Stories from over 90 years of SEW-EURODRIVE: MOVIMOT®

MOVIMOT® - motor with integrated frequency inverter
MOVIMOT® prototype from 1995It all started with the idea of an integrated frequency inverter

MOVIMOT® - pioneer of the dezentralized drive technology

20 years ago, SEW-EURODRIVE broke new ground with the integrated frequency inverter. Before that, the focus was on applications with mechanical variable-speed gear units and pole-changing motors.

The idea of an integrated frequency inverter got off the ground at SEW-EURODRIVE in the mid-1990s.

Speeds needed to be flexibly adaptable, starting and switching pulses in pole-changing motors had to be eliminated. The whole thing also had to be easy to handle without special tools, which was an extremely ambitious goal for the time.

It very quickly became apparent that the new unit comprising motor and integrated frequency inverter offered a whole host of new possibilities. “Platform strategy” was a huge buzzword in automotive engineering at the time and it was systematically incorporated in the production systems. The philosophy of modular, standardized conveyor modules was born, control cabinets were cleared out and decentralized installation came into being. MOVIMOT® and the add-on fieldbus monitors and field distributors proved to be the ideal solution for the new installation topology. This was completely new territory 20 years ago, but this installation topology with many identical, networked drive units experienced rapid growth and is now the globally recognized market standard in system automation.

Udo Marmann about the development of dezentralized technology:

MOVIMOT® is just one of many products from SEW-EURODRIVE GmbH but nowadays it is frequently used in the market as a synonym for this type of integrated drive combination.

MOVIMOT® - motor with integrated frequency inverter
MOVIMOT® - motor with integrated frequency inverter
Udo Marmann, EURODRIVE Germany Market Management
Udo Marmann, EURODRIVE Germany Market Management

From the very first step to a synonym for integrated drive combinations

Udo Marmann, working for SEW EURODRIVE since 1990, has been involved with the emergence and the development of decentralized drive technology from the very start. In his function as development project manager for MOVIMOT®, he played a significant role when the idea of an integrated frequency inverter was born at SEW EURODRIVE in the mid-1990s and began to revolutionize systems technology.

Much smaller, more powerful and more cost-effective

In the 1990s, frequency inverter development made huge innovative leaps – each year the devices got much smaller, more powerful and more cost-effective. This meant that it was, for the first time, technically feasible to accommodate these in the motor’s terminal box, as confirmed by an initial development sample from 1995.

The basic function of the inverter was quickly developed but areas such as mechanics and connection technology, heat dissipation, on-site diagnostics, ensuring serviceability, appropriate order processing procedures and new documentation concepts were completely new territory for all involved.


Mechatronics didn’t exist

The term mechatronics is nowadays widely understood and in daily use but it didn’t exist back then. There was a strict separation between mechanical engineers and electricians, at both SEW-EURODRIVE and our customers. The greatest challenge lay in these groups developing a common language and understanding so as to be able to successfully manage joint projects. At SEW-EURODRIVE and also at the first users, MOVIMOT® had to perform some pioneering work in terms of interdisciplinary cooperation.


The “decentralized technology” is now the globally recognized market standard in system automation

The “decentralized technology” product category is now an established part of the portfolio and this will continue evolving in the future. Aside from the pure inverter function, safety technology and decentralized control functions are now also integrated. In the future, we can expect to see new communication and handling concepts. The MOVIMOT® concept already meets the requirements for Industry 4.0-enabled components – integration in smart factories with neural networking is the next step into the future.

MOVIMOT® is currently in use worldwide and it became “the” global drive unit shortly after the Millennium. It has all the necessary certifications for use on all five continents, which makes it really easy to export units.

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