AUMA: 60 years of innovation, sustainability and family leadership

AUMA is marking its 60th anniversary with record-breaking performance, a commitment to innovation and sustainability, and a strong foundation for future success.

By Melonie Dodaro, Valve World

AUMA, a global leader in the actuator industry, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Founded in 1964 by Werner Riester and Rudolf Dinse, the company has grown from a small family-owned business to an international powerhouse with more than 20 subsidiaries and 2800 employees worldwide. From its humble beginnings, AUMA has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation, setting new standards in the field of electric actuators.

Under the leadership of Dr. Jörg Hoffmann, Chief Executive Officer, and Mr. Ferdinand Dirnhofer, Chief Sales Officer, AUMA continues to thrive and adapt to the ever-changing market landscape. In a recent interview, they shared valuable insights into AUMA’s evolution and progress, highlighting the company’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and customer satisfaction. With their extensive experience and deep understanding of the company’s values and goals, Dr. Hoffmann and Mr. Dirnhofer are guiding AUMA towards a bright future, ensuring that the company remains well-positioned to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the coming decades.

AUMA headquarters in Muellheim, Germany. Photovoltaic systems on the roof bear witness to the company’s striving for sustainability.
AUMA headquarters in Muellheim, Germany. Photovoltaic systems on the roof bear witness to the company’s striving for sustainability.

A rich history of family values

AUMA founders Werner Riester and Rudolf Dinse.

AUMA’s commitment to excellence is deeply rooted in its family-oriented culture. The company’s founders instilled core values that continue to guide the organisation today: quality, reliability, and customer-centricity. These values have been passed down through generations of leadership, ensuring that AUMA remains true to its heritage while embracing the challenges and opportunities of the future.

As AUMA commemorates its 60th anniversary, it is a time to reflect on the company’s extraordinary journey and the people who have made it possible. From the dedicated employees who have contributed their skills and expertise to the loyal customers who have placed their trust in AUMA’s products and services, every member of the AUMA family has played a part in the company’s success.

In a world where change is the only constant, AUMA has demonstrated an unwavering ability to adapt and thrive. Whether it is embracing new technologies, expanding into new markets, or developing innovative solutions to meet the evolving needs of its customers, AUMA has always been at the forefront of the industry.

As Dr. Hoffmann and Mr. Dirnhofer reflect on AUMA’s past and look ahead to its future, they do so with a sense of pride and optimism. With a solid foundation built on six decades of excellence and a clear vision for the future, AUMA is poised to continue its legacy of innovation, sustainability, and family leadership for generations to come.

Seizing opportunities

AUMA CEO Dr. Jörg Hoffmann and CSO Ferdinand Dirnhofer.

Throughout its history, AUMA has faced numerous challenges, but the company’s resilience and adaptability have always shone through. From the recent coronavirus pandemic to the ever-changing market landscape, AUMA has consistently found ways to innovate and grow. Dr. Hoffmann attributes this success to the company’s focus on key areas such as product development, digitalisation, and internationalisation.

Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, AUMA managed to maintain its operations and even expanded its market presence in new regions.

Another challenge AUMA has successfully navigated is the increasing complexity of the actuator industry. With the advent of new technologies and new market requirements, AUMA has constantly evolved to stay ahead of the curve. The company continues to invest heavily in research and development, collaborating with leading universities and industry partners to develop cutting-edge products and services. This commitment to innovation has allowed AUMA to seize new opportunities and solidify its position as a market leader.

Innovative products: PROFOX, TIGRON and CORALINK

AUMA’s commitment to innovation is exemplified by its cutting-edge new actuator series, PROFOX and TIGRON that today expand the company’s successful product portfolio. These state-of-the-art products combine compact design, robustness, reliability, and advanced features to meet the demands of challenging applications across various industries.

Smart and compact: PROFOX actuators

PROFOX is a versatile actuator series for all valve types, including butterfly, ball, plug, and globe valves.

