Interview with CEO Martin Lehner on the Topic of Innovation
Wacker Neuson became a big company due to its innovations. Can you give us examples of true milestones for the company?
The first electric rammer was a true milestone – around the world! It was invented in 1930 by Hermann Wacker and helped to revolutionize an entire industry. Even today, Wacker Neuson is the leader in soil compaction thanks to this significant invention. Nearly 20 years later, the first rammer with a combustion engine was then launched on the market, also by us. This increased the flexibility and application possibilities of the equipment enormously, because now work could take place independent of a power source. And so it was another milestone that incidentally inspired the next innovation a few years later, the first demolition breaker with a gasoline engine.
The vertical digging system (VDS) is one of our innovations. The VDS is a tilting revolving superstructure for excavators that allows for continuous tilting at the push of a button and offers our customers a clear added value through significantly shorter excavation times. In addition, the driver is in an upright position for more comfort and better ergonomics and the machine is significantly more stable.
Especially in terms of safety and comfort, we also score with our infrared control for compaction equipment. Through the remote control for vibratory plates and our vibratory trench rollers, the user is not exposed to any hand-arm vibrations and encounters significantly smaller amounts of dust and exhaust fumes. In addition, the risk of accidents is significantly reduced, for thanks to the proximity recognition sensor, the user cannot enter into the danger zone and must maintain visual contact with the machine in order to operate it. The DPU 130, the strongest vibratory plate in the world, was awarded with several innovation awards - a great confirmation of our performance.
How does a big company like Wacker Neuson ensure that the spirit of innovation remains a vibrant force?
Innovation is an essential part of our value wheel. Our goal is to continuously improve our products and services. For this reason, we encourage our employees to always keep their eyes and ears open and we are open to new ideas. And we are in close contact with our customers in order to always be able to provide products that meet their needs even better. In addition, we constantly work together with external organizations. In joint projects with universities, we give young talent the opportunity to implement their ideas and give new impetus. Incidentally with impressive results. Incidentally with impressive results.
What is a "true innovation" to you?
Only innovations that provide a real benefit and create added value to the user are true innovations. The first electric rammer by Wacker Neuson is a good example of a true innovation. For it is characterized by the fact that it is constantly being advanced and in turn inspires new innovations.
What do you think are the big issues for the future in your industry?
Major topics are primarily in the environmental area and, for example, center on possibilities for noise and emission reduction, alternative drives or energy efficiency. Also becoming more and more important is the closer linking of man and machine in order to optimize the entire process chain.
A word about current product innovations?
We are pressing ahead with innovations in order to always be able to support our customers in the best way possible. An innovation is the excavator 803 dual power that is available with an additional external electro-hydraulic drive, which can be connected via "plug & play" and turns the excavator into a machine for emission-free applications. We meet our customers' demand for alternative drives with this excavator. It is an area in which we still see great potential for additional innovations.