"All things flow" - standing still is not an option: At SEEPEX, one of the world's leading manufacturers of PC pumps, the company’s claim goes far beyond the manufacturing of first-class high-tech pumps. With new developments such as those in "Digital Solutions”, this medium-sized company is leading mechanical engineering into the future. The Bottrop-based pump specialist can now officially count itself among the nationwide innovation elite. On June 19, SEEPEX was awarded the "Top 100 Seal" for outstanding innovation management and above-average innovation successes.
Bottrop is a pilot city for the "Innovation City Ruhr" project, which for the past ten years has promoted forward-thinking initiatives to address climate challenges and structural change in urban areas with the support from, amongst others, businesses like SEEPEX.
For almost 50 years, this family-owned company head-quartered in Bottrop has been developing and building progressive cavity pumps, macerators and control systems. Through its culture of innovation, SEEPEX continues to improve and expand their product ranges to provide quicker maintenance and reduce life cycle costs. Digital solutions for the control and remote monitoring of pumps enable predictive maintenance of the pumping elements, improving pump and process efficiency and reducing downtime.
SEEPEX management responded to the challenge of digital change at an early stage, delivering pioneering solutions which are developed together with key customers in response to their individual needs. In the area of progressive cavity pumps, the company plays a leading role within the international industry with its ‘Digital Solutions’. This holistic concept offers a portfolio of mobile and cloud services, ranging from digitally supported pump maintenance using virtual reality, through digital pump management with simple spare parts ordering, to data-based services.
80 percent of SEEPEX products are exported worldwide. The company, founded in 1972, now has 18 subsidiaries and branches outside Germany, as well as distribution centers in over 70 countries. There are more than 800 employees worldwide, 423 of whom work at the company headquarters in Bottrop. This is also where the ‘heart beats’ for new ideas.
Pioneering Role also with Digital Solutions
For the top innovator, digitalization is the most important development in recent years. Pumps can now be monitored remotely in real time. This means that customers can access, control and monitor the pumps with a mobile phone or tablet. The measured values are uploaded to the cloud where they can be analyzed by customers or by the SEEPEX team of data analysts which deals with data mining and anomaly detection. This advanced pump and process analysis results in process optimization, and production security.
Working on the Future as a Team
In Bottrop, a dozen employees oversee the digital change, while the management commits a large amount of time towards pushing innovations forward. Every year, around 200 suggestions for improvement are received from the workforce, two-thirds of which are generally implemented. Between 2016 and 2018 alone, SEEPEX was granted 13 patents at both national and international level, plus certificates demonstrating the pumps' highest standards. For example, the EHEDG certified hygienic pump range meets the stringent hygiene standards in the food, beverage, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
120 Strict Parameters
SEEPEX’s credentials and innovation impressed the jury of the TOP 100 competition, which was held for the 27th time this year. Innovation researcher Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke from the University of Vienna and his team selected the top companies based on a scientific system which includes 120 parameters. SEEPEX measured up against this strict criteria to secure a place in the league of the most innovative German medium-sized companies.
No Fear of Change
"Innovative medium-sized companies like SEEPEX GmbH from Bottrop are not afraid of change, but see it as an opportunity. In the scientific selection process, the company impressed in the largest size category (companies with more than 200 employees) especially in the categories of "External Orientation / Open Innovation" and "Innovative Processes and Organization" according to the competition initiators. They were particularly impressed by the way the company works on new products and services: Innovations are created in a close exchange with the customers. Innovations are developed step by step and tested with the most important customers ("lead users"). "Only when the customer successfully benefits from the added value is further development – or adaptation – carried out," is how SEEPEX CTO Dr. Christian Hansen explains the procedure. "It is not uncommon for us to discover potential for improvement among the customer's processes as well – for us, this is an important approach and confirmation that we can provide our customers with greater support in this respect.”
TOP 100: the Competition
Since 1993, compamedia has been awarding the TOP 100 seal of approval for special innovative strength and above-average innovation successes to small and medium-sized companies. Since 2002, the scientific management has been in the hands of Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke. Franke is the founder and director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. The mentor of TOP 100 is the science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar. Project partners are the Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research and the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW). As media partners, manager magazin, impulse and W&V provide advice and support for the company comparison. More information is available at www.top100.de.