The versatile PROFOX series includes multi-turn, part-turn, and linear actuators, offering automation solutions for all valve types in the lower torque and thrust ranges. Optimised for low energy consumption and high efficiency, PROFOX actuators minimize their carbon footprint while providing high-precision valve control through variable motor speed. The compact design of PROFOX makes it a perfect fit for tight spaces, while its high-quality “made in Germany” construction, wide temperature range, and premium corrosion protection ensure high reliability and long service life under tough process conditions. PROFOX actuators support fieldbus and Industrial Ethernet communication, making host system integration flexible and easy. The actuators’ embedded data logging enables advanced diagnostics and predictive maintenance. The PROFOX line has also opened up new applications for AUMA, such as HVDC converter stations for offshore wind parks. Mr. Dirnhofer stated, “We have struck the ideal balance between essential product features and advanced technical capabilities.”

PROFOX-X and TIGRON: Actuators for oil & gas and hydrogen applications

Expanding on the benefits of the PROFOX series, AUMA introduced PROFOX-X actuators for oil & gas industry and hydrogen applications. The combination of compact design and smart features makes PROFOX-X unique on the market for oil & gas applications.

Another groundbreaking product is the TIGRON series, also designed for safe and reliable valve automation in oil and gas applications, from production, storage, and transport to downstream processing. TIGRON is a versatile all-rounder for medium and high torque and thrust applications, offering comprehensive safety features, wide operating temperature range, and excellent usability. The modular design, state-of-the-art electronics and sensors, high-quality manufacturing, and low standby power consumption make TIGRON actuators a future-proof investment.

Both PROFOX-X and TIGRON actuators have ATEX and IECEx certifications for the highest gas group IIC T4, which includes hydrogen. With the PROFOX, PROFOX-X, and TIGRON series, AUMA has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to delivering innovative, reliable, and sustainable actuator solutions that cater to the diverse needs of its customers worldwide.

Embracing digitalisation: CORALINK and Industry 4.0

AUMA has been proactively adapting to the changing needs of its customers by embracing digitalisation. Mr. Dirnhofer discussed the transformation of actuators from simple electromechanical devices to advanced, intelligent products that incorporate microprocessors and software.

AUMA actuators support fieldbus and Industrial Ethernet communication, making host system integration flexible and easy. The actuators’ embedded data logging enables advanced diagnostics and predictive maintenance. At the forefront of the digital transformation is CORALINK, AUMA’s digital ecosystem that offers smart software modules for efficient actuator use and reliable operation.

TIGRON actuators provide safe and reliable valve automation for all oil and gas applications.

CORALINK’s ability to evaluate extensive operating data recorded by AUMA actuators provides valuable insights into the health status of the actuator. Using the AUMA Assistant App and AUMA Cloud, plant operators can easily access this data, receive detailed action plans, and avoid unplanned downtime. CORALINK also offers useful functions that save time and money in daily plant operation, such as asset overviews, spare part ordering, and service request tracking.

Dr. Hoffmann emphasised AUMA’s commitment to being an easy-to-work-with partner throughout the product lifecycle. The company’s investments in its internal data organisation and the implementation of a new ERP system pave the way for future asset management and AI applications, enabling customers to optimise their operations and make data-driven decisions.

Supporting the energy transition and a sustainable future

As we move towards a more sustainable future, AUMA has taken a proactive role in supporting the energy transition. Mr. Dirnhofer emphasised: “In the energy sector, reliability is paramount. Our actuators are designed to be robust, durable, and dependable, ensuring consistent performance even in the most demanding conditions. These are the key factors that set AUMA apart and make our products the preferred choice for critical applications in the energy industry.”

CORALINK, the AUMA digital ecosystem, includes software modules such as the AUMA Assistant App, AUMA Cloud and AUMA Commissioning & Diagnostic Tool (CDT), ensuring efficient operation and long-term reliability of AUMA actuators.

However, AUMA’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond its products, as Dr. Hoffmann pointed out. The company has implemented a comprehensive sustainability program to reduce its environmental impact. From investing in photovoltaics to make its plants self-sufficient in energy consumption to promoting electric mobility among employees, AUMA is leading by example. The company’s ambitious goal of making its main campus in Muellheim CO2 emission-free in the coming years is a clear indication of its dedication to a greener future. And this is only a first step, as further locations will follow.

Furthermore, AUMA is investing in research and development to create the next generation of sustainable actuators. The company is exploring new materials, such as recycled plastics and biodegradable lubricants, to reduce its environmental footprint. AUMA is also developing advanced control systems that optimise energy consumption and minimise waste, contributing to a more sustainable future.

