In a time when longevity of equipment and components is exceptional rather than expected, Reinhausen Manufacturing Inc. is a leader in an industry whose lifeblood is reliability, day and night, summer and winter, years on end: power transformers.
Reinhausen Manufacturing Inc. so successfully and famously produces high-quality and long-lasting components for the power transformer industry that over 50 percent of the world’s electricity flows through products created by this company.
Working with well-known and respected power transformer manufacturers, energy utilities, and heavy industry, Reinhausen’s decades of experience, quality products, innovative solutions and outstanding service makes the company a top choice for a certain kind of customer – experienced transformer manufacturers who demand longevity and dependability for their high-voltage systems.
Active in every area dealing with the flow of energy, Reinhausen Manufacturing’s commitment is to innovation in voltage regulation and the global supply of energy.
With extensive experience and core competencies second to none, the company’s products crop up in a variety of applications, including transformer production, oil transformers, dry type transformers, and sealed power transformers.
From on-load tap-changers and off-circuit tap-changers to voltage regulators, monitoring systems, drives, protective relays and a great deal more, any power transformer must stand up to the harshest conditions at all times. That’s non-negotiable.
“Transformers have a long life,” says Bernhard Kurth, President of Reinhausen Manufacturing Inc. “They are not something that you replace after five or ten years. Transformers built in the 1920s and 1930s are still in use. It is very important for the owners of those transformers that there are still opportunities to maintain the components that were used by the original transformer manufacturers so many years ago.”
Kurth joined Germany’s Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen – an established and prominent company with a rich history – back in 1987. With its operations expanding to other locations across Europe and worldwide, including Milan, Moscow, the Middle East, India, Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Sydney, Japan, China, and Canada, Kurth traveled to Humboldt, Tennessee in April of 1991 to head up Reinhausen’s American operations.
150 years of excellence
With over 40 subsidiaries and affiliated companies around the world, Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen has grown to almost 3,000 staff globally, with approximately 110 working at Reinhausen Manufacturing’s operations in Tennessee.
Founded in 1868, the company is headquartered in Regensburg, Germany, which remains the global hub for marketing, sales activities, research and development, significant production, and the testing and innovation center.
All of these activities at the center of Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen contribute to the success of the company and its global network of over 20 subsidiaries, which includes production sites in Germany, Sweden, China, and the United States.
“We are a company that started producing products back in 1876,” says Kurth. “Reinhausen has been in the business we are now in with transformer components since the 1920s – our first patent was filed in the 1920s – and we have been able to continue as an independent company since the start.”
It was, however, in 1926, when Dr. Bernhard Jansen invented the high-speed resistor-type tap-changer that allowed the transmission ratio of transformers to be changed under load without interruption that the company truly became a global force.
Working in collaboration with brothers Oskar and Richard Scheubeck, Jansen achieved an industry breakthrough that became known worldwide as the “Reinhausen tap changer,” and demand for the company’s high-quality products grew.
With tap-changers – devices used in power transformers to regulate output voltage to required levels – as the company’s main product, every one of Reinhausen’s tap-changers are customized. Built to exacting specifications from each transformer manufacturer, they are precision made and tested.
“Almost everyone who builds power transformers in the North American market buys from us,” says Kurth of the company, whose clients include Virginia Transformer, Delta Star, CG Power Systems, Mitsubishi, WEG Electric Corporation, Siemens, and many other well-known and respected global entities.
At the Reinhausen operation in Humboldt, the primary focus is not on the manufacturing of the company’s products, but assembly.
Parts are purchased from suppliers across the United States and Germany and brought into the facility, where assembly and testing is carried out. “All parts are exclusively made for us with our own tooling. So the tooling that is necessary to produce the part belongs to us,” says Kurth.
These assembled components are then sold to transformer manufacturers. “The tap-changers that we produce in Tennessee are not produced anywhere else in the world. Even our main plant in Germany does not produce the same type and model that we produce here in the States. The product that we produce here is dedicated to the U.S. market.”
Research and development
The products assembled at Reinhausen’s Humboldt facilities are the result of rigorous research, development, and ongoing testing at the company’s main operations in Germany, where there are over 200 engineers solely dedicated to R&D.
One of the key pillars of the company’s success for decades, Reinhausen is dedicated to not only maintaining the superior quality of its existing products, but remaining ahead of the competition by investigating emergent technology and product ideas that offer clients added value.
“Our engineers are also inspired by unconventional ideas,” says the company. “To develop new, innovative products, they pursue their own paths and constantly question existing rules and conventions.
One thing counts
“At the same time, they use MR’s unique wealth of experience to continuously improve the reliability of our products. Because only one thing counts in the world of energy supply – the reliability and availability of the operating equipment.”
All products are tested, and every new development must be absolutely reliable from the moment it is launched. At the company’s unique Test Center, tap-changers are subjected to a number of tests – electrical, mechanical, and climatic – to ensure they will be able to perform reliably in extreme conditions without exception.
In addition to providing clients with the most reliable products on the market, Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen will tool products based on customer feedback. “The products are not developed to be sold by themselves, they are designed to be installed in a bigger piece of equipment, which is a transformer,” says Kurth.
Tap-changers, drive systems, and accessories created by Reinhausen are not only the result of years of design and manufacturing excellence, but are made to have an extremely long lifespan, in many cases lasting for decades.
In recent years, the company has taken on a number of initiatives, including the introduction of SAP (Systems Applications Products), the re-examination of a number of existing products, and plans to introduce a new motor drive for tap-changers later this year.
For customers, the delivery of products from Hamburg, Germany to the U.S. will also be greatly expedited, from an average of 14 to 15 weeks to just seven or eight. “That’s a big step for us,” says Kurth. “That, and the ability to respond to customers more quickly when clients need quotations and drawings. With the system in place, within five days we are able to provide all drawings needed to a customer.”
New product development
Back in 1999, the company acquired MESSKO® Albert Hauser GmbH and Co KG, which were added to other companies within the Reinhausen Group family.
A sister company in Germany, MESSKO® concentrates on smaller components, such as oil level devices, relays, sensors, and transducers. Some, like the Buchholz Relay, are commonly found in Europe; in the U.S. they are only used in very large power transformers. In this case, the design was driven by the European market.
Other MESSKO® transformer accessories include voltage-regulated distribution transformers, active filters, and oil level and temperature indicators for transformer manufacturers, utilities, and industrial customers; pressure relief devices, dehydrating breathers, electronic thermometers, and more.
“Our continual investment in technology and new products is the foundation of our continuing existence in this market,” says Kurth. “We have the same values we had when we started almost 150 years ago.”
Independence and quality
While many companies grow through acquisition, Reinhausen remains independent, and offers the same quality, selection and exceptional service it has provided for decades.
“We have a unique proposition to customers, in that even today we offer support for products that we produced 50 or 60 years ago,” Kurth shares.
“We are still the original manufacturer, not a company that got bought up by another company and at some point discontinued a line of products and support. We have maintained it, and still offer support to any of the products that we have produced.”