Over 45 years of milestones

1955

The foundations of Harmonic Drive® Gears laid by Walton Musser

The foundations of Harmonic Drive® Gears were laid by the American inventor C.W. Musser in 1955 with a gear principle originally designed for the aerospace industry, which fundamentally differs from conventional gears through its unique mechanism.

1970

Founding of Harmonic Drive System GmbH and Harmonic Drive Systems Inc.

Its outstanding properties such as zero backlash, compact design and single stage high gear ratio quickly became popular in other branches of technology, and in 1970 United Shoe Machinery in Boston together with Hasegawa Gear Works in Tokyo founded Harmonic Drive System GmbH in Germany and Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. in Japan to promote the global marketing of Harmonic Drive® Gears.

Marlene and Mister Ernst, 1971

1971

Reinhard Ernst starts work at Harmonic Drive System GmbH

On 4th January 1971, Harmonic Drive System GmbH in Langen near Frankfurt am Main started operations. Reinhard Ernst was responsible for selling the gears produced in Japan in the European market - a pioneer in his field. At that time the only marketing material he had was a few non-DIN-compliant drawings and three old photos of gears. Nevertheless, the company gained some new customers and achieved an annual turnover of 200,000 DM in only its second year.

1981

Reinhard Ernst purchases the American/Japanese joint venture

In 1981, Reinhard Ernst purchased the American/Japanese joint venture together with three colleagues in the form of a management buyout. As a result of growing rationalisation and automation in the industry in the 1980s and the corresponding requirements in terms of dynamics and precision, particularly in robotics, the company experienced a boom in demand. But as so often happens, this success story did not run completely smoothly at first, and the numerous requests for individual solutions for various customers and applications caused ongoing problems: Many projects could not be implemented by the German sales engineers because each individual modification first had to be shared with Japan, where the adaptation was then fully considered, which led to long delays before it could be implemented. The Managing Director at the time therefore quickly decided that it was not a workable solution to manufacture products in Japan and sell them in Europe – instead, a separate flexible production site was required.

1988

Move to Limburg/Lahn with fewer than 25 employees

The additional expansion of the company and growing sales increasingly reinforced this belief, and consequently in 1988 Reinhard Ernst moved into a new building in Limburg/Lahn with fewer than 25 employees. Comprehensive investment in production and office buildings, modern CNC machines and recruitment followed - the newly gained competences and capacity created the conditions required to start manufacturing gears and customer-specific solutions at the new site.

1994

Company changed to Harmonic Drive Antriebstechnik GmbH

A shift of emphasis to servo technology was reflected in 1994 in the change of the company name to Harmonic Drive Antriebstechnik GmbH. Reinhard Ernst held all shares in the company, and invested in it significantly in the years that followed. Through the purchase of new high-tech machines, special tools, test equipment and facilities, the company was also able to develop and manufacture not only complete servo systems but also customer specific system solutions for the European market.

1996

Certification in accordance with ISO 9001

The change in internal processes also made it possible to achieve the high quality standards which in 1996 were documented as part of certification in accordance with ISO 9001.

1999

Company changed to public limited company Harmonic Drive AG

In order to create additional transparency and to strengthen customer confidence in the future of the company, in 1999 the company was converted to the public limited company Harmonic Drive AG.

2001

Founding of Micromotion GmbH, Mainz

Continuous further development of business and production processes led in 2001 to the founding of Micromotion GmbH in Mainz, which specialised in the development and manufacture of high precision micro drives through the use of the LIGA process.

2002

Establishment of the Mechatronics department

Following the successful implementation of Harmonic Drive® Gear production in Limburg, the next step was the development of servo actuators. Following the founding of the Mechatronics Development department, specific motors were designed and optimised to the performance of the gears. Power density and extremely smooth running were the central features here.

2004

Founding of subsidiaries in France, Italy and the UK

In order to support global interest in the products and to ensure optimal customer care, in 2004 international sales were boosted by the foundation of subsidiaries in France, Italy and the UK. By now Harmonic Drive AG had 175 employees working in the fields of environmental protection, occupational health and safety, quality control and the aerospace industry, and their actions were monitored by the introduction of an integrated management system.

