Minka has been producing stairs in the heart of Austria since 1952. While the focus after the founding of the company was primarily on the production of attic staircases, system staircase production has also continued to grow in recent decades. Over the last 70 years, the company has established thenselves on the national and international staircase market and are now one of the largest staircase manufacturers in the world. 

Every year, they sell around 140,000 staircases in over 50 countries around the globe.

Interview with Teresa Hafenscherer, Marketing Manager at Minka Stairs.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Teresa Hafenscherer: Minka specializes in the production of retractable loft ladders, spiral staircases and modular space-saving staircases. Our products are mainly made of steel. Thanks to our innovative production facilities and our in-house powder coating department, we can produce the metal components completely independently. The wood for our loft ladders and system staircases is supplied from European countries. The proximity of our suppliers ensures a reliable supply chain and a very high quality of the end products.

Our staircases are mainly sold through DIY stores and specialist retailers, as they have the necessary expertise in their respective markets. In German-speaking countries consumers can also order our products directly via our own online shop. Our staircase configurator in particular offers end customers great added value here, as they can put together their own customised staircase.

E.E: What’s the news about new products/services?

T.H: We are constantly developing our product range in order to meet the high demands of our customers. At the moment, we are particularly focussed on bringing extremely flexible products onto the market so that we can cover the widest possible range of requirements.

Our latest models of spiral staircases, for example, have wooden treads with a metal push-on cover. This unique combination of materials for the treads allows for an even wider range of colours and patterns.

Also, brand new in the range are two models where customers can cut the width of the wooden treads themselves and thus adapt them perfectly to their premises.

E.E: What are the ranges of products/services?

T.H: Our extensive product range can be roughly divided into two categories: Attic stairs and system stairs.

Attic stairs are stairs that are not in constant use and can therefore be folded away after use. They are particularly suitable for climbing unoccupied rooms such as attics. Minka offers attic stairs made of wood and steel. Our scissor stairs, which can be pulled apart like an accordion, are a particularly space-saving solution. When producing our loft ladders, the heat-insulating and fire-retardant properties of the materials are particularly important to us. In this way, we create an unmistakable quality with excellent insulation and fire protection values.

Although Minka’s system staircases are also classified as “non-essential stairs” under building regulations, they still function as a fixed connection between two floors. They consist of a flexible construction kit that can be adapted to the respective spatial conditions. For example, the incline and therefore the overall height of the staircase can be easily varied. In the case of system staircases, a basic distinction is made between spiral staircases and space-saving staircases. Both are available in different sizes, colours and material combinations as well as for indoors and outdoors. This means that our customers can easily customise their own staircase exactly to their needs.

E.E: What is the state of the market where you are currently active?

T.H: Construction volumes in Europe have fallen significantly in recent years due to high inflation and commodity prices. Many companies in the construction industry are therefore currently finding it difficult to generate orders.

To counteract this downturn, we have endeavored to expand our market activities to previously untapped European countries and other continents. 

In addition, we have increasingly focused on the renovation sector – after all, our flexibly adaptable system staircases are the perfect solution for renovation projects. This enabled us to compensate well for the stagnating market in Europe and continue to ensure a stable order volume.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

T.H: Trends do not play a major role in the market for retractable loft ladders – the aim here is simply to offer the best possible insulation at the best possible price. In the case of system staircases, on the other hand, market trends are very important – after all, spiral and space-saving staircases do not only fulfil a functional purpose, but should also be a visual highlight in the home of our customers.

The trends in furnishing styles vary over time and, above all, depending on the country. At the moment, the country, industrial and loft style are very popular. Metal elements and natural-looking wood are important components of these interior styles.

However, as a longer-term trend that transcends countries and even continents, the individualization of products is a particularly important topic for us. Nowadays, customers want products that correspond exactly to their ideas and they want them as quickly as possible. Mass customization is becoming more and more of a trend and we are also noticing this in the construction industry.

E.E: What are the most innovative products/services marketed?

T.H: The special feature of our system staircases is their flexible customizability. Our spiral staircases, for example, have height-adjustable spindle tubes manufactured using laser technology.

In the past, customers had to place plastic discs between the tubes and the step to adjust the height – now they can do this by breaking off parts of the metal tube along pre-punched breaking points. Thanks to this innovative system, our system staircases are now completely plastic-free, which significantly increases their stability and quality.

When it comes to attic staircases, Minka impresses above all with the outstanding fire-retardant and heat-insulating performance of its products. Our most innovative loft ladders achieve a fire protection duration of over 60 minutes and U-values of up to less than 0.3 W/m2K.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2024?

T.H: We predict that the construction industry will experience an upturn again towards the end of the year or at the beginning of 2025. As we are constantly expanding our production capacities and have very short product development phases, we can implement future trends very quickly. With our production and powder coating systems, we are ideally equipped for the long-term trend of mass customisation in particular. We are therefore looking to the future with confidence and are already looking forward to working with our retail partners to make our flexible and sustainable staircase systems available to as many people all over the world as possible.