Klingspor, the German manufacturer of coated and bonded abrasives, is entering the diamond cutting blade market by investing in a state of the art production facility for its Ukrainian factory. With plenty of scope for expansion having future planned global growth in mind.
Having commenced manufacturing of abrasives at the very end of the 19th century, today Klingspor is a global manufacturer in this industry with 12 manufacturing locations, 2,700 employees and generating a turnover of more than 260 million Euros. Recognised for its product lines of coated and bonded abrasives, until recently the Group was virtually absent in the diamond sector.
Since May 2015, the situation has evolved considerably with the introduction of the first diamond production line designed and manufactured by the German firm; for this opportunity Klingspor has invested in a high performance facility for its Ukrainian plant in Velyki Mosty, located 50 kilometres north of Lviv, near the Polish border.
Committed to a strong industrial strategy, the Klingspor Group has manufacturing at the heart of its DNA and offers a product line consisting almost exclusively of items that it produces in-house. Diamond cutting blades, a product line that accounts for only 3% of its turnover, had a particular position and the question was finally raised of investing in the firm’s own means of production. Thus, three years ago the decision was made to expand in the diamond cutting blade market, and since this date the firm has been looking towards a global market in which it should become one of the major players.
To date, the first three steps have been taken, and the subsequent steps are already in the business plan to accompany the growth of the activity.
The first phase of the Velyki Mosty plant was erected in 2010 to manufacture abrasive flap wheels. The facility had available capacity and the presence of qualified personnel in the Lviv region. In 2012 the site was chosen to accommodate the Group’s diamond manufacture, within a unit that would be dedicated exclusively to production,
erecting a second production facility dedicated to diamonds on a 100,000 m² site. The following year the first of the first diamond cutting blades. Finally on 1st May 2015, the new Klingspor line of segmented diamond cutting blades was launched; the 300 Extra economy, the 600 Supra for the price-performance ratio and the 900 Special for the high end and intensive applications.
As emphasised by Wolf-Dietrich Pflaumbaum, the senior executive responsible for the diamond project at Klingspor, “This is a long term approach that will ultimately make Klingspor one of the big names in diamond cutting blades on a global level “.
Capacity expansion is planned with successive investment phases in terms of infrastructure, purchase of new machines and training of personnel.
Klingspor research and development service based in Haiger, Germany, with its own production line for diamonds, has employees that include Ukrainians to facilitate exchanges with the Velyki Mosty plant.
The manufacturing process involves state of the art production to manufacture high performance cutting blades at competitive prices, with constant concern for the total safety and quality of the finished product; thus all the segments are laser welded. The production process is executed in a work environment that is comfortable for personnel – no waste discharge, air conditioning makes it possible to attain air purity of 99% etc. The diamond cutting blades are shipped to Germany twice a week – where a new logistics platform opened in the first half of 2016 – a small portion are directed to Poland and a last portion are reserved for the domestic Ukrainian market.
The product line offered by Klingspor extends from 100mm to 500mm diameter with three quality levels which are, in ascending order, the 300 Extra, the 600 Supra, and the 900 Special. The product line is colour coded to suit each material matrix they have been developed for – asphalt (black), tiling (green), refractory bricks (blue), concrete (red) and universal (white) – and it essentially covers the needs, with new development planned for the future.
Designed in Klingspor’s R&D laboratory, the different compositions, binder blends and diamonds (coated with titanium or not coated with titanium) and geometries are specific to the brand and enable very high performance.
“We want to be superior to other brands, with cutting blades that are optimised for what a customer can expect regarding service life and cutting speed” said Wolf-Dietrich Pflaumbaum. This quest for quality is directly linked to the brand’s determination to establish itself in the international market of premium diamond cutting blades. Thus Klingspor’s approach is to offer only high quality, laser-welded diamond cutting blades at competitive prices.
Just as all other products made by Klingspor, its new diamond tools comply with strict oSa guidelines and are guaranteed to meet the European safety standard EN 23236.
In parallel, Klingspor provides all the required commercial support, with technical consulting and training offerings, accompanied tours, participation events, and personalised promotions, with a mix of abrasives and diamonds or promotions specifically devoted to diamonds. Klingspor also has effective marketing in which diamonds will be totally integrated from now on. Thus the brand has developed a point of sale stand for the distributor to display the products.
For the first diamond product line designed and manufactured by Klingspor, the German firm has invested in a high performance facility for its Ukrainian plant in Velyki Mosty, located 50 kilometres north of Lviv, near the Polish border.
