Wealth of Knowledge and Experience from 65 Years of Research Activity

The Test and Research Institute Pirmasens is headquartered in a town that is a hub of footwear competence located on the verge of the Palatine Forest in south-west Germany. Originally founded to serve the needs of the footwear industry, this institute has meanwhile developed into a modern service and research center with operations spanning the globe.

Thanks to its intimate historical association with the footwear industry the institute enjoys a profound wealth of knowledge of the manufacturing methods, components, and materials used in that sector. Nowadays, however, our activities extend far beyond the footwear industry to cover a wide range of materials, semi-finished products, and finished products in the areas:

  • Footwear, leather goods, and textiles
  • Orthopaedic products and medical devices
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Plastics and adhesives
  • Toys and sports goods
  • Automotive interiors
  • Goods coming into contact withfoodstuffs

About 100 highly qualified scientists, engineers, and laboratory support staff carry out chemicalphysicalbiotechnological, and  micro­biological investigations on your products – even within 24 hours if you need the results fast. Our engineering department develops and builds a wide range of testing devices tailored to our clients’ specific needs for the best possible application of individualised test methods.

As an accredited certification body we assess and certify the quality of both consumer goods and personal protection equipment as well as of quality, energy, and environmental management systems for your company and social standards as defined by you. Certification of your products by PFI sends a clear quality signal to your customers.

In the field of biotechnology our experts conduct research into modern solutions, control of process stabilities, trace element status, and gas yield and can provide support in the operation and planning of biogas plants.

Nowadays, PFI undertakes work for almost all sectors of industry, supports you in optimisation of your products and processes, whether in design, development, production, or logistics, or also in quality assurance. Our goal is make your products better, safer, and more efficient.


Our experts have spent many decades working on research and development for the footwear industry. Our numerous present-day research activities extend far beyond the footwear industry and embrace such topics as orthopaedic engineering, biogas, thermal pressure hydrolysis, and renewable energy.

We conduct practically relevant research on material and energetic utilisation of biomass and generate biomethane from residual materials and waste. In footwear and orthopaedic engineering we attach great importance to solutions for people with limited mobility and to the safety and comfort of workwear. Our engineering testing facility and our industrial-scale research plant facilitate construction of large-scale experimental set-ups for a wide range of industries.

Within the framework of its non-profit research programme, PFI is constantly initiating and conducting industrially relevant research projects. Here our goal is to develop modern technologies, innovative solutions, and new applications of materials. Our research work draws support from our membership of research associations such as AiF and the Zuse Association.

  • Chemistry Laboratory in 1967

  • Rubber Laboratory in 1967

  • Climate room in the leather laboratory
    in 1967

  • PFI staff in 1969 sitting on the far right: Institute director Dr. Wilhelm Fischer

  • Climate room in the leather laboratory
    in 1992

  • Chemistry Laboratory in 1992

  • Rubber Laboratory in 1992

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