SMW - electronics Meckenbeuren Site Company History Interview Product Highlights

Opening of the new company building

SMW-AUTOBLOK Spannsysteme GmbH ... based in Meckenbeuren, at home all over the world

Headquarters/Production Plant Meckenbeuren, Germany

1.000 Employees worldwide

Headquarters/Production Plant Caprie (Turin), Italy


SMW-electronics GmbH Wiesentalstraße 19 88074 Meckenbeuren Phone: +49 (0) 7542 405-0 E-mail:

60 Branches and agencies worldwide

320 Employees at the site in Meckenbeuren

SMW-AUTOBLOK Spannsysteme GmbH Wiesentalstraße 28 88074 Meckenbeuren Phone: +49 (0) 7542 405-0 E-mail:

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SMW-electronics GmbH

09/2022 Opening of the new SMW-electronics building

Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Readers,

SMW-AUTOBLOK based in Meckenbeuren officially opened the new building for its new SMW-electronics business unit on Wiesentalstraße in Meckenbeuren on December 2022. It represents another important pillar of the successful business, along with the company headquarters and the technical and logistics centre that opened just a few years ago. In addition to its mechatronicand mechatronic clamping systems, SMW-AUTOBLOK is focusing more closely on an extensive product portfolio and innovative solutions for automating and digitalising processes in its SMW-electronics business unit. The municipality of Meckenbeuren joins the business owners in celebrating the successful growth of SMW-AUTOBLOK. The company is one of the main employers in our community and provides skilled jobs and a high degree of reliability. I am there- fore grateful for the new investment and the creation of new jobs in Meckenbeuren as this will further strengthen us as a business location. On behalf of the municipality of Mecken- beuren and personally, I would like to con- gratulate the company to the opening of its new premises. I hope that the new business unit develops successfully and wish the em- ployees based there every success in their new workplace. I would also like to express my thanks for the trusting relationship between SMW-AUTOBLOK and our community over many decades.

05/2022 Completion of the new SMW-electronics building

1.000 m 2 SMW-electronics floor space

08/2021 Groundbreaking ceremony for the new SMW-electronics building

Yours sincerely, Georg Schellinger Mayor

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SMW-AUTOBLOK Development, manufacturing and distribution of clamping systems for workpiece clamping

SMW-AUTOBLOK is a world- wide leading group of compa- nies in the field of rotary and stationary clamping technology for workpieces in machining processes. With a current turn- over of over 75 million euros, approx. 320 employees at the German site in Meckenbeuren and around 1.000 employees worldwide, the companies one of the market and technology leaders in workpiece clamping technology. As a global company, SMW-AUTOBLOK has its own subsidiaries and agencies in more than 60 countries. Domestic customers are supported by a strong network of sales represen- tatives. Economic independence and employee satisfaction have a high priority, so the company is seen as an employer of choice with a very low staff turnover. The good operating result

enables continuous and sus- tainable growth.

SMW-AUTOBLOK is a technology leader in the field of rotary and stationary clamping technology for workpieces. The large num- ber of patent applications filed by the company illustrates our innovative strength. New developments such as mechatronic high-tech products are low-maintenance, have a short set-up time and are largely Industry 4.0 compatible, which makes them ideal for automated machining processes.

» Main entrance/administration building SMW-AUTOBLOK

The product range for rotary clamping technology includes standard and special chucks, clamping cylinders, steady rests, clamping jaws and products for internal clamping for various sectors (manufacturing, automo- tive, oil industry and aerospace, etc.). The product range for stationary clamping technology consists of zero point clamping systems, clamping towers, NC vices, power clamps and other accessories.

» Assembly building (Hall 3) SMW-AUTOBLOK

Rotary Clamping Technology

Stationary Clamping Technology

5-axis vise

Steady rests


Workpiece positioning system

Collet chuck

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SMW-electronics Products for digitizing and automating processes

Inductive Coupling Systems

prototypes were available soon after. At the end of 2017, the company received the Industry 4.0 award from the state of Baden-Württemberg for a highly innovative, flexible and digitized clamping system. SMW-electronics and its product range are already proving very popular, so it is very important that the workforce continues to increase in size. The number of employees is expected to grow to more than 30 by 2024. Target markets include machine tools, automation and robotics, electric drive technology, auto- motive, intralogistics, construc- tion machinery and agricultural technology, packaging machinery, energy (oil, gas, wind), aerospace and medical technology.

