Bis 1970 ist das Werk Lohmar beeindruckend gewachsen: Die Verwaltung ist fünfgeschossig ausgebaut, vorne rechts die Shedhalle mit Lehrwerkstatt, dahinter das Heizkraftwerk mit Schornstein.Walterscheid GmbH Logo

100 YEARS OF WALTERSCHEID – A BRAND THAT UNITES

Traktoren wie der weit verbrei- tete Lanz Bulli erleichtern ab den 1950er Jahren die Arbeit – bei der Heuernte und vielen weiteren Aufgaben.
Von Burr Ridge (Illinois) aus erschließt Walterscheid den nordamerikanischen Markt.
Die elektronische Datenverarbeitung hält in den 1980er Jahren Einzug und verändert viele Arbeitsplätze. Die Konstruktion nutzt erstmals CAD-Rechner (1) und bewegt sich zwischen Computer und Zeichenbrett (2). Auch im Versuch wird rechnergestützt gearbeitet (3).
Das Traktor-Anbau-System (TAS) vereint Unterlenker, Fanghaken und Stabilisierungssystem. Es lässt sich am Heck und/oder an der Front anbrin- gen und entwickelt sich rasch zum Erfolgsmodell.
Fußballturniere, Lauf- und Wandertage fördern den Zu- sammenhalt der Belegschaft.
Vielstimmig: Der Werkchor nimmt in den 1980er Jahren eigene Schallplatten auf.

Global Player –
the era of Manfred Arntz

1978–2003

Ready for the competition

Manfred Arntz takes over the management of the company in 1978 and, together with Peter Röttgen, expands activities initially within Europe and, shortly afterwards, worldwide. Walterscheid develops into a global player in agricultural engineering. Its tractor attachment system (TAS) becomes an important second pillar beginning in 1986. Walterscheid merges with other agricultural and construction machinery suppliers within the GKN Group: the GKN Off-Highway division is created in 1998.

Unter Geschäftsführer Manfred Arntz zeigt sich Walterscheid „bereit für neue Taten“.

Walterscheid is “ready for new challenges” under Managing Director Manfred Arntz.

Uni-Cardan moves into the building on the private Siegburg premises of the deceased Jean Walterscheid.

„We are ready for new challenges“, is the motto of the new Management Board headed by 32-year-old production engineer Manfred Arntz. After completing his degree at the Ingenieurschule Gummersbach School of Engineering (now part of the Technical University of Cologne), Arntz initially spent a few years assisting Berthold Kurscheidt. In 1978, he takes over the role of Managing Director from Kurscheidt, who switches to the Uni-Cardan Board. Walterscheid is well-positioned at this point in time: the development of agricultural engineering has pushed up demand for drive shafts. Machines driven by PTO shafts, such as rotary harrows and centrifugal spreaders, are a common sight. By 1978 Walterscheid has already manufactured 12 million agricultural drive shafts.

However, there is a gradual increase in serious competition in drive technology – not least because some of Walterscheid’s patents expire. Arntz therefore attempts to concentrate the locations and product lines. Walterscheid stops producing starter gears and sells this area of the business. The plant in Kiel focuses on the manufacture of axle shafts. A new group of employees from Engineering and Production work on innovations, as Walterscheid continues to pursue its claim to technology leadership in agricultural engineering. In its development activities, the company focuses on the needs of agriculture and also cooperates with the TH Aachen. Walterscheid is already able to present its initial results in 1978: the Drive Shaft 2000 is the second generation of Walterscheid drive technology. The yokes and universal joints are significantly improved, while the smaller installation space and lower weight make the joints much more efficient. In addition, deep-drawn bearing bushes extend the service life. The telescopic elements of the drive shafts are adapted for a longer service life.

In 1978 the Uni-Cardan headquarters moves from Lohmar to what were Jean Walterscheid’s private premises in Siegburg. This relieves the strain on Walterscheid in Lohmar, where more space is now available.

