Harmonic Drive LLC, a leader in high-precision motion control, this week celebrated the opening of its new U.S. headquarters in Beverly, Mass. The company said the new offices and manufacturing facilities more than double its current square footage.
In addition, the move to Beverly signifies a historic homecoming for the company. Originally a division of United Shoe Machinery Corp. (USM), it designs and manufactures motion-control products, including precision servo actuators, gear heads, and gear component sets based on the harmonic gear.
The strain-wave gear, or harmonic gear, was the brainchild of American inventor C. Walton Musser. He was awarded more than 200 patents in a wide range of fields. Musser’s innovations went beyond his specialty in mechanical engineering to include physics, chemistry, and biology.
Musser worked closely with two companies to commercialize his strain-wave gear concept. One was USM, and the other was Japanese company Hasegawa Gear Works Ltd., the forerunner of Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. Today, Harmonic Drive LLC, Harmonic Drive SE, and Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. continue to manufacture high-precision gears.
Harmonic Drive finds home in robotics, outer space
The company’s products are used primarily in robotics and semiconductor manufacturing. However, they have also been used on the International Space Station, Mars Explorer Rovers, and the Lunar Rover that was driven on the moon in 1971.
Participants in the ribbon cutting included the daughter of C. Walton Musser, Yvonne Graham; executive officers from the Harmonic Drive group companies; Michael Cahill, the mayor of Beverly; and Mike Kennealy, secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Also in attendance was Paul Berton, who was in charge of the drive business at USM and promoted the establishment of the companies in Japan and Germany. He was also a former director of Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. All of the U.S.-based employees joined in the celebration.
About Harmonic Drive
Harmonic works with both Fortune 500 and companies of all sizes to understand their application requirements and provide a standard or, in most cases, a custom-engineered solution to enable the success of their design project. The majority of the products sold by the U.S. company are manufactured in Massachusetts. Harmonic Drive Systems Inc. in Japan and Harmonic Drive SE in Germany provide additional products. These state-of-the-art facilities around the world enable the company to locally serve the needs of its global customers.
With over 50 years of experience, the group’s expert engineering and production teams develop enabling technologies and products to meet the needs of an evolving motion control market. The company said its high-precision, zero-backlash Harmonic Drive gears and Harmonic Planetary gears play critical roles in robotics, spaceflight applications, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, factory automation equipment, medical diagnostics, and surgical robotics. More information can be found by visiting the company’s main website at www.harmonicdrive.net.