Research and development
In addition to successful sales and outstanding logistics, new products and innovations as a service to our customers are crucial when it comes to securing the competitive standing of the Würth Group.
During the 2018 fiscal year, for example, Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG generated roughly one fifth of its sales with products that are no more than three years old. Given the breadth and size of the product range offered by Würth to its customers, this is a very high figure. The innovation rate is also high throughout the Group: At present, the Group has 555 active patents, 7 utility models, 644 registered designs, and 6,949 active brands.
Developments within the Würth Line
Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG:
Würth24—meeting demand around the clock
Covering the immediate needs of the trade and industry, and thus satisfying customers, is at the forefront of Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG’s branch office strategy. With a network of more than 480 pick-up shops, Würth is closer to its customers than any competitor. The Würth24 shop concept expands this strategy: Shopping around the clock, six days a week, even outside normal opening hours. Access is via the Würth App, to which every registered Würth customer has access. Highly-innovative technology electronically records merchandise and orders. Customers appreciate the intuitive operation, a high degree of user-friendliness and the functionality of the concept. However, the importance of personal expert advice does not take second place: During regular opening hours, each shop is staffed by experienced and expert personnel. Würth24 takes advantage of digitalization to link e-commerce with brick-and-mortar business. Würth customers thus have even more freedom and certainty to cover their immediate needs—wherever they are in the assembly process. The first Würth24 shop opened in Vöhringen directly next to the A7 in April 2018. Further rollouts are planned for 2019, such as in Berlin or Stuttgart.
Mobile with a plan—the new Würth workshop trolley
One building block must fit another—this was the guiding principle behind the development of the new Würth workshop trolley. The solution was a uniform system grid size that Würth customers have been using since September 2018 to equip their workshop trolleys with Würth foam inserts throughout. This is because both the new workshop trolley and the ORSY® system cases with the small part assortments can be freely combined according to the user’s requirements via the robust system boxes and the tool and machine assortments available in this grid. The new design and the rounded side panels increase the attractiveness of the workshop trolley. The buyer can individually determine the color of the trolley and thus make it their “personal” tool trolley. Non-abrasive rubber wheels, high-quality drawer runners and a wide range of accessories increase the ease of use.
Made by Würth, Made by You—even closer to the user with new battery-powered Power Tools
In November 2018, the starting shot was fired for the new battery line in the Würth Power Tool segment: It brings together engineering at the highest level with the requirements of our customers. It all started with the new ABS 18 Compact cordless screwdriver. The ergonomic handle shape as well as the balanced housing offer every user ideal grip and make working easier. The powerful yet compact brushless motor provides the user with plenty of reserves of power to ensure rapid work progress even in intensive applications. When tuning the gearbox, motor and electronics, care was taken to ensure that a protective mechanism would automatically engage when the tool was used beyond its power range. This overload protection prevents the screwdriver from “smoking”. High-quality components are also used for the tool holder, such as the all-metal drill chuck with carbide-tipped “Made in Germany” clamping jaws. The 23-step torque adjustment option guarantees users precise and effective work with optimum torque.
The heart of this new battery system is the M-CUBE® battery, which stands for maximum performance and service life thanks to its intelligent battery management with single cell monitoring. The integrated cell frame offers the cells a firm fit and ideal heat dissipation so that the battery is additionally protected against overheating and vibrations. The outer rubber coating of the battery provides further protection against damage from falls. In addition, this rubber component provides a safe and non-slip stand and minimizes the risk of surface damage on the workpieces to be machined.
SHARK® PRO—Würth develops new plastic anchor
The SHARK® PRO has provided a plastic anchor to the Würth product range since June 2018. It can be expanded or knotted in almost all building materials. Be it concrete, masonry made of solid or perforated building materials, cellular concrete or slab materials—thanks to its new nylon mixture, the SHARK® PRO is the optimum fastening solution. In combination with the proven ASSY®-D screw, the SHARK® PRO achieves up to 19 percent higher load values in concrete with a diameter of ten millimeters and replaces the ZEBRA SHARK W-ZX®. This level of performance has been proven in an ETA assessment. Following the ETA assessment (ETA-12/0042), the SHARK® PRO is one of the few approved plastic anchors for redundant systems. A versatile fastening system is now available to processors in combination with the special anchor screw. The SHARK® PRO is suitable for both centric tensile loads and transverse loads. It can be used in pre-assembly or through-assembly (SHARK® PRO 12) for fastening multiple non-load-bearing systems in concrete. The SHARK® PRO spreads out in four directions in solid materials, such as solid bricks, solid lime sand bricks or concrete. This permits higher loads than with conventional anchors, which only spread out in two directions. Fastening roof battens, ceiling substructures and suspended ceilings is just as much a part of the application as the assembly of wooden battens, metal rails, perforated tapes, wardrobes, and wall shelves. Of course, it can also be used in paneling or perforated building materials. In these applications, it reliably forms a stable knot when the screw is installed.
