In gear

For decades, Jahnel- Kestermann Getriebewerke GmbH, or Ja)(Ke, has been an innovative force in the development and production of gear units for industrial applications. During this time the company has been through several major developments in order to become the enterprise it is today. Its roots lie in the businesses Kestermann Zahnräder- und Maschinenfabrik KG and Jahnel GmbH, which were founded in 1904 and 1910 respectively. A supplier of gears and machines for industrial applications, Jahnel was purchased by the owner of Eisengießerei Bochum in 1933 to develop heavy-duty gearboxes for applications such as mining and dredging.

Finally in 1981 Jahnel combined its capabilities with Kestermann, a supplier of components for the chemical industry, to create Jahnel-Kestermann Getriebewerke GmbH and solidify its position as a manufacturer of special gearboxes. Numerous product and application developments followed, which included Ja)(Ke’s move into the marine and wind industries.

The biggest shift in the company’s recent history though came in 2011 when it was acquired by Hyundai Heavy Industries, where it now operates as a member of the HHI Group. Describing how this development came about, Ja)(Ke’s sales director Chang Kang says: “Our parent company HHI had formed a new business area in the wind energy market, and as such were looking to secure an efficient supply chain for these activities. Within this they wanted to find a sub-supplier for gearboxes, which led them to acquire Ja)(Ke. Another business sector HHI wanted to expand in was automation, and as part of this it saw the opportunity to grow in the marine and shipbuilding section with Ja)(Ke’s gearbox products.”

Although the marine and wind energy markets have both slowed down as a result of the economic downturn, Ja)(Ke has still benefited from the acquisition by gaining contracts to supply some gearboxes to its parent company. As part of the HHI Group, which is headquartered in Korea, Ja)(Ke is looking at opportunities further afield including expansion into Asia, China, and Korea. “In order to grow in these markets though we have to put greater focus onto being competitive on price and quality,” notes Chang. “The Asia market is very strong on price, so like many European manufacturers we need to be able to reduce our production costs to expand in this area.”

It is Ja)(Ke’s high standards of quality and production though that have seen the business ranked as one of the leading companies in power transmission engineering in Germany. As such, the company needs to look at ways of reducing its base costs, without sacrificing on these traits. Besides standardised gear units, Ja)(Ke is also a specialist in custom-made or small run production of unique gear units. Other products of note are gear wheels of different dimensions such as up to 3000 and 4500 millimetres maximum outer diameter.

The applications for this type of engineering extend beyond just the wind and marine markets with Ja)(Ke products also being used in mining machinery, dredging, rubber and plastics industry, agitator technology, rolling mill and steel production, and the cement, stone and earth market. Wind and marine power systems are still at the core of the company’s current offering though.

Using new production techniques and state-of-the-art machinery, Ja)(Ke drafts, designs, and engineers gears for rotor outputs of 150 to 6500 kW and upwards. The result is ground and corrected gears, which equal high precision for best power transfer, noise reduction and product endurance. For the marine market Ja)(Ke took the knowledge it had gained from the dredging sector, where it has had a presence since 1956, and applied it to the development of new propeller gears. These are designed to offer high levels of reliability even under extreme conditions, often surpassing classification regulations. Specific products include propeller gearboxes from 1000 kW up to 30,000 kW, and generator gearboxes from 500 kW to 15,000 kW in a variety of configurations.

“We are working in co-operation with HHI to look at new business areas by connecting our gearbox 71technology in other automation applications. This includes for example fluid dynamic coupling or other propulsion drives. We also have some plans to invest in the renewal of our facilities in the future, but the implementation of this will depend upon the market conditions,” reveals Chang.

“Longer-term we are looking to improve our processing capability for the next few years, and to increase our sales volumes up to two or three times the level of recent years. In order to achieve these goals we need to focus upon working together with HHI to develop gearbox solutions for the future,” he concludes.

Jahnel- Kestermann Getriebewerke GmbH
Leaders in gearboxes
High standards of quality
Part of HHI group