ETEL was founded in 1974 as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (Switzerland) with the intention of commercializing direct drive technology. As a pioneer in this field, ETEL’s name has become synonymous with direct drive technology and has widely contributed to the growth and breakthrough of this revolutionary technology in a variety of industries.

The dramatic expansion of activities at the end of the 1990’s persuaded DR. JOHANNES HEIDENHAIN GmbH to acquire ETEL to increase their competitive advantage in different high-end markets. For ETEL and its customers, the synergy between direct drive technology and advanced measurement systems has proven to be a winning combination.

Main milestones

1974ETEL founded by Dr. Nicolas Wavre.
1977First linear motors development for the motorization of warehouse doors.
1981First brushless torque motor design for the food industry.

ETEL delivers large torque motors (2500 mm) for telescopes.

ETEL moves into its new headquarters in Môtiers, Switzerland.

1992High force linear motors development.

Launch of the new standard program for direct drive motors and of the first standard digital position controllers.

First extension of the headquarters.

1998ETEL presents its first precision positioning system.

DR. JOHANNES HEIDENHAIN GmbH acquires a stake in ETEL.

ETEL becomes the largest supplier of direct drives worldwide.

Opening of ETEL GmbH (Germany).


ISO 9001 certification

Launch of the DSC position controllers family.

Second headquarters extension.

Opening of ETEL Inc. (USA).


Serial production of high performance (nanometer precision) motion systems.

Opening of ETEL in France and The Netherlands.


Development of an outstanding range of standard systems.

Opening of new subsidiaries in Switzerland, Italy and Singapore.


Third headquarters extension.

ETEL pursues its Asian market penetration and opens a new subsidiary in Taiwan.

2008Fourth building extension in Môtiers dedicated to systems manufacturing.

Launch of a new motion control family (AccurET & UltimET).

New offices in Korea and Great-Britain.


New high speed torque motor family (TMK).

New offices in China and Hong-Kong.


New advanced motion system platforms including 450 mm wafer processes.

2014New standard rotary axes and combined modules.
2015ETEL opens an additional R&D center in Biel.