Gelenkwellen sind Walterscheids Hauptprodukt und in einer breiten Fülle erhältlich.

The overview of drive shaft types from 1953 to 1978 shows the remarkable development up to the Drive Shaft 2000.

International awakening

Entry into the Far East: the Matsui-Walterscheid joint venture is established in Tokyo in 1980.

The Management Board under Manfred Arntz seeks new sales markets. The aim is to maintain the core business in Western Europe while also expanding the business outside Europe. Qualified economist Peter Röttgen, who joined Walterscheid in 1977, is responsible for strategic planning and for establishing the international sales and production network. The Burr Ridge site lays the foundation in North America. From here, Walterscheid supplies customers in the USA with complete drive shafts that are manufactured in Germany.

Besides North America, Walterscheid employees also break into other markets; they cover many thousands of kilometres in their endeavours to make the company a global player. Local sales partnerships are to be joined by new production facilities. A middleman establishes contact with the Japanese firm Matsui, which manufactures drive shafts and is looking to expand within East Asia. In 1980, Matsui and Walterscheid establish a joint venture, Matsui-Walterscheid Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo.

The tube fittings division also focuses on going global. Sales partners are already present in Spain and Portugal. Between 1978 and 1981, this is followed by representative offices in the USA, South Africa, Brazil and Asia. As shipbuilding moves from Europe to the Far East during this period, Walterscheid tube fittings are soon also offered in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Sales of tube fittings triple in this period.

Von Burr Ridge (Illinois) aus erschließt Walterscheid den nordamerikanischen Markt.

Walterscheid breaks into the North American market from Burr Ridge, Illinois.

In Burr Ridge betreibt Walterscheid eine eigene Montage.

Walterscheid operates its own assembly plant in Burr Ridge.

In Burr Ridge betreibt Walterscheid eine eigene Montage.

Farewells

Eine von zahlreichen Innovationen der frühen 1980er Jahre: die Abschaltkupplung K62

One of the many innovations of the early 1980s: the K62 cut-out clutch

After over 45 years at Walterscheid, almost 40 of which were spent as a manager, Bernhard Walterscheid-Müller departs the company in 1981. He not only withdraws from the active business, but also sells his Uni-Cardan shares to GKN. The group now holds 82 percent of Uni-Cardan. Walterscheid-Müller’s successor as the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Walterscheid and CEO of Uni-Cardan is the British Trevor C. Bonner. The appointment from England reflects the significantly larger role of GKN.

In 1981, the tube fittings division moves production to a cleared hall (hall 3) in Lohmar, while Walterscheid constructs a fourth hall as a warehouse, packing area and dispatch and assembly hall for the tube fittings. As the Siegburg site is no longer required, Walterscheid sells the area to the Lüghausen timber company, which is already established on the neighbouring premises. The handover of the plant together with the office building at the end of 1981 marks the end of the Siegburg era after over 70 years (50 of which were spent at the mill stream). However, Walterscheid remains connected to the town, which is also the district seat.

Innovations in the early 1980s include the new K62 cut-out clutch, which succeeds the K60 in 1982. The K62 clutch allows balls to engage in relief grooves to disconnect the drive and output when a set torque is exceeded. Claas installs them in the Jaguar forage harvester as a quick-stop clutch in 1984. Other harvester manufacturers soon follow suit.

A genuine training company

Training positions at Walterscheid are coveted in the region. The company has been renowned for its high level of training at least since the foundation of its own training workshop in 1969, if not before. This is where industrial mechanics, cutting machine operators and electronics installers learn their craft alongside industrial managers. Walterscheid sets up a particularly practical training program in 1985: the Walterscheid Training Company, operated by third-year industrial/technical apprentices and first-year future businesspeople. Together, they independently manage a real company for a year. Each training company develops its own product. In addition, tube bending tools are manufactured for Eaton and services are also offered. Walterscheid’s departments make purchases at regular prices and, as is the case with external providers, expect good quality, delivery reliability and fair prices. This means that technical apprentices manufacture products that are actually used. Commercial apprentices don’t just learn the theory – they are independently responsible for buying, selling and advertising as well as for accounting and controlling. This also teaches up-and-coming employees the importance of autonomous and creative work.

