“2019 has been a good year.” This sentence from CEO Peter Fenkl sums up the performance of the Künzelsau electric motor and fan manufacturer Ziehl-Abegg in the year just past. Turnover rose from EUR 583 million to EUR 633 million. The boom regions were Asia, Europe and the USA. The year 2020 had also got off to a good start – until the corona crisis. In this current year the corona crisis has forced many people to work from home. This requires a sound network infrastructure with large data centres – Ziehl-Abegg fans have been used for many years for cooling, both in networks and data centres. “This is an important market for us and one that’s growing rapidly worldwide,” emphasises company CEO Fenkl. Mail order companies and streaming providers also need large computing capacities, which in turn require the corresponding cooling of the hardware. Special fans for hospitals In the wake of the corona crisis in China, it has now become common knowledge that modern fans are used in both operating theatres and quarantine stations in large clinics: Ziehl-Abegg supplied special fans to hospitals that were built in the cities of Wuhan, Shandong and Shenzhen within just a few days. The German company has also manufactured the core equipment for negative or positive pressure in clinics in Italy and other countries. “Customers want a very prompt service” says Fenkl, explaining why Ziehl-Abegg is setting up a further production facility for energy-saving EC electric motors in the USA. The new manufacturing plant in North Carolina will enhance the speedy implementation of specific customer requirements. In an increasing number of countries, we are seeing a trend towards energy-saving elevator drives and fans. “Sometimes, high energy costs are the reason for the use of Ziehl-Abegg products, sometimes it’s statutory environmental requirements and in Germany for example, it’s for both reasons” explains company CEO Fenkl. This is due to the fact that more and more building operators are focusing on both the purchase price as well as the ongoing energy costs. Even with existing buildings, the investment in replacement fans usually pays off within two years, without the need for any changes to the rest of the ventilation system. Positive performance by the elevator division The elevator division at Ziehl-Abegg also delivered a positive performance in 2019: in a fiercely competitive environment, elevator drives from Kupferzell have become established in the market thanks to their high quality and the very good service. One major plus point is the proprietary control technology across all divisions: frequency inverters from Ziehl-Abegg are increasingly used to control and regulate various electrical items of equipment. The Automotive division secured a good position for itself in 2019 with its ZAwheel electric in-wheel hub drive for buses: conversion solutions that turn a diesel bus into an electric bus within a week are attracting a great deal of interest from municipal authorities and bus companies. Ziehl-Abegg is also becoming an established force in the new vehicle business. Passengers in London, Brussels or Paris can now experience the benefits of the in-wheel hub motor as a drive unit for new double-decker sightseeing buses. Increase in the number of employees worldwide The growth in sales was also accompanied by an increase in the number of employees: in Germany, Ziehl-Abegg employs 2,400 people (previous year: 2,250), worldwide the figure is 4,300 (previous year 4,100).