By combining mechanics, electronics and software, SMW-AUTOBLOK has trans- formed itself from a conventional workholding manufacturer into a high-tech process provider. The product areas of mecha- tronics, contactfree transmission technology, sensor technology and software have been further expanded and brought together into the new, independent business unit SMW-electronics to generate further synergies. The SMW-electronics product portfolio includes inductive coupling systems for energy and signals, smart sensors and mea- suring systems, software, indi- vidual adaptations for customers and mechatronic clamping sys- tems. Signal communication is based on the latest industrial standards such as Ethernet- based bus systems, IO-Link and analogue/digital signals. The special feature of the induc- tive coupling systems is the inno- vative contactfree transmission of energy and signals via an air gap (up to 10 mm). The transmis- sion is inductive from a stationary base unit to a moving remote unit, which can also be integrated into a rotary application. This innovation is intended to help especially where there was previ- ously technically no transmission option or where critical plug or cable connections come into play. Non-metallic objects in the transmission path do not repre- sent an obstacle. SMW-electronics is among the world's leading companies for inductive couplers of this technology. The potential of the new tech- nology was recognised more than five years ago and the first

F180 Ethernet, M30 IO-Link: With inductive couplers, SMW-electronics provides tech- nology for contactfree trans- mission of energy and signals between stationary and moving components via an air gap.

M30 IO-Link

Sensor Technology

F180 Ethernet

LPS 4.0: Is a highly accurate inductive positioning system and position sensor for different measuring lengths.


» The new company building with floor space of 1.000m 2 on two levels.

MOTIACT: Mechatronic Grippers available from 2023.

Mechatronic Products

Measuring Systems

CC e-motion : The electromechronic 4-jaw chuck with individual jaw drive offers a new standard in the digitization of clamping technology in terms of process optimisation, automation and safety.

Safety and flexibility in clamping technology have taken on a new dimension at SMW-electronics due to the nature of digitization.

This also applies to sustainability: Energy efficiency and the CO ² footprint are optimised.

GFT-X 4.0: Multifunctional clamping force measuring device

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PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS Wireless + Technology

F100 Inductive coupler

Inductive coupling system F100 Contactfree energy and signal transmission ƒ Signal transmission Ethernet or 2x IO-Link (COM1, COM2, COM3) ƒ Power transmission 100 W ƒ Big transmission distance ƒ Ideal for automation applications and end-of-arm tooling ƒ Protected according to IP 67

Coupler for intelligent tool holder

Inductive coupling system for intelligent tool holder Contactfree energy and signal transmission

ƒ Signal transmission for force, vibration and temperature from an intelligent tool holder with integrated strain gauge, force measurement to the machine ƒ Contactfree energy transmission for sensor technology ƒ Suitable for very high rotation speeds ƒ Adaptation of different tool holder types possible ƒ Protected according to IP 67

F100/66 Pallet coupler

Pallet coupler F100/66 Contactfree energy and signal transmission ƒ Signal transmission IO-Link (COM1, COM2, COM3) ƒ Power transmission 22 W ƒ Flat design, ideal for pallet use ƒ Bigtransmission distance ƒ Protected according to IP 67

Ultrasonic sensor USP 4.0 250

Ultrasonic sensor USP 4.0 250 Contactfree ultrasonic measuring system ƒ Contactfree distance measurement ƒ Large measuring range 25-250 mm ƒ State-of-the-art ultrasound technology ƒ Output signal analogue 0-10 V / 4-20 mA ƒ High measuring and repeat accuracy ƒ Excellent EMC properties ƒ Protected according to IP 67

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PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS Digitization + clamping technology

Centco4 digit

Centco4 digit Digitized 4-jaw chuck with hydraulic actuation ƒ Chuck with integrated sensor technology ƒ Monitoring of different process parameters also during machining ƒ Contactfree energy supply for sensors and signal transmission via inductive coupler ƒ Integrated hydraulic actuation with safety system ƒ Protected according to IP 67

