BPW put itself forward as a leading innovator among German mid-sized businesses in 2017 and 2019 – and succeeded each time in style – yet the equipment specialist has won much more than a major prize, according to Dr Markus Kliffken.
“Two years ago, BPW really shook up the traditional and conservative commercial vehicle industry with innovations in the field of digitisation, e-mobility and connected transport,” said Dr andKliffken (Member of BPW’s Executive Board responsible for innovation management). “We now conduct our innovation management with a system – in close partnership with our customers. This makes our development more relevant and efficient than ever. We dedicate this prize to all our customers, who have helped us to achieve this standard of quality and sense of purpose.”
The development partnership’s innovations include a brand-new trailer disc brake that’s lighter and more compact than the previous generation and constructed from surprisingly few parts – saving on fuel and maintenance.
“We take a holistic approach to development,” said Dr Kliffken. “This helps us boost efficiency, from production and assembly at the vehicle manufacturer to the vehicle operator's operating and maintenance costs. And added efficiency is a boon for the environment, too.”
The brake is produced at a highly automated plant in Bergisches Land (North Rhine-Westphalia).
BPW is also pursuing a holistic approach with its new ‘digital native’ trailer running gear system, enabling innovative digital services throughout its entire life cycle.
“Each part is calculated and contains digital information about itself,” said Dr Kliffken. “This means that now, for the first time, trailer running gears can be configured online, without requiring the customer to have an engineering degree. Furthermore, this allows BPW to enable vehicle manufacturers to assemble the running gears at their own plant for the first time – saving several days.”
The BPW Group has demonstrated digital efficiency in the after market and maintenance areas of the business: garages can identify spare parts using a smartphone, check parts availability in a warehouse – also digitised – and re-order them.
Swift success with core products including axles, running gear systems and brakes has allowed BPW to expand its portfolio. This has led to products such as the iGurt, a sensor monitoring the truck’s cargo restraints. The multi-award-winning development did not just attract attention from hauliers and insurance companies. Industry experts believe digital cargo restraints are crucial for the increasing automation of transportation.
“The iGurt is just one example of how we aren’t only expanding what already exists – we can also provide new benefits for transport and logistics,” said Dr Kliffken. “And that is only the beginning. When it comes to method, we’re on top form, highly motivated and have a lot of aces up our sleeve for the future.”
(Image: Science journalist and TOP 100 mentor Ranga Yogeshwar (centre) with Katrin Köster, Head of BPW Corporate Communications, and Dr Markus Kliffken, Member of BPW’s Executive Board responsible for innovation management.)