2006

Setup of Development Centre

In addition to the 100% subsidiaries, in 2006 the Development Centre was set up, which covers 2.400 square metres and offers the ideal conditions for development activities, representing another clear investment in the future. Following the slogan that "if you don’t go forwards you go backwards", OVALO GmbH was founded at the Limburg site in the same year. This company develops and industrialises actuators and gears using the proven strain wave gear principle for large scale applications.

2007

Founding of subsidiaries in Spain and Austria

2007 saw the startup of subsidiaries in Spain and Austria, adding to the growing sales network.

2008

Increased employees and sales

As the company had grown larger over the previous years, the number of employees had also continued to rise. The trend for growth could also be seen in the sales figures, which reached 65 million euros in 2008. Despite the economic crisis of this year, Harmonic Drive AG was able to maintain a positive outlook. In the same year, Reinhard Ernst appointed Ekrem Sirman as his successor as Chief Executive Officer and at the same time took over as Chair of the Supervisory Board for the company. The second Executive Board Member was Masanao Kobayashi.

2010

Introduction of motor production

2010 saw the start of production for machine produced stators with single tooth windings. The existing competences, both in electromagnetic design and in the production options for distributed windings and single-tooth windings, meant that complete actuators could now be supplied according to customer requirements. Adaptation to the relevant control system is supported by the wide range of popular sensors as well as special solutions.

2013

Factory expansion and setup of new production lines

The maxim that "Innovations lead to changes" was confirmed in these years, with the new Executive Board and Supervisory Board overseeing a factory expansion and the setup of new production lines, clear signs of increased productivity. As well as the positive effect on profits and the additional 6500 m² of space added for measuring labs, staff facilities, meeting rooms, a canteen and storage space, the factory expansion offers additional advantages: flexible service media supply for machines and process lines, constant air conditioning with active dehumidification, 30% power savings through the use of LED lighting, high maximum floor load and accessibility make the extension an investment for the future.

2013

Founding of subsidiary in Switzerland

The foundation of Harmonic Drive Switzerland AG in 2013 completed the ever growing sales network.

2014

Series production of cross roller bearings

The outlook was excellent, not just internationally but also at the Limburg site, where new successes could be observed that demonstrated the company’s transition from component supplier to system provider. After many years of further developments, ranging from research and development to complex qualification to the procurement of specialist test equipment and machines, another result was achieved in 2014: Series production of cross roller bearings "made in Limburg". A high degree of rigidity, extremely high running accuracy and torque capacity make them ideal for use in robots, machine tools and medical devices. Special areas of application can also be covered by customer specific cross roller bearings. The customer could now receive solutions from a single source and benefit throughout from the unique expertise of Harmonic Drive AG.

2016

384 employees and a turnover of 94 million euros

As a leading manufacturer of mechatronic drive systems and precision gears with 384 employees and 20,400 m² of factory and office space, Harmonic Drive AG achieved a turnover of 94 million euros in 2016.

Focus on branch sales teams

Despite the successful results, there was no room for complacency. Constant changes in the market mean that businesses can never relax. In order to win, you have to stay on the ball and keep adapting to change. “Adapting” was therefore the keyword when it came to the changeover to branch sales teams. The stated aim of our concentration on branches is to provide specialist expertise when supporting customers, using intensive cooperation to create solutions as a team. Existing specialist knowledge from individual engineers is grouped within the branch teams for robotics, handling and automation, machine tools and general machine building, semiconductor and medical technology, packaging machines and the aerospace industry and defence technology.

2017

Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. becomes sole shareholder

This decision was one of the most important for Reinhard Ernst, who has guided the company over the years in his roles as majority shareholder, CEO and Member of the Supervisory Board of Harmonic Drive AG. In February 2017, Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. became sole shareholder of Harmonic Drive AG having bought the majority of shares.

QUOTE:

"Many years of cooperation between the companies and the resulting close relationships held with the Japanese partner reassured Reinhard Ernst that he had placed his life's work in the right hands."

Harmonic Drive® Your international partner

[Translate to Englisch:]

Meilensteine aus über 45 Jahren

1955

Der Grundstein der Harmonic Drive® Getriebe wird von Walton Musser gelegt

Grundstein der Harmonic Drive® Getriebe ist das vom amerikanischen Erfinder C.W. Musser 1955 ursprünglich für die Raumfahrt konzipierte Getriebeprinzip, das sich durch seinen einzigartigen Mechanismus grundlegend von konventionellen Getrieben unterscheidet.

