VOL. 3 February ISSUE YEAR 2002
in Vol. 3 - February Issue - Year 2002
With Creativity to Success
Peter Beckmerhagen, President of FROHN
Interview with Mr. Peter Beckmerhagen, President of FROHN one of the world-leading manufacturers of conditioned cut wire media.
(?) MFN: FROHN is a company with more than 40 years of tradition and experience. Have you produced peening media since the very beginning?
(!) P.B.: Since we were first established in the late 50's we have cut wire however, we produced and sold wire "as cut" for purposes different from what today's market demands. FROHN first started conditioning cut wire in the mid 60's and we have continued to advance the quality of our product to the present day.
(?) MFN: In the last few years FROHN has been transformed into a truly global organisation. You have expanded your manufacturing sites in Europe, established one in the United States, opened offices in 5 different countries and obtained several independent distributors on 3 continents. What industry or industries is FROHN concerned with mainly or actively serving?
(!) P.B.: The Automotive industry and their sub suppliers are nowadays certainly some of the most important industries for us where volume is concerned, whereas the Aviation industry is technically the most demanding. There are also a small percentage of similar and varied applications where conditioned cut wire is used to increase service life as well.
(?) MFN: What do you feel is the secret to Frohn's burgeoning success?
(!) P.B.: The Industry has recognised that shot peening is in many cases the best means of improving mechanical performance and the service life of parts. We simply developed the right product meeting and generally exceeding the very high requirements of the aforementioned industries. A conditioned cut wire consistent in quality, size, shape and hardness is the key to tailoring our product for the market.
(?) MFN: Your Company was integral in the introduction of conditioned cut wire into the North & South American markets a few years ago. You were faced not only with difficulties associated with introducing a new product, but also a higher material cost for conditioned cut wire media in comparison to cast shot. How were you able to convince customers in this very competitive market to consider using cut wire shot?
(!) P.B.: In most cases the performance of the product itself was enough to convince a potential customer. The challenge for us however was in persuading customers to make an actual test with our product in their machines for comparison. Once they saw the superior qualities of conditioned cut wire shot the sale was almost complete.
(?) MFN: Conditioned cut wire is used for blasting and peening. Most of our readers are aware of the differences between these applications. However, how do these two processes influence the media requirements and how would you quantify the two different markets?
(!) P.B.: Most of our customers are in the business of peening however there are those in foundries that have found added benefits in using cut wire shot. Our cut wire shot exceeds the requirements of foundries and because of its inherent characteristics it does not readily breakdown like cast shot. Many foundries have also found the extended useful life of our product to be a cost savings when compared to cast shot. When peening however, the industry standards themselves set and directly influence media requirements and generally specify conditioned cut wire shot.
(?) MFN: When producing a product such as yours it is not only quality, but also availability and the logistics of distribution that can mean the difference between success and failure. Looking at your progress you have obviously managed well. What would you say has enabled you to manage and surmount such logistical problems?
(!) P.B.: We at Frohn are committed not only to product quality but also to customer service. It is through our commitment to customer service that we strive to meet our customers' needs and one necessity they stress most is availability. We therefore feel that there is no alternative but to provide our customers with what they need most whether it be technical expertise or product we make it available.
(?) MFN: The aviation industry uses considerably less conditioned cut wire media then the foundry and automotive industries. However in comparison to its usage the aviation industry has very stringent quality requirements. Compliance with demanding specifications, the ability to trace production processes and detailed media analyses are all crucial factors. What efforts have you already taken, or what are you planning, to address these demands?
(!) P.B.: We take pride in being able to address all our customers' needs and the demands of the Aircraft Industry are met with commitment and resolve at every opportunity. Part of this commitment is our certification by Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance as meeting and often exceeding compliance with ISO standards, which inherently addresses many quality issues. We have further resolved this commitment by providing an open exchange of knowledge and expertise that enables us to tailor our product and processes to an individual clients needs. Insuring not only the best possible product but also the best possible end result for the client when using our product.
(?) MFN: There are pros and cons to Product diversification, how has Frohn diversified and what is the strategy behind it?
(!) P.B.: Our product line has evolved over the years to what it is today. Many of our products have parallel or similar production processes and as such we simply expanded our product line through a series of natural progressions. There is of course an added benefit to a diverse product line especially in tough economic times.
(?) MFN: The Shot peening industry as a whole has diversified and grown over the years. What do you foresee the future has in store for conditioned cut wire shot in the industry?
(!) P.B.: Technology associated with the Shot Peening Industry is continually making advances and these advances will spawn new and continued growth. The progress of the industry will also lead to tougher requirements as manufactures seek to more tightly define their processes. We at FROHN are committed to the continued advancement of conditioned cut wire shot and paralleling the progress of the shot peening industry. FROHN intends to stay at the forefront and help redefine the future of Conditioned cut wire and the peening industry.