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Beckhoff forms servomotors JV with Elau`s founder

23 November, 2010

The German controls company Beckhoff Automation has formed a joint venture to manufacture servomotors with Erwin Fertig, the founder and former chief executive of Elau. The new JV, called Fertig Motors, forms part of a Beckhoff strategy to expand its motion division so that it reaches about a quarter of the company`s total turnover “in the medium term”.

Beckhoff has a 90% stake in the servomotors JV, with Erwin Fertig holding the remaining 10%. He is also managing director of the new business. Fertig Motors will operate as a Beckhoff subsidiary and is expected to release its first products at the end of 2011. The operation is aiming to produce 30,00050,000 motors a year in the period 20122014. The machines will be manufactured in a production facility currently being built in Marktheidenfeld, Germany.

The new motors, being developed by a team of 15 motors and drives engineers, are being designed to work with Beckhoff`s PC- and EtherCat-based control technologies. Announcing the JV at the SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany, Erwin Fertig said that “our goal is to develop the next generation of servomotors – more dynamic, more energy-efficient, and available at a low cost.”

The new motors will be the first that Beckhoff Automation has produced in-house. “We have always specialised in hardware and software, and naturally we have extensive know-how in drive technology,” says managing director, Hans Beckhoff. “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. In the long run, we want to be the German servomotor manufacturer.”

As well as standard products, Fertig Motors will also develop application- and customer-specific motors, as well as motor-integrated drives. Beckhoff`s existing range of standard servomotors – the AM2000, AM3000 and AM3500 – will continue to be expanded. 

Erwin Fertig founded Elau in 1975. In 2005, the packaging controls specialist was acquired by Schneider Electric.

As well as forming the servomotor JV, Beckhoff is launching several new motion products including servo drives and terminals, as well as boosting its drive production capacity. For example, it has recently invested €10m in a new production facility that includes five assembly lines for drives and embedded PCs. At the SPS/IPC/Drives show, it unveiled a 200W servo controller that fits inside a standard I/O terminal housing.

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