the operational management to Josef Schneider in 2019, while Hensler remained a managing partner in the company. Pyramid's revenue was 31 million Euros in 2017 and 61 million Euros in 2018. It is classified as a medium-sized company with its headquarters operating as a production and logistics center in Ichtershausen near Erfurt[3], ist :de:Freiburg_im_Breisgau|Freiburg i. Breisgau. Pyramid Computer employs about 130 people in Germany.

Company history

[4] Friedrich Hansen founded Pyramid Computer in 1985 in his parents' apartment in Freiburg, Germany. In 1986, the current Pyramid Computer GmbH was founded with the other partners Nikolaus Hensler, Markus Müller and Christian Pogoda. In the beginning, components were imported, Apple II and IBM-XT compatible computers were assembled and sold to end users and companies[5] in Germany.

By 1987 they had more than 30 employees and in 1989, the newly built company headquarters accomodated more than 50 employees with approximately 2,500 sqm of office, warehouse and production space. The magazine Wirtschaftswoche, honored the strong growth of the company with their Entrepreneur of the Year award, which was presented to Pyramid Computer by Helmut Haussmann, Federal Minister of Economics in 1991.

Pyramid shared the renowned iF Design Award with NeXT Computer Europe[6], from Steve Jobs' group of companies for the design of its desktop computer line WaveLine[7] in 1991. After acquiring CD Computer & Datentechnik GmbH in 1994, Pyramid produced more than 10,000 computer systems during the first year. 1992-1997, an expansive Economic diversity|diversification strategy took place with the founding of several subsidiaries for other technology areas such as Enterprise resource planning|ERP development, Business telephone system|PABX production, Wholesaling|wholesale division, memory module production and trade as well as branded goods merchandising.

In 1997, the Mannheim Public Prosecutor's Office investigated economic offences against the company. The charge was "illegal import of memory modules from the Far East in circumvention of the statutory duties"[8]. The investigations revealed that the subsidiary P3 had acted without the knowledge of the parent company. While the managing director of P3 was sentenced to a prison term, Pyramid Computer, as a parent company, was liable for the resulting tax liability.

Because of the growing competitive pressure generated by the supply of electrical and Department store|discount retail chains at the turn of the millennium in the desktop computer market[9], Pyramid realigned its equipment and customer portfolio[10]. It transformed into a provider of both standardized and customized solutions in the areas of networking and network technology, industrial PCs and industrial image processing[11]. After the turn of the millenium, the company received several awards: the Innovation Award of the State of Baden-Württemberg (Dr.-Rudolf Eberle Prize) for "unconventional ideas for innovative products, processes or services"[12] in 2000, the Freiburg Innovation Prize for "[t]he novel network and firewall technology as well as the high scalability of the Ben Hur II system"[13], third place in the CyberOne Hightech Award[14] in 2003, the state of Baden-Württemberg awards to "the most forward-looking business concepts of technology-oriented start-ups and companies"[15].

Since 2007, the company has been conducting research with 3M and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization in the field of projective capacitive touchscreens or graphical user interfaces and automation[16]. As a result, the surface area of projective capacitive touchscreens, which processes a large number of simultaneous user Gesture recognition|gestures (touches), has increased. Pyramid‘s first in-house, polytouch device, which was presented to experts in 2011, featured a display size expanded from the previously 20 inches to a maximum of 42 inches. This has given impetus to self-service technologies, for example, the realization of novel self-service and information kiosks (terminals) for the retail trade. The company first turned its technological lead in this product segment into economic success on the more innovation-open Anglo-Saxon market by winning the Marks & Spencer department store chain in England and the AMC Theatres|AMC cinema chain in the USA as major kiosk customers. Today, the kiosk division accounts for approx. 60% of the company's revenue.

The ISO-certified (ISO 9001:2015) company is a partner of Intel and Microsoft. Its customers include large corporations like Siemens AG, Daimler AG, Thales Group|THALES Group, McDonald's, Edeka|EDEKA Group, as well as federal companies (genua GmbH) and highly specialized niche providers (including Apogee France).

