Measure, test, inspect – precision technology ‘made in Bremen’Success stories
The Hanseatic city is big on metrology and measuring equipment
Bremen’s measurement and precision technology manufacturers are highly specialised and often among the world leaders in their field. A good reason to have a closer look at this industry.
The AMA Association for Sensors and Measurement has around 2,500 member companies in this industry across Germany, employing approximately 250,000 people. These companies are as varied as the fields in which they operate and include everything from scientific institutes and small engineering firms to major global players.
Exports are hugely important – most of the companies operate internationally and supply the global market in their specific fields. As they manufacture ‘tools to make tools’, there are very few areas in which their measurement and precision technology is not essential, whether it is medical equipment, engineering or space exploration systems.
We have taken a closer look at some of Bremen’s metrology and measuring equipment manufacturers. This list is not intended to be exhaustive.
Sikora makes non-contact instruments to continuously measure aspects such as the diameter and wall thickness of cables, hoses and metal plates and sheets. The company supplies non-cyclical sectors that manufacture wires, cables, glass fibre, pipes, hoses and plastics. Its 250 employees make products that are sold around the world.
#2 Eickworth Modellbau
At Eickworth, ‘precisely’ isn’t quite precise enough. The long-established Bremen company produces testing and measuring equipment, as well as gauges for quality assurance in large industrial companies. These include forms or fixtures into which parts, e.g. those used by Mercedes on their production lines, can be inserted before assembly to test their size and interfaces for accuracy. They have to be many times more precise than the parts themselves.
Optoprecision is made up of three companies: OptoPrecision, OptoPrecision Security Systems and Nägele Feinwerktechnik. The group specialises in optical, mechanical and ultrasound measurement technologies, which are mainly used in heavy industry, in the energy sector, and in the space and aeronautics industries. It also provides precision engineering services, including turning, milling, engraving, component testing and laser marking for assembly. The group currently employs 60 people.
#4 Bruker Daltonic
Founded by a German in the 1960s, Bruker Corporation is now an instrument manufacturer based in Massachusetts, USA, employing 6,500 people worldwide. The company’s history in Bremen dates back to 1977, when local scientist Professor Jochen Franzen founded Dr. Franzen Analysentechnik, a business making mass spectrometers. Three years later, it was acquired by Bruker. Today, Bruker Daltonics still manufactures mass spectrometers and ion-mobility spectrometers in Bremen. Mass spectrometers measure the mass of atoms and molecules in gases, and are used in the chemical industry, for example, to analyse chemical bonds and mixtures.
Electricity powers the world, and Sourcetronic tests electricity. The company manufactures measuring equipment for use in electrical engineering, including instruments for testing insulation and measuring electrical impedance, and provides measurement software and a comprehensive range of services. Sourcetronic is based in Bremen Technology Park, where it operates a calibration laboratory for inspecting and calibrating measuring equipment.
Mass spectrometers like those made by Bruker Daltonic cannot function without high-vacuum technology, for example from Vacutec. The Bremen-based company specialises in high-vacuum and precision technology. Among other things, it makes parts, assemblies and complete devices in which a high-purity vacuum can be generated. This is important for research into substances without interference from external influences. To achieve this, the company focuses on extreme cleanliness and precision in its manufacturing.
#7 Thermofisher Scientific
Like Bruker, Thermofisher is an American company, but it is significantly larger with around 70,000 employees across the world. Bremen is home to 400 of them. They manufacture mass spectrometers and analysis systems used in the food industry, in environmental analysis and in forensics. The Bremen site covers the entire production chain, from research, development and design to production, marketing and sales.
As the name suggests, this Bremen company specialises in measuring liquids. In fact, lots of people are likely to have encountered one of its products as it makes the water meters that are installed in many homes. Aquametro also manufactures industrial devices such as flow meters and calculators for thermal and cooling energy, as used in district heating systems, for example.
Founded in 2007, Inmess, a specialist in the automotive sector, is a relative newcomer on Bremen’s list of metrology manufacturers. The company makes equipment for testing the quality of tyres and rims, for example to see whether they are round, roll correctly and have the required rigidity. Customers include the automotive industry, tyre manufacturers and product standards regulators such as TÜV.
OAS AG is a metrology pioneer. In the 1990s, the company received the first Europe-wide approval for electronic scales, paving the way for the digital age of weighing technology. And OAS AG still plays an important role in weighing and dosing technology today. Its products are used in manufacturing processes where components are mixed in certain ratios and need to be weighed beforehand. The company also makes scales for weighing trucks and trains.
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