Our success story began in the late 1940s. In 1947, the young engineer Dr. Fritz Faulhaber founded "Feinmechanische Werkstätten" (Precision Mechanical Workshops), his first company.
His customers included the renowned camera manufacturer Voigtländer, for whom he developed the "Vitessa" in the early 1950s. At that time, he was already playing with the idea of using an electric motor to advance the film. The problem was that with the existing technology, it was not possible to build motors small enough for the installation space available.
Because giving up was not an option for the passionate inventor, he sat down at his desk and, in just a short time, used the ironless, self-supporting, skew winding to develop an innovative drive technology that not only solved his camera problem, but would also form the basis for the future of miniaturization in many application areas worldwide.
Discover the world of drive technology from FAULHABER and experience moving moments and topics from 75 YEARS OF MOTION.
The first production tool was a so-called thick-wire winding machine for the production of low-impedance coils for battery-operated applications. The key here was to lay wires next to one another without crossing them. With respect to the gearing mechanics, this took a bit of clever thinking. The world's first winding machine for self-supporting bell-type armature windings was created in 1950 thanks to the good collaboration between FAULHABER and the Pforzheim-based Clausing company.
With increasing electromobility, charging possibilities are also being installed on the company premises, which employees are happy to make use of. In addition to photovoltaic panels on the building roofs and the compensation of all emissions for CO2-neutral production, this is another element for achieving an ecological balance.
Like the Olympic Games, the Cybathlon competition of the ETH Zürich is held every four years. In the "Wheelchair Race" category, pilots with a severe walking disability complete a defined obstacle course in a motorized wheelchair. FAULHABER is involved as well – with high-performance motors in a wheelchair as well as sponsor of the HSR Team of the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil – several-time winner of the gold trophy in this discipline.
With the founding of Minimotor S.A. on Lake Lugano in the Swiss canton of Tessin, FAULHABER took an important strategic step in 1962 in the tradition-rich Mecca of precision and fine mechanics. The proximity to the watchmaking industry, in particular, promised to bring great success. Thus, we are today celebrating not only our 75th anniversary but also the 60th anniversary together with our Swiss colleagues.
FAULHABER is represented at many trade fairs around the world with its own trade fair booths. One special highlight was our appearance at the Hannover Messe trade fair in 2017, where the then German Chancellor visited our booth as part of her opening tour. Ms. Merkel was especially taken by our smallest drive – a motor-gearhead combination with a diameter of just 1.9 mm.
FAULHABER has for years used photovoltaic systems to generate power. What was started in 2016 at the Schönaich location is now an essential component in the effort to generate power from renewable sources at many of the group's locations. Currently, 12% of the total energy needs of all FAULHABER locations is covered by solar power.
With the opening of the first subsidiary in China 10 years ago, FAULHABER ventured into the People's Republic, one of the largest national economies in the world. The decision was made for the Taicang Economic Development Area near Shanghai. Together with the sales offices that have also opened over time in Beijing, Guangzhou, Xi'an and Hong Kong, we today supply our customers in the People's Republic with innovative products and services in all areas of drive technology.
In the 1950s, Dr. Fritz Faulhaber designed and developed the electric motor with an ironless coil with self-supporting skew winding. The patent for the idea, which was submitted on April 26, 1958, was granted in 1965. It would become known around the world as the "Faulhaber winding" and is considered a milestone in the history of precision mechanics and as a quality seal for a unique drive technology – to this day.
A multi-talent with scientific and inventor skills as well as an aptitude for practical work on the tooling machine and work bench: In 1947, the then 35-year old Dr.-Ing. Fritz Faulhaber founded his company as "Dr. Fritz Faulhaber Feinmechanische Werkstätten GmbH" (Dr. Fritz Faulhaber Precision Mechanical Workshops GmbH). Load cells as well as security locks were produced and precision mechanical work offered on a contract basis. Initially based in Murrhardt, production relocated to Schönaich in 1949 due to a shortage of skilled workers.
There is, on average, at least one new product idea every week – competing in the nationwide, cross-industry "Top 100" comparison of companies for the first time in 2009, FAULHABER was among the most innovative companies in Germany and was honored multiple times by renowned business initiatives for its successful and sustainable innovation management.
On November 12, 2014, the Rosetta space probe placed the Philae lander on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to search for signs of the origins of life in the universe. After a flight time of more than 10 years, the FAULHABER drives woke from the "cold sleep" and reliably got to work – among other things, they adjusted the landing gear and transported valuable samples for analysis.
