Combined strengths: sales cooperation between Boehlerit and Horn

Boehlerit-ISO-WSPs und –Tools erweitern das Stech-Portfolio von Horn

Boehlerit ISO indexable inserts and tools complement the Horn grooving portfolio.

Boehlerit and Horn agree on large-scale sales cooperation: Tübingen-based grooving specialists add ISO milling and turning tools to their portfolio – and Kapfenberg-based cutting material and tooling experts regain top-level representation on the five most important sales markets worldwide

Sales cooperation initiatives in a specific industry are not unusual as such – if the two partners agree on a pragmatic approach and avoid hurting each other (or not too much, anyway), such initiatives can yield great results. However, the sales cooperation between these two “heavyweights” for carbide cutting materials and tools that was announced at the AMB in Stuttgart has yet another far-reaching dimension: both Horn and Boehlerit aim for a double-digit million Euro sales volume that is to be realised in the medium term – an ambitious goal for both partners. In this instance, things seem to have clicked into place for both sides! A cooperation of this magnitude that works for both sides, in every possible way, doesn’t just happen overnight – there is too much at stake for both parties. The mutual benefit must be attractive and pretty much guaranteed, and the timing must be fortunate as well.

But even more importantly – the chemistry must be right, resulting in a relationship that is built on mutual trust and empathy. Horn in Tübingen and Boehlerit in Kapfenberg have been working together on and off for the last five years, and this relationship was always characterised by mutual acceptance and respect: for instance, Horn purchases carbide granulate from the Styrians, while Boehlerit sends carbide plates to Tübingen for grooving. In short, a positive business relationship of the sort that is becoming increasingly popular in the industry. The times when suppliers all did their own thing and had little to do with each other are well and truly over. These days, companies try and do business for their mutual benefit, nothing more, nothing less. And yet, every now and then, situations can change literally overnight:
Lothar Horn, who as Managing Partner succeeded in doubling the annual turnover of Paul Horn GmbH three times within eight years, sums up what happened: “Approximately seven years ago, we had an extremely serious manufacturing problem with our carbide rods and we were unable to resolve it on our own within a reasonable time frame. In this hour of need, I started a round of emergency calls in the industry to see whether anyone out there could help us, and the reactions ranged from sobering to disappointing – until I got hold of Gerhard Melcher, Sales Manager for Turning and Milling at Boehlerit in Kapfenberg. He simply asked : ‘What exactly do you need?’ and promised us a concrete delivery schedule within two days. He kept his promise and helped us out of a quandary – this added a whole new dimension to our business relationship.” We can safely assume that Boehlerit did not lose out financially in providing this help – but that the charge involved wasn’t exorbitant, either. In fact, this spontaneous, professional helping hand turned out to be mutually beneficial rather than purely altruistic…

Das brandneue Fräsprogramm von Boehlerit ergänzt nun das Horn-Angebot auf adäquatem Niveau.

The brand-new Boehlerit milling range makes a premium addition to the Horn portfolio.

