The special drive: “Customers can express their wishes to us”

Text: Sabine TjørnelundPhoto: Patrick Altrogge, Inmotto

When the curtain falls at the Semper Opera in Dresden, at the opera house in Moscow or at the theatre on the Elbe and the ensemble gets a standing ovation, that means the performance was a perfect success. The electric motor company in Herford, Elektromotoren-Werke HEW, also contributed to this success. The family enterprise produces tailor-made ultra-quiet electric motors equipped with special brake technology used for stage technology at renowned theatres. Not in great quantities, but tailor-made for the customer – as is the case with musical request programmes.

HEW mostly builds small series and individual items for challenging assignments – special motors for explosive environments or for use in water, e.g. for pump technology. HEW motors are also built into large devices in the food industry or medical technology. You can also find them in wind power and biogas plants, hoisting equipment, cranes and textile machines. There are many different fields of application with very varied requirements of the respective motor. One customer might require a motor that can cope with intense heat or cold, a different customer might order one that runs especially quietly or is resistant to industrial dust.

“Customers can express their wishes to us,” says Maximiliane Scheidt, managing director of the family enterprise, smiling. Individual constructions and small batches, motors for special requirements and the particularly high quality of manufacture and the materials used are the trademarks of HEW. Moreover, customers appreciate short reaction times, flexibility and a direct contact person. Major motor manufacturers producing large quantities and series cannot and do not want to offer this. It is too much effort and unprofitable. The Herford company has successfully specialised in exactly that. Last year the traditional company celebrated its 125th birthday. Meanwhile, electric motors account for about 85 percent of turnover.

HEW started off with church technology, which it still produces today, and has become known worldwide with it. HEW drives for church bells can be found in the cathedral in Cologne as well as in Canterbury cathedral or in St. Pauls cathedral in London. Even St. Peter’s Basilica is equipped with HEW bell technology. The cathedral in Paderborn has just received a new bell with the corresponding drive technology.

Highly-qualified specialised staff is needed not only for the manufacture of special motors but also for bell technology. HEW trains the junior staff itself. The company finds further staff regionally. The family-like working atmosphere is attractive, the management style of the young company manager is modern. She appreciates the work of her staff and gets them to think creatively and show initiative. This motivates them and is sometimes even decisive when looking for new specialised staff.

Young, talented entrepreneur takes the reins
Maximiliane Scheidt took over the company from her uncle Raimund B. Arzdorf in 2014 at the age of 27! The qualified industrial clerk with a management degree has been running the company for four years. She is not only among the youngest entrepreneurs in East Westphalia but is also one of the few managers at the top of a medium-sized mechanical engineering company. Not an easy job in a working world dominated by men. “My staff are pragmatic in an East Westphalian way. They were pleased that I was going to continue the family enterprise in its fourth generation and not sell it”, says Scheidt. The staff appreciate her open and direct manner and her passionate commitment for the company. Maximiliane Scheidt made it clear when taking over that she needed their assistance. In addition, she has a modern management style which meets their approval. She does not want to turn the entire company upside down and do everything “better”. However, she sees the signs of the times and knows that they must modernise HEW and take a step into the digital age. Not in one go but bit by bit taking all members of staff with them on the way.

“My staff have assisted me in taking on this new role right from the beginning. I did not have to prove first of all that I was capable of running the company as a woman. It was a bit more difficult as far as some of the customers were concerned. But I have a great team around me and that helped a lot.” Today also these customers are now convinced about the management qualities of the HEW company director.

Herforder Elektromotoren Werke HEW
Gobenstraße 106, Herford
Foundation 1892.
Staff: 110 in Herford. Further 170 in Ivanec/Croatia.
Products: custom-made electric motors and drives for church bells
Further info:


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