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Smarter sensors

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Leuze electronic develops, manufactures and markets intelligent sensor solutions for diverse industrial automation applications. The company excels in advanced sensor technology that helps its customers build a competitive advantage – which is why it calls itself ‘the sensor people’. This self-understanding shows in smarter product usability, smarter application know-how and smarter customer service.

Smarter product usability means that all Leuze electronic sensors are easy to install, integrate into existing systems and use. Smarter application know-how is the result of a distinct focus on individual application areas where the company has superior technological expertise and experience. And smarter customer service includes excellent, close cooperation with the customer and meeting individual demands, both before and after the sale. The comprehensive product range offered by Leuze electronic splits into six product lines: switching sensors, measuring sensors, products for safety at work, code and RFID identification equipment, data transmission and control components and industrial image processing systems.

The extensive assortment is rounded off by a wide choice of accessories. “We are a full-line provider of sensor technology that offers a total of more than 40,000 different articles,” states Managing Director Ulrich Balbach, a qualified electrical and communication technology engineer who joined Leuze electronic as Product Manager in 1998. The company’s sensor solutions are used in a wide variety of industrial sectors, ranging from automotive, conveyor and storage systems, electronics, graphics and handling, and assembly technology to machine tools, medical and analysis technology, packaging technology and woodworking.

 

Leuze electronic was founded in 1963. The company’s origins, however, can be traced back more than 150 years. “Until the 1960s, Leuze had been a textile manufacturer,” explains Mr. Balbach. “With the decline of the textile industry in Europe, Christoph Leuze decided to enter the sensor technology market.” In the 1980s and 1990s, the company developed the European market and established subsidiaries in Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, Belgium and Italy.

In 1994, Leuze electronic entered the US and the Brazilian markets, followed by a new subsidiary in Australia in 1999. In the following years, the dynamically evolving sensor specialist opened additional subsidiary companies in South Korea, China, Turkey, Denmark, Hong Kong and India. “Despite the group’s global expansion, Europe is still our main market,” says Mr. Balbach.

Today, the sensor technology leader employs over 1,000 people at 21 locations worldwide and works together with sales partners and distributors in more than 40 countries across the globe. In Germany, the group has three manufacturing operations. The main plant in Owen near Stuttgart designs and produces optoelectronic sensors, identification and data transmission systems, and processing systems. The engineering team in Germering specializes in integrated safety at work solutions, and the other plant in Unterstadion focuses on the development and production of electronic assemblies.

In 2015 Leuze electronic turned over 158 million EUR. In the current financial year, the company expects to achieve more than 170 million EUR in overall sales. “In the past few years, we have grown in the high single digits – last year even double digits,” states Mr. Balbach.

“We want to keep this speed of growth in the coming years, too, in line with the fast-evolving global sensor technology market. The long-term goal is to achieve revenues of 300 million EUR.” Leuze electronic is expanding particularly fast in China, where the company’s manufacturing plant has grown from two to 130 people within the ten years since its foundation.

The growth strategy of Leuze electronic is supported by constant technological innovation. One of the latest developments, which is offered by the ‘sensor people’ as one of a very few suppliers worldwide, is the award-winning RSL 400 safety laser scanner, which makes area and access guarding both easy and efficient. The unique sensor solution comes with an unequalled scanning range of 160 m2, a scanning angle of 270° and an operating range of 8.25 m and won the coveted GIT Security Award 2016 as well as the Industriepreis 2016, which was awarded at this year’s HANNOVER MESSE.

Other innovative Leuze electronic devices include bar code readers with recognition rates of up to 99.8% and optical data transmission systems with transmission rates of 100 MB per second. Of course, Leuze electronic is also at the forefront of megatrends like Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. “We are well prepared to actively participate in these developments and shape them through advanced, valueadding, sensor-based solutions,” says Mr. Balbach.

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