By Susan Morgan
What do the words "German engineering" bring to your mind? Do you, as many do, immediately think high-quality? Reliability? Accuracy? Here is what I found when I searched that term online:
Germany’s prowess in engineering is indisputable … they are world leaders in their field, renowned for their dedication to precision, function and power. Over the years, they have maintained their reputation as a top exporter of machinery and industrial equipment.*
In the case of German-based ABM DRIVES INC. all of the above, and more, apply to their service and products, but this is about more than just German engineering. First, they’ve been at this since 1927 – so they clearly know a thing or two about what they make. In fact, ABM DRIVES has become one of the leading international providers of drive solutions for machines, plants, cranes and mobile devices (like forklifts and vehicles). But - one thing they are NOT is a company churning out gears and drives in cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-most fashion to sit on shelves until a customer calls for one. They do not operate in the “ready-made” space and they don’t want to either. Their niche, in which they have a proven track record, is in providing customized drive-solutions for customers around the globe in industries such as material handling, logistics, wind power, textiles and general machinery manufacturing. Their gears, drives and motors are high-performance, innovatively engineered products custom designed to be dependable, long-term workhorses. And long-term applies to more than their products … it applies to the relationships with customers all over the world – many as long as three and four decades. One long term customer recently described ABM DRIVES as “an active and engaged partner who could be relied on when implementing demanding projects.”
So once I understood they are not standard line manufacturers, and that one can’t just call up and order a motor, a drive or a gearbox – I asked Gabriel Venzin, President of the North American Division, and a long time friend of the EACC, “How does a company become a customer of ABM’s?” He walked me through this example. A company, say an overhead crane manufacturer, starts getting calls from their customers about breakdowns related to the crane’s drive, motor or gearbox (or has a new application). Not good. That means production delays, potential safety issues and unhappy customers. The crane manufacturer’s efforts to save production costs by using the “one-size-fits-most” component leads instead to a damaged reputation and customer attrition.
This is where ABM DRIVES excels … first their engineers work closely with a customer's engineering staff to troubleshoot and identify the root cause of the problem or the requirements for a new application and then they go to work engineering a replacement or new solution unique – but still based on a modular component parts bin – to just that customer’s line of products. The goal is to provide a high-quality, long-lasting component that will withstand what are often some tough applications, plus, whenever possible, deliver other core benefits such as energy efficiencies and ease of installation. Once the product is fine-tuned and ready for production ABM DRIVES works closely with the manufacturer to ensure a steady supply of the customized components while constantly enhancing and improving the parts as technology evolves. Many ABM DRIVES customers consider the ABM DRIVES engineering staff as integral to the development of new machines as their own employees – part of the development team from the very beginning. That is a true partnership.
So while German-engineering is a big part of who ABM DRIVES is, it is the application and the customization that has made this mid-size company stand out in the industry. ABM has 5 manufacturing facilities, 3 in Germany and one each in Poland and China. They first opened their offices here in Cincinnati in 2002 to better serve OEM’s throughout North, Central and South America.
In closing, because we always want to know how our members benefit from being a part of the EACC, I asked Gabriel what ABM DRIVES has gotten out of their membership. Two things came to mind for him; first opportunities to network and make contacts with other European-based companies and second not long ago ABM DRIVES needed to replace their accounting provider and looked to the EACC membership to find one with the European experience and knowledge they needed. It was an easy and convenient way to identify a new resource.
About the Company
ABM DRIVES INC. is the North American subsidiary of ABM Greiffenberger Antriebstechnik GmbH one of the leading international system providers of high-profile, high-performance drive solutions for machines, plants and mobile devices. Founded in 1927, with its head office in Marktredwitz, Bavaria, the company belongs to the senata Group since the 1st October 2016. The senata Group is an owner-managed medium-sized family company with an annual turnover of nearly 470 million € and more than 2,480 employees at present.
At several national and international production sites, an average of approx. 330,000 drive units is produced annually for most diverse applications in the field of machine and plant engineering. The continuous growth of ABM Greiffenberger is due to a productive, committed and reliable cooperation with customers worldwide.
*Engineering Daily, March 1, 2017
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