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.