Back-of-hand scanner saves time
Back-of-hand scanners were tested for the first time in the logistics department at Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, and were very well received by the employees. Due to this successful test run, a scanner including a station is now in permanent use in the manual palletizing area. Additional scanners are planned at various workstations during 2019. The advantages of the back-of-hand scanners include time savings during the scanning process, free hands for gripping and working, as well as the simple configuration of the glove with the PC. According to employees, the biggest advantage is that they always have the scanner with them and do not have to search for it—this avoids unnecessary paths and actions.
Big Data: easier product re-coding and better shopping experiences
Business processes at the Würth Group generate a large amount of data on a daily basis. Würth now wants to use this data even more effectively to the benefit of its customers and has formed a new team of specialists. A tangible example is bid preparation. As part of this process, it is often necessary to offer equivalent products from the Würth product range for competitive products. Whereas this was previously associated with a lot of manual work, which extended the response time for customers accordingly, the latest technologies and processes from the Big Data area are now being used to automate this process and thus significantly accelerate it. In addition, the team deals with methods to improve our customers’ shopping experience by making it easier for them to find products from the Würth product range that are interesting and relevant to them more quickly.
Würth Industrie: LockBox—the intelligent lock
The LockBox offers companies a simple and flexible solution to secure their shelf and warehouse management. The basis for the small battery-powered box with integrated PC and touch display is RFID technology. The LockBox is suitable for up to 1,000 users. It can operate and automatically unlock a maximum of 48 wireless locks for various ORSY® System shelf doors and tool cabinets within a range of up to 60 meters. With the aid of the innovative control system, customers have fast and secure access to their individual product range—around the clock. In addition, the system can be integrated into the customer’s own process landscape completely autonomously and without additional effort.
New WIS Portal launches
Würth Industrie Service GmbH & Co. KG has developed a new platform to make C-part management even more efficient for industrial customers. The WIS portal (Würth Industrie Service) is characterized by a user-friendly interface and combines all functions related to the Kanban system with full transparency for all processes. Thanks to its multilingual interface, the solution can be used in production locations across borders. As the central platform for all processes, functions, articles and services, the WIS portal not only replaces the previous CPS®ONLINE solution, but above all offers users a future-oriented solution to use all the advantages of both the conventional and the RFID Kanban system and to use data intelligently. Customers can view all logistics processes within the Kanban system at any time via the WIS portal. Decisive information such as the filling status of containers, upcoming filling dates or the exact location of certain C-parts within production can be easily retrieved. Order processes such as third-party deliveries are also clearly displayed. A comprehensive track-and-trace function, which automatically feeds relevant container information into the portal, ensures complete traceability.
Developments within the Allied Companies
The Allied Companies of the Würth Group also invested in the development of products and services to offer their customers the best possible solutions during 2018.
Grass: new furniture designs with Kinvaro T-Slim flap fitting
Grass heralds a new era in flap systems with the Kinvaro T-Slim flap fitting. The new Kinvaro T-Slim rotary flap can be milled directly into the cabinet sides, opening up completely new possibilities in furniture design: It disappears almost completely into the cabinet and can be adapted to the cabinet color by means of colored caps. Especially in combination with glass doors and aluminum frames, the Kinvaro T-Slim impresses with its aesthetics. Its main use will be in kitchens and living rooms. Thanks to its design and small footprint, it can also be used perfectly in narrow bathroom cabinets, especially due to the Kinvaro T-Slim’s extremely slim construction in conventional applications without milling.
SWG: future study “Find IT”—the networked future at the Point of Sale (POS)
In 2018, SWG Schraubenwerk Gaisbach GmbH created the “Find IT” future study. It shows what is required by customers and experts from a practical standpoint: Fast product identification with linking of online applications in stationary retail at the point-of-sale shelf system and illuminated presentations with modern LED technologies allow for completely new shopping experiences. Product search via voice control on the shelf or search using your own smartphone with the help of a web app with subsequent acoustic and visual guidance to the right product is in demand. Themed worlds instead of product worlds or presentations are better suited to consumer projects.
TUNAP Technics: optimum lubricants thanks to new test bench technology
TUNAP develops, produces and sells chemical products in the areas of special lubricants, cleaning products, chemical-technical problem solvers as well as aerosols for the automotive aftermarket and industry. Exhaust emissions and exhaust after-treatment are increasingly becoming the Achilles’ heel of the automobile. Together with its customers, TUNAP develops solutions to deposits in the combustion chamber and on the injectors. In engine tests, a significant reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions was demonstrated through the use of TUNAP products.
In order to take account of the changing situation in mobility, a chain test bench was designed and built, on which optimized lubricants for the future are developed in cooperation with professional bike teams and manufacturers of bikes and e-bikes. It was possible to develop a series of wheel lubricants optimized for the respective user profiles through the test bench trials.