1970

Gründung der Harmonic Drive System GmbH und Harmonic Drive Systems Inc.

Seine herausragenden Eigenschaften wie Spielfreiheit, Kompaktheit und hohe Untersetzung in einer Stufe setzten sich auch in anderen Bereichen der Technik schnell durch, sodass 1970 die United Shoe Machinery in Boston zusammen mit der Hasegawa Gear Works in Tokio die Harmonic Drive System GmbH in Deutschland und die Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. in Japan gründeten, um die weltweite Vermarktung der Harmonic Drive® Getriebe voranzutreiben.

Marlene und Herr Ernst, 1971

1971

Reinhard Ernst nimmt seine Tätigkeit für die Harmonic Drive System GmbH auf

Am 4. Januar 1971 beginnt die Gesellschaft Harmonic Drive System GmbH in Langen bei Frankfurt am Main ihre Tätigkeit. Für den Vertrieb der in Japan hergestellten Getriebe auf dem europäischen Markt wurde Reinhard Ernst zuständig - ein Mann der ersten Stunde. Er hatte damals - abgesehen von ein paar nicht DIN-entsprechenden Zeichnungen und drei alten Fotos von Getrieben – keinerlei Marketingmaterial zur Verfügung. Dennoch gewann die Gesellschaft einige neue Kunden und erzielte im zweiten Jahr ihres Bestehens einen Jahresumsatz von 200.000 DM.

1981

Reinhard Ernst erwirbt das amerikanisch-japanische Gemeinschaftsunternehmen

"1981 erwarb Reinhard Ernst das amerikanisch-japanische Gemeinschaftsunternehmen gemeinsam mit drei Kollegen im Rahmen eines sogenannten Management-Buyouts. Aufgrund der aufkommenden Rationalisierung und Automatisierung in der Industrie in den 80er Jahren und den damit verbundenen Anforderungen an Dynamik und Präzision, besonders im Bereich der Robotik, erlebte man einen regelrechten Nachfrageboom. Doch wie so oft, verlief auch diese Erfolgsgeschichte am Anfang nicht völlig reibungslos, und so bereiteten besonders die vielfachen Anfragen nach individuellen Lösungen für verschiedene Kunden und Einsatzfelder immer wieder Probleme: Viele Projekte konnten die deutschen Vertriebsingenieure nicht realisieren, weil jede einzelne Modifikation zunächst nach Japan kommuniziert werden musste, wo die Anpassung dann gründlich abgewogen wurde, bis sie schließlich nach längerer Zeit umgesetzt werden konnte. Für den damaligen Geschäftsführer stand deshalb schnell fest, dass es nicht genügt, die Produkte in Japan herzustellen und sie in Europa zu vertreiben – nötig war stattdessen eine eigene flexible Fertigung vor Ort.

1988

Umzug mit weniger als 25 Mitarbeitern nach Limburg an der Lahn

Die zusätzliche Expansion des Unternehmens und der wachsende Absatz verstärkten diese Annahme zunehmend, sodass Reinhard Ernst 1988 mit weniger als 25 Mitarbeitern in ein neu errichtetes Gebäude in Limburg an der Lahn zog. Umfangreiche Investitionen in Produktions- und Bürogebäude, moderne CNC-Maschinen und Personalaufbau folgten - neu erworbene Kompetenzen sowie Kapazitäten schafften die notwendigen Voraussetzungen, um auch am neuen Standort mit der Herstellung von Getrieben und kundenspezifischen Lösungen zu beginnen.

1994

Umfirmierung zur Harmonic Drive Antriebstechnik GmbH

Die Schwerpunktverlagerung hin zur Antriebstechnik spiegelte sich auch 1994 bei der Umfirmierung zur Harmonic Drive Antriebstechnik GmbH wider. Reinhard Ernst hält alle Gesellschaftsanteile am Unternehmen, in das er auch in den darauffolgenden Jahren vielseitig investiert. Bedingt durch den Kauf von neuen hochmodernen Maschinen, Spezialwerkzeugen, Prüfmaschinen und -mitteln können zukünftig neben kompletten Antriebssystemen auch kundenspezifische Systemlösungen für den europäischen Markt entwickelt und hergestellt werden.