To ensure continued fast delivery and low costs with rising quantities, FAULHABER invested in automation at the start of the 1990s. From cover mounting to complex production machines for final assembly, including 100% check and final inspections, numerous systems for highly automated, flexible production were created at the new location in Schönaich.
Not only were the premises tight in the early years – frugality was practiced with consumables as well. Due to the lack of materials at the start, Dr. Faulhaber made use of the backs of calendar sheets, packing paper and old boxes to give his ingenuity room to flourish. The sketches that resulted still delivered the basis for precision mechanical masterworks.
In July 2019, MicroMo Electronics Inc. was officially integrated as FAULHABER MICROMO LLC, and thereby became part of the FAULHABER Drive Systems division of the FAULHABER GROUP. With the integration, the long-term vision of the late company owner Dr. Fritz Faulhaber Jr. to further consolidate and expand FAULHABER's position on the North American market as leading provider of high-precision miniature drive systems was realized.
Tie shoelaces, fold bed linen, open a bag of potato chips – the list of things that are difficult to do with one hand goes on and on. With the help of myoelectric hand prostheses, people can make their everyday lives easier and regain quality of life. High-performance DC-motors from FAULHABER generate the movement of all individual fingers and thereby enable a powerful grip with various grip patterns.
The ExoMars rover is still awaiting its planned start to the Red Planet in 2022. When the time comes, three FAULHABER drives will accompany it on the several 100 million kilometer long trip. Its task: focusing and changing the filter of the PanCam, a panoramic and stereographic camera system that is to document and analyze the geological structures and mineral composition of the Martian surface.
Born in 1948 in Schönaich, Dr. Fritz Faulhaber Jr. grew up in Florida in the United States. He graduated from university and earned his doctorate in "Mechanical Engineering Design". He was not only a passionate engineer, but also a visionary business personality. Already in the mid 1980s he steered the history of FAULHABER as chairman of the board and, with the gradual merger of all subsidiaries of the FAULHABER GROUP, set the course through the years for a successful future.
In order to preserve our natural ecosystems for future generations, FAULHABER has set itself the goal of achieving sustainability in all of its facets. For FAULHABER, the focus on sustainability has long been one of its strategic considerations, like innovation and growth. In 2020, FAULHABER became one of the first production companies in Germany to achieve CO2 neutrality – this now applies to all production sites.
For the construction of the self-supporting bell-type armature winding, Dr. Faulhaber initially experimented with wine corks. To do this, he used a copper wire, twice coated with thermoplastic, and wrapped wire-next-to-wire in a zigzag pattern around the wine corks into which pins had been inserted. He then baked the baking lacquer layers in an oven, pulled out the pins and then held the finished product in his hands.
Skilled manual tasks and operations such as gearhead assembly, balancing processes and the manufacture of windings at competitive costs increasingly are becoming a key element in FAULHABER's production network. Established in Jimbolia, Romania, in 2005 for this purpose, FAULHABER Motors Romania S.R.L. today produces on 2,850 square meters of production space with approximately 140 employees.
In the new millennium, customer-specific solutions are increasingly part of the core competence of FAULHABER. The range spans from customer specifications, for which entirely new drive solutions must be devised, to complete assemblies that go beyond the drive itself which, in special cases, must not only be developed for customers but also produced in-house. The entire mechatronic module for a blood glucose meter is one such case.
Series production of FAULHABER microdrives with diameters of 15 and 20 mm began in mid-1957 in a room measuring 35 square meters in the precision mechanics workshops in the Vogelsang area of Schönaich. From the start, the special fine motor skills of women's hands were relied upon for high-quality precision mechanical work – that remains the case even today.
As part of a fundraising campaign, we photographed employees wearing everyday masks during the pandemic to show how much expression is present in our eyes even if half of our face is covered. In addition to masks and rapid tests, FAULHABER also organized a vaccination campaign for employees in-house to provide protection against coronavirus.
At the heart of the traditional watch industry in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, many companies have specialized in microtechnology. The FAULHABER PRECISTEP SA company (formerly ARSAPE) was founded there in 1988. It has been part of the group of companies since 2001 and, with its currently 70 employees, specializes in the development, manufacture and sale of the renowned stepper motor technology from FAULHABER.
As batteries had a poor service life in the 1960s, drives with low power consumption, high dynamics and low weight were in demand – advantages that quickly made FAULHABER drive technology well known. Among the first series customers was the French company Beaulieu, whose film camera was equipped with a total of three motors.