SLX e-motion

SLX e-motion Electromechatronic long-stroke vise ƒ Mechatronic clamping drive ƒ Automated jaw change possible

ƒ Clamping force monitoring ƒ Base jaw position sensing ƒ Protected according to IP 67

ZeroAct e-motion

ZeroAct e-motion Clamping unit with electromechatronic zero point clamping system ƒ Can be automated ƒ Flat construction ƒ Inductive pallet detection ƒ Integrated clamping position monitoring ƒ Very high repeat accuracy < 5 µm ƒ Protected according to IP 67

MX-L 520

MX-L 520 Mechatronic long-stroke gripper for robotics/EOAT application ƒ Mechatronic drive ƒ High total gripping force up to 40 kN ƒ Stroke per jaw 99 mm

ƒ Integrated gripping position sensing and gripping force monitoring ƒ Pre-positioning of the gripping position and adjustment of the gripping force ƒ Very high repeat accuracy < 0.02 mm ƒ Protected according to IP 67

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INNOVATIVE STRENGTH at the Meckenbeuren site

INTERVIEW with Eckhard Maurer Managing Director SMW-AUTOBLOK Spannsysteme GmbH and Managing Director/Shareholder SMW-electronics GmbH

now cover almost 30.000 m2 of floor space and in- clude, in addition to the main build- ing with the adja- cent production building, a large-​ scale production facility, a technical and logistics cen- ter and the new SMW-electronics building. The total office space amounts to 5.000 m 2 and

accommodated in an area of approx. 1.000 m 2 over 2 floors. This allows for highly efficient processes and short distances. The building is also equipped with the latest technologies for CO 2 reduction and energy effi- ciency. It has a photovoltaic system in combination with a heat pump, which puts it in energy efficiency class 40 EE. What exactly are inductive coupling systems and how long have they been around? SMW-electronics is one of the world's leading suppliers of in- ductive coupling systems for energy and signal transmission. The energy and signals are trans- mitted contactfree via an air gap between stationary and moving/ rotary components. The air gap can be up to 10 mm. An induc- tive coupling system consists of a stationary coupler and a movable mobile coupler. These inductive coupling systems enable energy of up to 1.500 watts to be trans- mitted, which is used to operate

actuators or sensors. At the same time, a signal is transmitted be- tween the two units. The types of signals transmitted contactlessly range from digital or analogue signals and IO-Link to state-of-the- art Ethernet-based field buses. Incidentally, the idea of simulta- neous wireless transmission of energy and information goes back to the end of the 19th century. In this context, the in- ventor, physicist and engineer Nikola Tesla should be mentioned.

» Eckhard Maurer

Where does the name SMW-AUTOBLOK come from? How long has the company been in existence? SMW-AUTOBLOK began as a sales company for clamping devices, founded in Friedrichshafen in 1967 under the name SMW. The letters SMW come from the first letters of the surnames of the founders at the time. After the merger with AUTOBLOK s.p.a., based in Caprie (Turin), Italy, the company SMW-AUTOBLOK Spann- systeme GmbH was formed in 1993. With the founding of the company SMW-electronics GmbH in September 2021, an indepen- dent business unit has been cre- ated that brings together the worldwide development activities for products for digitized process- es and automation. These include the product areas of mecha- tronics, contactfree transmission technology, intelligent sensor technology and software.

Does the technical develop- ment really take place here?

the production space (including the warehouse, assembly and testing) to over 12.000 square meters. SMW-electronics now has its own building. How did this development come about? What happens there and what do you have planned there for the future? The new building and the fur- ther investment in equipment and jobs represent a clear com- mitment by SMW-AUTOBLOK Spannsysteme GmbH and SMW-electronics GmbH to the location in Meckenbeuren.​ SMW-AUTOBLOK has been based at the Meckenbeuren site for 47 years and works success- fully there, partly because of its lean organisation and short communication channels. So, it made sense that the new building for SMW-electronics GmbH was constructed in the immediate vicinity. The engineering and production departments, the testing area, the warehouse and the logistics and assembly departments are

Yes, it takes place here at our Meckenbeuren site. The develop- ment area includes mechatronic systems, hardware electronics and software. Currently, 12 employ- ees work in the SMW-electronics building. The number will in- crease to about 20 employees in the coming year.

