Our History

Sonceboz - history

Our History

SONCEBOZ SA is a company which has earned a global reputation for its mechatronic drive systems designed to meet the specific needs of its customers.

This expertise is rooted in a rich industrial past which began in 1849 with the manufacture of watch and clock components. In 1936, this evolved mainly into industrial time-keeping, before the firm expanded into other domains such as the automotive, truck, and medical industries.

A pioneering spirit

1920-1930

1920-1930

A pioneering spirit

The crash of 1929 decimated production of Sonceboz blanks.

With the experience acquired in industrial time-keeping since being appointed director of the factory in 1906, Fritz-Edouard Pfister bought out the "Counters" department in 1936 and founded the "Société Industrielle de SONCEBOZ SA" (SIS) with his son Pierre Frédéric.

A veritable pioneer in industrial time-keeping, F.-E. Pfister developed and started to manufacture numeric totalizers for electric disc or roller counters. Among his many innovations were clock movements which provided the reference time for the switches used in urban gas street lighting found in many cities at this time. In the 1920s, his customer "Gazmeter" sold 60,000 of these to the City of London.

1920-1930

Understanding expectations

1940 -1950

1940 -1950

Understanding expectations

Specialization, diversification, and adaptation to customer requirements are – and always have been – the overriding focus of Société Industrielle de SONCEBOZ. During the war, to compensate for the closure of international markets and to ensure its employees could keep their jobs, the company reaffirmed its commitment to its values by starting production of three-speed hubs for bicycles, among other initiatives.

1940 -1950

Vision and Precision

1950 - 1960

1950 - 1960

Vision and Precision

Once the markets reopened in 1945, the company developed its industrial time-keeping production. This was when Pierre Pfister confidently entered the US market where he sold highly reliable and hard-wearing recorder movements, mainly used to calculate the flow rate from oil wells.

Alongside this, the company produced synchronous motors often equipped with stepdown gears. Continuing the cherished values of its founder, the company always strove to adapt to the market, tirelessly working to satisfy the needs of its customers.

During this decade, the company also produced short time counters for use in radiography, for example, and also second’s counters, timers, and high-precision gears used to equip all sorts of instruments such as weighing scales.

1950 - 1960

Anticipating the market

1970 - 1980

1970 - 1980

Anticipating the market

Pierre-Frédéric Pfister anticipated the forthcoming computer revolution, identifying a growing market which would have need for the quality and precision of SONCEBOZ technologies. In this period, electronics opened up new horizons in microtechnology.

It was not by chance that the company developed and produced stepper motors for a wide range of applications for computer peripherals for prestigious customers such as IBM and Canon.

1970 - 1980

Conquering a vast market

 1980 - 1990

1980 - 1990

Conquering a vast market

This era marked a turning point. Thanks to its complete mastery of the technology used in stepper motors, the company entered the automotive market. The first model to benefit from a carburetor motorized by a SONCEBOZ product would be the Ford Sierra in 1984.

The operation was a success and the company decided to also launch linear actuators to regulate the idle speed of gasoline engines. Over the years, production volumes and the technologies specifically designed for the automotive sector steadily increased as SONCEBOZ supplied to practically all the major international vehicle manufacturers.

Products manufactured in Switzerland on fully automated assembly lines were then delivered across the globe.

 1980 - 1990

From Mind to Motion

1990 - 2000

1990 - 2000

From Mind to Motion

SONCEBOZ had become the name in mechatronics and was reinforcing its position in the markets, notably through its tagline "From Mind to Motion." The brand's products are known across the world for their reliability.

It was then that the small stepper motor fitted to car dashboards made its appearance. This product, a joint effort from SONCEBOZ (manufacturer) and the SONCEBOZ group company Moving Magnet Technologies (advanced research center), was the first success to come from this new collaboration.

SONCEBOZ and its license holders have been producing more than 1.5 billion units. During this same period, while continuing the focus on helping its customers to create cleaner internal combustion engines (ICE), the first Smart BLDC Actuators were delivered. These were designed for the many truck and tractor manufacturers seeking to limit CO2 emissions while still being able to withstand extreme conditions, whether in terms of service life, harsh environments, or vibrations.

The company also took part in the development of lifting systems for agricultural vehicles by designing intelligent motors which directly manage the hydraulic flow.

1990 - 2000

Global standards

2000 - 2010

2000 - 2010

Global standards

The strategic shift taken in the 1990s bore fruit in this era. The company's innovative force, the quality of its products, and the satisfaction of its customers cemented its reputation.

The production tool, reorganised into Business Units, secured the company's operational efficiency. In a number of applications, the company became a world leader. For each of these applications, millions of units were produced and sold by SONCEBOZ.

Actuators, the company's most strategic products, were available in a wide range of options to meet the stringent constraints of the automotive industry and the specific needs of its customers. They were used to operate directional headlights and even gasoline engine valves through actuation of the camshaft.

2000 - 2010

New challenges

2010-2020

2010-2020

New challenges

New challenges require that the limits of innovation and efficiency are constantly being pushed.

True to its original goal of creating the best solutions to fully meet the needs of its customers, SONCEBOZ continues to evolve within a flexible, adaptable framework. These principles have enabled it to continue to grow its market share while expanding into new domains such as medical equipment and robotics. In all of these cutting-edge sectors, expertise in mechatronic systems – from development of the software to the actual drive system itself – is a huge asset, ensuring that the most complex challenges can be overcome.

As the Sonceboz site reached its maximum capacity, a new modern production facility was built on the outskirts of Boncourt in Switzerland.

2010-2020

The future is already here

The future is already here

The future is already here

In a world where change follows change at an ever-increasing pace, SONCEBOZ anticipates and then meets needs thanks to its creativity, commitment, and excellence. Its values, however, have not changed for over 80 years.
Humility, integrity, and honesty are the foundations on which the company continues to build every day, while retaining the autonomy it has as a family-owned company.

Assuming its full responsibility in the face of global issues, as always, SONCEBOZ is preparing to meet new challenges to help protect the planet.

The future is already here