Sumitomo is investing in the future of systemic drive solutions

After a year in construction Sumitomo (SHI) Cyclo Drive Germany has moved into its new Global Research & Development (R&D) Centre at its headquarters in Markt Indersdorf. With this move the drive specialist took a further strategic step in the direction of becoming a system provider. The company, which operates under the brand name “Sumitomo Drive Technologies”, has invested a total of around €5.5M in this ambitious project for good reason as Sumitomo are specifically seeking geographical proximity to innovative European industrial customers. Application specific customer requirements can now be fully evaluated on site, in Markt Indersdorf, which makes the entire development process faster, more flexible and more efficient. The Global R&D centre and the previous local development departments will work with synergy and departmental collaboration.

The design and development team of currently 16 people, who are headed by Mike Wandersee, moved into the ground floor of the building and take care of quotation and order processing of the individual product together with an outlook on local series development.

Mike Wandersee, who was also the building project manager, states “The increasing customer demand for customised solutions pushed us to the limits in our previous premises. With the new building, we now have enough space and all the possibilities to be able to meet the most diverse customer requirements in even greater detail. We are glad that the parent company keeps a close eye on global market developments, appreciates our expertise, understands the European perspective and supports our investment in ambitious research and development.” Viel Platz für Technologie und Innovation.

Plenty of space for technology and innovation

The new building houses the laboratory and test areas which, at 900sqm, has tripled the capacity. The office space has also increased in capacity doubling in size to 800sqm. The new space allows products to be prepared, assembled, disassembled and analysed in the high rise factory hall. There is also a new test area where the service life of individual gearboxes/gear components/motors can be examined and subject to various tests, e.g. stress Testes & verifying gearbox technical properties.

There have also been four new rooms created for one of Sumitomo’s core businesses: Centrifugal gearboxes. These are equipped with the latest technological equipment together with carnage and air conditioning allowing full test and evaluation to be carried out. They meet all the requirements for test quality, test safety and above all occupational safety; after all, the high energy systems rotate at high speed and any noise emissions or vibrations are kept well away from other work areas.

Europe’s industrial customers want system solutions

The R&D department, which is located on the first floor, reflects the company’s decision to act as a ‘System Solution’ provider from Europe for Europe and globally. Sebastian market, Department Manager Global R&D Servo Drive Systems states “In Europe there is a greater willingness to innovate and where it is increasingly necessary to think ahead and set trends. European industrial customers are interested in innovation and are increasingly looking for system suppliers. In addition to the classic component business, which remains the core for us, the demand for more convenience is growing. Companies, especially machine builders, are looking to purchase complete systems that in turn can be integrated quickly and flexibly into their overall solution.”

Sumitomo are also seeing new customers in new industries emerging from the field of Robotics, Sumitomo already offer a wide variety of precision gearboxes and motor-gearbox combinations for this booming market. Innovative solutions, such as Actuators that can be configured for any application are being developed in the new R&D centre. Sebastian Market says “True innovation also means having the courage to take risks in development. We do not just want to do what everyone else does, just differently, we want to research and develop unconventional and unique solutions. Our core theme in the Global R&D Centre is consistent innovation.”

In the future Sumitomo will further expand the possibilities of customisation through customer oriented modular solutions. As a result it will no longer be necessary to adapt individual components to suit. Instead the complete modular system can be configured in line with the application requirements, with the major gains being a significant increase in efficiency throughout production.

In order to establish itself as a (global) system solution provider Sumitomo has, in recent years, successively sought strategic partners in Europe, these include:- The industrial gearbox specialists Hansen Transmissions; The controls experts Invertec Drives; The motor manufacturer Lafert Group; and the Spanish SIT (Sociedad Industrial de Transmissions SA) a renowned service and drive component specialist. The result is the ability to act in an interdisciplinary manner, use synergies and develop excellent products from them. Although the focus is on Europe, global communication is being strengthened, which is what the Global R&D Centre in Markt Indersdorf stands for. Sebastian Markert’s team is currently expanding, but the working conditions will certainly make the drive specialist even more attractive, thus, securing jobs in the long term.