History of More Than 100 YearsZF Industrieantriebe Witten GmbH

ZF Industrieantriebe Witten GmbH is the successor company of the former Lohmann + Stolterfoht GmbH and has thus inherited a long history in transmission and clutch technology

The Invention of the Friction Coupling

In 1884, Max Lohmann and Max Stolterfoht laid the foundation for their new company with a revolutionary invention. On September 08, they founded the Lohmann + Stolterfoht GmbH (L+S).

Independent from each other, they both discovered the principle of the friction clutch. Whereas all known couplings until then were claw clutches which could only be shifted during stand-still, the new coupling could be actuated under load.

Known as "A"-coupling, the patented novelty was the basis for an extensive product program, for which the fundamental mechanical principles are still valid today.

Production Set-up in Witten

In 1890, a year after Max Stolterfoht passed away the small business was transferred to Witten, where the family of Max Lohmann owned sufficient real estate and manufacturing facilities for the production of the new couplings. As well as extending the production, sales and marketing facilities were established.

This gave way to a close cooperation with a large customer of friction clutches: The submarine business needed couplings which connected the diesel motor with the propeller shaft. Thus, close relations with the shipbuilding industry were also established.

The delivery of the first marine reverse-reduction gears in 1926 not only extended the production program, but also enlarged the access to the marine industry.

Eventful History

Since 1955, Lohmann + Stolterfoht changed ownership several times, until in 2009 the traditional company was erased from the Trade Register and became part of the Bosch Rexroth Group.

When ZF took over the large gear business from Bosch Rexroth in 2015, the heritage of Lohmann + Stolterfoht also went over to ZF.

As Successor Company of the former Lohmann + Stolterfoht GmbH, ZF Industrieantriebe Witten GmbH relies on the long years of experience in gearbox design and production and combines it with the transmission technology know-how from ZF.

New Perspectives

ZF is the world’s third largest automotive supplier and a global leader in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology. Industrial Technology is the division where ZF bundles its activities for “Off-Road” applications. It comprises the development and production of transmissions and axles for agricultural- and construction machinery as well as driveline technology for material handling systems, rail- and special vehicles. The division is also responsible for the worldwide business of marine propulsion systems, aviation technology as well as the development and production of gearboxes for wind turbines. Large industrial gearboxes and test systems for various kinds of applications in driveline and chassis technology are also included in the division’s portfolio.

ZF Industrieantriebe Witten GmbH is responsible for the Industrial Drives Business Unit and offers gearboxes for mining applications and large construction machines, industrial machinery and equipment, ropeway systems as well as gearboxes, couplings and clutches for marine and offshore applications.