A tradition of movement

When a banker from Baden founded the Süddeutsche Elektromotorenwerke (SEW) in 1931, no one dreamed that one day, it would be one of the world's most innovative drive technology companies. We would like to invite you to join us on a journey through our history.

1931 1945 1960 1965 1950
  • 1931

    Christian Pähr

    1931

    SEW – Powerful since the very first day

    On June 13, 1931, banker Christian Pähr founded Süddeutsche Elektromotorenwerke, SEW, in Bruchsal, North Baden. The start-up's product line consisted of a variety of electric motors and gearmotors, the Millicut electric band saws, the Simplitt planers, the Circuit electric circular saws, and the Poliglitt grinding motors.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Pähr was not able to witness his company's major successes. Only four years after founding SEW, he died at the age of 70. His widow, Kunigunde Pähr, ran the company after his death, supported by their daughter, Edeltraut.

    SEW employees after the company founding
    SEW image

    Start-up in black-and-white: SEW's founding employees

    SEW building in the 1930s
    SEW image

    SEW building on the way to success

  • 1945

    Ernst Blickle takes over the company's reins in 1945

    1945

    The great opportunity for the great strategist

    Although the bombs rain down on Bruchsal on March 1, 1945, most of the SEW building remains miraculously intact.

    The end of the war ushers in the era of the still-young company's most formative personality: Ernst Blickle. In August 1945, the farmer's son who was born in the Swabian Alps takes over the company's reins from his mother-in-law, Mrs. Pähr.

    Until the takeover, the former officer had little to do with his mother-in-law's company. But Ernst Blickle rapidly acquires engineering expertise and begins directing the rise of SEW with visionary, entrepreneurial spirit.

    Intact SEW building after the March 1945 bombing
    SEW image

    The SEW building survives the destruction unscathed

  • 1960

    First foreign subsidiary, SEW-USOCOME, founded in 1960

    1960

    First footprints abroad

    In 1960, around 600 employees worked in the SEW offices and production halls in Graben and Bruchsal. In one decade, from 1950 to 1960, SEW's revenues jumped from 1.4 million DM to around 20 million DM.

    Bienvenue SEW USOCOME

    Alongside the sales system in Germany, which was divided into North, South, and Central regions, SEW's first foreign subsidiary also made a contribution to this meteoric rise. In 1960, SEW USOCOME, the first foreign subsidiary, opened in Haguenau, Alsace.

  • 1965

    Modular product concept as the basis for the gearmotor modular system from SEW

    1965

    The modular system that goes into SEW gearmotors

    In the 1960s, a new entrepreneurial attitude made inroads in continental Europe: marketing. This management theory's doctrine: The entire company must be consistently aligned with the needs of the market. An approach that Ernst Blickle was already practicing at SEW. The market needed drives that satisfied the special requirements of a variety of industrial sectors and production processes. Before this time, these types of customer-specific gear unit-motor combinations could only be realized at an extremely high cost.

    The solution was modularity: a modular system of gear units and motors that could be combined flexibly and affordably.

    The modular system can be implemented perfectly in industrial series production with low unit costs. This means that production should be organized centrally in a small number of plants with high output quantities.

    View of the SEW motor warehouse circa 1965
    SEW image

    View of the SEW motor warehouse circa 1965