The concept is a complete success. Each year the apprentices found a new junior company with its own name and own accounts department. Even leading Walterscheid employees once learned their craft in a training company. The training company donates the majority of its profits to good causes in the region. In the past 33 years, they have generated a total revenue of just under 1.3 million euros and a profit of over 440,000 euros. Impressively, the return on sales is just under 35 percent.

Die ÜFA 33 mit den Ausbildern Andrea Heinen (1. von rechts), Ralf Gehrke (1. von links) und Personalleiter Norbert Fielen- bach (3. von links) spendet ihren Gewinn an soziale Einrichtungen in der Region.

Training company 33, with the trainer Andrea Heinen (1st from the right), Ralf Gehrke (1st from the left) and HR manager Norbert Fielenbach, donate their profits to social institutions in the region.

Die elektronische Datenverarbeitung hält in den 1980er Jahren Einzug und verändert viele Arbeitsplätze. Die Konstruktion nutzt erstmals CAD-Rechner (1) und bewegt sich zwischen Computer und Zeichenbrett (2). Auch im Versuch wird rechnergestützt gearbeitet (3).
Die elektronische Datenverarbeitung hält in den 1980er Jahren Einzug und verändert viele Arbeitsplätze. Die Konstruktion nutzt erstmals CAD-Rechner (1) und bewegt sich zwischen Computer und Zeichenbrett (2). Auch im Versuch wird rechnergestützt gearbeitet (3).

Electronic data processing arrives in the 1980s and changes many workplaces. The design department uses CAD computers for the very first time and moves between the computer and the drawing board. Even the shipping department uses computers.

Focus on core markets

In 1983, Walterscheid discontinues production of axle shafts and focuses its production on three areas: CV shafts for the automotive industry, tube fittings and agricultural engineering, with the two pillars of attachment systems and drive technology.

At the DLG in Frankfurt in 1984, the company presents a number of innovations for drive shafts. For instance, the semi-automatic QC quick coupling replaces the first-generation quick-disconnect pin. When the user engages the coupling, the latch automatically engages with the locking mechanism. To uncouple, they push the sliding sleeve back. The K64 cam-type cut-out clutch expands the range of cut-out overload clutches. It operates with locking cams that engage when they are overloaded and are used in wagons, manure spreaders and rotary harrows, among others.

In 1984, Walterscheid establishes a representative office in Australia, headquartered in Melbourne.

Investments in the future

As annual sales in the mid-1980s exceed 300 million marks, Walterscheid invests in technology: beginning in 1985, CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) machines control drive shaft production – a clear step towards streamlining and quality improvement. The high-bay warehouse for products and raw materials, with 6,000 pallet spaces that opens in 1985 is also controlled by computers. CAD (Computer Aided Design) is adopted in design and engineering, and gradually replaced the drawing boards.

Walterscheid also invests in its site in the USA. Following a dramatic slump in the dollar, prices for imported components increase by more than 75 percent. At the Burr Ridge site, Walterscheid decides to assemble joints and clutches from individual parts (which are still supplied by the Lohmar site) itself in the future. In 1986 Walterscheid also acquires the Hayes Dana Agmaster plant in St. Thomas (Ontario, Canada) where it establishes another North American site.

A successful system

The tractor attachment system (TAS) combines the lower link, top link and stabilisation system. It can be attached to the rear and/or the front and quickly develops into a successful model.

In 1986, Walterscheid introduces an innovation that will develop into an important pillar: the tractor attachment system (TAS). While the WKS coupling system consisted of only a top link hook and a lower link hook, the TAS integrates the lower link, top link and stabilisation system; stroke rods and hydraulic top links facilitate work on the rear of the tractor. Just one year later, Walterscheid adds lateral stabilisers to the system, which automatically switch between a lateral floating and locked position. This enables more efficient use of the three-point linkage system and attachments. The top link and lateral stabiliser significantly increase comfort for farmers.

