Dr. Erhard Tellbüscher
CEO Lenze SE, Hamelin:
"High-tech is not synonymous with a lead, but it's about making scalable products easy to use with intelligent technology."
"Ways out of the engineering dilemma" was part of a slogan at the Lenze press conference. While many companies are still chasing high-tech technologies, the Hamelin drive specialist is already beginning to rethink things. Products should be simple and intelligent, end-to-end engineering is important, and it goes without saying that energy is a precious commodity. development scout talked to dr. Erhard Tellbüscher, who does not consider the current upswing boom to be sustainable or that sees us Europeans as dependent on the Asians.
development scout: They put the event under the motto "mechatronic systems - ways out of the engineering dilemma". What is the dilemma?
Dr. Tellbüscher: For some years now, the time and costs involved in engineering a machine or plant have become more and more the focus of our customers and are becoming a major competitive differentiator. In particular, the solution competence of the drive and control providers, but also their engineering tools is of great importance. With the consistency of each of the machine-specific component selection, programming, troubleshooting and diagnostics tools, we want to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and create customer value through simpler engineering. For example, with the Drive Solution Designer (DSD), Lenze offers a powerful design tool that enables drive selection to be performed quickly and easily, and with the L-force Engineer, an end-to-end solution that both the plant's programmer and the service technician can perform optimally supported.
development scout: Today you have presented impressive growth figures: In your opinion, how sustainable will be the sometimes quite aggressive upswing. Is not he scary again?
Dr. Tellbüscher: We grew by 46 percent in the first half of the year, and even stronger in some areas, such as 80 percent in frequency converters. This puts us at the limit of our capacities again. The vendor parts let the delivery time grow again. In the electrical sector, some components such as memory chips, semiconductors or microprocessors are extremely hard to come by. Nevertheless, the Superboom, some speak of, in my opinion, not really there. We assume that we now have some catching up to do. Our customers have spare capacity, they accept shorter delivery times, which results in more purchasing at short notice. On the other hand, the entire engineering industry does not enter the market at the same time. While some industries are already booming, others are still not fully recovered. This will happen in the second half of the year until the beginning of 2011. This gives us countervailing effects, so we believe it will continue at about the current level, with perhaps a slight weakening.
development scout: Many companies say that growth as it is generated today and how it was relevant before the crisis can only be ensured through global activities, especially in Asia, especially China. Have the Europeans already become dependent on the Asians?
Dr. Tellbüscher: I think so in part. Everything is oriented to Asia, especially to China and the emerging India. I see this as a technical race. In China, the largest machine tool supplier produces good 90.000 machines a year in middle technology. By comparison, Europe can come up with significantly less. The Chinese are still working on the basis of a rather modest technology. These equip them, get better and learn from us. So, if the Chinese are still gaining in technology, how do we want to stay here in Europe?
development scout: Do you have any idea how we could do that?
Dr. Tellbüscher: In my opinion, many companies always associate the lead with high-tech. That's why we have a lot of high-tech products here in Europe and especially in Germany, with many features that many do not need. My idea of high tech is different: to keep something simple and to provide it with good intelligent technology. This drives down costs and makes operation easy. If one manages to produce a mass-produced product on passable technical level, which delivers an excellent processing result, one will be very competitive. But to simplify the products with their many features, we also have to learn a lot from Lenze.
development scout: Many companies already have an environmental strategy. Her name is 'Lenze BlueGreen'. What exactly is behind it?
Dr. Tellbüscher: Blue is the color of Lenze and green stands for technologies that save energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Within the company we have stimulated programs for saving energy and our employees enthusiastically bring in many ideas, which we then implement together. At the product level, today we no longer sell geared motors with poor efficiency levels, which are typically found in worm gears. The efficiencies of our transmissions today are well above 95 percent. On the one hand, there are the new efficiency standards that we adhere to when it comes to engine technology, and on the other, we have developed engines in conjunction with converters that can be operated in higher frequency ranges. This has two effects: The motor can be two sizes smaller and thus saves primary energy, and over the high frequency range can be additionally saved energy. Our calculation tools ensure accurate product design, so you can reduce the often oversized collateral in the past. With our 'Drive Solution Designer' you can design alternative and precise drive concepts. Under the umbrella of the Lenze BlueGreen strategy, there are also: energy recovery, energy use in the control cabinet, ie drive design as required or operating cycles, elimination of the simultaneity factor and use of braking energy. If you do it all well, you can save more than 35 percent of energy compared to today's plants.
development scout: Lenze has been dedicated to the topic of electromobility for some time. After your activities for hybrid buses or commercial vehicles, will you one day also be considering the automobile?
Dr. Tellbüscher: That probably will not be the case. We found out and talked to car manufacturers. They see this as part of their core competence and, above all, want to gather know-how at the system level and keep costs under control. Moreover, general mechanical engineering does not fit into this high specialization. Therefore, it is not opportune for the size of our company to go in the car.
development scout: Is there something that Lenze has in common with Hamelin's most famous citizen?
Dr. Tellbüscher: Actually, we do not have anything to do with the Pied Piper, because Lenze is a company that values good values and loves the facts.
Interview by Editor in Chief Angela Scheufler.