Gear technology and automation systems

In the gear technology and automation systems product segment, Liebherr recorded revenue of €280 million in the 2023 business year. This represents an increase of €75 million or 36.6 % year-on-year.

Development compared to previous year

Revenue in € m
from 205
( + 36.6% ) 0
Investments in € m
from 6
( + 16.7% ) 0
from 1,688
( + 3.0% ) 0

Revenue by sales regions

  1. European Union
  2. North America
  3. Central and South America
  4. Non-EU countries
  5. Asia and Oceania
  6. Africa, Near and Middle East

Bucking the industry trend with revenue growth

According to the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW), there was a slight downward trend in the machine tool industry in the previous business year. Growth industries such as e-mobility, wind power and aerospace provided a boost, but the standard machine business was weaker. In contrast to the general trend in the sector, Liebherr recorded an increase in revenue across all areas with its gear technology and automation systems product segment.

Business was very positive in both the EU and non-EU countries, particularly in Germany and the United Kingdom. In the gear technology product area, revenue growth was recorded in the Asia and Oceania sales region, driven by China. However, the region saw a negative trend in revenue in the automation systems product area. After a decline in 2022, business in North America returned to an encouraging trend, primarily due to the USA.

Developing digital solutions is an overriding aim across the entire product segment.

Automated battery pack disassembly

In the automation systems product area, Liebherr developed automated disassembly processes for electric vehicle battery packs as part of the ZIRKEL research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The aim was to disassemble and sort components mechanically in order to recycle valuable raw materials in a way that makes both environmental and economic sense. The processes need to be automated to achieve high recycling rates and to process the growing volumes of returned materials cost-effectively. The research project aims to establish sustainable, carbon-neutral battery production throughout the entire process chain. The first pilot plant was installed in July 2023 at the Open Hybrid LabFactory research campus in Wolfsburg (Germany).

In the area of gear technology, Liebherr designed a new generation of gear cutting machines for workpieces with a diameter of up to 500 mm. These offer maximum process reliability, greater flexibility and high productivity. The revised concept includes a new machine bed design for improved chip evacuation and constant temperature behaviour. The LC 500 gear hobbing machine features an improved HH 240 hob head for high performance. The optional integrated chamfering device is a unique feature that enables chamfering of workpieces during the machining process with both ChamferCut and FlexChamfer. Optimised ergonomics for work areas and improved user interfaces help to improve user-friendliness.

Developing digital solutions is an overriding aim across the entire product segment. One example of this is the virtual commissioning of a palletising cell with automatic loading of a gear skiving machine. The preliminary simulation via a digital twin saves time and costs during the actual commissioning and ensured planning reliability for the start of production.

Despite a successful business year, Liebherr is cautiously optimistic about 2024 in the product segment.