Mysterious plane crashes, Germany finally winning the World Cup again, ‘Wetten, dass…?’ (‘Wanna bet?’) broadcast for the very last time. There were highs and lows in 2014, new and exciting things. Before we leave last year completely behind us however, let’s look back at twelve exciting months at MANN+HUMMEL.

Come with us on a multi-media journey through the most exciting chapters and topics in 2014! If a topic is of particular interest to you, use the green hyperlinks to explore the corresponding blog articles.

Innovation & Technology

The sky is full of snow, the air in Lapland bitterly cold. It is 1973 and Heinz Müller has been sent north to test vehicles in winter. In freezing temperatures, and right in the middle of the tests, the engine suddenly fails. They discover in the workshop that snow has found its way under the cam belt, pushing it out of place. Without further ado, Heinz Müller successfully designs the first sheet metal prototype of a cam belt cover. The fact that the pioneering spirit lives on at MANN+HUMMEL was once again confirmed in 2014. In France, for example, we started a 5-year co-operation programme with the Ecole Centrale de Nantes, a technical college and research institute. We use the testing and simulation centre there and regularly exchange information with the research team on new developments.

1 - Testing vehicles in Lappland

To call the electric car an innovation would be somewhat outdated in 2014. The hype about electromobility may well have diminished, but behind the scenes, development of alternative drive systems continues at full speed. Because electromobility is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, with MANN+HUMMEL a tenacious long-distance runner. Growth in traditional products for the internal combustion engine continues to be recorded at MANN+HUMMEL but at the same time, we are laying the tracks for the car of the future, in which hybrid, battery and fuel cell drive systems will set the tone.

Electrical systems are already supporting the high-performance vehicles in Formula 1. Many fans last season bemoaned the loss of the old V8 engines’ throaty roar. Also, people don’t drive sporty cars just so they can accelerate fast and experience the thrill of travelling at high speeds, they want to enjoy the acoustic effect too. Now that engines are being downsized, however, this no longer exists. How fortunate indeed that we have focused for more than a decade on developing sound modules which recreate this sporty sound. Symposers, sound pipes and active noise control are the names of the sound refiners. Can you hear me?

4 - Symposer, Soundpipe & Active Noise Control

Innovation is however not restricted to the engineering sector. When first introduced at MANN+HUMMEL in Germany, people were not sure how to use the word ‘blog’ – but in July 2014, our blog celebrated its first birthday! To date, more than 90 colleagues from around the world have submitted around 200 interesting MANN+HUMMEL-related articles. But why do we actually have a blog and are not simply represented on a social network like Facebook?

Technology is a passion shared by our employees, but we must never forget that we as a company have responsibility for our society and the environment.

Society and the environment

What is the connection between MANN+HUMMEL and drinking water in Senegal? Every year, there is an Africa Day in Ludwigsburg which focuses on aid projects in that continent. Together with Ludwigsburg City Council and other partners, we planned to construct a water treatment plant in Thies, Senegal, which would provide up to 60,000 litres of clean drinking water every day. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), three billion people world-wide do not have access to clean water. Our ultrafiltration system helps here: it is a flexible system which can be set up wherever people require fresh drinking water.

6 - Clean drinking water in Senegal

Environmental protection and sustainability have become buzz words in recent years, but have all too often amounted to little more than hot air. However, FSC certification of our site in Marklkofen shows that it is not only the logo at MANN+HUMMEL that is green. Our objective was to produce air filter media with cellulose fibres sourced from sustainably managed forests, as we have the opportunity with our products to encourage sustainable handling of resources.

Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, essential for life. The air in some Chinese cities is currently thick and foggy, with pollution visible to the naked eye. Particulate pollution has become a serious health risk for the population. In particular, particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns are potentially dangerous, because they penetrate deep into the lungs and can enter the bloodstream. As well as an action plan from the Chinese government, the private sector is also actively working on solutions and innovative technologies which will address the problem of fine dust. Our new cabin filter, for example, reduces concentration of 0.3 – 2.5 micron contaminants by up to 90%, thus protecting occupants of the vehicle from these ‘hidden killers’.

The FILTER values guide our way of thinking and our actions, both within and outside the company, every day. The ‘R’ in FILTER, for example, stands for ‘Respect’. We show respect not only to the environment but also to society and the people around us. At the ‘Meeting of the Top 100 Managers’ event in Raleigh, North Carolina at the beginning of July, for example, our staff assembled bicycles for children from disadvantaged families who live near the MANN+HUMMEL site in Fayetteville.

The world is constantly changing, and here at MANN+HUMMEL, we are also always on the move. In the second part of our journey through time, join me to a world of passion and excellence, opportunities and people, and new additions too.