If you cut open a FAULHABER bell-type armature winding lengthwise and spread it out flat, a diamond-shaped pattern is formed with stripes that cross one another. This pattern is the basis for the figurative mark in the FAULHABER logo, which to this day identifies each of our products and is an internationally recognized trademark standing for quality, innovation, reliability and durability.
The creative yet equally pragmatic spirit of our founding father shapes our company to this day. We think in the long term. We monitor the market carefully and take a proactive approach – or as Dr. Fritz Faulhaber Jr., son of the founder, once modestly said: "It is our philosophy to always be technologically ahead by a nose length – but the nose shouldn't be a meter long."
In 2007, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of FAULHABER along with the opening of the third construction phase of our main location in Schönaich. Within a year of the groundbreaking ceremony, the extension was created that would expand the production and administration space to a total of 22,700 m².
Team FAULHABER expresses our motto through sport as well. At events such as the Flugfeld Run in Böblingen, participants from various companies line up at the start, often for a good cause. In 2019, a total of 52 colleagues gave their best walking or running together over a distance of 5 kilometers.
What seemed to be science fiction just a few years ago is now increasingly taking form. Human-like, so-called humanoid robots with eyes, ears, arms and legs are being further developed at a rapid pace and may soon be part of our daily life. In the humanoid robots produced by the Korean company Dongbu Robot, actuators with FAULHABER drives perform the movements of arms and legs.
One especially significant customer from the early years was GRUNDIG: In mid-1963, FAULHABER began producing motors for GRUNDIG's STENORETTE pocket dictating machine, which was initially equipped with an electromechanical centrifugal governor. In particular, it was the high efficiency of the ironless drives – initially still with electromechanical centrifugal governor – that made the battery-operated pocket dictating machine possible at that time.
The company IKERTECHNIKA KFT was founded in the fall of 1997 and began operations with seven employees. The local building regulations specified a townhouse with gabled roof as the ground plan. In the same style, the location in Hungary was gradually expanded to a modern development and production facility with more than 5,000 m² of floor space and currently 300 employees. In 2004, the company was restructured into FAULHABER MOTORS HUNGARIA.
With the opening in 1990, FAULHABER left the previous locations on Mozartstrasse and in the Vogelsang area – both in Schönaich in the state of Baden-Württemberg – and moved into its newly constructed company building at Daimlerstrasse 23 in the industrial park. Over the years, this developed into the headquarters of the company group, where innovation leadership and extensive technology know-how in research, development and production are in the foreground.
Following the trend toward miniaturization, in 1998 FAULHABER developed the world's smallest drive system. The smallest series-produced DC micromotor with planetary gearhead has a diameter of just 1.9 mm and handles torques that are significantly above its own friction torques. A milestone that opened entirely new possibilities, above all for medical technology.
Innovation is in the DNA of our entrepreneurial activity. Our annual customer day "FAULHABER Innovation & Trends" has been held since 2013. During this event, we discuss various topics together with customers: optimization of business processes, connectivity, knowledge and complexity management or efficiency improvements are just a few of the topics that we cover.
In the mid-1970s, the first customer-specific drives – designed to be used solely by one customer – were developed and manufactured. One of the first and to-date most important customers is Heidelberger Druckmaschinen. With the help of the color zone motor developed by FAULHABER, Heidelberger was able to successfully automate the color zone adjustment of its printing machines.
As part of the "SWR Landesschau mobil" segment, presenter Sonja Faber-Schrecklein and her team visited Dr. Fritz Faulhaber Jr. for an interview. In addition to the use of FAULHABER drives in the Rosetta mission and other exciting applications, the nearly 70 years of company history, the career path of Dr. Faulhaber and the commitment to Schönaich were in the foreground.
At Voigtländer, Dr. Faulhaber developed the VITESSA camera model, whose operation was revolutionarily simple: to release the shutter and advance the film, you just needed to push two buttons in sequence. At that time, he was already playing with the idea of using an electric motor to advance the film. The problem was that with the existing technology, it was not possible to build motors small enough for the installation space available.
"Factory of the year" is one of the most demanding competitions and toughest benchmarks for manufacturing companies. It was, above all, the continuous quest to improve processes, the high level of automation and the synchronization across all production locations that convinced the jury to declare FAULHABER the winner in the "Outstanding small-batch production" category in 2018. The emotional highlight of the competition – the ceremonial awards presentation.
Smiling for a good cause – what could be better? Our employees are always willing to take part in charitable activities and even to step in front of the camera. As part of the "Give a smile" campaign, employees could purchase greeting cards to give one another a smile. All proceeds from the card sales went to the children's charity "Herzenssache" (Matter of the Heart).