FAULHABER MICROMO in Clearwater, Florida - Progress as a driving force

In 1961, FAULHABER decided to venture into the North American market - a big step for the business with the small drives. A decision that has proven its worth and has resulted in a successful company. Founded as MICROMO in Cleveland (Ohio), the company moved to Clearwater (Florida) in the early 1990s. An important part of the international FAULHABER Group from the outset, the company was fully integrated and renamed FAULHABER MICROMO in 2019. Ninety-three employees dedicate themselves every day to the fortunes, customers and partners of the site.


A competence center for complete solutions

What began with an idea and the founding of a company over 60 years ago is now a company that offers and sells high-performance FAULHABER drive systems throughout the North American market. Equipped with a large production facility, an extensive machine workshop and its own test laboratory, almost anything is possible in Clearwater. From the development of customer-specific solutions, to the manufacture and assembly of various components, to technical support and troubleshooting, each project follows a schedule that begins with understanding the requirements for the device, includes process development with the team and is handled in close communication with the customer until the end. Holistic project management across all departments is the focus for the best possible solution and support. As a full-service provider, FAULHABER offers the customer many advantages: Everything from a single supplier in addition to the best quality and simultaneous cost reduction.
Particular attention is paid to product and manufacturing expertise in the field of medical technology and the requirements that need to be met. This includes applications for medical imaging - such as those used for X-rays - surgical devices and surgical robots. An understanding of this market segment and compliance with the international ISO 13485 standard for medical devices are just as much a part of the standard as fulfilling the strict requirements of the FDA.


The market, the demands and the solutions from FAULHABER

For individual customer inquiries, configuration requests or applications that require special functions, the team of experienced engineers and developers has extensive know-how. Customized, customer-specific drive solutions account for around 70 % of the orders implemented, while the remaining 30 % are standard products or slightly adapted products from the FAULHABER portfolio. A fact that illustrates the requirements of the market as a whole: innovative and customized solutions are very popular with customers and partners. This applies not only to the medical technology market segment, but also to aerospace and industrial automation, which is on the rise with the increasing demand for robots.
Many different wishes and ideas, even more possibilities. In order to meet the market's demand for specific specifications, extended functions and occasionally unconventional solutions, the development team at FAULHABER MICROMO relies on proven expertise and sometimes also on an experimental approach that can be described as "trystorming": Different things are tried out to find out what best meets the overall design objectives in the short time available. Work is then carried out to optimize costs and validate the design. In industry, this process can be implemented quite quickly, whereas in medical technology, extensive validation is required due to FDA regulations. In order to try out different approaches and realize design goals, it is important to be involved early in the development process. From the idea to the prototype to the finished product, FAULHABER's experts can provide the customer and the project with close support and assistance throughout the process. Major customers and start-ups alike appreciate FAULHABER's expertise, flexibility and quality - it is not uncommon for close cooperation to develop that lasts for years.


7 questions for Lance Horta, CEO at FAULHABER MICROMO


You have been with FAULHABER MICROMO for quite some time, first as Chief Operating Officer and then in January 2023 you took the helm as CEO. What is your assessment after just over a year at the wheel?

I have been very fortunate to be with FAULHABER for over 18 years. During that time, many wonderful achievements have been realized through investment in the team, perseverance and a spirit that success is the only option. COVID, political tensions and economic uncertainty have led to enormous challenges all over the world in the recent past, including critical circumstances that occurred overnight and without warning. Based on our core values, we were able to achieve new important milestones during this turbulent and uncertain time. We have remained very strong and prepared for future success and growth.


How did you experience the COVID-19 period and what opportunities or hurdles did it bring for the business?

Without question, the impact of the coronavirus affected all areas of life. Perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome was the fear of the unknown. We had to deal with rapidly changing information and regulations during this time and faced great challenges with little knowledge. In everything we did, the safety of our employees and customers was paramount. However, we were also pleased that we were able to make a contribution with our products and help in the current situation. Although we were faced with challenging delivery deadlines and quantities, we wanted to give our customers the confidence that FAULHABER is strong and reliable as a strategic, long-term partner. And, we were also able to gain new business in the medical sector, which has brought us good capacity utilization and growth.


Give us an insight: How do the American and European markets differ?

From a technical perspective, American engineers focus on rapid development, often emphasizing innovation, flexibility and adaptability in project execution. In contrast, the European market, with its strict regulatory framework and emphasis on sustainability, requires engineers to consider regulatory compliance and environmental considerations, resulting in a more methodical and sustainable product development process. Both markets require a high level of technical skill and innovation, but the approach and project delivery priorities reflect the different business cultures and regulatory frameworks in the US and Europe.


Where do you see great potential in the future - in the company's orientation, in new developments or in the market?

FAULHABER has always been a technological leader. Our recently released philosophy and core values underscore this position of continuing to invest in technologies that enable the world's latest innovations. We have recently launched new product families and we have more new generations of motors in the pipeline for this year and next. I am convinced that these products, together with the latest BXT and GPT product lines, will give us an advantage in the market.


And, where do you see particular challenges or trends?

I think one of the challenges is staying true to our core values without being distracted by external influences. As one example, I see many articles and studies asserting what is most effective: remote work and/or hybrid working as part of the big return-to-office debate. Additional studies look at what employees value most like flexibility, pay, benefits, company culture or purpose. Our core values have always been investing in and caring for our team members. By adhering to these core values while understanding external influences, we will continue to be able to make the best decisions.
As drive experts, we are able to offer our customers tremendous added-value and knowledge in value analysis and value engineering. Our assembly and manufacturing capabilities enable customers to reduce costs, risks and supply chain complexity when working with FAULHABER. In the future, the use of the newest artificial intelligence solutions available could help us providing innovative solutions and excellent value to customers, including the opportunity to expand our customer base more efficiently.


What do you wish for the future of FAULHABER MICROMO?

We want to continue the long-lasting legacy of innovative, significant and world-changing applications made possible by FAULHABER drive solutions. In doing so, we want to be an organization where people spend their careers adding to the FAULHABER legacy and then retire while fulfilling their own personal goals and dreams. Ideally, this will result in the achievement of sales targets year after year.


And one final question: What fascinates you most about FAULHABER products or a particular application?

I think it’s impressive what is achievable and what power is contained in these very small drive systems. With the ability to perform extremely precise and controlled movements, it is possible to improve a patient's surgical outcome, quality of life, or even lead to a cure for their medical condition.

 

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