How big is the entire compa- ny site in Meckenbeuren in- cluding the new building?

The entire company premises

» Manufacture of products for digitizing and automating processes

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Who benefits from this? What advantages do these systems offer? The advantages offered by in- ductive coupling systems are obvious: due to the contactfree transmission technology in the near-field area, there is no wear and tear whatsoever. Inductive coupling systems can therefore be used even in the harshest production environments. Since there is no mechatroniccontact, these systems can also be used in clean room applications, in the food sector and under water. The contactfree transmission of energy and signals between stationary and rotary or translationally moving components creates possible uses for new and highly innovative applications. Are there other plus points in terms of sustainability (lower energy consumption, reduced material consumption, fewer skilled workers)? The issue of sustainability is of great importance both to our customers and to us as an envi- ronmentally certified company. Our electromechatronic clamp-

ing devices have plus points in terms of sustainability.

They only require a few seconds of energy at the moment of power build-up. Compared to conven- tional clamping devices, which are operated hydraulically, electro- mechatronic clamping devices use 80% less energy. The fact that the electromecha- tronic clamping devices have multiple integrated monitoring and maximum safety functions makes them ideal for automa- tion. A higher degree of automa- tion will also cushion the short- age of skilled workers.

» SMW-electronics production/test area

Who are your customers?

What makes you attractive as an employer?

Our customers come from many different sectors: from US aero- space companies, electric vehicle manufacturers, US online retailers, aerospace, machine tools, robotics, electronics, packaging plants, submarine applications, print- ing machines, plastics machines, pharmaceuticals to medical tech- nology.

Both SMW-electronics and SMW-AUTOBLOK offer future-​ proof, modern jobs within a team-oriented and highly autono- mous organisation. We also offer a wide range of benefits such as personally tailored training, Jobrad option (company bike scheme), travel allowance, a company pension scheme and much more.

What are the possible applica- tions? Is this a future market?

There is a wide variety of possible applications. These range from toolmaking and general mecha- tronic engineering, medical tech- nology and consumer goods to high-level automation solutions for the logistics/warehouse sector. SMW-electronics is at the begin- ning of a period of worldwide growth as a provider of commu- nication and automation solutions. SMW-electronics will flourish and expand rapidly.

PRESENTED WITH the Industry 4.0 Award by the state of Baden-Württemberg

For its Industry 4.0 Award, the "Alliance Industry 4.0 Baden-Württem- berg" was looking for innovative solutions from industry that aim to create intelligent networks of production and value creation processes. In addition to the degree of innovation, the expert panel also assessed the actual practical relevance to Industry 4.0. The top 100 companies in Baden-Württemberg were given the award in 2017. SMW-AUTOBLOK was the only manufacturer of clamping systems in this round of awards to receive an award for rotating clamping tech- nology. The Industry 4.0 award-winning product F500 e-motion from SMW-AUTOBLOK offers all the features for use in future-oriented, digital production.

» Modern workplaces

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COMPANY HISTORY From its founding until today

December 1993

May 1975

April 1, 1967

BEGINNINGS in Meckenbeuren SMW moved into a commercial property with offices and production facilities in Meckenbeuren

FOUNDING of SMW Schneider, Manz und Weisshaupt OHG in Friedrichshafen




EXPANSION of production building (Hall 1) 1995

NEW BUILDING Move into production building (Hall 2)

EXPANSION of production capacities in building (Hall 2)

2018 to 2019

NEW BUILDING Move into the technology and logistics centre building (Hall 3) 2018

MODERNISATION Existing building Modernisation of facade and internal rooms

September 2021

NEW BUILDING SMW-electronics GmbH

FOUNDING SMW-electronics GmbH


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MODERN workplaces in an economically successful business.

OUR employees combine expertise with personal dedication and contribute significantly to the company’s success.

WE INVEST in training qualified skilled workers and therefore in our future at the location.

More information at:

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SMW-AUTOBLOK Spannsysteme GmbH Wiesentalstraße 28 | 88074 Meckenbeuren Phone: +49 (0) 7542 405-0 E-mail:

SMW-electronics GmbH Wiesentalstraße 19 | 88074 Meckenbeuren Phone +49 (0) 7542 405-0 E-mail:

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