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Beckhoff in joint venture to develop servo motors

The German-based supplier is linking up with Elau founder Erwin Fertig as part of a push to expand its Motion division.
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FILED IN:  Controls  > Strategy
     
During the SPS/Drives Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, on Nov. 23, Hans Beckhoff, managing director of German-based supplier Beckhoff Automation GmbH announced a joint venture with Fertig Motors GmbH, Bayern, Germany, to develop servo motors specifically for Beckhoff's PC-based Control and EtherCat—the networking technology championed by Beckhoff.

The first of these products will be rolled out at the end of 2011, said Hans Beckhoff, during a press conference at SPS. Beckhoff’s Motion division is being strategically expanded with new product lines in the category of servo drives, servo terminals and servo motors, said Hans Beckhoff. Production capacities for Beckhoff drive technology are currently being expanded. The target is to grow the Motion division in the medium term to 25% of total sales.

Fertig Motors was established in March 2010 as a joint venture between Beckhoff Automation and Erwin Fertig, the former chief executive officer and founder of Elau, a German-based packaging machinery automation supplier that was acquired by France-based Schneider Electric in 2005. Fertig currently has a team of 15 experienced motor and drive technology developers. The production facility is currently under construction and will begin series production at the end of 2011.

“Our goal is to develop the next generation of servo motors: more dynamic, more energy-efficient and available at a low cost,” said Fertig. “Our team of highly motivated specialists is looking forward to this new challenge and is going about its work with enthusiasm. In order to ensure maximum quality standards and to guarantee high availability, all motors should be ‘Made in Germany.’ ” Beckhoff Automation GmbH is based in Verl, Germany. Its U.S. unit, Beckhoff Automation LLC is headquartered in Burnsville, Minn.

With the new standard product lines as a basis, the intent is to also develop and manufacture application-specific motors in the future. In this way, Beckhoff and Fertig Motors propose to provide their customers and their customers’ applications with well-suited motion products. The existing standard servo motor series from Beckhoff—the AM2000, AM3000 and AM3500—will continue to be expanded even further.

Hans Beckhoff added, “We have always specialized in hardware and software, and naturally, we have extensive know-how in drive technology. However, our knowledge will now be decisively deepened with the development of our own motor series, especially in the area of highly dynamic magnetic mechanics and the associated control algorithms. We are delighted with this new partnership and we are convinced that we will be able to offer our customers even more powerful system solutions as a result.”

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