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“Inno­va­tion is the key to success”

In spite of global crises, ebm-papst continues to invest heavily in research and devel­op­ment. Dr. Stephan Arnold, CTO at ebm-papst, explains the reasons for this – and what customers gain from it.

Mr. Arnold, ebm-papst will be investing EUR 130 million in research and devel­op­ment in the current fiscal year. What’s the idea behind this major invest­ment?

We are constantly thinking ahead here. Right now, we are devel­oping the prod­ucts that will be launched on the market in three years – and we still want to be ahead of the compe­ti­tion in ten years. After all, we take our role as a tech­nology leader seri­ously. And this despite the fact that the world is turning ever faster and customers – rightly – expect our prod­ucts to keep up with it. Inno­va­tion is the key to success, espe­cially in uncer­tain times.

In what specific measures is this invest­ment evident?

A new elec­tronics devel­op­ment center is under construc­tion in Mulfingen. That means 5,000 addi­tional square meters for the research and devel­op­ment of intel­li­gent fan solu­tions. We have also completed a new qual­i­fi­ca­tion and testing center there. And we are expanding our devel­op­ment capac­i­ties in Asia and the USA.

Digi­tal­iza­tion enables us to take the effi­ciency of our fans to the next level with demand – based, intel­li­gent oper­a­tion.

Is there a partic­ular area at which the expan­sion of R&D is aimed?

We are investing primarily in our core exper­tise - venti­la­tion tech­nology and aero­dy­namics. We want to take the next steps toward the future and move faster from an effi­cient to an intel­li­gent fan. Digi­tal­iza­tion enables us to take the effi­ciency of our fans to the next level with demand – based, intel­li­gent oper­a­tion. It also contributes to a central goal of these invest­ments: to make more effi­cient use of resources across our entire product port­folio.

Can you give specific exam­ples of what your customers can expect from ebm-papst here?

We are contin­uing to develop our modular systems and there­fore ensure faster service and better supply reli­a­bility. These are key issues that a task force has been driving forward since last year. With our solu­tions, we also want to provide optimal support for our customers’ digi­tal­iza­tion efforts. It’s not about digi­tal­iza­tion as an end in itself, it’s about bringing customers more concrete bene­fits with digital services and smarter, more effi­cient prod­ucts.

You have already mentioned Asia and the USA. Will there be a regional focus for the company’s invest­ments?

We can see that the markets in Europe, Asia, and America will continue to diverge, for they have different require­ments and poten­tial. As a global partner for our customers, we have been taking this into account for a long time now through our “local for local” strategy. Now, as a company, we are taking a more regional approach and giving local units the devel­op­ment and produc­tion power they need for this. 

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