How customisation opened the door to Australia for an Italian manufacturer

Lafert Australia’s imported brake motors give customers more choice.

Peter Harrington, managing director of Lafert Electric Motors (Aust), tells how the company’s Italian operation is breaking the mould in the Pacific Rim.


In the late 1980s, Peter Harrington made a bold move that opened Australia and New Zealand to a new breed of electric brake motors.

It was in Hanover, Germany, where he first saw Lafert Electric Motors product in action.The parent company is based in San Dona Di Piave, about 30km from Venice, and is completely automated in everything that it touches.

Harrington, who admits he had a stroke of luck meeting with the manufacturer, is now the companies only distributer in Australia.

“Picking Lafert to negotiate a distributive deal with is probably the best thing I ever did,” Harrington said.

“They became the biggest electric motor company in Italy and have gone from success to higher success, whereas most of their competitors in Italy have fallen by the wayside to some degree.”

Lafert specialises in customised AC Motors and prides itself on its quality of service. One speciality being Lafert brake motors, which – while more expensive than standard brake motors manufactured and exported out of China are competitive for a reason and their standard is their products quality.

“Companies are continually asking for a brake motor that is a bit smaller and lighter to help with installation, but now with the efficiency of the motor being so important and, with the Australian MEPS Regulations, it is not as easy for some companies to achieve this anymore.

“An electric motor has to meet MEPS 2 efficiency in the Australian market, so it is easier to achieve these efficiency requirements if you use a standard frame size but by doing so you lose the lighter more compact design.”

Lafert Australia imports a wide range of brake motors for different applications and customisation. The diversity Lafert can offer is substantial and it all meets the Australian MEPS Regulations.

(1) High DC brake torque up to 300 per cent of brake torque available.

(2) Low DC brake torque as low as 100 per cent brake torque for parking brake or applications such as saws.

(3) High AC brake torque for those applications requiring super quick response times on your braking applications.

Lafert Aust import brake motors for both three phase and single phase applications. Standard IP55 or as high as IP65 off the shelf in both AC and DC versions.

Lafert also has a complete range of spare parts available from its Hallam warehouse. Around 90 per cent of the motors Lafert manufacture are customised, which means that Lafert are not competing against standard electric motors that come out of China and other non European countries.

“People want a product that not everyone else has and what is seen in the market as “unique” this is what will set them aside from the rest,” Harrington continued.

“By specialising in customised motors and with Lafert being the world leader in High Performance Electric motor production, they are setting extremely high standards in the electric motor industry.”

Lafert’s IE4 and IE5 High performance motors are growing
in leaps and bounds – generation
of Permanent magnet Synchronous motors that offer approved electrical efficiency and equates to huge cost savings, at reduced production costs, without the use of rare earth magnets. This uniquely engineered
product combines the electrical design of brushless servo motors
with the mechanical design of AC induction motors.

The result is a compact motor
that is approximately half the physical size and half the weight
of a standard electric motor and is targeted at the HVAC, compressor and pump industries.

“The beauty of Laferts business is that its production line is completely automated,” Harrington said.

“What this automation means is that nothing can go wrong – every motor comes out the same, and we never have any quality problems with the motors operation.

“Fractions of a millimetre are extremely important, especially
when making brake motors, so if they are building them in China, quality can vary, whereas an automated manufacturing process as Lafert have, gets it right every time.”

Laferts automated process
is an example of how advanced manufacturing can upscale a companys commercial demand according to Harrington, who says that a quality standard set across its unique
designs is more attractive than lower costs offshore.

“Coming from a top European company, our customers may pay a bit more for their custom-made motors, but they know that what they are buying is not going to disappoint.”