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Operating in small spaces


“The Rosetta probe case might be one of our most spectacular projects ever, as it gets you thinking about the infinity of space and technological advancements on earth. Nevertheless, we have earned our merits down on earth with miniature drive systems that meet the increasing demand of various industries, which are all looking for drive systems that are getting smaller by the day,” points out Barbara Boschetti, CFO at Faulhaber Minimotor SA.

In addition to her managing position at Minimotor, in June 2014 Ms. Boschetti was appointed CEO of Rolla Microgear AG, another subsidiary of the global Faulhaber group of companies.

“After I had completed my training and my studies at university, I started working for Minimotor 17 years ago. So, I have experienced recent developments in drive technology first hand,” points out Ms. Boschetti. “Our miniature drive systems have become ideal solutions for all applications where size is the key. You will find our products in medicine, automation, and even in space.”

Last year’s spectacular landing of the Rosetta space probe’s ballistic lander Philae on the comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko really caught international attention. The space probe first mapped the comet’s surface in order to prepare the landing of Philae.

“This lander with a weight of 100 kg touched down in November last year. The lander is still thought to be in operation, equipped with 14 of our drive systems that have already defied the rough conditions of its long journey that now goes into its eleventh year,” says Ms. Boschetti. “Our group of companies is constantly testing the limits of our products and is searching for new innovations in drive technology. There is a clear road map against the backdrop of thorough market analysis and changing market requirements.”

Maximum performance in minimum dimensions – this is what FAULHABER MINIMOTOR is all about. Since 1962, the Swiss subsidiary has been developing and manufacturing high-quality drive systems, in particular its powerful DC micromotors that have become a global success.

The drive systems are based on state-of-the-art technology in order to meet the highest requirements in mini-motors and micromotors.

“We have come a long way from a small manufacturing workshop to an internationally renowned global company, not only in terms of sales but also with regard to logistics, production organisation and other core aspects,” points out Ms. Boschetti. “Probably one of our major milestones was the introduction of the ERP platform, meaning that the entire company was working under one information tool. The operations were managed with one single tool.”

Since January 2014 FAULHABER MINIMOTOR has been working with SAP, following its on-going integration process in the Faulhaber Group, which has been working with SAP for many years.

“The shift to SAP could be seen as yet another milestone in our corporate history, and it accelerated the integration of Minimotor into the Faulhaber Group. So, today, the entire group of companies is operating with SAP, including finance management and sales analysis,” stresses Ms. Boschetti.

The integration process was accompanied by an organizational restructuring of the entire group, with Faulhaber implementing a matrix organisation.

“It is a rather centralised system with one manager coordinating the activities for all divisions,” explains Ms. Boschetti. “For instance, the logistics manager is responsible for all logistics activities.”

Today, FAULHABER MINIMOTOR supplies a wide range of DC motors, brushless DC motors, motion control systems, stepper motors, precision gearheads, encoders as well as servo components and control systems.

“While most products are standard solutions, we also offer customisation according to customer requirements,”points out Ms. Boschetti. “We are constantly looking for new innovations. A strong focus is on reliable and high performance products. Just take the example of our drive systems as used for the lander of the Rosetta space probe. Even an extreme temperature of -50°C is not an obstacle for our drive systems.”

Innovation has remained the driving force for FAULHABER MINIMOTOR’s success in the market. While older products are still available, they are complemented by new products, which are introduced on a regular basis.

In the coming years, FAULHABER MINIMOTOR is going to invest in strengthening its sales structures. In addition, logistics will feature high on the company’s agenda.

“Logistics is a fundamental issue to us, as we operate various production plants in Germany and Switzerland as well as in Romania and Hungary, amongst others. Nowadays, customers demand short supply times. So, a drive system is manufactured in Germany, while the gearheads are produced in Switzerland and other components find their way from our production in Eastern Europe. This explains why logistics is key and we have to synchronise it perfectly,” stresses Ms. Boschetti.

Despite any difficulties concerning the Swiss franc, FAULHABER MINIMOTOR is eager to introduce new innovative solutions to its designated markets and to maintain its vanguard position in the drive system market.

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