“Contractors don’t see our advantages, they experience them”

Published 29/10, 2014

This feature is the beginning of a journey that starts in the valley of Tirol and stretches to all corners of the world. It’s about Tyrolit, the Austrian manufacturer, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of professional tools and equipment for concrete sawing and drilling. But Tyrolit is much more then that. PDi’s Jan Hermansson reports.

Tyrolit, Tyrolite or Tirolite, is actually a hydrated calcium copper arsenate carbonate mineral that was first found in 1817 in Brixlegg near Innsbruck, Austria. But to those working within the international concrete sawing and drilling and demolition industry Tyrolit is also one of the world’s largest manufacturers of diamond tools and machinery for drilling and sawing in concrete, bricks, stone and metal and cracking of stone and concrete. It is from this mineral Tyrolit got its name and also brand colour originally.

A glasscutter’s son
The majority of professional concrete cutters and demolition contractors know little of what Tyrolit stands for besides what is known from the concrete cutting industry. PDi intends to change that with this article about Tyrolit and will follow on with more articles about their equipment in use in various projects around the world. This is the first in a series of more in-depth articles featuring not only Tyrolit but several of our industry’s players.
The Tyrolit history started with Daniel Swarovski. He was born in 1862 in Bohemia, now the Czech Republic, but fled to Austria and settled in Wattens. His father was a glasscutter and ran a small glass factory in Bohemia. That is were Swarovski learned the craftsmanship. Swarovski started his own glass factory in Wattens in 1895 and the business was successful and grew fast. The crystal glass from Swarovski became more and more popular and in 1919 the company Tyrolit was founded and its primary task was to develop and produce tools for Swarovski’s own crystal making.
In 1950 the current head office for Tyrolit was opened in Schwaz in the middle of the Tirol valley and Tyrolit is one of the largest manufacturer there. The Tyrolit Group had a turnover of EUR562M in 2013 and has over 4650 employees worldwide with about 1180 working in Schwaz. The Tyrolit Group of companies belongs to the Swarovski Group, which has a turnover of more than EUR3bn. The business is privately owned by the Swarovski family and is currently run by the fifth generation.

More than 80 000 models
In the global concrete cutting business Tyrolit is known for its high quality diamond tools and machinery for concrete cutting and drilling. Tyrolit’s products are so much more than for sawing and drilling in concrete and its tools are used in a number of other sectors. Tyrolit mainly make a huge variety of different kinds of grinding tools, cut-off tools, sawing tools and drilling tools for use in the construction, offshore, aircraft, steel and automobile industries. About 25% of the annual turnover represents sales to construction related applications. More then 80 000 different tools and machines are produced at the Tyrolit factories which has 29 production locations in 12 different countries and on five continents. They are located at the headquarter in Austria, others in the US, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Thailand, China and South Africa. Tyrolit has 36 sales companies and sells products through additional distributors in more then 65 countries.
In the US Tyrolit has a subsidiary named Diamond Products, which is very well-known to the North American concrete cutting industry. Diamond Products is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It was founded in 1964 and was bought by Tyrolit in 1991. President of Diamond Products is Karl Moller, son of the founder. Diamond Products is one of the biggest manufacturers in its field in the US and has over 300 employees. It has an annual turnover of EUR70M in the US, which represent a little less than half of what Tyrolit’s sells to the rest of the global construction industry.
Diamond Products claim to be the leader in manufacturing and sales of floor saws in the US and second for drill systems. Tyrolit has recently introduced nine models from the US floor saw range onto the global market. The range of mostly petrol driven floor saws is part of a new drive to build up a worldwide network of retailers with tools and equipment from Tyrolit, which is also launching four new table saws. The retail assortment will contain the Tyrolit standard range of drill systems, cut off saws and the wide range of metal bonded, dry and wet diamond tools.
“In terms of our production facilities you could say that we very much follow our major clients around the world in order to give them the best service. Our factories are often located in the same country or near our biggest clients’ production facilities. Volkswagen is a good example,” said Tyrolit construction division manager Alfred Landl. The automotive industry is a strongly dominating client sector and Tyrolit sell complete grinding solutions for among others automotive gearboxes.

Business Unit metal/precision strongest
There are 4 business units within the Tyrolit Group, which are divided in Metal&Precision, Construction, Trade and Stone-Ceramic-Glass. Each business units has completely separate organisations and the highest sales and profits are within the business unit Metal&Precision. The production of precision tools are dominant and are made at selected manufacturing plants around the world, although the main production is in Schwaz and nearby Stans in Austria. For Tyrolit’s diamond tools with the new TDG©Technology, Tyrolit’s own system of arrayed diamonds in the segments, are all manufactured in Austria. The rest of the diamond tool series are manufactured at the factories in Rayong, Thailand, and in Cabreúva, Brazil. Some resin bonded tools are also manufactured in Samutprakam, near Bangkok, Thailand. For the US market they are produced in Oakdale and Elyria where also machines for core drilling, wall sawing, flat sawing and road grinding are also made.
Special bonds for the diamond tools are developed in Austria and transferred to selected factories around the world. The bonding mix is the key to the whole diamond tool and is a secret recipe for all diamond tool manufacturers. Professional machinery and systems for core drilling, wall and wire sawing is developed and produced by Tyrolit Hydrostress in Pfäffikon, Switzerland. Tyrolit Hydrostress will be presented in a separate article in PDi issue 5-2014.

The unique recipe
“To become successful in any field and in particular when developing and manufacturing different kinds of tools it is like a complex lace woven with a certain pattern and with machines that nobody else has,” said Landl. “That is why we have developed many of our manufacturing machines ourselves. The machines for the TDG Technology are a good example. It is completely new technology and the manufacturing machines and the product itself is all made in our own premises. It is sort of key for a family owned business and is why we are extremely strict with showing our production facilities to people outside the company. PDi Magazine is one of very few publications that has been let in to our premises to this extent.”
Landl also said that the company is very satisfied with the outcome of the introduction of the new TDG Technology. The market loves it and Tyrolit is now preparing to launch new products in TDG Technology. “Today diamond tools are all about cutting speed, life and comfort and on top of that is price,” said Landl. “Our tools are not considered cheap but they are on the other hand the fastest with best performance. We also put a lot of effort in testing our tools and machines and I believe to a larger extent then our competitors. We invest a lot to keep a maximum high quality level to meet our professional users’ level of demand.”
Tyrolit diamond tool marketing manager Roland Hettegger said that the current market situation for the company in Europe was quite flat. “The areas where we grow most these days are the Middle East and India. South America is also growing but at a slower pace,” said Hettegger. The strongest growth is in special applications and large dismantling projects with wire and walls saws, as well as larger construction and infrastructure projects. As an example Tyrolit is heavily involved in the construction of the new metro in New Delhi.
“To get the most out of our equipment there are a number of things that contractors need to consider,” said Hettegger. “And our job as manufacturers is to make them aware of this and to train them. They need to choose the right type of method for the job and the right type of diamond tools. Unfortunately I often see the wrong choice of diamond tools, which affects the outcome of a project. This is where we are good and able to provide solutions for our customers. We can propose the right method for a job, we have the right tools, the machines and can provide the support and service during the project.”
“Our clients don’t see our advantages, but they experience them when using our equipment in the field,” said Tyrolit training department manager Martin Zimmermann.

The focus now and for the future
In future Tyrolit will focus on special products, as well as building up their network of distributors and retailers around the world. In PDi 5-2014 a company profile on the Tyrolit subsidiary Tyrolit Hydrostress in Pfäfikon will be published.

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