Reliability permeates everything

Published 30/1, 2015

PDi 4-2014 featured Tyrolit’s premises in Austria and continues in this issue with the manufacturer’s development of machines and equipment for concrete sawing and drilling in Pfäffikon, Switzerland. PDi’s Jan Hermansson reports.

It is wonderful day in September and Tyrolit Hydrostress is meeting up at the plant. Tyrolit Hydrostress, originally called, Hydrostress was founded in 1974 by Hans Bieri. In 1991 Hydrostress and Tyrolit started a successful cooperation. With the integration of the Hydrostress company 10 years later Tyrolit could further strengthen its strong market position as a manufacturer of machines and tools for concrete sawing and drilling. Although Bieri sold his company there are still some his grandchildren working in the company.

A home for concrete cutting equipment
During the first decade of the company Hydrostress developed and manufactured equipment for sawing and drilling, but also carried out work as contractors. Hydrostress was one of the few companies when the industry was in its infancy. The company has been home for several key personnel within the Swiss, Austrian and German concrete cutting industry and is where they learned their profession. But a lot has changed since then. Now, with increasing automation about 55 employees are working in research and development, marketing, service and assembling. Next to the in-house production Tyrolit Hydrostress also cooperates with partners from all over the world. Most of them are Swiss respectively are based in Europe. Domestic sales in Switzerland have been allocated to Nestag since 2013 when Tyrolit Hydrostress bought the company. However former owner Donat Fritsch is still heading the company until 2015.

Finding new markets
Hydrostress’s strongest market is Europe. “Here we have built up a very good foothold over many years”, said Hydrostress marketing machines manager Christian Brunner. However business unit manager Harry Nick highlights that they also see a big growth potential in Asia and the Middle East. With products customized for their regional needs extra efforts are made to improve the Tyrolit presence in this area. Hydrostress is satisfied with the current market situation in Europe. Switzerland and France are also up, Germany is fine and the UK is slowly picking up. The Nordic region and Italy are also fine. Nick also said that Russia is a very interesting market and business is good. High cycle or high frequency equipment is currently dominant in Europe and is also becoming increasingly common in the US. But on many other foreign markets hydraulic concrete cutting equipment is still popular, in particular in special applications like offshore, nuclear and power plants.

A faithful staff
Hydrostress is like a big family and most of the staff have been with the company for many years. Several of the employees have worked there for nearly 30 years. The production is based on what Nick calls ‘a one piece flow system’, which means that the same person makes a machine from the start to finish. Hydrostress has used this production method for the last four years. Each workstation is also mobile as all parts and tools are loaded on a movable trolley. The new high cycle equipment from Tyrolit Hydrostress dominates production. Next to several local service facilities around the globe also Tyrolit Hydrostress domiciles a so called center of competence for service and repair works of electric and hydraulic equipment. Close to the production facilities is a test centre where all machines are tested including prototypes. New machines also go through field tests before they are released to the market. The Tyrolit Hydrostress engineers carry out the field tests with a number of pre-chosen contractors. The Tyrolit Hydrostress plant in Pfäffikon covers an area of 3,800m2 and includes production and test facilities and service centre and offices.

The magic behind P2
Nick recalls when the high frequency equipment started to show up on the market and remember it as a complete mess. “During this first period when a lot of different high frequency systems where released I think the contractors where a bit confused as the new technique was not reliable. One should know that electricity and water is not a good combination when things are not done properly,” said Nick. “But I am very proud about our P2® system that I consider the most sophisticated electric high cycle system on the market.”
Brunner agrees, adding: “Customers love the P2 technology and its convincing benefits. Our remarkable increase in sales clearly proves this.”
P2 stands for Permanent Power and is Tyrolit`s platform for newly engineered electric high frequency products.
“When developing our flagship, wall saw WSE1217***, we had to think outside the box to reach our project goals with reliability and performance clearly in the centre of all considerations. At that time the construction industry simply didn’t`t offer any innovative and satisfying solutions. Finally it was the car industry and their concepts for electric driven cars that gave us impulse to develop and implement a similar technique. The result was our P2® technology. Currently three systems are based on this promising platform with more products in the pipeline” Nick explained.
“Part of the secret was to use so called permanent magnets. This allows manufacturers to develop HF systems with lower motor rpms and a very high level of efficiency while still keeping weight and dimensions at a low level. Lower motor rpms reduce the load on machine components which results in a higher lifetime of parts and a reduction of breakdowns. At the same time service and repairs are less expensive as delicate machine parts are no longer required respectively have to deal with much lower loads. Because the whole system generates a lot less heat the efficiency and therewith the output power is very high. Heat usually eats a lot of power and has a negative impact on the reliability,” Brunner illustrated.

Three strategically goals
In line with the overall Tyrolit strategy there are three main strategic goals that Tyrolit Hydrostress are focusing on. One is the transfer of focus from hydraulics to high cycle techniques. Tyrolit Hydrostress are in the process of building up the same internal knowledge in high frequency techniques, as they possesses in hydraulics. The second is a focus on new products and activities for the construction trade business. These ambitions will address dealers and rental companies in particular.
The third strategy is special projects that include sectors like nuclear, offshore, tunnelling, under water applications, grinding, ship and aircraft industry and other sectors involving more complicated concrete sawing and drilling applications. The Tyrolit Hydrostress professional standard range is built in a way to customize each product system for special applications. “One big advantage with our special projects sector is that we get to test our standard products thoroughly, which also makes it possible to improve and develop them continuously. But when it comes to special projects we don’t do the actual job, as we don’t want to compete with our clients. We only provide the products and tools for the special application and we are ready to back up our clients with special knowledge if needed,” said Nick.

New products
To develop and launch new products or systems is a long process, which Nick calls the ‘stage gate principle’. A new product or idea is often the result of a mix of ideas from clients and staff at Tyrolit Hydrostress. Often an idea is presented to the research and development department, which if approved a prototype is built and tested. Pilot machines will be built and tested by selected clients. If successful the products are presented internally to all Tyrolit companies prior to launching on the market. On average the process takes about two years and the company normally has a good idea of new products five years ahead. Currently there are about five new product development projects in process and some will be released in 2015. “One of our strengths during a product development project is that almost the whole company is involved in the project, not only the R&D department, but also the sales and marketing department,” said Nick.

Reliability is paramount
Reliability is the most important value and watchword at Tyrolit Hydrostress in Pfäffikon. The fact that clients should get reliability when buying from Tyrolit Hydrostress is drummed into all parts of the company. Reliability is the keyword in personal contact, reliability in information and presentation, training, manufacturing, service and on the worksite when using tools and equipment from Tyrolit Hydrostress. “I am very proud about the working principles we follow in Tyrolit Hydrostress,” said Nick. “Our motto is reliability and that is what we want to be best at, to deliver reliability in all aspects in particular when it comes to our products. We also want to be quick to solve problems so our clients can be back in production as quick as possible.”

Correction from PDi 4-2014
In PDi 4-2014 and the article about Tyrolit a spelling mistake occurred. PDi accidently spelled Tyrolit TGD-technology TDG. TGD means Tyrolit Grain Distribution and refers to how the diamond grain is distributed according to a certain pattern in the segment. So, TGD is the correct spelling and nothing else.

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