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A look at the heart of the organisation: the roller trials department

Even the best simulation cannot replace a practical test. Whether what has been planned on the computer actually also works is clarified at Dreistern by the team in the roller trials department. Based on a control drawing on which the key dimensions of the target profile are stated, the around 15 specialists check whether the goal has been achieved and what must be done to obtain the required product. With around 80 to 100 roll forming tools per year, there is a considerable amount of work to do.  

However the effort is worth it, as Hanspeter Grether knows: "As a rule changes are necessary on every roll forming tool", the 41 year-old from Schopfheim has a quarter of a century of experience at the technology leader for roll forming machines. Material effects and alignment problems cannot be foreseen by any computer program. The right hands paired with a systematic procedure are the most important virtues in his view. Without forgetting "the peace and quiet to familiarise oneself with the profile". And that is anything but a matter or course in times of schedule pressure and tight deadlines, the men in roller trials are the "last in the chain" who also make it possible to implement last minute changes. Here the close collaboration with technical roller design ensures that the experience from the trials experts helps the designers to plan more precisely and practically, and that ideas from design can be tried out quickly in practice. "The mutual problem solving" with the exchange of experience between the Dreistern experts in the two departments is for Hans-Peter Grether the recipe for the success of roll forming tools that meet the expectations of customers.  

A typical job is as follows: once the customer has placed the purchase order and the profile control drawing and test plan have been defined, the roller tool produced is set up with frames, rollers and parts from stock on a P3 trials machine; here all the important frame sizes are covered. And if, on occasion, something special is required, that is also not a problem: "the concept 'impossible' does not exist" says Grether about the adaptations that are then used. After the system has been set to the theoretical roller gap or material thickness, the trials with the material provided by the customer can start so that any design changes necessary can be identified.  

There is not a trace of a routine approach here: "there is always something new" for Grether's team. In addition the long-standing staff, many of whom undertook their training in the company, are increasingly involved in prototypes and experimental roll forming tools. "Often the issue is only to understand how a specific process behaves", Grether explains the motivation of Dreistern customers. And on trialling the tools on the machines used by the customers in the Dreistern assembly hall, the Dreistern specialists are indispensable. Here the issue is to correctly configure the interaction of the roll profile forming with, for instance, welding and punching processes so that the perfect product is produced. No wonder that some see the department as the "heart of the organisation" along with roller design.  

A look at the heart of the organisation: the roller trials department

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