100 years of Engineering Kompetenz made in Germany
Walter AG has been a pioneering force of innovation in the machining sector for 100 years now. The precision tools manufacturer will continue to build on this reputation as it moves into its centennial year. Every year, Walter introduces more than 2500 new tools to the market as part of its standard tool range. More than 35 per cent of all products sold are less than five years old.
Identifying technological trends
Within the automotive and aerospace industry, high-tensile, higher-alloyed materials that allow for thin-walled construction and reduce overall component weight are increasingly being used. High-temperature alloys, titanium and aluminium are characterised by special mechanical and thermal properties, making them difficult to machine with conventional tools. Further to this, customer requirements are changing: As well as increased productivity, companies in the machining sector are demanding tools with a longer service life and lower production costs. Walter reacts to challenges from the market by embracing innovation; a characteristic that has formed the backbone of the company's culture for an entire century: "We are constantly working on new precision tools, processes and digital solutions. Our aim is to create significant added value for our customers," says Michael Fink, Product Marketing Manager at Walter.
Cutting material development: Major potential for the machining sector
Walter has established large, modern departments for developing its different product ranges. Around 20 employees focus on technological trends and innovative solutions relating to coatings and the mechanical post-treatment of cutting tool materials. Back in 2001, Walter introduced the first two-colour coated Tiger·tec® indexable inserts to the market, which allowed its customers to benefit from enormous increases in productivity. In 2017, Walter achieved another leap forward in terms of innovation and performance: With the Tiger·tec® Gold cutting tool material, the manufacturer laid the foundations for a new generation of indexable inserts. They feature a chemical vapour deposition (CVD) coating with a highly wear-resistant titanium aluminium nitride (TiAlN) layer. This is applied using an ultra-low-pressure process (ULP/CVD) developed in-house, and reduces typical forms of wear such as abrasion, deformation, hairline cracks and oxidation. Customers benefit from a significantly longer tool life, greater process reliability and increased productivity.
In-house Engineering Kompetenz at Walter
The precision tools are manufactured using modern facilities at Walter's various production sites. Wherever it is possible and advantageous to do so, Walter replicates process and procedural expertise within its own plants. The most modern of these plants is situated in Münsingen. This is where carbide indexable inserts are manufactured: They are pressed and sintered from metal powder before being ground and rounded. Highly complex coating processes (CVD/PVD) are also carried out in-house by Walter. All production processes are designed with high quality and productivity in mind, and a sustainable approach to the use of resources and the environment is also given significant emphasis during the planning stage. In doing so, Walter has fulfilled the high standards it has set for itself – namely, to become a driving force of innovation in the manufacture of machining tools. And when it comes to digitalisation, Walter is once again leading the way within the metalworking sector. Since 2016, the company site in Tübingen has been home to a factory of the future: The Walter Technology Center. Over an area of over 5000 m² that is equipped with state-of-the-art processing and communication technology, Walter develops and tests processes and procedures under real production conditions. The entire process chain, from the planning stage to the finished component, is digitally networked.