“The important thing is to never stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein
In order to improve our products and competitiveness we never stop questioning ourselves. For us this means a continuous strive for examing and improving the quality, safety and performance of our products as well as to develop new solutions. Since the heavy invest into two high-tech laboratories at the facilities in Burgwald/Germany and Richmond/Indiana, USA in 2011/12 the basic steps have already been made. These international test and competence centers have already paid off for the corporate group and our customers as they have been intensively used for important raw material qualifications, competitor tests and product developments on the brush side.
Since the Dronco Integration in 2015 the next step was done: Welcome to the Abrasive World! Not only does Dronco contribute with their own Lab Equipment to support materials research and testing. Also the Testing Robot procedures have been improved and extended under the responsibility of the new Head of R&D and Labs, Sebastian Schuster to help Dronco test abrasive products. The material scientist Sebastian worked together with Tim Schuster (Burgwald) and Zac Small (Richmond) to add new functionality and refine the testing procedures for the Test Robots in Germany and USA bringing in his knowledge from the abrasive part.
As part of the Dronco integration and some Key Portfolio Projects it has been necessary to test abrasive products like cutting discs and grinding wheels as well. These products have been extensively tested manually in the Dronco Test Labs until today. With the new opportunity of having Robots doing this job, a lot of net working time could be already saved and will be saved in the future. As an example: An average manual test of one grinding wheel takes around 50 minutes net working time including documentation of the results. As the robot can perform the tests without human presence and automatically weighs the workpiece and the product – the only work for the robot operator is just to set up the test procedure, install and mark the tool and clean the robot cell. This work takes an average of around 12,5 minutes – which means a reduction of 400 %. As we constantly strive for improvement this time will be even reduced in the future as we currently work on a concept for an automated tool change.
Another benefit when performing tests in the robot cell: higher output of results, better repeatability, less human influence on the result (results may vary depending on test person).
Also our high-end users benefit from the new improvements: With better and more precise performance data of our products we can prove in detail which product meets their specific requests and expectation best. This way we can chose or design our products specifically to the customer’s situation. Regardless if it is the wish for a longer lifetime, a higher removal rate or the surface processing of special materials.
With those new possibilities and improvements, the finishing group is more than ever ready to face new challenges of a continuous surveillance and improvement of our products. This way we will find answers to your questions.
Sebastian Schuster, Head of R&D and Labs Burgwald and Wunsiedel on the recent improvements: "I am very happy with the new functionalities and features the Test Robot gives to us. We now are able to monitor the quality of our complete portfolio – brushes and abrasives - on a repeatable basis and perform precise test procedures to improve the quality and safety of our products. This also helps us to increase our high production and manufacturing standards as we are able to identify quality and performance deviations in a reliable manner. I cannot enough emphasize how important it is to always question ourselves in order to add value to the company and our customers."