1996

Zertifizierung nach ISO 9001

Mit der Umstellung interner Prozesse gelingt es darüber hinaus, die hohen Qualitätsstandards zu sichern, die 1996 im Rahmen der Zertifizierung nach ISO 9001 dokumentiert werden.

1999

Umfirmierung in die Aktiengesellschaft Harmonic Drive AG

Um zusätzliche Transparenz zu schaffen und das Vertrauen der Kunden in die Zukunft des Unternehmens zu stärken, erfolgt 1999 die Umwandlung in die Aktiengesellschaft Harmonic Drive AG.

2001

Gründung der Micromotion GmbH, Mainz

Stetige Weiterentwicklung der Geschäfts- und Produktionsprozesse ermöglicht 2001 die Gründung der Micromotion GmbH in Mainz, die sich auf die Entwicklung und Herstellung hochpräziser Mikroantriebe durch Anwendung des LIGA-Verfahrens spezialisiert hat.

2002

Etablierung des Bereiches Mechatronik

Nach erfolgreicher Implementierung der Harmonic Drive® Getriebefertigung in Limburg erfolgt der nächste Schritt in Richtung Servoaktuatoren. Nach Gründung der Mechatronik-Entwicklung wurden spezifische Motoren designed und optimal auf die Performance der Getriebe zugeschnitten. Dabei spielten sowohl Leistungsdichte als auch bestmögliches Gleichlaufverhalten eine zentrale Rolle.

2004

Gründung der Tochtergesellschaften in Frankreich, Italien und England

Um dem weltweiten Interesse Rechnung zu tragen und eine optimale Kundenbetreuung zu gewährleisten, wird 2004 der internationale Vertrieb durch die Gründung der Tochtergesellschaften in Frankreich, Italien und England gestärkt. Inzwischen beschäftigt die Harmonic Drive AG 175 Mitarbeiter, deren Handeln in den Bereichen Umweltschutz, Arbeitsschutz, Qualitätssicherung und Luft- und Raumfahrt durch die Einführung eines integrierten Managementsystems kontrolliert wird.

2006

Bau des Entwicklungszentrums

Neben den 100 %igen Tochtergesellschaften ist auch das im Jahr 2006 erbaute Entwicklungszentrum, welches mit 2400 qm Fläche beste Voraussetzung für Entwicklungsaktivitäten bietet, eine Investition in die Zukunft. Getreu dem Motto „Stillstand ist Rückschritt“ wird am Standort Limburg noch im gleichen Jahr die OVALO GmbH gegründet. Diese entwickelt und industrialisiert Antriebe und Getriebe nach dem bewährten Wellgetriebeprinzip für Großserienanwendungen.

2007

Gründung der Tochtergesellschaften in Spanien und Österreich

2007 entstehen die Tochtergesellschaften in Spanien und Österreich, die das wachsende Vertriebsnetzwerk ergänzen.

2008

Steigende Mitarbeiterzahlen und Umsätze

So wie das Unternehmen in den vergangenen Jahren an Größe gewonnen hat, hat sich auch die Mitarbeiterzahl stetig erhöht. Steigende Tendenzen lassen sich auch in puncto Umsatz ablesen, der in 2008 bei 65 Millionen Euro liegt. Obgleich der in diesem Jahr herrschenden Wirtschaftskrise kann die Harmonic Drive AG ein positives Zeichen setzen. Im selben Jahr bestellt Reinhard Ernst Ekrem Sirman als seinen Nachfolger als Vorstandsvorsitzender und übernimmt zeitgleich den Vorsitz des Aufsichtsrats der AG. Das zweite Vorstandsmitglied wird Masanao Kobayashi.

2010

Einführung der Motorenfertigung

2010 erfolgte die Serieneinführung von maschinell hergestellten Statoren für Einzelzahnwicklungen. Durch die vorhandenen Kompetenzen, sowohl im elektromagnetischen Design als auch in den Fertigungsmöglichkeiten für verteilte Wicklungen und Einzelzahnwicklungen, können nun komplette Aktuatoren entsprechend den Kundenanforderungen geliefert werden. Die Adaption an das jeweilige Steuerungssystem ist durch eine hohe Varianz von marktüblichen Sensoren als auch durch Sonderlösungen möglich.