Wagons and forage harvesters now often have installed gearboxes for torque changes and power branching. Walterscheid recognises the opportunity of coupling drive shafts to gearboxes. Its designers in Lohmar develop a universal angular gear series aligned to the Drive Shaft 2000 series. As was the case in 1953 with the special drive shaft, Walterscheid now convinces agricultural machinery manufacturers to relinquish their own gearbox production and purchase these from the system specialists. Walterscheid’s gearboxes are, for example, used for harvesting and fertilisation technology as well as for soil cultivation. Gearboxes, overload clutches, drive shafts, guards and torque monitoring together form the Walterscheid Drive Line System (DLS).

While the business in agricultural engineering products is booming, Walterscheid tube fittings (WRV) is under pressure. However, when its designers develop a new profile ring, which is intended to replace the current ring systems, they score a major hit. Its performance is outstanding; the industry refers to it as the “world’s best double-edged cutting ring”. Walterscheid presents the WALPRO ring at the 1987 Hannover Messe trade fair with great success. Shortly thereafter, the WRV division increases its annual sales to 70 million marks.

Messeauftritt eines Systemlieferanten: Walterscheid bietet neben seinen Hauptprodukten – den Gelenkwellen und dem Traktor-Anbau-System – viele weitere Landtechnik-Komponenten.

A trade fair appearance by a systems supplier. Walterscheid offers its main products – drive shafts and the tractor attachment system – as well as many other agricultural engineering components.

Arntz the doer, Röttgen the strategist

Walterscheid strengthens its commitment to North America by purchasing a plant in St. Thomas (Ontario, Canada).

In 1988, GKN increases its share in Uni-Cardan to almost 100 percent. As the group wants to present a uniform appearance, in 1990 Uni-Cardan is renamed GKN Automotive. Under this new structure, Walterscheid services the agricultural engineering market as the Agritechnical Products Division (APD). In the same year (1988), Walterscheid builds a new plant in Canada, about 50 kilometres to the west of its current site. In Rodney, an agricultural municipality near Chicago, the company increases production significantly. This also allows customer requests to be at short notice, and sales opportunities expand. Together, the factories in the USA and Canada supply the majority share of North American agricultural machinery manufacturers. The Managing Director of both sites at the time, Joel Martin, says jubilantly: The combination of high series production potential in Lohmar and the short response time of series production in Rodney gives Walterscheid an advantage over all its competitors in the North American market”.

This international success is also due to the actions of Peter Röttgen, who is responsible for global sales and is appointed to the Management Board in 1990. Arntz and Röttgen form a very successful duo, highly respected within Walterscheid by customers and also in trade associations. Manfred Arntz is a member of the board of the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) in the area of agricultural engineering, even taking on the role of Vice President for nine years. A former employee says in retrospect: „Röttgen was the strategist and mastermind, Arntz was the doer and implementer.“

Peter Röttgen, der spätere Geschäftsführer, treibt mit dem Vertrieb die Internationalisierung voran.

Peter Röttgen, who is later appointed Managing Director, drives internationalisation through sales.

The (sports-loving) Walterscheid employees

Football tournaments, runs and hikes support the cohesion of the workforce.

At the start of the 1990s, Walterscheid releases an employee magazine to explain the Management Board’s decisions and to provide a look into the future. Departments and sites report on their experiences, while the magazine also contains information on technical and commercial developments as well as personal portraits of employees.

Cooperation has always been extremely important to Walterscheid employees – for many, this also extends to their leisure time. Runs and hikes have been a fixed part of the annual calendar for decades. In the era of Bernhard Walterscheid-Müller, it was well known that “no one was allowed to finish before him”.

