The company presented another world first at the Hannover Messe Industrie 2013 trade show: brakes that regulate the torque of rotors in wind turbines which are so good that they hardly use any electricity at all. “We calculated that over 20 years the brakes require electricity for only 7.50 euros according to today’s prices. It is only required for a short control pulse”, explains design engineer Herwig Hofmann. “Our brakes manage without air and oil”, says Polack, who had the ideas for the world firsts. “Traditional, pneumatic and hydraulic brakes not only require at least two media but are also very maintenance-heavy. Their required compressors need huge amounts of energy”, emphasises the master engineer. On the other hand, electromagnetic brakes by Bischoff manage without oil and water, are therefore more ecological, and have minimal electricity consumption. And since energy is becoming more and more expensive, the demand for cost-reducing brakes is rising constantly.
“The market for industrial brakes is huge”, says Polack. Brakes are required in almost all technical systems that move. They are used in lifts, escalators, conveyor belts and crane systems according to Polack and Hofmann, citing only a couple of examples. Brakes by Bischoff can be found in BMW factories as well as in plants run by Siemens or the automotive supplier ZF. They also operate in Estonia and Slovenia. Polack and Hofmann also see application possibilities in space and air travel. The application potential is endless.
Bischoff Industriebremsen GmbH developed from Bischoff Autofedern und Nutzfahrzeugteile GmbH. In the past, a spring customer asked if Bischoff could also construct brakes for it. “We find a solution to any problem”, says the 66-year-old Polack. In his professional career in the GDR he was used to handling resources sparingly when faced with a widespread shortage. It was therefore clear to him very quickly: traditional brake technology was based on well-trodden paths. People were largely satisfied with the solutions available. Polack could not accept it. He worked away on new solutions even in his spare time, in the evenings and at weekends. The result after five years of development was an entire series of electromagnetic industrial brakes: it ranges from brakes with a clamping force of 3000 newtons up to 20 tonnes. According to Hofmann’s data, the series comprised 300 units that were differentiated according to flange type, documents and status indication. Ten patents are registered. The design is legally protected.
The market for brakes is not just huge but lucrative, too. Globally, growth of 20 to 30 per cent is recorded annually. Bischoff Industriebremsen’s share in this is extremely small. This is set to change. The top product on offer, the company is requesting talks with customers. Discussions are also said to be held with interested parties who are prepared to get involved with the young, rapidly growing company. A business angel from the Sachsen-Anhalt investment bank coaches the brake designer in its efforts to strengthen its marketing activities and to position its trading of its global innovations more broadly. “We are looking for a partner that is globally oriented”, says Polack with a view to the Chinese and American market. He is optimistic because constantly rising energy costs and ever stricter environmental regulations mean the demand for costs-reducing brakes is growing. “We accelerate the working process through brakes”, explains Polack. “We reduce costs as a result.” His brakes brake more quickly and require fewer maintenance costs than other manufacturers’.
The parent company of the brakes company, Bischoff Autofedern und Nutzfahrzeugteile GmbH, has a long tradition. It has been in a family since 1853, relates Managing Partner Hartmut Bischoff. His great-great-grandfather, the master smith August Bischoff, founded the company as a horse-shoeing and vehicle manufacturer in Staßfurt 160 years ago. In its fifth generation, the 63-year-old Hartmut Bischoff, head of the company since 1988, has now added the future-oriented brake sector to the spring production.
Bischoff Industriebremsen GmbH
Am Silberfeld 1
ph: +49 3925 960 681