2013

Werkserweiterug sowie Einrichtung von neuen Produktionslinien

Die Maxime „Neuerungen bringen auch Veränderungen“ bestätigt sich in den kommenden Jahren, in denen unter der Führung des neuen Vorstands und des Aufsichtsrats eine Werkserweiterung und die Einrichtung von neuen Produktionslinien die Weichen für eine Erhöhung der Produktivität stellen. Neben gewinnbringenden Effekten und der zusätzlichen Flächenerweiterung von insgesamt 6.500 m², auf denen auch Messlabor, Sozialtrakt, Tagungsräume, Kantine und Lager Platz finden, bietet die Werkserweiterung weitere Vorteile: Flexible Betriebsmedienversorgung für Maschinen und Prozesslinien, konstante Luftkonditionierung mit aktiver Luftentfeuchtung, 30 % Stromersparnisse durch Beleuchtung mit LED-Technologie, hohe maximale Bodenbelastbarkeit und Barrierefreiheit machen den Anbau zu einer Investition für die Zukunft.

2013

Gründung der Tochtergesellschaften in der Schweiz

Die Gründung der Harmonic Drive Switzerland AG komplettiert 2013 das mit den Jahren gewachsene Vertriebsnetzwerk.

2014

Serienproduktion von Kreuzrollenlagern

Nicht nur international ist die Prognose aussichtsreich, auch am Standort Limburg können neue Erfolge verzeichnet werden, die das Unternehmen auf dem Weg vom Komponentenlieferanten zum Systemanbieter voranbringen. Denn nach jahrelangen Weiterentwicklungen, die sich von Forschung und Entwicklung über aufwendige Qualifizierung bis hin zur Beschaffung von speziellen Prüfmitteln und Maschinen erstrecken, präsentiert man 2014 ein weiteres Ergebnis: Serienproduktion von Kreuzrollenlagern made in Limburg. Hohe Steifigkeit, äußerst hohe Rundlaufgenauigkeit und Momentenbelastbarkeit prädestinieren sie für den Einsatz in Robotern, Werkzeugmaschinen und medizinischen Geräten. Spezielle Anwendungsbereiche können durch kundenspezifische Kreuzrollenlager ebenfalls abgedeckt werden. Der Kunde erhält fortan Lösungen aus einer Hand und profitiert auf ganzer Linie von der einzigartigen Expertise der Harmonic Drive AG.

2016

384 Mitarbeiter und ein Umsatz von 92 Millionen Euro

Als führender Hersteller von mechatronischen Antriebssystemen und Präzisionsgetrieben mit 384 Mitarbeitern und 20.400 m² Fabrikations- und Bürofläche erwirtschaftet die AG 2016 einen Umsatz von 92 Millionen Euro.

Fokus auf Branchenvertrieb

Trotz der erfolgreichen Bilanz ist an Stillstand noch lange nicht zu denken. Die ständigen Veränderungen des Marktes erlauben keine Ruhephasen. Wer mithalten will, muss am Ball bleiben und sich anpassen. “Anpassen“ war daher auch das Stichwort, bei der Umstellung zum Branchenvertrieb. Erklärtes Ziel der Konzentration auf Branchen ist die fachlich kompetentere Betreuung des Kunden, die durch intensivere Zusammenarbeit eine gemeinsame Lösungsfindung beinhalten soll. Dazu wurde das vorhandene Fachwissen der einzelnen Ingenieure in die Branchenteams Robotik, Handling und Automation - Werkzeugmaschinen und allgemeiner Maschinenbau - Halbleiter- und Medizintechnik - Verpackungsmaschinen sowie Luft-/Raumfahrt und Wehrtechnik gebündelt.

2017

Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. wird alleiniger Gesellschafter

Diese Entscheidung ist eine der wichtigsten für Reinhard Ernst, der in den Jahren seiner Funktion als Mehrheitsgesellschafter, CEO und Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender der Harmonic Drive AG die Geschichte der Gesellschaft lenkte. Im Februar 2017 wurde Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. durch den Kauf der Aktienmehrheit alleiniger Gesellschafter der Harmonic Drive AG.

