The maxon motor group further increased its revenues in 2016. Compared with the previous year, revenues grew by 5 per cent to a new record level of CHF422.5million (from CHF402.5million in the previous year). The Swiss market recovered from the currency crisis called 'Frankenschock' and revenues jumped to CHF62.7million (up from CHF54.3million in the previous year). The cash flow increased to CHF41.7million (from CHF39.3million). The number of employees rose to 2500. For the first time in the company's history, maxon is employing more people abroad than in Switzerland. The highest revenues were achieved in medical technology, followed by industrial automation and robotics, as well as the aerospace industry, whose share continued to grow. Europe showed healthy growth, while Asian markets had a comparatively moderate development. maxon invested significantly in expanding its capacities and brought a large number of new technologies and innovations to market. Overall, maxon succeeded in expanding its leading position. A solid revenue development in the current year gives the company confidence for the future.
In an environment that remained difficult, the maxon motor group achieved a satisfactory bottom line in 2016. Revenues rose to the new record level of CHF422.5million. Karl-Walter Braun, the company's main shareholder (on the left in the photograph above), stated: "Within three years, the value of the delivered products rose by about 60 million francs. For an industrial company, this poses great challenges to the time commitment and know-how of the employees in order to keep supplying customers with high-quality products in reasonable time."
He also explained the fact that the cash flow did not increase to even higher levels despite full capacity utilisation: "Expanding our production, outsourcing to manufacturing subsidiaries, and the expansion to build a group with an international positioning absorbed a lot of resources."
As in the past, medical technology is the biggest market at 43 per cent, followed by industrial automation (26 per cent) and test and measurement technology (6.5 per cent). The aerospace industry division, which was newly created in 2015, continued to grow strongly and attained a share of 6.5 per cent in the group's revenues.
Europe remains the most important sales market for maxon. After a slight decrease in the previous year, the European business recovered to achieve a revenue total of CHF174.3million. The Swiss market recovered from the 'Frankenschock' and grew considerably (from 54.3 to 62.7million). In South Korea and Japan, the economy was weak. Due to positive development in China, the revenues in Asia increased to CHF73.6million (+2.4 per cent). In North America, revenues fell slightly.
For the first time in the company's history, maxon is employing more people abroad (1300) than in Switzerland (1200). Karl-Walter Braun said: "We are developing into a globally operating group that is becoming increasingly international, but our heart still lies in Obwalden. With our decentralised structure for production, as well research and development, we can offer solutions for our customers in their respective countries with short lead times." Investment in research and development rose to CHF28.5million in 2016 (up from CHF27.1million).
Mechatronics and systems
As announced in 2016, the company is increasingly becoming a specialist in mechatronics and systems. For example, maxon motor launched the first fully sterilisable drive system this year. This means that drive units consisting of brushless DC motor, gearhead and sensor are designed to withstand 1000 autoclave cycles. Eugen Elmiger (CEO, shown on the right in the photograph above) said: "This opens up numerous new opportunities in medical technology." The new drive controllers also stand up to extreme ambient conditions. The electronics are protected against contaminants and corrosion by a polymer coating. In addition, the device is highly resistant against vibrations and shocks.
For the e-bike market, maxon motor developed a new S-Peledec motor with a 500Wh battery and intuitive operation for urban applications. The bike reaches speeds of up to 45km/h. The device stands out for the fact that it can be used to convert any regular bicycle into an e-bike. maxon is also active in the field of autonomous delivery robots. This is a market where the energy-efficient and lightweight drive systems by maxon are in particularly high demand.