Pilot projects in hydrogen and CCS

AUMA’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its internal practices and product design. The company actively participates in pilot projects that support the transition to a greener future, focusing on hydrogen applications and carbon capture & storage (CCS) initiatives.

AUMA’s SQEx actuators, equipped with AMExC actuator controls, ensure reliable injection of hydrogen in the Windgas Hassfurt power-to-gas plant.

Hydrogen applications: Windgas Hassfurt power-to-gas plant

AUMA’s explosion-proof actuators play a crucial role in the Windgas Hassfurt power-to-gas plant in Hassfurt, Germany. This innovative project converts excess wind energy into hydrogen, contributing to the development of sustainable energy solutions. AUMA’s SQEx actuators, equipped with AMExC actuator controls, ensure reliable injection of hydrogen into three different gas networks, demonstrating the company’s expertise in handling challenging applications in the renewable energy sector.

Carbon capture & storage: Northern Lights project in Norway

AUMA has also made significant contributions to the Northern Lights carbon capture & storage project in Norway. The project aims to capture CO2 from industrial sources, transport it by ship to the west of Norway, and then pump it via a pipeline to a subsea location offshore in the North Sea for permanent storage in underground rock formations. AUMA supplied high-precision variable-speed SARV actuators with AC 01.2 actuator controls to this groundbreaking initiative, showcasing the company’s ability to deliver advanced solutions for complex CCS projects.

By actively participating in these pilot projects, AUMA demonstrates its commitment to supporting sustainability and driving innovation in the energy sector. The company’s involvement in hydrogen applications and CCS initiatives highlights its dedication to developing solutions that address the challenges of the energy transition and contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Global expansion

AUMA’s success story extends beyond its home country of Germany. From its very beginnings, the company has successfully expanded into international markets, establishing a worldwide sales and service network. This global growth is the result of AUMA’s philosophy of maintaining a strong manufacturing base and a clear understanding of what the company wants to do in-house. The effectiveness of AUMA’s global expansion strategy is evident in the company’s record-breaking performance in 2023 in terms of orders and turnover. During the interview, Dr. Hoffmann and

AUMA supplied high-precision variable-speed SARV actuators with AC 01.2 actuator controls to the Northern Lights carbon capture & storage project in Norway.

Mr. Dirnhofer provided valuable insights into AUMA’s approach to global expansion. They emphasised the importance of having local managers lead the company’s subsidiaries, ensuring a deep understanding of the market and its unique challenges. This strategy has proven to be highly effective, with AUMA’s subsidiaries thriving under the leadership of dedicated and experienced local managers. The low turnover rate among its subsidiary leaders has allowed AUMA to maintain a consistent vision and strategy across its global operations while adapting to local market conditions.

Dr. Hoffmann highlighted the significance of local presence, taking the example of India, which has become a crucial market for the company. AUMA’s success in India can be attributed to its ability to navigate the country’s complex business environment, build strong partnerships with local customers and suppliers, and maintain a strong reputation for quality and reliability.

AUMA’s manufacturing approach is guided by a clear strategy that balances in-house production of core components, ensuring the highest quality standards, with local assembly facilities in key markets like the US, India, China, and Saudi Arabia. This allows the company to adapt quickly to regional requirements, ensure fast time to market, and provide shorter delivery times to its customers. Despite its global reach, AUMA remains a family-oriented company at heart, with the values instilled by its founders continuing to guide the company’s decision-making and approach to business, attracting and retaining top talent.

Embracing growth and innovation

As AUMA celebrates its 60th anniversary, the company looks forward to the opportunities that lie ahead. Through ongoing investment in research and development, AUMA will remain at the forefront of technological advancements, delivering cutting-edge valve automation technology that caters to the evolving needs of its customers across various industries.

AUMA will continue to develop eco-friendly actuator solutions and adopt sustainable manufacturing practices, contributing to a greener future.  AUMA’s family values and company culture will guide the organisation as it navigates the challenges and opportunities of the future, ensuring a talented and dedicated workforce ready to drive the company forward.

With a strong commitment to innovation, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, AUMA is well-positioned to embrace the future and continue its legacy of excellence in the valve automation industry.

About this Featured Story

This Featured Story is an article from our Valve World Magazine, June 2024 issue. To read other featured stories and many more articles, subscribe to our print magazine. Available in both print and digital formats. DIGITAL MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW FREE.

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