HF: Powered by passion

HF: Powered by passion


Ten companies, five product areas, and three business units make up the Harburg-Freudenberger Maschinenbau GmbH, the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of special machines for the rubber, tyre, and edible oil industries. Maximum energy, precision, and the desire for innovation from every single employee at its various locations on five continents are the guarantors that this will continue to be the case in future. The Group invests regularly and very consciously in the ongoing development of its products, so that it is always able to offer customers the most efficient, reliable, and ecological solutions. HF stands for high-tech that is engineered in Germany and, in many respects, is the benchmark for the industries in which it operates.

HF is actively committed to better working conditions and sustainable production.

Dr. Joern Seevers, Managing Director, said: “Our research and development department is constantly looking for new solutions that consume less energy and help reduce environmental pollution. We are increasingly implementing this drive in our own production processes, with the aim of protecting the environment and offering our employees better working conditions. That is why we installed a biomass power plant at our manufacturing site in Belišće, Croatia a few years ago. It supplies 1,150 kWh of electricity per year for the general grid and 1,650 kW of heat for our own offices and halls. During this process, the old gas heating system in the production halls was replaced with a modern hot water heating system, which not only enables more even and efficient heat distribution, but also eliminates combustible gases and residues that could potentially be harmful to our employees.

“This modernization measure alone reduced CO2 emissions at the Belišće site by more than 35 percent and also creates healthier and more pleasant working conditions. In addition, a forced ventilation system with heat recovery was installed in the office spaces, and the lighting system was completely renewed to save energy, which reduced CO2 emissions for light energy alone by 47 percent. Furthermore, painting equipment is of great importance when constructing machines for tire production. We are therefore in the process of installing a state-of-the-art paint facility that will protect the environment by using environmentally friendly chemicals for washing and painting the parts, a closed water circuit, and ventilation systems. Both advances will offer significantly higher production capacities. The cleaning of the parts to be painted significantly reduces the exposure to solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in both the external and working environments. New types of coatings, which can be applied directly without primer, enable further significant reductions in VOC emissions in the air that workers breathe, which leads to much better working conditions.”

Industry 4.0 at HF

Harburg-Freudenberger Maschinenbau is also facing up to the increasing digitalization of Industry 4.0 processes. In doing so, the Group is currently working on a Customer Service Portal (CSP) for its entire group of companies, which will enable customers to digitally access the machines and systems it supplies from anywhere in the world and to use a wide variety of applications. For example, all machine documentation that was previously delivered in paper form will be stored here. The provision of digital data not only enables fast, worldwide access to information around the clock, but also saves paper, and thus protects the environment.

“We will also ensure that the latest information is always available. The plant-specific electronic spare parts catalog, which will also be available in the CSP, will make it easier to find the right part by means of a clear 3-D representation in the machine model, some of which is even supplemented with explanatory animations. The required spare parts can be easily selected, placed in a shopping basket, and requested or ordered via the CSP. With our ‘Online Condition Monitoring,’ which will be offered either via a cloud application within our CSP or as an on-on-site solution, the machines and systems are equipped with intelligent sensors. These monitor the systems and send messages, for example, requesting action when limit values are exceeded, and thus protect the systems from damage. Customer-specific dashboards can be used to display and monitor system statuses in order to monitor specific machines,” Dr. Seevers said.

In addition, preventive measures, such as the cleaning or maintenance of individual parts, can reduce machine failure and conserve resources. Customers will also find the “Knowledge Scout” knowledge database in the CSP. This is where the Group will store its expert knowledge in a structured manner. This will enable fast and efficient error analysis and troubleshooting by either HF or the customers themselves. Additional applications such as e-learning, material database, predictive maintenance analysis, vibration noise control, information on maintenance schedules, etc. are also in progress.

All signs point to the future – new HF building in Hamburg-Harburg

The HF Group is building its new company headquarters in Hamburg-Harburg. An office building with an area of 7,700 m² and a connected installation and technology center of 5,500 m² will be built on the new grounds having a total area of around 20,000 m². The investment in the new location in Harburg is an important prerequisite for the planned continuing growth of the group. The new building, which should be completed by 2020, is currently in progress in Hamburg-Harburg, near where the company has been based since 1855. All company activities will be brought together here under one roof. A modern office building, as well as an installation and technology center for a total of 300 employees. HF TireTech Group, with the product areas of extrusion, tyre building machines and curing presses, as well as the HF Press+LipidTech with machinery and systems for the manufacture and refinement of edible oils. The technological heart of the northern German business area beats in Harburg. Here is where the Harburg company addresses the challenges of digitalization, carries out research and development, and shapes the future. All machines and systems are mechanically designed in Harburg and automated into high-performance machines by experienced software engineers with a great deal of innovative imagination. Ambitious, internationally active customers have also been successfully supported for many years by our sales and service team in Harburg. The largest production company of the HF Group, with around 700 employees based in Belišće, Croatia, is also headed from Harburg. The HF Group will set up a technical center for all product areas. The technical center will also be supplemented with a tire building machine that makes it possible to build test tires together with customers. Test and demo machines will also be set up in the new hall for the product areas of extrusion and curing presses, as well as for the business area HF Press+LipidTech. The rapid transformation in the course of digitalization offers extraordinary chances to further increase customer loyalty to the HF Group. Voice and image recognition, as well as progress in the field of artificial intelligence (the learning, self-improving machine), will make the machines of the HF Group even more attractive. New paths are also being forged in the field of safety technology for the protection of human beings and machinery, which the HF Group can only develop and jointly realize with its customers step-by-step in Harburg. A highly flexible, modern, and non-territorial office concept will be realized in the new company headquarters of the HF Group. This will strengthen the internal know-how exchange and cooperation between our different teams and departments. HF is confident that this will help it to improve further and successfully master future challenges. The building to be constructed will embody and reflect the concepts and values associated with the HF Group, including


  • traditional machine engineering,
  • a pronounced focus on employees,
  • high quality of products and services,
  • open and fair dealings with customers and suppliers, as well as
  • a high degree of innovation.