In the field of grease development, too, the focus was on the further development of test bench technology. The high-temperature performance of the greases developed by TUNAP can be further tested and improved using the newly-installed FAG FE9 rolling bearing test bench. The initial results are a series of boric acid-free calcium sulfonate complex fats, which can also be used in food contact applications. In the area of household products, development focused on optimizing established products in terms of toxicology (no critical components, free of fragrances and allergens) and performance.
Kisling Group: new, low-odor structural adhesive ergo. 1675
The Kisling Group is a manufacturer of high-quality adhesives and sealants for nearly all industries. The product range of the ergo. brand includes high-strength structural adhesives based on methacrylate and epoxy, anaerobic adhesives, instant adhesives and RTV silicones for a wide range of applications. Using adhesives and sealants is not without inherent health risks, which is why their use requires special precautions in terms of occupational safety. National legislation in all countries obliges employers to implement occupational health and safety measures. In the area of sustainability, Kisling started on the path toward health-friendly products 20 years ago with the development of non-labeled adhesives and sealants. With its comprehensive range, Kisling is today the leading manufacturer of adhesives with a “clean” safety data sheet. These products do not carry any hazard symbols. One of these developments is the new, low-odor structural adhesive ergo. 1675. With ergo. 1675, Kisling has launched an all-rounder in the field of plastic and composite bonding onto the market. This stable 2-component methacrylate structural adhesive offers new possibilities in terms of construction and material pairing by virtue of its particularly strong adhesion to composites, metals and various plastics. Special attention was paid to occupational safety during development: ergo. 1675 is virtually odorless and flame-retardant without any loss in strength or durability.
Arnold Umformtechnik: development of the double ball
In cooperation with Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the specialist for fastening technology in automotive engineering has developed the so-called double ball. This development will go into series production in the first quarter of 2019 with the new BMW 3 Series and is part of a completely new body construction concept. The double ball and the collar openings in the sheet metal allow entire body parts to be clipped together in advance and then welded together. This improves accuracy and saves jigs.
Reisser drilling screw for reinforced concrete anchor rails: precision without pre-drilling
For the fastening of roof and wall elements, anchor rails, e.g. HTU rails, are usually embedded in the concrete substructure on which they are later mounted. Both components must be pre-drilled for the assembly of the roof and wall elements. In this context, the very small space available for the screw in the substructure represents a particular challenge. The new RP-C3 screw for anchor rails solves this problem by shortening the drilling and grooving area: The screw first drills through the component and then screws itself precisely into the anchor rail in a single operation. This saves 50 percent more time because pre-drilling is no longer necessary. The screw has a European Technical Approval (ETA).
Würth Elektronik CBT: flexible printed circuit board TWINflex-Stretch
Making a wired circuit board flexible and stretchable was previously inconceivable. Würth Elektronik CBT and Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration in Berlin (IZM) have developed the TWINflex-Stretch, an elastic electronic circuit board that is ready for series production. They were awarded a gold IHK Research Transfer Prize in July 2018. The prize honors particularly accomplished and successful collaborative projects between industry and science. Initial areas of application include, for example, medical technology for newborns and premature babies: Heart and lung functions can be measured gently and carefully, incorporated into a measuring belt that rests on the baby’s body. Further potential applications are possible in the areas of smart and soft robotics, automation technology, sensor technology, and automobiles.
Circuit board technology: new process in printed circuit board production
The s.mask® technology, which was driven by Fela and Würth Elektronik CBT, pursues a new approach to the application of a digital, functional 3D surface and is intended to replace the conventional solder resist mask in PCB production. The design of the 3D surface provides space for individual customer wishes and special requirements to be met—for example, the entire surface of the customer logo can be applied as a hologram, similar to a user-defined watermark on paper. In addition to advantages in terms of precision and functionality, improvements have been achieved in the protection of the printed circuit board: on the one hand through the gentle application of the functional surface, and on the other by reducing the quantity and type of chemicals used. The technology was presented for the first time at the electronics world’s leading trade fair electronica in Munich in November 2018.
Würth Elektronik eiSos: high-temperature core material for molded storage inductors
A new core material was developed as part of a joint research project between Würth Elektronik eiSos and various partners along the value chain that is now used in the storage choke for the current WE-MAPI series storage inductors. It extends the application range of this series from 125 °C to 150 °C. Long-term stability has also been significantly improved with regard to aging phenomena, making modern electronics more reliable and durable. Within the context of e-mobility and sharing economy, this point is gaining in importance because electric vehicles have to sustain longer running times than previous combustion engines.
Würth Elektronik ICS: smart power and control systems
The boom in hybrid and electric vehicles is increasing demand for high-voltage components and system solutions for power distribution. Würth Elektronik ICS has many years of experience in the field of power distribution in mobile machines and commercial vehicles and has now also developed solutions for electric vehicles that can distribute and protect high currents and voltages up to 800 V. This enables Würth Elektronik ICS to respond to individual customer requirements with specific solutions and to offer cost-effective and quickly available standard solutions.