Driving innovation in e-mobility

Success Story

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E-mobility has developed rapidly over the past few years and is now accessible to the wider public. It changes our everyday lives and doesn’t show any signs of stopping, even when it comes to petrol-powered racing cars. It is posing new challenges to suppliers like Humbel.

Maximum flexibility in the high-end market

Kradolf is in a state of emergency. Around-the-clock shifts are required - also at the weekends. The reason? A customer is in crisis. In order to meet a delivery deadline, certain parts need to be assembled in six days – parts that still need to be produced, which normally takes eight weeks. The parts are produced at Humbel in just four days – an impressive feat and one that would not have been possible without the extraordinary commitment of many of its staff. This incredible achievement allows our customer to meet its own customer’s delivery deadline.

Innovation: a part of everyday life

This exceptional story took place in 2017 and shows just what is required of us today: speed and flexibility while maintaining absolute precision. The entire sector is in flux, with trends and innovations emerging at lightning speed. Standardised series parts are hardly ever fitted any more because drive concepts vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and are continuously overhauled. As a result, new gears and gear parts are constantly in demand, in small runs but requiring top quality.
For Humbel, therefore, e-mobility primarily means producing prototypes at a time when many no longer talk of “prototypes”. The development cycle moves so quickly (for example in the case of gears for Formula E) that the prototype phase doesn’t even exist any more. The phase of ongoing innovation has now become the status quo.

“In the e-mobility sector and at the highest level of motorsport, the development cycle is so rapid that we never produce a single component twice because it is permanently under further development.”
Alex Humbel, CQO Humbel Zahnräder AG

The market is demanding greater and greater flexibility and faster response times from suppliers like Humbel. That is why entrepreneur Alex Humbel is continuously investing in innovative technologies and the expertise of his staff. Before becoming CEO of Humbel Zahnräder AG in July 2018, he was technical manager with responsibility for production in Kradolf, with a particular focus on the areas of e-mobility and motorsport. Together with his brother Urs, who heads the Humbel Group as Chairman of the Board of Directors, Alex is continuing the family tradition of operative management of the company into its fourth generation – and very successfully at that, since Humbel has seen strong growth in the e-mobility sector, in particular, over the past few years.

Exceptional quality and development expertise

The e-mobility drive at Humbel began back in 2015 with the first significant customer project. Many more have arrived since then, for example in the form of a partnership with a leading Germanautomotive supplier. The global supplier develops special e-axles with specific gearing parts for some big names in the automotive industry and relies on Humbel as a prototype supplier. E-mobility components are not drastically different from those used in other areas of application. However, the sector does demand an unusually large number of specialities that must be produced to an exceptional standard of quality. Humbel can guarantee this quality like no other. The company also has outstanding engineering expertise, which it proactively applies for the benefit of its customers – for example offering suggestions for improvement and technical support to optimise the structure of a component when producing a prototype. A high degree of speed and flexibility, development expertise and excellent quality, absolute reliability and transparent communication: these are sought-after qualities and important building blocks in a high-end market like e-mobility, and are the keys to Humbel’s success as a company.