Thanks to a great deal of dedication and the courage to embark on new paths, the HF Group has achieved a top international position in technology, which will be further expanded upon. The company employs 2,300 people around the world with a sales volume of around € 450 million.

MCP – The next evolutionary step

Since the introduction of the KHP (Krupp Heiz-Presse = Krupp Curing Press) 20 years ago, the HF column type hydraulic curing press has set standards in curing shops worldwide and helped us to become the major force in high end curing equipment. With all the experience acquired around this product it was time to make the next advancement. When talking to potential and established customers about their requirements, one of the most often heard claims was the need for a standard solution, regardless of whether for Greenfield or Brownfield projects, in order to enable tire producers to establish the same production technology and quality level worldwide.

Based on the broad market overview and good insight, HF set up a development program to advance to the next level. The result is HF’s new MCP (Modular Curing Press), a machine platform that is available in 46, 48, and 52 inches, with squeeze force ranging from 160 to 200 tons. This new platform combines as many identical purchase parts and modular assembly groups as possible, enabling us to provide a growing catalogue of standard solutions. This helps it to meet various customers’ requirements on a common basis, while still offering the flexibility for different production scenarios.

During the last 2 years HF has seen a strong growth in the acceptance of this new platform. Even customers with a well-established KHP machine base are switching to this new concept, as it means less spares for different press sizes in one plant and a higher availability of options to choose from. For new customers, the MCP provides the perfect platform right from the start.

For further development and to give potential customers the chance to get a first impression, HF is currently setting up a test center at its Hamburg plant with a MCP48-200ic with PCI and a variety of equipment options. It will serve as a showcase for our sales team and a test laboratory for our R&D department.

The machine offers maximum safety in compliance with DIN EN 16474 and state of the art equipment for tyre handling and process control.

Sebastian Rabold, Technical Director Curing Presses, said: “Based on this machine concept, we are confident we can be a reliable partner for our customers and the tyre industry, offering solutions that will help our customers to further progress in all fields of production.”

“With the MCP well-established on the market for passenger and light truck tyres, we then started looking for the next field of development. Together with a major player in the tyre industry, we created a new design for truck and commercial tyres, which has been tested in prototype phase, is currently undergoing final refinements, and will hit the market on a larger scale by the beginning of 2019. This machine will embody all the highly valued features of our column-type design, together with brand new features providing the added value our customers expect. From the beginning, the machines will be available in a range from 62 to 66 inches with squeeze force of up to 500 tons.

“With constant R&D, we are also working on tackling some of the biggest challenges we see currently arising worldwide. As environmental protection is becoming a higher priority, especially in Asia, HF is working on solutions to reduce overall energy consumption and emissions during tire curing. This is done to help reduce overall costs while providing a healthier and more pleasant work environment. For these topics we are collaborating with experts in various fields of technology, for example, filtration systems, energy-saving methods and improved process control.”

With constant new developments in the car and truck markets, as well as in tyre technology, and considering the higher demands from customers, HF is sure that the industry will see some major changes in the near future. HF is ready to face the coming challenges together with its customers as competent and flexible partner for curing equipment.


The concept of HF’s ONE tyre building machine faces new challenges in the tire manufacturing process. The variety of tyres on the market is growing, quality requirements are increasing, and there is a high need for extremely high levels of repetitive accuracy and quality. Tire makers are thus looking for faster production and quicker code reactions.

The HF ONE features a flexible drum concept, designed to allow tyre makers to swap tools in a quick changeover process and be ready to manufacture any type of tire. The patented design allows long strokes for extremely high turn-up movements and delivers perfect C-turns even on high aspect ratio tyres. HF ONE can run three possible carcass drums. It enables quick changeover in less than 20 minutes without changing the shaft. The long hub machine delivers high force and the servo is driven for symmetrical turn-up movements.

This tyre building machines allows the most flexible production. We believe that HF’s ONE is the only tire building machine on the market at present that can build both very wide and very narrow tires, ply turn-ups, as well as sidewall widths of up to 230 mm or more, and, final bead-to-bead shaping distances of less than 200 mm.

The new tyre building machine efficiently ensures tyre uniformity and enables material cost reduction. A major advantage is that it helps reduce tyre weight – one of the most important factors in automobile weight reduction, which helps energy conservation. There will be no sidewall cracks when the tire is in use due to the elimination of ply endings in the sidewall area.

The reliability of HF’s machines is in keeping with the highest standards. The need for maintenance is very low. All wearing parts are inspected on a regular basis and exchanged on time when necessary.

Since the launch of the HF ONE during the TireTech Expo in Hanover in February 2018, HF has experienced great interest in the market for its patented technology. “We tested successfully with our customers in Hamburg, Germany, which ensures that our research and development heads in the right direction. The strategy of listening to customer needs, evaluating the trends in the industry, and designing with high accuracy and engineering competence are the key factors for our success,” said Rabold.

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