Erhardt+Leimer celebrates 100 years anniversary
Erhardt+Leimer (E+L), a leader in web control and web inspection, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Founded as a workshop in Augsburg, Germany in 1919, over the years, the company has grown into a high-tech industrial business with more than 1,600 employees and now successfully occupies a special niche in automation technology worldwide.
In 1919, Manfred Erhardt founded a workshop that was initially dedicated to the sale and servicing of industrial clocks and signal systems. Albert Leimer joined the company six years later. In 1935, E+L started to develop and manufacture the first precision mechanical units for the local textile industry. In parallel with the upturn in the textile businesses, the company grew and specialised in web guiding units for the automatic guiding of the web in textile machines. Then in 1960, it expanded its area of activity to the paper and film/foil industries; later the printing, packaging, non-woven fabric and tire industries were added. As early as 1995 the company pioneered digital technology and introduced camera technology into its automation systems as standard; in 2000 it became involved in inspection technology, according to a company press release.
Today, the E+L group is a global business with subsidiaries, branch offices, and over 300 service stations all over the world and a broad portfolio in the area of automation, measuring, and inspection technology for the production and processing of materials in web form. The innovative power of the company is apparent in the number of patents it holds: by 2019 it held 782 national or international patent applications, patents and utility models.
The primary sales market is Asia with over 60 per cent of sales; another important market is the USA. E+L has established itself in all important industrial countries with wholly owned subsidiaries, 19 up to now. There are also production facilities in India, China, and the USA.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Augsburg was a breeding ground for the textile industry. Back then, the finishing machines were not as automated as they are today, and the textile webs had to be guided through the process with a high degree of manual intervention by the operating personnel. This gave E+L the idea to develop the first mechanical web guider of the KF type, whose patent was applied for as early as 1928. The web guider is still the most economical system for guiding textile webs to date. E+L has sold around 500,000 models so far.
Web guiders comprise two rollers arranged at an angle. If the textile web goes off course, these rollers are either closed or opened according to a sensor signal. This allows the textile web to be fed to the downstream process in the correct position.
Not long after in 1932, E+L developed the first electromagnetic tenter infeed, which is still being sold today under the code KR. The latest model, the KR 60/62 with brushless, all-in-one compact actuating drive with integrated controller for direct mains operation, is one of E+L’s most successful products together with the KF.
Nearly a quarter of a million of them have been sold since being launched. As the textile industry became more and more industrialised, the production methods were constantly optimised too. This meant that higher-quality materials could be manufactured. The conventional edge guiders were no longer suitable for delicate webs. This gave rise to the development of a segmented roller guider in 1964, by means of which the textile web rests entirely on the roller and therefore is only subjected to minimal tension. In a segmented roller guider, a specific number of guide profiles are arranged around the circumference and are fixed to a guide plate. By swivelling the guide plates, the guide profiles are moved sideways, thereby correcting the web. This continues to be regarded as the best and most gentle method of guiding textile webs. (GK)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India