Range extended: Simplabelt

In the 1950s, the continuously variable Simplabelt gearbox, whose license Hans Lenze acquires from Conrad Schachenmann in 1950, eventually proves to be almost as successful as the Alquist Winder. In the Simplabelt gearbox, a wide toothed belt is guided over a double spring loaded, spreader roll on the motor shaft.

Through the pull of a counter pulley, the belt is pressed more or less deeply into the spreader roll, and this changes the speed transmission to the machine, with the motor speed remaining constant. The gearbox is suitable for printing and paper machines, packaging and wood-processing machines, pumps and conveyor systems.

At first, Hans Lenze does not expect the device to be a great success, because other manufacturers have similar designs on offer. Also, in the beginning, the cup expander springs in the spreader rolls keep breaking. But after the Lenze engineers solve this problem in 1952/53, the reliable Simplabelt gearbox, which comes in eight different sizes for outputs between 0.25 and 50 hp, becomes a bestseller.

In 1952, Lenze showcases the Simplabelt gearbox at the Hannover Messe. It arouses great interest, and the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen company immediately places a big order.

The sales revenue from the gearbox grows from 0.3 to 3.1 million deutsche Mark between 1953 and 1957. After more than 16,000 Simplabelt gearboxes are ordered in 1957, a new plant for the manufacture of gearboxes is built in Bösingfeld, East Westphalia, in 1957/58.

Lenze remains “virtually unrivalled” as a manufacturer of continuously variable winding drives until the 1960s.