Product columns


Platforms for self-service kiosks

Pyramid's kiosk systems contain peripherals (e.g. Display device|display, PC boxes, Thermal printing|thermal printers, scanners, audio input and output) in a design-enhanced chassis while still being easy to set up and maintain. Here, a Low-voltage differential signaling|LVDS connector developed by the company plays a central role, which connects the display unit and PC and manages all energy and data flows. The kiosks are easy to use for users with impaired vision, hearing or movement.

The kiosk portfolio ranges from solutions for the retail, Hospitality industry|hospitality[17] and hotel sectors to e-ticketing, e-banking and access control systems, including for Public space|public spaces[18]. One of the company's key partners is McDonald's.

In context of the COVID-19 pandemic[19], Pyramid produces service terminals that are able to determine the body temperature via a scan of the retina and regulate room access according to the results[20].

Platforms for industrial PCs and servers and for industrial image processing

The product column includes PC solutions for industrial and non-industrial environments. In addition to standard solutions for conventional applications, the company develops specialized solutions for controlling high-performance systems and subsequently processing and storing the amounts of data they generate in cooperation with customers from the Biomedicine|biomedical, experimental research, Food industry|food and aerospace industries, among others.

Solutions for tasks in industrial image processing occupy an increasingly important place[21], e.g. quality inspection during the recycling of reusable goods or the examination of Tissue sample|tissue samples by fully automated screening microscope

Platforms for rack server systems

Pyramid's hardware platforms are used as core components for IT solutions in the fields of network security, among other things, to implement security concepts, including the protection of highly critical infrastructures of public authorities and industrial companies through firewalls, VPN, encrypted data communication via the Internet, remote maintenance and remote access systems. A partner in this field is genua GmbH[22], a company of Bundesdruckerei.


Pyramid‘s services include project management, which serves as a central point of contact for the client and coordinates the performance shares of the project participants from product development and production to delivery or installation in such a way that a product can be handed over "turn key ready". Further services provided by the company include lifecycle management, stocking of goods via Consignment stock|consignment warehouses, long-term stocking of components for replacement or expansion of existing systems and a Global Service Program.


  • 1991: Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
  • 1991: iF Design Award.
  • 1999: Innovation Prize (Dr.-Rudolf-Eberle-Prize) of the State of Baden-Württemberg.
  • 2002: Freiburg Innovation Prize.
  • 2004: Award Innovation of the Month by the state of Baden-Württemberg in the context of the initiative[23].
  • 2005: CyberOne-Award (3rd place) of the state of Baden-Württemberg.
  • 2010: Intel Channel Innovation Award (1st place).
  • 2011: Siemens Top Supplier Award in der Kategory Electronical Components.
  • 2020: Best Retail Cases Award (3rd place in the Retail Omnichannel category).


  • Brand Award 2018 in Düsseldorf[24]


  • Friedrich Hansen und die Pyramid-Company (Friedrich Hansen and the Pyramid-Company), Production: SDR, Series: Menschen und Märkte (People and markets), First broadcast: March 19, 1991.


