Our success story began in the late 1940s. In 1947, the young engineer Dr. Fritz Faulhaber founded "Feinmechanische Werkstätten" (Precision Mechanical Workshops), his first company. His customers included the renowned camera manufacturer Voigtländer, for whom he developed the "Vitessa" in the early 1950s.
The "Vitessa" camera could be operated with revolutionary simplicity: The camera could be triggered and the film advanced simply by pressing two buttons one after the other. At that time, he was already playing with the idea of using an electric motor to advance the film. The problem was that with the existing technology, it was not possible to build motors small enough for the installation space available. Giving up was not an option for the passionate tinkerer, so in the mid-1950s, he once again sat down at his desk and pondered what an electric motor would have to look like for it to not only fit in the camera in front of him, but also be efficient and powerful enough to advance the film using battery power. He then had an ingenious idea and quickly used the ironless, self-supporting, skew-wound design to develop an innovative drive technology that would solve his camera problem, but also form the basis for the future of miniaturization in many application areas worldwide.
A trendsetter who moved with the times
When he applied for a patent for his invention in 1958 and began series production, he would probably never have dreamt that in doing so he would provide application developers then and now with a very important drive. But that's exactly what made his invention so successful in the long run – although not overnight, because the potential customers needed time to incorporate the ideas it inspired into practical applications. But the world had been waiting for an invention like this one: An invention that could give the global trend toward progressive miniaturization new momentum. Even now, this momentum continues and, as market leaders, we at FAULHABER have been the driving force behind it for 75 years. The creative yet equally pragmatic spirit of our founding father shapes our company to this day. We think in the long term. We monitor the market carefully and take a proactive approach – or as Dr. Fritz Faulhaber Junior, son of the founder, once modestly said: "It is our philosophy to always be technologically ahead by a nose length – but the nose shouldn't be a meter long".
Pioneering spirit requires freedom
For 75 years, FAULHABER has been a traditional, family-run company. This independence gives us the freedom to make far-reaching decisions relating to the company without having to consider the interests of third parties such as investors. This is especially important because we invest substantial resources in fundamental research, thereby enabling us – in keeping with our founder's philosophy – to have new drive technologies up our sleeves ready for the trends of tomorrow, long before our customers start asking for them. Our ability to identify potential new application areas for innovative drive systems at an early stage is one of the reasons for our continued success.
We are celebrating our family
75 years of FAULHABER – we have come a long way, but we haven't traveled this distance alone. FAULHABER is now more than just a family-run company; FAULHABER has grown into a company family with many members all over the world. There are strong connections between us and we share our passion for precision when it comes to both the development of our products and synchronized production across locations. We are proud to be able to celebrate this anniversary together because everyone has played an important part in our success. We want to pay special attention to our Croglio location in Switzerland – the foundation of Minimotor S.A. in 1962 marked an important strategic step for FAULHABER, giving us a presence in the traditional Mecca of precision mechanics. Today, we are celebrating not only our 75th anniversary, but also, together with our Swiss colleagues, 60 years of FAULHABER in Switzerland.
We want to make a difference to people's lives
We have always claimed that for every technological innovation that can help to improve people's lives, FAULHABER always has the appropriate drive solution. Therefore, in 1998, through our efforts to continuously expand the limits of what is technologically possible, we succeeded in building the world's smallest DC micromotor – its diameter: just 1.9 mm. The ability to miniaturize our drive technology to such microscopic dimensions and even at this size to produce a usable torque became the foundation for brand-new applications in the medical sector. Just one year later, using this technology, developers began working on a motor-operated, minimally invasive cardiac pump to help save lives during heart operations and convalescence. Where have we come from and where are we headed? This is a question that we naturally ask ourselves in our anniversary year, but also one that humanity has been considering for thousands of years. Finding out the answer was the focus of the Rosetta mission when the space probe visited the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014, but also of our team of developers, when the scientists of the ESA entrusted them with an unprecedented task: The development of a drive system that would anchor the Philae lander module to the comet surface with a harpoon during landing. The challenge was to find a way to guarantee precise operation after a 10-year flight through space. We wouldn't want to claim that we saw this task coming – but we were well prepared for it.
The solution lies in the system
We are technological leaders in the field of miniature and micro drive technology thanks to our reputation for working on the solutions of tomorrow and of the future well beyond that. In doing so, we consider what ought to be possible using FAULHABER microdrives in the future, but we also take a holistic look at all system components. In this way, over the last 75 years, we have repeatedly succeeded in using innovative products to develop new system solutions for a wide range of customers in a variety of different markets. Our customers' trust in our ability to reliably find customer-specific solutions to complex new problems is the distinguishing feature of our customer relationships. This ability is based on our willingness to form close partnerships with our customers, and on the innovative power of diversity that we draw from our international cooperative network.
The future is waiting
After these exciting 75 years, we could take this moment to pause and look back on our success with pride. And we will do just that. But only for the time needed to take one quick, deep breath. Because our past has taught us how important it is to keep our eye on the future – so that we will be ready in good time whenever a developer needs an appropriate drive solution for an innovation that has the potential to make all our lives a little better.