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About Böllhoff

Innovations at Böllhoff

Innovations do not occur in isolation – you need good ideas, the right methods and a lived innovation culture.

3D-printed component in front of a metal 3D printer at Böllhoff

A problem solver for joining technology

Innovation ensures our success

Innovation is vital to the success of our company. This is why it is firmly anchored in our corporate strategy. Every Böllhoff innovation has to solve a specific problem for our customers.

We see ourselves as “a problem solver for joining technology”: We supply every customer with the right fastening solution – regardless of the components they want to connect.

Picture of three Böllhoff employees in the laboratory

„For us, innovation occurs when an invention matches a customer requirement – that is, when there is a market for a new product or a new process.“

Photo of Dr. Jens Bunte, member of the Böllhoff Group's management team
Dr. Jens Bunte Member of company management responsible for R&D
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How innovations succeed

Systematic innovation management as the key to success

Technological progress is growing exponentially. Product development and manufacturing processes are progressing just as quickly. Product life cycles are noticeably shorter. More than ever, companies are forced to constantly innovate in order to keep pace. We rely on stringent innovation management, including the following measures:

  • Trend analyses and search field teams

    We analyse global market trends and set out clearly defined areas in which we systematically search for innovations. Example: In one of countless search fields, we looked for ideas on how we could use our production expertise to implement intelligent fasteners for aircraft seats. Promising ideas from our employees are then presented to the Innovation Steering Committee.

  • Innovation Steering Committee

    The Böllhoff Innovation Steering Committee meets twice a year. Developers and project managers have the opportunity to present their ideas for new products or processes to a European management committee at an early stage. The committee then decides which ideas it considers to be promising and will therefore be given further support. As a rule, we look at around 25 innovation projects at each steering committee.
     

  • Euro Innovation Contest

    The in-house Euro Innovation Contest has been held every two years since 2012. On average, ten teams participate from all over Europe. Each team presents an innovative joining solution or a process innovation that grew out of a customer project, for example. 

    A jury of experts then awards the “Best of Innovation” prize to the best innovation. In addition to this award, all podium finishers will also have the opportunity to win further prizes in the form of team events, for example.
     

A culture of innovation

Innovation needs the right environment

All innovation management measures have a single goal: to promote a culture of innovation within our company. We encourage all employees to get actively involved because they are the true experts when it comes to market trends and the challenges faced by our customers, allowing them to tap hidden potential.

Trust is a crucial factor here. The best environment for innovative ideas is to trust your employees and “let them get on with it”. This means that some ideas will also fail, because not every good idea becomes a successful innovation. But it is important to enable a positive type of failure and to also see every unimplemented idea as a valuable contribution. Because every unimplemented idea is still a small step to the next innovation.
 

„Courage and trust are two cornerstones of our corporate culture. You can only create a culture of innovation in a company by trusting your employees and by encouraging them to be brave and to think outside the box.“

Michael W. Böllhoff, member of the Böllhoff Group's management team
Michael W. Böllhoff Member of the company management
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Innovation needs the right partnerships

New ideas also arise from exchanges based on partnership. That’s why we have increasingly opened up our innovation process to the outside world in recent years. We call this: Open Innovation. 

In addition to existing partnerships with leading research institutes and universities, we have also participated in the METEOR project since 2021, for example. The joint project METEOR (methods and technologies for validating and optimising the resource efficiency) aims to reduce CO₂ emissions in the production of lightweight structures by up to 80 percent. We support this by investigating new methods for robot-assisted joining of plastic/metal composite structures. We are also part of the “It's OWL” technology network as a core partner when it comes to developing intelligent approaches for digital transformation.

Innovations from Böllhoff

In the course of our history, our company has produced quite a few innovations. We would like to present three of them to you.

  • HELICOIL® Smart

    The thread insert combines the properties of two product variants of the HELICOIL® – the easy installation of the HELICOIL® Plus (with tang) and the elimination of the tang break with the HELICOIL® Tangfree.

    The innovation of the HELICOIL® Smart: The installation mandrel bends the tang backward during spinning off and then compresses it. The special characteristic of the installation mandrel is the blade position control. When the thread insert is screwed in, the blade catches the HELICOIL® by the tang, making it easier to screw in; when unscrewing the tool, the blade bends and compresses the tang.

    Learn more about HELICOIL® thread inserts
  • SITEC®

    Excessive noise and vibrations cause problems. They can negatively effect the performance of a product by causing it to wear out faster or work less efficiently. With SITEC® fasteners, we are meeting the trend towards NVH development (NVH = Noise, Vibration, Harshness). 

    E.g. electric cars: eliminating background noises from the drive train makes it easier to identify disruptive noises. This is where SITEC® elements come into play. They effectively reduce noise and vibrations – thanks to their wide range of variants, they are also used in many other applications outside the automotive sector.
     

    Learn more about SITEC®
  • Container series for the ECOSIT® supply systems

    This series of containers for our ECOSIT® systems combines many practical features in a single solution. The access flaps make it easy for workers to remove the C-parts. The rounded inner edge is also new: It prevents C-parts from jamming in the container corners. Thanks to the special waffle base, all three container sizes can be stacked in any arrangement – in a stable and safe configuration.

    The high-quality functionality also impressed the jury of the German Design Awards: In 2020, ECOBin won the prize in the category “Excellent Communications Design”.

    Learn more about ECOSIT® delivery systems

Innovation made visible

Our patents

We are pleased that, according to an analysis of “Patents in SMEs” by the SME portal Die Deutsche Wirtschaft from January 2021, we are one of the 25 SMEs in Germany with the most patents. 

„We are proud to announce that we currently have around 1,000 patents and patent applications pending. And every year, around 15 to 25 new property rights are added in Europe.“

Stefan Henning
Stefan Henning Head of Patents
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Documentary about Böllhoff

Learn more about how we support our customers with 360° joining technology and drive forward innovations in the process – in this video from the “Innovation Deutschland” series.

A short documentary about Böllhoff from the "Innovation Deutschland" series by TBD Media Group.