New Buyout to Fortify Schaeffler’s 75 Global Sites

Automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler AG has moved to acquire all of the shares of Melior Motion GmbH, which supplies precision gearboxes for robotics and automation. As a result, this will expand the robotics portfolio of Schaeffler Group’s Industrial division.

As automation in manufacturing processes progresses, Schaeffler’s Industrial division consistently expands its position as a supplier for robotics components and systems. First, the division has brought a Strain-wave gearbox equipped with an electric motor and sensors for use in collaborative robots (cobots). Second, it is now adding more powerful gearboxes for higher payload capacities in industrial applications to its portfolio.

The newest generation of planetary gearboxes by Melior Motion suits high-precision industrial robots with medium to high payload capacity for applications such as welding, mounting, and applying adhesives and paints. (Image: Schaeffler)

Strong Growth Course

Over several years, Melior Motion GmbH has successfully brought to the market an innovative and highly precise gearbox for industrial robots. Moreover, it features outstanding repeat accuracy, low noise emissions, and very sound robustness. A modular platform concept has been developed based on this technology. The first gearboxes of this design have been on the market since 2017 and are meeting with rapidly growing demand.

The company, which generated revenue of around €23 million in 2021, has over 100 employees in Hameln, Germany. It is currently planning another production site in China.

Europe and China are currently the main sales markets of Melior Motion.

Melior Motion’s planetary gearboxes features higher torque density for more rapid movements, a smaller design envelope or higher payload capacity. (Image: Schaeffler)

“In Melior Motion GmbH, we are acquiring a highly innovative company in the robotics field that is on a strong growth course. This acquisition adds to our still young portfolio of robot actuators and expands our position as an innovative supplier in this important business area,” said Dr. Stefan Spindler, Schaeffler’s Industrial CEO. As a user of robots, Spindler said they will also utilize the special characteristics of this portfolio to increase efficiency of Schaeffler’s 75 production sites.

30 Years in Automation

Melior Motion and its predecessors have been developing precision gears for robotics manufacturers and applications in industrial automation for over 30 years. After many years of collaborating with Kuka, the innovative precision gearbox works well for two industrial robots. In addition, they work well with the two axes of the KR Cybertech and six axes of the KR Iontec. As a result, Melior Motion will considerably expand its production capacity in 2022.

Ralf Moseberg, Senior Vice President Industrial Automation at Schaeffler Industrial, states: “The developments and products of the highly qualified team at Melior Motion GmbH are an ideal addition to the Schaeffler Group’s product portfolio. The much lower backlash, compared to competitors’ products, comes from an ultra-precise planetary gearbox concept with special characteristics. The high torque density, long service life, and outstanding energy efficiency are of exceeding interest to our large customer base in the field of robotics.”