Soon after, following the division of the corporate group’s assets into the Leitz Group (of which Boehlerit is a part) and the four companies of the LMT Group, Boehlerit lost its access to several important export markets. Building up an export organisation from scratch? That costs time, money, effort and no end of trouble… … and at the same time, more and more (if not all) customers demand the widest possible range of machining tools from a single source, a trend that was becoming increasingly pressing also for Horn. You know the drill – in addition to your offer for grooving and turning tools for machining between two flanks, we also require ISO turning tools for general turning tasks, and, where possible, also a quote for face milling and side milling…
Eventually, Horn had to consider the question of whether, in addition to its sophisticated tooling range, it would make sense to develop an equally ambitious portfolio for general turning and milling applications, in tried-and-tested Horn quality. However, that would cost time, money, effort and no end of trouble… The milling programme, at least, already existed in a very basic form… but should Horn continue with extending it further? Or opt for a sales cooperation with Boehlerit, which would really be the obvious solution for both parties? This weighing of pros and cons went on for over a year and finally reached a conclusion in the summer of this year: The sales cooperation was agreed on and officially kicked off at the AMB 2016, where it was also announced to the public. The competition took it on the chin, and the Horn customers were naturally pleased with the expansion of the product portfolio. And Boehlerit? Well, there was a palpable sense of relief at finally being present once more on some crucial markets, thanks to Horn. For Boehlerit, this is what it’s all about: re-establishing an adequate presence on essential markets. And Horn is able to offer Boehlerit precisely that. Reversely, Boehlerit offers Horn a high-tech programme consisting of ISO turning and milling tools that is more than equal to what Horn has been offering its customers for years with its grooving tool portfolio. A few more words on these “essential markets”: Starting with the AMB, Horn offers its existing and potential future customers in Germany, France, Great Britain, the US and China full access to the Boehlerit programme of ISO turning tools as well as the brand-new high-end milling tools, all under the Boehlerit label (“as a matter of course”, emphasises Lothar Horn), and not under its own label, as happens so often on the market these days: “We don’t take credit for the achievements of others”, says Lothar Horn, and Gerhard Melcher adds: “These five countries stand for at least 50 percent of the global market potential for turning and milling applications.” Lothar Horn specifies this further:
“We expect an additional medium-term annual turnover in the double-digit million Euro range with the Boehlerit programme of ISO turning and milling tools.” The sales cooperation is the first step in this direction. The second step will be to represent the Boehlerit programme in an appropriate manner, with the sophisticated, customer-focused approach that is characteristic of the Horn sales network. Lothar Horn explains: “For our sales reps and our back office, this will entail intense training activities to ensure that they know the Boehlerit ISO milling and turning range as well as the Horn tools and that they will be able to provide customers with the same high-level support.” And what a coincidence that Horn ramped up its sales rep team less than two years ago – a step that is bound to come in useful now! On the other hand, some might argue that ISO turning tools are strictly standardised and therefore do not exactly qualify as high-tech products – so how do they fit into the sophisticated Horn portfolio? Melcher vehemently opposes this point of view: “The external geometry of ISO tools is strictly standardised, that is true – but they do differ significantly in terms of granulate, coating, edge preparation and the structure of the chip surface. In particular the chip surface geometries that we developed from scratch in our ‘chip channel’ have significantly improved the economic efficiency of our ISO indexable inserts.” Melcher then sets out to explain what a “chip channel” is – we had never heard of it! “Using a high-speed camera, we analysed the chip break for each turning application and, on the basis of this analysis, developed the fine-tune geometry for the best possible chip flow”. The result: optimised turning geometries for the machining of steel as well as trouble-shooting solutions for special steel grades and super-alloys. In addition, a new, tougher gradient carbide ensures a high level of machining reliability and an MT-CVD carbide layer offers greater wear resistance and allows for higher cutting speeds as well as increasing tool life by up to 60 percent. Lothar Horn agrees: “All ISO is not the same – that was a learning curve for me, too. The Boehlerit ISO turning programme actually fits in really well with us, as does the new Boehlerit milling programme.” The programme is based on eight innovative tooling systems, among them two multi-functional systems that enable two types of processing with just one base body, thereby reducing investment in carriers as well as warehousing costs. In addition, the range of new milling tools includes super- efficient high-feed tools as well as indexable inserts with 16 cutting edges. In order to fulfil the many different processing requirements for face and edge milling for all materials that are currently in use, Boehlerit offer no less than twelve carbide grades for milling alone. Melcher points out: “They all combine process reliability with economic efficiency,” and mentions the innovative and patented ‘TeraSpeed 2.0’ AlTiN layer in this context: “Thanks to the high aluminium content and innovative nano-structure of this layer, it is the first to combine opposing properties such as toughness, outstanding layer hardness and wear resistance.” It definitely looks as if the Boehlerit ISO turning range with its face milling and edge milling tools will make a worthy addition to the Paul Horn GmbH portfolio – and Boehlerit can rightly be proud to have found a sales structure in Horn that belongs to the best of its kind.

Lothar Horn and Gerhard Melcher have come to the same conclusion: “We just clicked!”