Maxon motor: Move anything that has to be rotated with high precision
From earth’s core to outer space to medical, maxon motors drive systems are the product of choice to move anything that has to be rotated with high precision and reliability. Established in 1961 in Switzerland, the group has come a long way and today has production sites in 8 countries and a distributor network across 40 countries. Over the years, the group has established itself as prominent solution provider, with the capability to serve unique needs of various customers. Currently, the group is expanding its network and is focusing extensively on tapping India market through its subsidiary, maxon motor India Pvt. Ltd. Shweta Nanda of Machine Tools World takes a look at the group’s journey, interesting applications of its drive systems and the future growth visio
With more than 50 years of experience to its credit, maxon motor is a known and reliable provider of drive technology throughout the world. A family owned company, which started operations in 1961 in Switzerland, maxon motor today has increased its manufacturing footprint outside Switzerland in Germany, Hungary, France, US & Korea.
When we look closer to home, the company’s products have been present in India for around two decades through distributors. In 2010, its Indian subsidiary was established to better understand customer expectations and provide the required technology.
“Indian subsidiary operation was started keeping in view of our esteemed customers so that we understand their needs and support them in execution. Our customers have helped us grow year by year, which has enabled us to support them better,” says Atul Bhardwaj, Director, maxon motor India Pvt. Ltd.
The company’s journey in India has been interesting, with lot of learnings and takeaway considering Indian environment matching with maxon Swiss technology. “There were some initial challenges when we were setting up our operation and team. We had to set up maxon Indian operations going through the Indian bureaucracy. As we grew, the digitalization of various tax authorities has helped us to be lean and at the same time effective. Another key challenge was to maintain consistent growth as project orders create spikes,” shares Bhardwaj.
Over the years, maxon motor has acquired companies like Zub, Parvalux, mdp & Kwapil which complements maxon offerings to adopt a solution-centric approach. “Today, we not only provide products, subsystem but also system solution. We now have Parvalux as maxon company, which offers economy of scales along with maxon Korea to suit Indian customers who always look value for money. On the other hand, demanding requirements need maxon coreless motors and drive solutions. Going forward, we see they complement each other and offer ample opportunities for maxon to grow in India. From highly demanding aerospace industry to industrial automation, you will find maxon in all the industrial sectors to augment growth,” elaborates Bhardwaj.
Focus on R&D
One thing that has been at the core of maxon’s success is the company’s firm focus on R&D. maxon has R&D departments both at the headquarters in Sachseln (Switzerland) and at the subsidiary in Sexau (Germany). In addition to continuous product development, these departments are responsible for ongoing improvement of manufacturing processes, production and testing systems.
“At maxon, R&D is the basis for future viability. We have been investing in R&D around 8-10% annually on almost consistent basis where more than 200 employees work. We come up with new products and features on a consistent basis and all this is possible because of R&D,” asserts Bhardwaj.
Today, the company’s product offerings include DC motors (cored & coreless), AC motors, planetary, helical & worm gearboxes, drives, sensors & customized system solutions.
The R&D activities of maxon are directed toward the requirements of the market and the customers. When the combination of standard products do not suffice, the company focuses on developing custom designs, which can either be product modifications or new developments. “We also collaborate with higher educational institutes and universities around the world to ensure that our drive systems meet the demands of new technology,” shares Bhardwaj.
Driving Innovation across Industries
Given the sophisticated and advanced technology, the company’s drive systems are used in several industries across manifold applications, including medical, aerospace, industrial automation and instrumentation.
“Our micromotors move anything that has to be rotated with high precision and reliability from the earth’s core to outer space. Under, on, and above ground,” asserts Bhardwaj.
One of the interesting case studies is maxon drives being used to drive several Mars rovers. The DC motors withstand the harsh conditions—they resist brutal temperature changes, dust, dirt, and storms.
“This is achieved with state-of-the-art technology, uncounted lab tests, and specific modifications. maxon engineers transfer their knowledge from custom projects to other aerospace projects such as actuators in passenger planes or stabilizers in unmanned aircraft,” states Bhardwaj.
Apart from space, maxon drive systems are also being used in medical technology. Applications in medical technology place high demands on drive components and maxon drive systems are customized for each application from inside the body or in the operating room to improve patient’s quality of life. “maxon medical finds a matching drive and controller for each application, or will work with customers to develop a tailored solution. Applications include insulin pumps, surgical robots, precision hand-held tools, prostheses, and many others,” informs Bhardwaj.
The company’s drives are also used in meteorological instruments and climate control devices, precision scales, and laser measurement devices. Some applications go kilometers underground. In deep drilling, the company’s robust drives are in high demand. They work reliably even while exposed to strong vibration at temperatures up to 200 °C.
Further, maxon has also emerged as the partner of choice when it comes to drives for Exoskeleton, humanoid robots, hand-held tools, multi-axis robot controllers, packaging machines or welding systems. “Robots are driving the world, and we are driving the robots. Complex mechatronic systems work only if every single component is very high quality,” avers Bhardwaj.
In India, the company has been involved in automation for high-end medical applications, aerospace, industrial automation, instrumentation, etc. Some of its key customers include prominent organizations and companies, such as ISRO, DRDO, L&T, Tata, Bosch, Phillips, GE, to name a few .
The Road Ahead
While maxon in the past has been playing in niche areas, in recent years it has started focusing more on Asian markets. The company is eyeing huge opportunities in China, India, Taiwan, Korea and other Asian countries for incremental growth. Specifically in India, maxon group is investing & will continue to invest to expand operations.
“Asia will witness highest growth in the world in next decade. With the stable government, India expects GDP to grow by around 8%+, with the thrust in manufacturing. We are in India at the right time to leverage Swiss technology and ecosystem to have synergy for growth. We want maxon to be the preferred choice of customers in India when they look for DC/AC motors, drives and system solutions. maxon is synonyms for quality, reliability technology and good after-sales support and in future we are looking at further strengthening the situation,” asserts Bhardwaj.
Given maxon’s extensive experience, huge product portfolio and growth plans for India, the company’s outlook looks extremely positive and maxon is all set to scale greater heights in the country.