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From Repair to E-Mobility

A Bavarian shop has done it all as it celebrates its 75th anniversary

The family-run Schmidbauer Group from Bavaria, Germany is "a true hidden champion - and yet one of the leading technology companies in its sector," reads a June 4 press release about a company that has epitomized business evolution.

Schmidbauer is known as a tireless developer of solutions that push the boundaries of what is physically possible. Whether in the test centers of battery production worldwide, in buses and streetcars, on agricultural and construction machinery, in trains or increasingly also on ships - the highly efficient windings from Bavaria are an indispensable component of all modern power electronics.

On July 1, 1949, Ignaz Georg Schmidbauer opened his repair business for transformers and coils. 75 years later, his company is a technology leader for customized inductive components. With its developments and products, the company creates the conditions for the ecological conversion and decarbonization of infrastructure, modes of transport and industrial companies worldwide.

The focus of all research work and new developments is on better understanding the causes of physically unavoidable losses with the aim of further minimizing them. For example, transformers become extremely compact and energy-efficient if it is possible to reliably dissipate the unavoidable heat loss from the interior. Cooling with water - which is non-conductive in its pure form - is ideal for this. Schmidbauer has succeeded in scaling up this potential-free cooling method and making it applicable for transformers with an output of 20 to 2,500 kVA. The advantage for customers: Very compact inductive components for circuit topologies with high levels of efficiency. This is because installation space is a scarce and expensive commodity - and cannot be increased in retrofits.

The family-owned company works every day to secure production in Germany in the long term by optimizing the cost structure. Together with universities and research institutes such as the KIT, Schmidbauer is researching how the ecological footprint of its products and manufacturing processes can be further reduced - and how the company as a whole can become even more sustainable.

In order for transformers - and with them the entire power electronics assemblies - to become ever smaller, the switching frequencies must increase. However, this requires a completely different transformer technology than for operation on the 50 Hz alternating current grid. The Hebertsfelden-based company has accepted this challenge and is now developing sophisticated, customer- and application-specific key components for electrification. Over the past ten years, not only has turnover more than tripled - the number of employees has also risen sharply. Today, the family-owned company from Lower Bavaria is one of the world's leading players in this sophisticated technology.

In development, more than 20 specialists are now driving electromobility forward with innovative ideas. The transformers and inductors in the new elevated trains in Chicago come from Hebertsfelden, for wind turbines, for electrified work machines, cranes and ships, cargo ships and ferries, but also for countless machine tools. Today, more than 250 people are working on exciting projects and sustainable solutions for a CO2-neutral society.

Speaking of CO2: Schmidbauer itself has been CO2-neutral for over two years. The old building from 1951 was also optimized in terms of energy efficiency and converted to heat pumps; heating is largely provided by the waste heat from the company's own processes. Heating oil has no longer been used as an energy source at the site since 2021.

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