The 45 Walterscheid employees who found the Betriebssportgemeinschaft Walterscheid e.V. (BSG) company sports club on 5 April 1990 want to get involved in even more sports. Under the chairmanship of HR manager Norbert Fielenbach, the number of members increases to 138. They play football, cycle and participate in gymnastics. Tennis, table tennis and badminton are also offered. The football tournaments at the BSG sports carnival attracts department teams from CV production through to apprentices, the welding shop and the fixture construction department. They play a preliminary round in groups of two and then battle each other for the final rankings.

Fußballturniere, Lauf- und Wandertage fördern den Zu- sammenhalt der Belegschaft.

Reunification, up close and personal

In 1991, Bernhard Walterscheid-Müller passes away at the age of 73. By the end of his impressive life, he is an honorary citizen of Lohmar and Bruneck in Italy, honorary chairman of the heritage and history society and holds a 1st class Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Walterscheid also appoints him its honorary chairman. His death occurs in a time of change. German reunification and the end of the Cold War offers businesses new opportunities in Eastern Europe. Many West German companies are interested in the GDR’s state-owned enterprises, which are managed by the Treuhand (“Trust Agency”) and are to be privatised where possible. Walterscheid takes a particularly close look at gearbox production – an area in which the company still has difficulties. “In drive shafts, Walterscheid specialises in all applications, but we only cover a small part of the gearbox market”, says Peter Röttgen in the autumn of 1992. The takeover of the Kirschau transmission plant in Saxony seeks to change this. The region, close to the Polish and Czech border, was the centre of agricultural machinery construction in the GDR. The plant in Kirschau develops and produces gearboxes for combine harvesters, shredders, presses and swathers.

While discussions on the takeover are ongoing, the operations start to work together. Employees from Kirschau visit Lohmar and help with activities at the plant, while employees from Lohmar travel to Saxony. The visitors are astounded to find that the River Spree runs right through the middle of the Kirschau plant. The mindsets also differ; it takes time for each side to familiarise themselves with the other. Peter Röttgen sums it up as follows: “The merger was more than just a business transaction, it was also a very intimate experience of German reunification.”

Light and shadow

As the euphoric mood abates, it becomes apparent that some expectations were too optimistic and that patience is required. The reunified Germany struggles to converge at an economic level. Purchasing power in the east is low, and countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union suffer – due to their political circumstances and obsolete technology. Problems also exist in Walterscheid’s main sales territories of Western Europe and North America. In 1991 and 1992, sales in the key sales segments of tractors, agricultural machinery and mechanical engineering, which is important for the tube fittings business, drop worldwide. Sales fall to 230 million marks, and the number of employees to 1,100.

Still, in 1992 licensing and supply agreements are concluded with Kaleli (Ankara, Turkey) and Arya Mehvar (Teheran, Iran), while sales in North America grow to 30 million marks. The plant in Rodney doubles the production of Walterscheid products within a year. This is also good news for the Lohmar site, which supplies the individual parts that are then installed in Rodney.

In 1993, Walterscheid takes over the Kirschau transmission plant from the Trust Agency. The initially tentative convergence has grown into a strong bond. The site in Saxony develops into an established part of the company. However, the times are uncertain and Walterscheid remains under pressure. High quality and delivery reliability have their price, which is becoming increasingly difficult to enforce. Manfred Arntz calls for more efficient and lower-cost production. The workforce suffers under the new atmosphere, while management searches for sustainable solutions. There are no mass redundancies and cooperation with the works council is good. Numerous compromises are found at the regular weekly meetings. For example, a flexible working time model provides relief for the seasonal supplier business in the agricultural engineering sector. For a long time, overtime was required in the busy first half of the year, while part-time work was registered in the second half of the year. Now, working time accounts provide a balance.

Werk an der Spree: Das Getriebewerk im sächsischen Kirschau übernimmt Walterscheid 1993.

The plant on the River Spree: the transmission plant in Kirschau, Saxony, is taken over by Walterscheid in 1993.

Werk an der Spree: Das Getriebewerk im sächsischen Kirschau übernimmt Walterscheid 1993.