  1. "Start für ATLAS - Deutschlands viertschnellster Computer für wissenschaftliche Zwecke wird eingeweiht / Start for ATLAS - Germany's fourth fastest computer for scientific purposes is inaugurated".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. Martin Fryba. "Pyramid: Pilot im rauen Hardware-Markt / Pyramid: Pilot in the harsh hardware market" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. Thüringer Allgemeine (2020-09-11). "Ichtershäuser IT-Hersteller investiert 1,8 Millionen in neue Halle / IT manufacturer invests 1.8 million in new hall" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Kathrin Ermert. "Pyramid Computer - Gut aufgestellt". Wirtschaft im Südwesten (in Deutsch). Industrie- und Handelskammer Südlicher Oberrhein.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. Badische Zeitung. "IT-Branche in Südbaden: Der Computerbauer, der aus der Not heraus geboren wurde / IT industry in South Baden: The computer builder born out of necessity" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "NeXTstation mit/with 400 dpi Laser-Printer und/and Megapixel-Display im Preisträger-Verzeichnis/List of prize winners des/of iF Design Award".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Pyramid WaveLine im Preisträger-Verzeichnis/List of prize winners des/of iF Design Award".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "Wieder Wirbel um Speicherchip-Schmuggel: Vier Festnahmen bei Pyramid-Gruppe / Another fuss about memory chip smuggling: four arrests at Pyramid Group". (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2020-10-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "Die Umsatzkurve steigt kaum noch: Pyramid-Youngster spüren den Wettbewerb / The sales curve is hardly rising: Pyramid-Youngsters feel the competition" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ""Wir können nur durch Kreativität gewinnen" / "We can only win through creativity" -" (in Deutsch). 2011-04-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. heise online. "Pyramid: Klein, aber erfolgreich in der Nische / Pyramid: Small, but successful in a niche" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "Schaufenster unserer Innovationskultur / Showcase of our innovation culture" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. Protokoll der Vergabekommission/Minutes of the Procurement Commission, "Freiburger Innovationspreis 2002" vom 14.01.2003 (in German), Archiv der "Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik & Messe GmbH & Co. KG"{{citation}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  14. "CyberOne: Gewinner/Winner 1999-2019" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "CyberOne: Über den CyberOne / About the CyberOne" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. Wolfgang Beinhauer (2011), D. Spath (ed.), "Erlebnis Automat. Neue Ansätze zur Kundeninteraktion im Self-Service / Experience machine. New approaches to customer interaction in self-service", Mit Ideen zum Erfolg. Technologiemanagement in der Praxis: 30 Jahre Fraunhofer IAO / With Ideas to Success. Technology Management in Practice: 30 Years Fraunhofer IAO (in German), Stuttgart: Fraunhofer Verlag, pp. 243-247, ISBN 978-3-8396-0267-6{{citation}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  17. "EuroShop 2017: Pyramid Computer zeigt zwei Weltneuheiten / EuroShop 2017: Pyramid Computer presents two world firsts" (in Deutsch). 2017-02-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. PresseBox (c) 2002-2020. "Preisverdächtige Marken unter einem Dach: Die Pyramid Computer GmbH ist offizieller Sponsor des diesjährigen Marken Awards 2018, bei dem seit 2001 exzellente Leistungen in der Markenführung auszeichnet werden / Award-winning brands under one roof: Pyramid Computer GmbH is the official sponsor of this year's Brand Award 2018, which has been honouring excellent achievements in brand management since 2001" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. Ralph Siegfried (2020), "Digitale Einlasskontrollen – Social Distancing im Einzelhandel / Digital entrance controls - Social Distancing in retail", POS Technology Retail Solution (in German), Buchloe: BAUVE Medien GmbH & Co. KG, no. 2–4/2020, pp. 12-13{{citation}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  20. "Necessity is the mother of invention". Kiosk Solutions Magazine. 2020-09-01.
  21. "Rechenleistung bei der industriellen Bildverarbeitung wächst / Increasing computing power in industrial image processing" (in Deutsch).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. "10 Jahre genua mbh und Pyramid Computer GmbH / 10 years genua mbh and Pyramid Computer GmbH". Pyramid Computer GMBH (in Deutsch). 2014-09-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ""Innovation des Monats" geht an Pyramid Computer".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. PresseBox (c) 2002-2020. "Preisverdächtige Marken unter einem Dach: Die Pyramid Computer GmbH ist offizieller Sponsor des diesjährigen Marken Awards 2018, bei dem seit 2001 exzellente Leistungen in der Markenführung auszeichnet werden, Pyramid Computer GmbH, Pressemitteilung - PresseBox" (in Deutsch).

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