Zumbach Electronic AG

Hauptstrasse , 93
Orpund -
Switzerland (2552)
Tel: +41 32 356 04 00
Fax: +41 32 456 04 30
Contact person:

News in detail

Zumbach, this is how it all began

Published: - 14/02/2017 Author: Staff
Zumbach, this is how it all began

A pioneer of on-line measurement, Zumbach manufactures a comprehensive range of non-contact, on-line measuring and control instruments. This technology is in use world-wide for such dimensional parameters as diameter, thickness, eccentricity, out-of-round and for physical or electrical parameters like expansion, capacitance, dielectric strength, and more. One or more parameters of a production line can be monitored simultaneously.

Zumbach's technology is used successfully in these industries by thousands of customers around the world who rely on the quality and reliability of the instruments and systems:

In the cable industry – for telecommunication wire, data wire, power cable, electronic and control cable, fiber optic cable – on extrusion lines of singles and jackets, CV-lines, rewinding stations.

In the plastic industry – for the extrusion of pipe, tubing, and profiles for plumbing, medical, automotive, and construction products.

In the rubber industry – for the manufacture of hose and profiles for the automotive industry, hydraulics and construction industry.

In the steel and metal industry – on hot rolling mills as well as in cold processes for steel and other metals.

How it all began
It was in Biel (the centre of the Swiss and worldwide watch industry), Switzerland, on 1 May 1957. There was Bruno Zumbach, a young electrical engineer, not even thirty. He had come up with the idea of starting his own electronics company because he wanted to build something independently.

Electronics were still in their infancy, relay and vacuum tubes were still the main elements. The transistor was something almost unbelievable; all integrated circuits and microprocessors, the stuff of the future. However, economic development in Switzerland at that time was good and there were many thriving machine factories in Biel.

The “first home” of the company was a small, rented studio and office (24 m²) in an old, small factory building in the centre of Biel.

Customized drives – the first manufactured products.
By and by, the first orders, individually or in small quantities, were received for drive systems in any kind of machine. They concerned machines for watches, optics, sterilisation and instruments of all kinds.
Probably the biggest and “most daring” order at the initial stage was automating the butter centre in Gossau near St. Gallen (Switzerland). The whole butter production and distribution system was automated with a completely non-contact drive – at that time still a brand new technology. It was the first such drive in Switzerland.
For cost reasons, all control elements, the so-called logic blocks, were developed and mass-produced at the company’s own factory. Even drives, light barriers and other items were manufactured in-house in Biel.

Automated butter distribution

The vision of a new kind of DC motor drive
At the time, there were many manufacturers of cylindrical grinding machines in Biel and Switzerland who required low-vibration and finely adjustable drives. Bruno Zumbach quickly realised that this was a major market. The problem was that a satisfactory solution was not possible with the thyratron technology of the time.
Zumbach’s vision involved developing and building a small and affordable “Ward Leonard” drive with a monoblock inverter and a matching DC motor and controller. This technology was only practicable and affordable for far higher drive outputs at the time. The “Ward Leonard vision” would soon become the basis Zumbach technology for many years.

Ward Leonard principle: at Zumbach it became much more compact, simple and affordable!

The first production articles and growing success
The first production orders soon arrived. The new kind of drive proved its worth and became established. Leading grinding machine companies such as Tripet, Charmilles, Kellenberger, Tschudin, Studer and others became regular customers. As a result, hundreds if not thousands of ZUMBACH drives found their way to the four corners of the earth. Many of them are still in operation today.
The Ward Leonard drive in a Kellenberger machine

The start in Orpund, Switzerland in 1964 – now the headquarters of the global ZUMBACH group
The workforce had since grown to around 20 and new premises were required.
A small factory building was built in a few months and today (with new cladding) still forms the heart of the company’s main building in Orpund.

1964 – Building fabric in Orpund

Zumbach Electronic AG today

Changing times and new visions
In the early 1960s, Zumbach realised that its business with drives could not guarantee a viable future for the company. The field was marked by new technical possibilities and thus growing numbers of competitors, who began to force down prices and margins. The machine tool industry would also soon begin its process of decline.
Around 1972, a plan was developed to produce an eccentricity tester for electrical cables.
In 1974, Zumbach was granted a patent for the new inductive EX-TEST 7 device. It became the first major success in what was then the new field of in-line measuring equipment.

