Spanning more than 20 football fields stretched across the width of the great Yangtze River in Hubei, the Three Gorges Dam is arguably the largest Chinese project since the Great Wall. Apart from producing 22,500 megawatts of power, the multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam is intended to increase river shipping from 10 million tonnes to a gargantuan 100 million tonnes annually. Making this possible are canal locks and a vessel elevator designed to lift ships of up to 3,000 tonnes. And behind the powerful ship lift are mayr's state-of-the-art combined couplings and clutches integrated into the safety unit.
Rooted in German tradition, mayr is at the fore of a range of safe and reliable solutions, from mill transmissions to automated production systems. Backed by an investment of more than 10 per cent of its total turnover in research and development (R&D), mayr has risen as the global leader in power transmissions, stage drives and overload clutches. Its safe brake control plus, an automated control for brakes, is among its latest cutting-edge outputs.
"What is driving this key business is our own R&D," says mayr CEO Günther Klingler. "We are the major innovator in the industry. We have the most patents, but in addition to R&D, sales and manufacturing are a priority - we bring the whole service behind the product."
Since its founding in 1897 by Christian Mayr, the company has led the sector through the development of transmissions for mills, eventually manufacturing modern drive elements. With the introduction of its torque limiting overload clutches in the late 1950s, mayr cemented its market leadership and reputation as an innovator. The mayr invention ROBA-stop electromagnetic safety brake debuted more than 40 years ago when it aggressively expanded its product range and launched several brake solutions. The ROBA-D later established mayr as a specialist in backlash-free shaft couplings.
"The brand stands for innovation, reliability and safety," says Hans Eberle, sales and marketing director. "We have put a big emphasis on those qualities from the very beginning."
The modern elevator is an engineering marvel because of its brake system, a mechanism that made the lift safe for people. The device ushered in the era of skyscrapers, and mayr has been at the forefront of this game-changing innovation. With a commitment to sustained improvement, mayr has become the top global manufacturer of elevator brakes and stage brakes.
The smartflex-shaft coupling patented by mayr is also a top seller globally. Among its latest products is the ROBA-topstop safety brake for gravity-loaded axes, which comes with extended protection class IP65. Its newest elevator brake is available with contactless release monitoring, making it wear-free and magnetic-field resistant.
"Safety is number one," Eberle says. "We care very much about safety, and we are dedicated to contribute to a safer workplace in particular."
The company sees the mainland as a top market for elevators, brakes, windmills, extruders and cranes. Apart from the mainland, mayr also has offices in Japan, Singapore, India and other Asian countries. It has subsidiaries across Europe, the Americas, Australia and the Middle East.
"We are a top manufacturer and have an organisation that can market and service the product worldwide," Klingler says. "And that is a key factor for us - we are local with our experts able to manage the services for our customers worldwide."
More than half of mayr's output comprises standard products modified according to clients' specific requests. With cutting-edge innovations and a drive for excellent customer service, mayr works closely with clients to come up with tailored solutions, as exemplified by the ship-lifters of the Three Gorges Dam.
"A standard product is a basic sales item," Klingler says. "But more and more, we see a trend for tailored solutions. Based on the company's expertise and experience, we can optimise the products for this."