Die jahrelange Zusammenarbeit der Unternehmen und die damit verbundenen vertrauensvollen Beziehungen mit dem japanischen Partner geben Reinhard Ernst ein gutes Gefühl, sein Lebenswerk in die richtigen Hände übergeben zu haben.

Harmonic Drive® Ihr internationaler Partner

Over 45 years of milestones

1955

The foundations of Harmonic Drive® Gears laid by Walton Musser

The foundations of Harmonic Drive® Gears were laid by the American inventor C.W. Musser in 1955 with a gear principle originally designed for the aerospace industry, which fundamentally differs from conventional gears through its unique mechanism.

1970

Founding of Harmonic Drive System GmbH and Harmonic Drive Systems Inc.

Its outstanding properties such as zero backlash, compact design and single stage high gear ratio quickly became popular in other branches of technology, and in 1970 United Shoe Machinery in Boston together with Hasegawa Gear Works in Tokyo founded Harmonic Drive System GmbH in Germany and Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. in Japan to promote the global marketing of Harmonic Drive® Gears.

Marlene and Mister Ernst, 1971

1971

Reinhard Ernst starts work at Harmonic Drive System GmbH

On 4th January 1971, Harmonic Drive System GmbH in Langen near Frankfurt am Main started operations. Reinhard Ernst was responsible for selling the gears produced in Japan in the European market - a pioneer in his field. At that time the only marketing material he had was a few non-DIN-compliant drawings and three old photos of gears. Nevertheless, the company gained some new customers and achieved an annual turnover of 200,000 DM in only its second year.

1981

Reinhard Ernst purchases the American/Japanese joint venture

In 1981, Reinhard Ernst purchased the American/Japanese joint venture together with three colleagues in the form of a management buyout. As a result of growing rationalisation and automation in the industry in the 1980s and the corresponding requirements in terms of dynamics and precision, particularly in robotics, the company experienced a boom in demand. But as so often happens, this success story did not run completely smoothly at first, and the numerous requests for individual solutions for various customers and applications caused ongoing problems: Many projects could not be implemented by the German sales engineers because each individual modification first had to be shared with Japan, where the adaptation was then fully considered, which led to long delays before it could be implemented. The Managing Director at the time therefore quickly decided that it was not a workable solution to manufacture products in Japan and sell them in Europe – instead, a separate flexible production site was required.

1988

Move to Limburg/Lahn with fewer than 25 employees

The additional expansion of the company and growing sales increasingly reinforced this belief, and consequently in 1988 Reinhard Ernst moved into a new building in Limburg/Lahn with fewer than 25 employees. Comprehensive investment in production and office buildings, modern CNC machines and recruitment followed - the newly gained competences and capacity created the conditions required to start manufacturing gears and customer-specific solutions at the new site.

1994

Company changed to Harmonic Drive Antriebstechnik GmbH

A shift of emphasis to servo technology was reflected in 1994 in the change of the company name to Harmonic Drive Antriebstechnik GmbH. Reinhard Ernst held all shares in the company, and invested in it significantly in the years that followed. Through the purchase of new high-tech machines, special tools, test equipment and facilities, the company was also able to develop and manufacture not only complete servo systems but also customer specific system solutions for the European market.

1996

Certification in accordance with ISO 9001

The change in internal processes also made it possible to achieve the high quality standards which in 1996 were documented as part of certification in accordance with ISO 9001.

1999

Company changed to public limited company Harmonic Drive AG

In order to create additional transparency and to strengthen customer confidence in the future of the company, in 1999 the company was converted to the public limited company Harmonic Drive AG.

2001

Founding of Micromotion GmbH, Mainz

Continuous further development of business and production processes led in 2001 to the founding of Micromotion GmbH in Mainz, which specialised in the development and manufacture of high precision micro drives through the use of the LIGA process.

2002

Establishment of the Mechatronics department

Following the successful implementation of Harmonic Drive® Gear production in Limburg, the next step was the development of servo actuators. Following the founding of the Mechatronics Development department, specific motors were designed and optimised to the performance of the gears. Power density and extremely smooth running were the central features here.