The first brochure of the EX-TEST 7

The product range – and the company – continues to grow
The optical diameter measuring devices became Zumbach’s most successful products! The analogue ODC types were created around 1975, the absolute measuring ODAC® gauges from 1977. The ODAC® 24 was the first gauge with absolute measurement to be sold in large quantities. “ODAC®” became a registered trademark; over 80,000 ODAC®s of all types and for a huge range of applications have been sold since then. Zumbach has became a clear global leader in the field for many years.

Single axis ODAC® 24 made in 1977

Advanced triple axis ODAC® 63TRIO made today    

Oscillating DVO unit with ODAC® head, especially suited for sector cable measurement.

RAYEX® X-Ray measuring system in CV line

ODAC® XY measuring head on an DVW 1 oscillating device, measuring shaped wire

1994 - Rainer Zumbach took over the management of the company
In 1994 Bruno Zumbach handed the management of the Zumbach group over to his son Rainer. In the following years the group has been expanded and founded further subsidiaries, amongst others in Asia. Besides these own Zumbach companies, also additional representatives have been contracted. Consequently, one of the objectives of Zumbach, the proximity to customers, could be strengthened to a maximum and local services have consistently been expanded over the last 20 years.
Numerous, market-driven and innovative developments have been realized, e.g. the non-contact profile and shape measuring systems or the rotating measuring units with the revolutionary, non-contact transmission of both, signals and energy as well as the use of modern technologies (e.g. linear sensor technology and many others). Thus, a further aim of the Zumbach group could be met: offering the customer always the best solution with the most ideal price-performance ratio.   

Representations and subsidiaries were constantly expanded
It was necessary to serve all the markets at the same time, so work began to find representative offices for the most important countries. Specialist knowledge and local service are essential for successful sales of these products, and only very few trading companies could offer this expertise.
As a result, sales and service offices and later registered companies were established from 1970 in many different countries. The first was in the USA in 1979, followed by England, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, India, Taiwan and in 2001 China. Over 20 sales engineers in Orpund and the foreign companies now ensure the success of the products on the global market.

Zumbach Electronic Corp., Mount Kisco – USA    

Zumbach Electronic Srl, Gazzada Schianno (VA) - Italy

Expansion into the plastics industry
The plastics industry is a large, growing market. Tubes and hoses of all types need to be tested for their diameters and wall thicknesses, giving rise to special devices using other technologies such as ultrasound etc. Profiles also became a relevant market segment and can be measured and monitored in real-time today with devices equipped with light-slit method and image processing capabilities.

Wall thickness measurement of water pipe with moderne UMAC®ultrasonic measurement system   

Ultrasonic wall thickness scanner in cooling trough of an extrusion line.

Expansion into the steel industry
In the late 1980s, Zumbach also ventured into a completely new field, the steel industry. This concerned the measurement of huge, red-hot steel pipes for the oil and gas industry. They were later joined by rods and wire rod  that must be measured at speeds of up to 400 km per hour! Although the established ODAC® measuring heads could be used, complex systems for cooling and mechanical protection needed to be developed. The first systems were sold in Italy, France and Spain.
These steel systems were subjected to ongoing development and upgrades, and today are responsible for a good proportion of overall sales. Zumbach has now become one of the undisputed market leaders in the field.
At the time, it was a daring decision with many unknowns; the result, however, shows that Zumbach was right.

STEELMASTER measuring systems in a wire rod rolling mill


Produce more, better, and at lower cost.
Zumbach systems, integrated into your manufacturing process, enable you to increase your output with lower material costs; they also reduce downtime, allow for safer operation of your equipment and provide for flawless quality control. In addition, they also allow for an immediate quality improvement in cable manufacture through tighter tolerances, better transmission capabilities, easier subsequent manufacture, and simple pairing of conductors, as typical examples.

Intelligently invested – amortized quickly.
Today, in-line measurement is a fundamental part of many production lines. Investment in Zumbach systems pays for itself practically in every manufacturing process. Continuous direct material savings and scrap reduction, mean these high-performance controls are amortized in a few months. In addition, you benefit from substantial quality improvements and greater customer satisfaction, factors which cannot be expressed in numbers alone.

