"It is all about offering the customer a tailor-made solution."
Dr. Norbert Partmann, Managing Director of KTR Brake Systems GmbH and Head of Engineering and R&D, knows that drive technology and the subject of brakes are a perfect match. Together with his employees he makes sure that our customers get a perfect solution in this field. We asked him why the topic of brakes is so exciting for him, what is important in the brake business and what the future of the industry looks like.
KTR Systems: "Norbert, you have been working for KTR for more than 21 years. How did it come about that you are particularly interested in the field of brakes? What is so special about it?"
Dr. Norbert Partmann: "Before I joined KTR I was head of designing at Tacke Windtechnik and Enron Wind. In this job I came in contact with brakes many times. In particular, I worked very closely with two market leaders in the brake sector at that time. When I then changed to KTR and the topic of "wind" became more and more important, I saw the opportunity and organized a cooperation between KTR China and one of the former market leaders in the wind sector.
At that time the topic of wind power in general became more and more important in China. The cooperation has been working very successfully in the Chinese market for many years. When, due to a change of ownership, our brake partner developed a different orientation, KTR started with its own brake design, first in China and then also in Germany.
In Germany a good six years ago, the takeover of EMB Brake Systems GmbH was an obvious choice, so that we are now focusing on our "Brake Competence Center" at our location in Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock. Here we have now bundled the design for the electromechanical and hydraulic systems and their production and assembly under one roof.
In contrast to components such as a classic coupling, a brake can be regarded as an independently operating unit that usually has to be very strongly integrated into a machine's overall safety concept. Put simply, it is the technical challenge that appeals to me here as a technician".
KTR Systems: "As one of the few manufacturers worldwide KTR offers two different brake systems. The hydraulic KTR-STOP and the electromechanical EMB-STOP. Why is this so unusual?"
Dr. Norbert Partmann: "Classically, in the performance range in which we operate, hydraulic braking systems are found in active or passive versions (fail-safe). Finding an electromechanical solution as well is not very easy. However, the former EMB Brake Systems had found very intelligent solutions, especially with regard to the accurate and reproducible setting of the desired clamping forces. Even with automatic compensation of all environmental conditions such as cryogenic applications, etc...We will continue to develop these ideas and findings".
KTR Systems: "Why does KTR not specialize in one of these brake systems?"
Dr. Norbert Partmann: "Both systems have their specific advantages and disadvantages and it is not a question whether one or the other principle is better. It is about offering the customer a tailor-made solution, depending on his application and his wishes. In this way, depending on the application, we can play out the desired strengths with one or the other brake principle, always with the idea of offering the best solution for the customer and his application".
KTR Systems: "With your many years of professional experience, can you give us an idea of a future prospect on how the topic of brakes will develop in the market?
Dr. Norbert Partmann: "In the general industrial sector there is currently no growth, but rather predatory competition. With our two system solutions, however, we are well equipped to open up further markets. The situation is similar in the wind sector, although special solutions are in particular demand here. The basis for a further successful development of KTR Brake Systems is therefore of course our excellent engineering team with its expertise in all fields of application".
KTR Systems: "You once said: 'The only thing that cannot be stopped is our innovative strength. How do we manage to keep developing?"
Dr. Norbert Partmann: "We technicians generally tend to want to do something new again and again. This "curiosity" in the KBS development team is the basis for our success, especially when the customer is looking for optimal solutions for which you have to deviate from the standard."
KTR Systems: "Thanks for the exciting interview, Norbert."