2004

Founding of subsidiaries in France, Italy and the UK

In order to support global interest in the products and to ensure optimal customer care, in 2004 international sales were boosted by the foundation of subsidiaries in France, Italy and the UK. By now Harmonic Drive AG had 175 employees working in the fields of environmental protection, occupational health and safety, quality control and the aerospace industry, and their actions were monitored by the introduction of an integrated management system.

2006

Setup of Development Centre

In addition to the 100% subsidiaries, in 2006 the Development Centre was set up, which covers 2.400 square metres and offers the ideal conditions for development activities, representing another clear investment in the future. Following the slogan that "if you don’t go forwards you go backwards", OVALO GmbH was founded at the Limburg site in the same year. This company develops and industrialises actuators and gears using the proven strain wave gear principle for large scale applications.

2007

Founding of subsidiaries in Spain and Austria

2007 saw the startup of subsidiaries in Spain and Austria, adding to the growing sales network.

2008

Increased employees and sales

As the company had grown larger over the previous years, the number of employees had also continued to rise. The trend for growth could also be seen in the sales figures, which reached 65 million euros in 2008. Despite the economic crisis of this year, Harmonic Drive AG was able to maintain a positive outlook. In the same year, Reinhard Ernst appointed Ekrem Sirman as his successor as Chief Executive Officer and at the same time took over as Chair of the Supervisory Board for the company. The second Executive Board Member was Masanao Kobayashi.

2010

Introduction of motor production

2010 saw the start of production for machine produced stators with single tooth windings. The existing competences, both in electromagnetic design and in the production options for distributed windings and single-tooth windings, meant that complete actuators could now be supplied according to customer requirements. Adaptation to the relevant control system is supported by the wide range of popular sensors as well as special solutions.

2013

Factory expansion and setup of new production lines

The maxim that "Innovations lead to changes" was confirmed in these years, with the new Executive Board and Supervisory Board overseeing a factory expansion and the setup of new production lines, clear signs of increased productivity. As well as the positive effect on profits and the additional 6500 m² of space added for measuring labs, staff facilities, meeting rooms, a canteen and storage space, the factory expansion offers additional advantages: flexible service media supply for machines and process lines, constant air conditioning with active dehumidification, 30% power savings through the use of LED lighting, high maximum floor load and accessibility make the extension an investment for the future.

2013

Founding of subsidiary in Switzerland

The foundation of Harmonic Drive Switzerland AG in 2013 completed the ever growing sales network.

2014

Series production of cross roller bearings

The outlook was excellent, not just internationally but also at the Limburg site, where new successes could be observed that demonstrated the company’s transition from component supplier to system provider. After many years of further developments, ranging from research and development to complex qualification to the procurement of specialist test equipment and machines, another result was achieved in 2014: Series production of cross roller bearings "made in Limburg". A high degree of rigidity, extremely high running accuracy and torque capacity make them ideal for use in robots, machine tools and medical devices. Special areas of application can also be covered by customer specific cross roller bearings. The customer could now receive solutions from a single source and benefit throughout from the unique expertise of Harmonic Drive AG.

2016

384 employees and a turnover of 94 million euros

As a leading manufacturer of mechatronic drive systems and precision gears with 384 employees and 20,400 m² of factory and office space, Harmonic Drive AG achieved a turnover of 94 million euros in 2016.

Focus on branch sales teams

Despite the successful results, there was no room for complacency. Constant changes in the market mean that businesses can never relax. In order to win, you have to stay on the ball and keep adapting to change. “Adapting” was therefore the keyword when it came to the changeover to branch sales teams. The stated aim of our concentration on branches is to provide specialist expertise when supporting customers, using intensive cooperation to create solutions as a team. Existing specialist knowledge from individual engineers is grouped within the branch teams for robotics, handling and automation, machine tools and general machine building, semiconductor and medical technology, packaging machines and the aerospace industry and defence technology.

2017

Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. becomes sole shareholder

This decision was one of the most important for Reinhard Ernst, who has guided the company over the years in his roles as majority shareholder, CEO and Member of the Supervisory Board of Harmonic Drive AG. In February 2017, Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. became sole shareholder of Harmonic Drive AG having bought the majority of shares.

QUOTE:

"Many years of cooperation between the companies and the resulting close relationships held with the Japanese partner reassured Reinhard Ernst that he had placed his life's work in the right hands."

Harmonic Drive® Your international partner