In our series of interviews you’ll learn more about Waelzholz’s manufacturing expertise and quality assurance for sophisticated flat wire and profile grades and discover the benefits they can offer you. In our first interview, we spoke with sales expert Daniel Kemper about Waelzholz’s manufacturing expertise.
Mr. Kemper, Waelzholz offers an extensive range of grades for flat wire and profile products. What are the benefits for customers?
“This comes down to what the customer needs – with our wide range of grades, we offer the right solution for almost every conceivable application. And when I say that, I mean not just a more or less satisfactory compromise, but truly the perfect solution. This is extremely important, because it’s the only way our customers can fully leverage their ideas’ potential. Here’s an example: many final products such as spiral springs, jigsaw blades, or healds only come in very small formats, but still have to be extremely durable. The necessary resistance to wear must, however, be combined with excellent formability, as this is the only way to manufacture these products to the tightest tolerances. And this combination of opposite qualities is exactly what we offer with our wide range of special grades. Ultimately, this is where our strength lies: in developing sophisticated materials that perform exceptionally well and manufacturing them in large quantities – to the benefit of our customers.”
What’s the secret behind Waelzholz’s manufacturing expertise?
“Manufacturing expertise results from the combination of experience, state-of-the-art production lines, and innovative approaches. Waelzholz and wire production have a long history – this is how we started our business over 190 years ago and obviously we now have an enormous wealth of experience in this area. Today, with production facilities on four continents, we supply materials to almost all branches of industry worldwide. Our production process is one of the most advanced in the world. We constantly invest in state-of-the-art technology. For example, we’ve now equipped many of our production lines with eddy current technology that we’ve made a large number of advancements to. This allows us to monitor surface quality during ongoing production. Our new investments not only ensure that we’re always on the cutting edge of technology, but also give us the ability to optimize individual lines for specific grades thanks to our extensive range of machinery. As a result, our grades exhibit extremely homogeneous properties. In addition, our flat wire products meet the most stringent requirements in terms of straightness and flatness. What our customers also highly value is our ability to produce extremely long running lengths of up to 25 kilometers – without any welded seams.”
Care to tell us more about the innovative approaches?
“This is the heart and soul of Waelzholz, the company’s true passion. Above all, a good idea has to be commercially viable, i.e. offer genuine value to our customers with properties that can be reliably reproduced over many batches. This is why outstanding innovations are often developed in close collaboration with our colleagues in production. Our employees always have new and good ideas about how we can improve our production lines and processes. And sometimes they even result in patents. Take, for example, conductive high-speed hardening and tempering: during the hardening process, the strip is heated to well over 800 °C in just fractions of a second, then cooled down again just as rapidly. The result is an extremely homogeneous microstructure that clearly surpasses the results of conventional hardening and tempering processes.”
Which grades of flat wire products and profiles does Waelzholz supply?
“We also offer all of our steel material grades from our range of steel strip products in the form of flat wire products or profiles, from low-carbon steel, spring steel, and steel for hardening and tempering to stainless steel grades. In addition, we often develop completely unique grades in close collaboration with our customers. If our engineering team is incorporated into the product development process at an early stage, we can offer our customers new degrees of flexibility that can lead to real competitive advantages. Particularly in the case of flat wire products and profiles, we’re not only talking about the grades, but also and especially about the edges and profile shapes. These often serve an important function in the use of the final component. We supply our edges in every conceivable shape – from mill edges to horizontally or vertically rolled to chase-threaded or tailor-made according to customer requirements. We implement all of these shapes with exceptionally high accuracy. We also offer customized profiles with shapes that are optimized for our customers’ production process and final application. In other words, a wealth of benefits for our customers.”
The second part of the interview, “Quality assurance for flat wire and profiles”, will be published on March 13, 2020.