Mechanical Technology Archive

“Innovation, tradition and customer focus are the cornerstones of SEW-Eurodrive. South Africa MD, Raymond Obermeyer, retraces company’s history and recommits to its values.

SEW-Eurodrive now has over 16 000 employees, who demonstrate their commitment by working day in, day out to ensure the machines and systems of customers throughout the world keep on moving.

SEW Eurodrive South Africa MD Raymond Obermeyer“Thanks to a broad-based product portfolio and a wide range of customer- oriented service modules, our company offers customers clear added value and measurable benefits. These are made possible by powerful drives, high quality standards and customised solutions,” Obermeyer says.

“On the occasion of our 85th anniversary, I’d like you to join me in looking back at our history and looking toward to the future,” he adds. “After all, the world will keep on turning, everyone will keep on moving and so too will SEW-Eurodrive.”


It all began with an ingenious idea

SEW-Eurodrive started with an ingenious inventor, Albert Obermoser, whose 1928 design of the first-ever geared motor revolutionised drive engineering. It was Christian Pähr who recognised the enormous potential of this state-of-the-art drive and in 1931, amid political and social instability, had the courage to start a company that would set benchmarks and make a lasting change to the world of mobility – Süddeutsche Elektromotoren- Werke in Bruchsal, or SEW for short.

Time moved on, but the family-owned business remained. In 1945, with Central Europe in ruins, Christian Pähr ’s son-in-law Ernst Blickle took on overall responsibility at SEW. He helped shape Germany’s economic miracle. Under his expert leadership, a further milestone in drive engineering was achieved in 1965 with the launch of the modular system for gear motors. Technology changed, but

the basic principle remained the same. “Today, the wide variety of offerings – ranging from high-quality individual components to intelligent all-in-one solutions – continues to give our company a crucial competitive edge,” says Obermeyer. Following Blickle’s death in 1986, his wife Edeltraut initially took the helm as managing director and president. During this period, a new course was set for the company’s future.

From local player to global leader

The first production plant outside Germany was established by Ernst Blickle in Haguenau, France, in 1960. His two sons Rainer and Jürgen Blickle have continued to spearhead the company’s international mission since 1987, with great success. Its status as a global player has gone from strength to strength.

The foundation of SEW-Eurodrive Inc in Lyman in the United States is particularly notable. Along with the headquarters in Germany and the site in China, it is one of the company’s most important locations.

“Today, we’re the proud owner of 15 production plants and 79 Drive Technology Centres in 48 countries. The company has more than 16 000 employees worldwide, including 550 in research and development alone. In the fiscal year 2014/2015, sales were €2.6-billion,” Obermeyer reveals.

SEW-Eurodrive is thus one of the international market leaders in drive engineering and drive automation. Bruchsal has always been at the heart of the company’s operations. Here, standards are set that impress industries around the world, from the automotive and beverage sectors to transportation, logistics and mining.

Quality and workmanship

“SEW-Eurodrive is synonymous all over the world with high-performance and dynamic drive engineering. Our products – whether it be geared motors, electronically controlled drives, components for local installation, mechanical variable-speed drives or the comprehensive service programme – represent top engineering, made in Germany with a high level of reliability.

“Our success is the result of hard work – the product of a mind-set that affirms and creates values. As a family-owned business, we are committed to promoting social responsibility and a sense of togetherness as well as discipline, loyalty and dedication. The human dimension is key – this principle has always been pivotal to our corporate philosophy, and will continue to be so in the future,” relates Obermeyer.

The future starts now

Willingness to change and the ability to identify new trends, while remaining true to its own values have always been hallmarks of this drives company. This ability to adapt to the needs of a constantly changing market has played a key role in continuously strengthening and developing the company’s market leadership. The numerous awards that SEW-Eurodrive has received over the years – from ‘Customer Champion’ to the ‘Baden-Württemberg’s prize for environ- mental technology’ – are a visible result of this process.

“Our concrete vision for the future is ‘Industry 4.0 – from Smart Factory to Smart Company’ – naturally by using drive engineering and drive automation from SEW-Eurodrive. This aims to combine the new concepts of Industry 4.0 with the established principles of lean management, thereby intelligently networking all the elements involved in a value creation process – people, machines and products,” he concludes.

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