Innovation comes from tradition.

 

For over 90 years, everyone has heard of it. Many use it every day. But very few people know that “flexen”, a common German verb, actually refers back to an invention developed by FLEX, formerly known as Ackermann + Schmitt.

Where does “flexing” actually come from?

In 1922, Hermann Ackermann and Hermann Schmitt started a company in Stuttgart- Bad Cannstatt to produce and sell their new invention: the MS 6 hand-held grinding machine, featuring an electrical motor that drove a flexible shaft. This feature was the inspiration for this brand-new tool’s name: FLEX. And this is the origin of today’s brand name and a verb that has become an integral part of everyday German vocabulary: “flexen”. 

In 1996, Ackermann + Schmitt renamed itself FLEX. In 2006, “flexen” was officially added to the Duden spelling dictionary.

From the shaft to today’s angle grinder.

 

In the late 1920s, the engineers succeeded in replacing the flexible shaft with an angle gear set. This was the world’s first angle grinder, also sold under the brand name FLEX. FLEX started becoming established as a new word.

In 1935, Ackermann + Schmitt launched a low-speed angle grinder. In 1954, it unveiled the first high-speed angle grinder: the DL 9. By now, FLEX was synonymous with angle grinder, while the verb “flexen” completely replaced the less snappy verb “trennschleifen” (“abrasive cutting”) in colloquial German.

The FLEX still uses the same basic approach, but the tool itself continues to evolve and improve. High-tech plastics replaced cast iron, making the tools considerably lighter. Motor power has increased, but motors have grown smaller and smaller. The motor and gears have become better protected against grinding and cutting dust; the tools are now more durable, quieter and more ergonomic. 

The basic idea of the angle grinder has proved to be so efficient and successful that it is incorporated into other machines and will continue to drive new innovations.

The original “Made in Germany”.

 

The heart beating in any original FLEX is created from the outset in our motor manufacturing plant in Steinheim. This is where a wide range of electric motors are produced, perfectly matched to customer needs. From the fully automated winding of magnetic fields through our state-of-the-art powder-coating line to the precision lathe.

The use of the latest manufacturing systems in motor production, steel and aluminium machining and the continuous quality controls in all other stages of production ensure the high quality standards.

The state-of-the-art processing machines guarantee a high degree of flexibility in manufacture and enable us to respond rapidly to customer wishes. Quality and functional checks during the entire manufacturing process are standard policy in the company.

In the FLEX Research and Development Department, all new developments and existing products are tested on test stands and in continuous use to ensure they meet our quality and functional requirements.

Ongoing staff training is a fundamental requirement for us, to ensure that FLEX remains able to apply the latest manufacturing technologies in the future.