Hottinger Brüel & Kjær was founded in 2019, when HBM and Brüel & Kjær merged their activities into a new company. Both companies are market leaders in their respective disciplines – Brüel & Kjær in sound and vibration and HBM in reliability, durability, propulsion efficiency and weighing. With the merger a powerhouse for measurement, testing and simulation was created to reduce time-to-market for customers through a better data quality.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

HBK: HBK is focusing on two major topics in the market to create new products that are faster, more efficient and more sustainable in a digital world:

  1. Accelerate customers product innovation.
  2. Enhance processes and assets by turning real sensing data into actionable data.

Accelerating our customers’ product innovation is supported by a broad hardware, software and simulation portfolio, from HBK, to shorten development cycles for faster innovation (for example: in the field of Automotive, Aerospace and Defence or green Energy and Household equipment).

Turning real sensing data into actionable data is helping to increase production yield – and protect assets – by utilizing industrial and smart sensors, such as weight, force, torque, sound and vibration, as well as digital solutions with a high degree of integration into customers eco systems.

E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products?

HBK: This year, HBK has introduced multiple new products and solutions to underline its innovative capabilities. This extends along the entire portfolio, for example: new and enhanced Electric Power Test ( EPT) systems have been successfully launched to help to transform the Automotive Industry from combustion engines to electric powered vehicles. And our famous QuantumX DAQ-family was extended with a module for optical sensors inputs to provide a variety of measurement capabilities with FBG technology. We also extended our transducer and sensor portfolio with items such as our easy-to-mount Force transducer U10F and the enhancement of our digital Sensor electronics DSE, with algorithms for weighing applications to build high performance digital measuring chains. New product launches will also continue in 2022 with more intelligent sensors and transducers – plus data acquisition systems and software releases to help our customers to simplify and improve their measurement task.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

HBK: As we are covering a full scale of solutions, from sensor via DAQ-Hardware and software to simulation, HBK is able to serve customer needs across their full product life cycle, from design, validation, test of components to production control and monitoring of quality critical processes.

HBK extended its simulation business recently with the acquisition of Concurrent Realtime Inc. (CCRT), a US-based global provider of high-performance, real-time computer hardware and software solutions, for commercial and government markets worldwide. CCRT is adding great value to HBK´s simulation business so we can move towards Hardware in the Loop (HiL) solutions.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

HBK: The test and measurement market – and the general machinery market was hit hard by the Covid crisis in 2020. Whereas our medical and weighing segment did manage the Covid Crisis quite well. HBK is positioned broadly in Automotive, Energy, Machinery, Agricultural, Medical industry and others, therefore we can balance the business if some segments are losing momentum and others speed up. The same is true for the geographical distribution of our business. We are quite well balanced between EMEA, Americas and ASPAC, as China started to recover from Covid faster than the other markets.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

HBK: Companies want to innovate faster and shorten their R&D cycle. This can be achieved if simulation is utilized as early as possible in the R&D stage of product development to reduce the number and time of physical prototypes. That does not mean that simulation will replace physical testing completely but will go hand in hand. We want to support our customers in the acceleration of R&D projects by offering the full portfolio, from simulation and measuring equipment for physical testing, to ensuring a seamless interaction between both disciplines.

In the industrial world customers want to utilize their machinery and assets better to gain higher productivity and reduced cost in their operating processes. This can be achieved by gaining more and better process data – and analytics around the process critical parameters. A clear trend is that industrial measurement equipment must integrate and communicate seamlessly with control systems and becoming an integral part of customers’ operating model to drive a holistic data integration. HBK is supporting that trend by offering highly dedicated digital measuring chains and sensing solutions to generate preconditioned data and algorithms to optimize process parameters as close as possible to the process itself by reducing “data overhead” in the control and SCADA systems

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

HBK: As we are bridging the virtual and physical world, we are looking for end-to-end solutions, from simulation to physical testing and from asset monitoring and process control to highly integrated operating models with our customers. That means the HBK portfolio offers the full-scale solutions from simulation software and real driving simulators to tailored data acquisition and software packages, so customers can rely on an integrated solutions from one expert. In the field of asset and process monitoring we are combining are core technology (mechanical, vibration and sound transducer solutions) with digital signal processing and data evaluation in real time to control and optimize machinery and other equipment through enriched process data. We already offer integrated digital and smart sensor solutions for this application field and will continue to extend our portfolio.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?

HBK: First of all, we hope that we can overcome the COVID crisis so that society can regain its health and people do not suffer from it anymore. Businesswise, we see that all end markets are recovering in 2021, but this differentiated by market segment. For example, the automotive sector is recovering slower as that segment sees a fundamental transformation towards Electric Vehicles and digital driving ( ADAS). Other segments such as food and beverage or medical show a robust business in 2021. In summary, we hope to finish 2021 in a good position.