A firm grasp on all technologies.
Thanks to extensive research and development activities, we are in command of important technologies such as lasers/optics, ultrasonic, x-ray, high-voltage technology, computer hardware and software, including OPC UA and many others. This enables us to apply to each application, the most appropriate technology, and allows us to develop new and unique solutions. Numerous patents obtained around the world demonstrate our strength in innovation.
Some examples:
·    Highly accurate diameter measurement with laser (ODAC®)
·    Concentricity/diameter and ovality measurement with one gauge only, based on inductive and laser technology (ODEX®)
·    Profile measuring systems using light section principle and machine vision PROFILEMASTER®)
·    Non-contact measurement of coating thickness (UMAC®)
·    X-ray measuring systems for cross-section measurement in CV-lines (RAYEX®)
·    Capacitance measurement of the highest accuracy (CAPAC®)
·    Foam/Foam skin CD-control (CELLMASTER®)
·    Integrated measuring/control systems for extrusion (JACKETMASTER & WALLMASTER)
·    Spark testers meeting all standards (AST, DST, IST) and calibrators
·    Full circumferential detection of surface faults (KW TRIO, SIMAC®)
·    Inductive conductor preheating with temperature control (TEMPMASTER)

Industry 4.0

These days, everyone's talking about Industry 4.0. In actual fact, the technologies involved in Industry 4.0 are well-known; the concepts are visionary but not new.
What does ZUMBACH offer its customers to address current challenges? ZUMBACH has recognised the importance of data to its customers, from acquiring, combining and displaying measured values from different instruments, via transmission of the data to a customer server, to the preparation of statistics and reports.

Industry 4.0 introduces further challenges, understood as follows by ZUMBACH:
•     M2M communication (machine-to-machine communication) based on established standards
•     M2H communication (machine-to-human communication) based on platform-independent display devices and standard software

In the field of M2M, customer fieldbuses are particularly supported, in compliance with standards and the measures required for certification. Beyond this, OPC UA integrated in USYS processors as well as in PROFILEMASTER®, STEELMASTER, RAYEX®, SIMAC® and others are available to customers. Using the new OPC server gateway software, the majority of terminal devices can also receive data via OPC UA. OPC UA is a key element of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT). It enables horizontal and vertical integration across various levels of the automation pyramid, from the sensor to the ERP system.

M2H interface with integrated OPC UA software in Zumbach instruments

Flawless documentation of quality.
ZUMBACH instruments are CE-compliant and meet all relevant regulations assuring that your product will always conform to the standards. Where required, our systems guarantee, at any time, a detailed traceability of all parts produced. Documentation by SPC charts – as a printout of a directly connected printer or uploaded to a plant network or to a mainframe.

Continuity since almost 60 years.
Founded in 1957 in Switzerland as a family enterprise, Zumbach has successfully become one of the leading providers of on-line measuring systems in the world. Steadfast in holding to the values which made our success possible, they are the guiding principle in the Zumbach group: Customer proximity through presence and human contact combined with highest quality standards for product, consulting, and service.

ZUMBACH Electronic AG
CH- 2552 Orpund, Switzerland
Worldwide headquarters

Bruno Mühlheim
Technical Editor

Products and services
Laser measuring heads for in-line & off-line dimensional & quality control
Laser measuring heads for diameter and width measurement
Modular laser measuring heads for diameter, width and height
Dual-axis laser measuring heads
Three-axis laser measuring heads for diameter and ovality measurement
Measuring heads for on-line diameter and ovality measurement and control
Diameter or capacitance measurement processors for data acquisition, display & control
Universal control centres for coax, telephone and data cables
In-line diameter and capacitance measuring and monitoring systems for wire and cable
Computer interface units for ODAC® and MSD measuring heads
Ultrasonic measurement & control systems for wall thickness & eccentricity
Capacitance measurement systems for cable production lines
Oscillating in-line height and width measurement solutions for profiles
Non-contact eccentricity, concentricity and diameter measuring systems for dat cables cat 5-8 and similar
X-Ray measuring system for wall thickness, eccentricity, diameter and ovality
In-line and off-line vision systems for profile and shape measurement
Lump & neckdown detectors for wires, conductors, optical fibres, cables, tubes and hoses
In-line surface quality inspection system
In-line high voltage fault testing systems
Non-contact precision speed and length laser measuring systems
In-line measuring systems for hot rolling, peeling, grinding and other processes
Rotating, oscillating and static gauges for hot and cold rolling mills
Non-contact in-line measuring systems for diameter and roundness
Calibrators for spark testers