At the age of 96 and after more than half a century as CEO of Mayr power transmission, Fritz Mayr peacefully passed away on 18.01.23 surrounded by his nearest and dearest. The family business mourns the loss of its highly esteemed former boss.
“He certainly led a fulfilled life and lived to a proud age, yet I am deeply saddened,” says the female employee who supported Fritz Mayr in his daily life, for example, when getting out of the cab that brought him to the company every morning until his passing. “He did greet me with a smile every morning, even when he wasn't feeling well – every single day.”
“Appointments with him were not always pleasant. But more than once, while working on one of the new assignments he had given me, I wondered why I hadn't thought of it myself. I should have been the one to make the suggestion, to come up with the idea, being so much younger. But he once again had the bigger picture in mind and, perhaps without knowing it beforehand, recognized the latest trend. I am so grateful that I was able to learn so much from him,” admits a colleague from the technical office.
Asked spontaneously, a Production employee answers: “When I think of Mr. Fritz Mayr, it is first and foremost the following: Mr. Mayr never saw me as (just) a worker, but as a person; a person who succeeds together with him. Personal interaction was Mr. Mayr's main principle, mutual respect had the highest priority; and this has certainly contributed to the Mayr company being what it is today. As I look back on the influence Mr. Mayr has had on the worldwide markets of power transmission technology, on the development of our company and also on my personal development, he deserves my utmost respect and appreciation. I personally definitely enjoyed working for Mr. Mayr.
Life philosophy: Safety does not allow for compromises
Day after day, clutches, couplings and brakes from mayr® power transmission in Mauerstetten secure the movements in machines all around the globe. This task does not allow for any compromises in quality. After all, safety brakes and clutches are components that must reliably ensure the protection and safety of people and also material in the machines and systems. In other words, components that precisely and instantly interrupt movements in an emergency, brake to a standstill or maintain specific positions with millimetre precision. Components that, in an emergency, can save lives. They thus stand for safety that does not tolerate compromises: And this was precisely Fritz Mayr’s life philosphy. “Tradition and innovation are the supporting pillars which have guaranteed our stability for generations. In a world that is becoming increasingly fast-moving and uncertain, this mean reliability and long-term security. Secure workplaces on the one hand, but of course our products also stand for safety and reliabilty. So in other words, the topic of ‘safety’ shapes not only our thinking but also our actions.”
Fitz Mayr: 1926 - 2023
After his return to Germany from Russian captivity (1947), Fritz Mayr (born 03 April 1926) began his studies of Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Munich in 1948. He graduated in 1952 with a degree in engineering (Diplom-Ingenieur). After working as a young engineer at the Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik (WMF), he joined the family business in Kaufbeuren in 1956 representing the third generation. The company was founded at the end of the 19th century as a millwright's workshop. And in the 1950s, the company continued to produce components for the drive technology of the time, such as flat belt pulleys. In the years directly following the Second World War, a new clientele emerged for the Mayr company with the Gablonz industry. Before the war, this industry was located in Gablonz in northern Bohemia and represented an important economic sector there. Core products were jewelry, accessories and decorative elements made of various materials such as glass, stone or base metals. The need for industrial components was substantial as the majority of companies had to start from scratch in Germany. The Mayr company was able to help and supplied the companies with everything they needed: Grinding wheels for cutting glass pieces, top and side piercing machines for the production of buttons, lever and screw presses with up to 10 tons of compression force, engraving balls and lamp pliers. But it was also during this time that the first pioneering innovations were developed. For example, Fritz Mayr, who as the grandson of the company founder was already managing the company alongside his father at the time, automated the predominant hand injection molding.
The rise to global market leader: The ‘hidden champion’ in the Allgäu region of Germany
A breakthrough in the area of power transmission technology provided the company with a decisive impetus during this period: the development of the torque limiter. There were already solutions for torque limitation available on the market. However, they were not what Fritz Mayr envisioned in terms of a high-quality clutch. Torque limiters, as they are common today, did not exist yet – and Fritz Mayr recognized his opportunity for his own, qualitatively superior solutions. By offering torque limiters for housing fans, Mayr made a successful debut in this field. The EAS® torque limiters were launched onto the market in 1963 and quickly became the company's top-selling product. In 1965, Fritz Mayr officially took over the management of the company from his father and was part of the management team until he passed away.
The company's premises in Kaufbeuren soon became too cramped due to the steady growth in the post-war period: The headquarters in Kaufbeuren, which the company had used since its foundation in 1897, had an area of only 1,400 square meters. In 1972, the company finally moved to Mauerstetten, where it is still located today. Meanwhile, the company premises cover an area of around 33,000 square meters. More than 750 employees go about their work there.
Mayr has been active on the international market since the 1960s. Representative offices and subsidiaries in more and more countries ensured the company's presence in the different markets. Production also finally became international with the establishment of a plant in Poland in 1994 and another in China ten years later. The company has repeatedly used its global presence to enter new branches with its technical innovations. In 1997, for example, the company ventured into the elevator market and to date has achieved market leadership in the area of elevator brakes.
Today, networking and digitalization are the big topics, also in the area of power transmission. And Mayr meets these challenges with innovative solutions. For example, with electronic modules that enable safety brakes to communicate and also control them entirely without additional sensors.
Focus on stability
For Fritz Mayr, the most important element of the company's philosophy was stability. This principle has been a characteristic of the company from the very beginning and applies to all areas: From the product to the delivery, to the service, to the innovations and generally to the adaptability and consistency of the company. And also the jobs are stable. Even in times of recession, the company was always able to maintain all jobs and never had to lay off staff. Stability comes first. This guiding principle is also reflected in the foundation of the holding company “Mayr Familien KG"” in 2015, which created a solid basis for the future shareholder structure. During this process, Ferdinand Mayr, the grandson of Fritz Mayr, took over the company and in 2018 joined the Executive Board. In 2022, Ferdinand Mayr took over as CEO from Günther Klingler, who retired.
The special thing about mayr® power transmission is its orientation as a family-run company. Since its foundation, the Mayr family has backed the company. “We consider our company with all its employees to be a grown Mayr family”, Ferdinand Mayr explains. So, of course, many, especially long-time colleagues and companions of Fritz Mayr, are now very sad about his passing, and many expressed their heartfelt sympathy at the death of the former CEO. The funeral took place on Tuesday, 24.01.2023.