New setup

Beginning in 1993, the company takes the name GKN Walterscheid; the first name of the company founder, “Jean”, has to make way. Just like its parent company, GKN Walterscheid GmbH relies on a divisional structure. The Management Board is convinced that a new structure will enable independent strategic solutions to be better developed. “In addition, costs are easier to assign and are therefore more manageable.” The sites in Kirschau and North America (Rodney/Burr Ridge) become separate divisions. In Lohmar, Walterscheid divides its products into the APD (Agritechnical Products Division) for agricultural engineering, CV (Constant Velocity) and TF (Tube Fittings) divisions. The Service and Distribution division also operates independently. In 1994, the Management Board takes the next step and transforms the Tube Fitting division into a separate joint-stock company: Walterscheid Rohrverbindungstechnik. Within the APD, the DLS (drive technology) and TAS (attachment systems) divisions are given more and more independence. The TAS division is concentrated in plant 2 on the Lohmar premises.

The new structure is also felt in the production area. While similar work processes and machine types were previously pooled based on the workshop principle, work groups are now responsible for the overall production of a family of parts. Product-focussed production also requires the group to provide all the equipment at a single location where possible.

In 1997, the primarily agriculturally-focussed companies Sankey – with its wheels production sites in Telford, Great Britain, Nagbol, Denmark, and Carpenedolo, Italy – and Walterscheid merge within the GKN Group as the result of an initiative from Lohmar. Peter Röttgen is convinced that the “agricultural engineering companies” are too hidden “behind the automotive facade”, which is preventing them from realising their full potential. The companies involved are suppliers for off-road vehicles – tractors, agricultural and construction machines – and so, beginning in 1998, the new division is called GKN Off-Highway.

Transformation of agriculture and agricultural engineering

Machines are the key catalyst for the transformation of agricultural production. While in 1950, the average farmer produced enough food for ten people, by 1991 the average farmer now produces enough food for 80 people. Technological progress allows larger areas and more livestock to be farmed with fewer workers. The mechanisation of agriculture creates a productive agricultural machinery industry in West Germany after the Second World War, which reaches a 15-percent share of mechanical engineering production in the mid-1950s (today, its share is around 2-3 percent). A number of small and medium-sized manufacturers produce tractors, among other machines, whose average power increases from 21 HP in 1950 to 37 HP in the mid-1960s. A consolidation phase also commences: many smaller manufacturers shut their doors or merge. What remains are larger companies that continue to work on increasing the power of tractors and machines. Supplier companies also play a key role in development as, besides engine power, expectations of operating comfort and functionality also increase.

The structural change in agriculture creates new challenges for the agricultural machinery industry; the decimation of small farms continues in the 1970s. The number of agricultural operations plummets from over a million in West Germany in 1970 to 275,000 in all of Germany in 2016. In the same period, the average size of the operations increases from 11 to 60 hectares. The consolidation trend continues in the agricultural machinery industry. The number of machines falls, and performance and power increases – a development that continues to this very day and which also includes suppliers. While sales in the German market are limited, opportunities in international markets increase. But, just like in Germany, customer demands are constantly increasing: products need to be delivered just in time and in “zero-defect quality”. Agricultural machinery needs to be more durable, easier to handle and easier to service and maintain. This trend affects mass-produced machines as well as high-quality special-purpose machines. Individual components increasingly become integrated systems.

Größer, breiter, leistungsstärker: Messen wie die Agritechnica zeigen die Entwicklungen in der Landtechnik.

Bigger, wider, more powerful: trade fairs such as Agritechnica present developments in agricultural engineering.

Development in all divisions

In 1997, Walterscheid introduces Power Drive, its third drive shaft generation.

