A major milestone: 1 billion PFERD thin cut-off wheels sold
Thin cut-off wheels measuring 1.0 mm thickness were met with scepticism in the market in the late 1990s. However, they are now a crucial part of workshop life across the globe and have revolutionized processes.
To gain an idea of the far-reaching impact thin cut-off wheels have had in the industry, you need only look at the quantities produced since they were launched. These top sellers make up an ever-increasing share of the product range, explains Marco Steinwand, Product Manager for cut-off wheels and grinding discs at PFERD Tools, August Rüggeberg GmbH & Co. KG. “This really became clear to us at the beginning of this year, when we sold our 1 billionth thin cut-off wheel.”
Given this outstanding achievement, it’s hard to believe many users, retailers and manufacturers rejected the new trend of thin cut-off wheels in the market more than 20 years ago. “They said thin wheels would be dangerous and might not last. These tools suddenly made cutting incredibly easy and convenient, so one of our key priorities at the beginning was, of course, to make them safe enough for anyone to use”, adds Steinwand. PFERD’s success in this respect was key to ensuring the ongoing popularity of the wheels.
“Here at PFERD, our aim from the very beginning was to combine several advantages in these thin wheels. We wanted to make cutting much faster and more convenient than ever before, while also significantly reducing burr formation.
But we also had to take into account the tool life.” Achieving that objective “was a truly exciting project for everyone at the time”, added the Product Manager enthusiastically. “Simply put, there wasn’t a thin cut- off wheel available that could do all that!” It became clear back then that they had to reconcile conflicting objectives, admits Steinwand. This caused quite an “intensive dialogue” at the company while developing the product, he remembers with a grin.
Precisely aligning their development work with users’ needs, i.e. detailed analyses of what the workers and their managers wanted, ultimately ensured the wheels’ success. “The key factor was that the wheels did exactly what was expected of them – they minimized vibrations, noise and dust, were easier to handle, and offered the lowest costs per cut. That was the ‘new cutting’ technique that we wanted to introduce, involving minimal manual effort, an easy way to monitor the cutting process, and a very handy design.”
They also managed to increase the performance “by a factor of around 20”, explains Marco Steinwand. That was key to significantly improving efficiency and achieving optimal productivity. “Technically speaking, we’ve now done that a billion times over.”
Today, PFERD offers one of the most extensive range of thin manual cut-off wheels, including diameters from 105 to 230 mm and widths from 0.8 to 1.9 mm (depending on the diameter). PFERD also offers various performance lines to suit different applications and requirements.