The DT 600 U universal cutting blade (Supra line) with straight segments offers an excellent compromise between aggressiveness and long service life at an attractive price. It is available in diameters from 100 mm to 230 mm.
With its titanium-coated diamond grit, the cutting disc DT 900 B (Special line) is particularly adapted for cutting concrete, old concrete and reinforced concrete in heavy use. It is available in diameters from 115 mm to 230 mm.
The DT 600 granite cutting disc (Supra line) with straight segments is recommended for cutting hard stone such as granite, and compounds such as terrazzo. It is available in diameters from 115 mm to 230 mm.
The universal cutting disk DT 900 UD (Special line) with turbo segments and titanium-coated diamond grit offers extremely high performance with many materials, from reinforced concrete to sand-lime brick. It has a Detenso blade that reduces noise.
The Velyki Mosty plant has a surface area of 5,760 m² , of which a 1,440 m² hall is for the diamond business. It employs 150 people; one third are involved in the production of the diamond cutting blades – two teams at present with a third team planned for the future. As emphasised by Wolf-Dietrich Pflaumbaum, Klingspor senior executive, “the people are very loyal and interested in our project. They have ideas and this works very well for the enterprise”.
The raw materials (diamonds) are stored in a room where access is protected by biometrics (fingerprints). The manufacturing progresses, starting with mixing the diamond with its binding agent to transform it into granules with dimensions, weights and naturally the shapes that are precisely known. In the subsequent phase this knowledge makes it possible to precisely prepare the segments and to effectively calculate the cold pressing that must be applied to mould them in a homogeneous manner – good granulate produces the perfect segment. Blending and granulation are executed in a controlled atmosphere, including strict humidity control; humidity must remain under 50%. Klingspor has two machines for granulate weights up to 20 kg.
The segments are moulded by cold pressing in machines that produce six segments at a time; 20,000 segments are produced in an 8 hour shift, compared with 6,500 segments using conventional machines. This machine makes it possible to form the segment and its lug very precisely. These elements are then welded to the steel core or welded again to place three hardnesses of different binders in the same segment to perfect the performance for certain specific applications.
The segments are laser-welded onto the steel core, which has been degreased beforehand. After welding with these machines, which are the most advanced in the world, with a tolerance of one hundredth of a millimetre, with inspection of the entirety of the weld, all of the segments are tested with a destructive test on the first blade of a series at 200% of the DIN specifications, and a test for compliance with the DIN specification is performed on the subsequent blades.
Segments are deburred at the level of the lug to guarantee the precise shape of its radius, as well as the precise height of the piece.
The manufacturing process for the diamond cutting blade is almost concluded. The large discs with a diameter greater than 300 mm are balanced. For the small diameters the segments are sharpened automatically and for the large diameters the segments are sharpened semi-automatically. The disc is polished and coated with a varnish for a better appearance. Finally, all the information concerning the blade, such as the batch number, is engraved and applied in the centre part of the blade, using 5 colour pad printing which replaces the traditional paper label. Random tests follow these final operations. The random tests are for quality control of the blade, they test “for the existence of any geometry or safety problem that has not yet been detected”
Klingspor has test equipment that tests the interior and exterior of the diamond cutting blades to determine the performance of their blades and competitor’s blades (speed, wear over x cuts, regeneration of the diamond, etc.). Notably Klingspor has a test area with different surfaces: Steel reinforced concrete 16 mm in diameter, steel reinforced concrete 12 mm in diameter, steel reinforced concrete 6 mm in diameter and asphalt. In the test area a thermal chainsaw mounted on a carriage for cutting asphalt is equipped with a DT 602 A disc 350 mm in diameter, and the same machine used to cut a concrete edge is equipped with a DT 600 U disk 350 mm in diameter.
The Velyki Mosty plant also accommodates flap wheel manufacturing, the site’s initial activity since 2010. Some 15,000 flap wheels are manufactured daily, in accordance with a process. In the first step the coated abrasive belts are cut in to pieces and placed in the circular profiles. Then the resin flows to the centre which additionally receives the shaft. The plant also laminates the velour backing on the jumbo (a large roll of coated abrasive product).
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Klingspor has been setting global standards in abrasive technology for more than 100 years. Our production facilities manufacture more than 50,000 items that fall, among others, into the product categories of – coated abrasives, cutting-off wheels, grinding discs, abrasive mop discs, abrasive mop wheels and diamond tools and that are designed for a wide range of different applications. Spread across the globe, our 36 production and distribution locations employ a total staff of 2,700 and afford us the flexibility we need to satisfy the requirements of each regional market. Our global support and consulting team is comprised of more than 300 field representatives, engineers, and highly trained technicians.