Under the new structure, all Walterscheid divisions develop innovations. The new Walterscheid Rohrverbindungstechnik GmbH modifies its connection technology. The system launched in 1995 under the brand name WALFORM no longer requires a cutting ring; the specially shaped tube end connects directly to the fitting body. WALFORM opens up new sales opportunities, as the system is also useful for machinery in hazardous areas (such as foundries and steel mills). The leading assembly technology manufacturer for mechanical engineering, Mannesmann Rexroth (now Bosch) uses WALFORM to construct the BMW plant near Birmingham, among others. “No more fumbling with chains, no more fiddling with screws, no more complicated hose sets”, promises Walterscheid at the agricultural trade fair Agritechnica in Hanover in 1997.

The third generation

Just under 20 years after the invention of the Drive Shaft 2000, Walterscheid DLS launches a new series of drive technology. Power Drive offers two benefits: its components are easy to handle and durable. The overall Power Drive offer also includes seasonal maintenance of the universal joint and the guard bearing. Besides this, Power Drive shafts offer thick-walled protective tubes and flexible cones with stable internal support. Even the integrated overload clutches meet the higher requirements. The former cut-out clutch receives a sealing system with oil filling. The level of oil filling enables a precisely defined restart speed. This hydraulic torque monitoring gives the new cut-out clutch its name: Hydraulic-Torque Control (HTC). HTC clutches are primarily intended for machines with particularly high demands and high speeds, such as large balers.

The company continues to develop innovations directly with customers and with cooperation partners from the field of science. For instance, Walterscheid designers and fertiliser spreader manufacturer Norbert Rauch develop a coupling assistance system called “Tele-Space”. In fertiliser spreaders and other machines with close-fitting attachments, such as field sprayers, there is not enough space available for coupling with the TAS’ three-point attachment. The solution lies in a modified sequence: while, previously, the equipment is first connected to the tractor followed by the drive shaft in the confined space, with Tele-Space, the tractor approaches the machine up to a defined distance. The resulting free space then allows the Tele-Space drive shaft to be easily fitted thanks to the additional telescopic tube.

Walterscheid attends Agritechnica 1997 as a provider of comprehensive solutions. The rotor gearbox made the company the world’s first supplier to integrate the overload clutch into the gearbox. Claas uses the Walterscheid rotor gearbox in straw presses, such as the Quadrant 2200, among others. The new manual and shuttle gearboxes for self-propelled machines also sets standards. The gearboxes can be controlled under load with two electromagnetically actuated clutches and are equipped with a quick-stop function. They are, for instance, used for feed-in systems on harvesters.

TAS is also increasingly reliant on hydraulics. In 1997, the lateral stabiliser is further developed under the name HGST. Hydraulic pressure moves the three-point linkage system and the attachment into position. Once set, this system works without any further involvement by the driver. HGST works at any incline and with every known attachment.

Mit Power Drive präsentiert Walterscheid 1997 seine dritte Gelenkwellen-Generation.

In 1997, Walterscheid introduces Power Drive, its third drive shaft generation.

Global growth

On 20 February 1998, the early shift in the CLV division produces the 50 millionth CV joint. Long-term group spokesperson Adolf Funken, who assembled the first pieces 30 years before, hands over a symbolic “golden joint” to Manfred Arntz to mark the occasion. However, a short time later the CV production department within the group is restructured and entirely relocated to Italy. Walterscheid is now focussed entirely on agricultural engineering.

The new Powerlift 2000 TAS system, developed together with the Technical University of Braunschweig in 1999, combines established hydraulic components with electronic, in some cases even computer-programmed, control. At Agritechnica 1999, the industry is very impressed with this cutting-edge system.

From the year 2000, Walterscheid continues to grow in international markets. In 2000, it opens a sales office in Brazil, followed by an office in China in 2001. In 2002, the agricultural engineering part of Glaenzer Seurre (Belgium) becomes the logistics centre for Western Europe and, the following year, Dansk Uni-Cardan becomes the logistics centre for Scandinavia. A newly constructed operation located in Woodridge (Illinois), 15 kilometres to the west, replaces the plant in Burr Ridge. In Germany, the Kirschau plant is no longer large enough to service the demand for agricultural gearboxes. Walterscheid once again decides to construct a new plant nearby: the transmission plant in Sohland commences operation in 2003.