Everyone here at Steiner has H. Bilz on the mind. And for good reason: our team is currently finalizing plans to add a new line of counterboring tools made by German manufacturer Hermann Bilz (H. Bilz). For both Steiner and H. Bilz, this is yet another chapter in a decades-old manufacturing partnership. And as our plans unfold, it has spurred several questions from both Steiner customers and outside manufacturers who are simply interested in learning more about H. Bilz tooling solutions. In this blog, I aimed to address some of those key questions with the most direct approach possible; that is, I talked to Steiner’s President, Andy Nolan, to capture his key takeaways about our new product line.
Q: What prompted the decision to sell H. Bilz products in North America?
A: The short answer is that it just makes sense — for several different reasons, really. For one, the Steiner-H. Bilz partnership is already about 35 years strong. Like Steiner, H. Bilz is a manufacturer of custom tooling solutions. Our two companies share similar values. We understand each other, and we know that we work well together. Despite geographic distance, we work in similar environments and share a similar customer base. Plus, the partnership is already happening with much success in our European and Asian markets, where H. Bilz has helped expand distribution opportunities for Steiner solutions. Now we’re simply reversing that effect, by serving as a distributor of H. Bilz products in U.S. markets. All in all, it’s a natural fit – plus a beneficial move for our customers as we will be stocking these items in the United States.
Q: You mentioned a similar customer base. Can you describe how H. Bilz products coincide with the needs of Steiner customers?
A: Every manufacturing company obviously has very different purchasing needs. There’s no single best tooling solution that works across the board for everyone. The Autofacer, for example, remains the heavy hitter for high volume, tough applications that require speed, reliability and automation. But for shorter production runs and less demanding applications, a manual solution might be the more economical choice. Ultimately, our customers appreciate having a single resource, much like a “one-stop shop,” that they can trust to help them find the best reverse machining solutions for their manufacturing needs. That’s the model we are hoping to move toward.
Q: Can you highlight a few H. Bilz tool solutions that you’re most excited about?
A: It’s hard to pick just one… H. Bilz includes a wide breadth of products, each with different benefits. I would say I’m most excited about the tooling solutions that fill the needs that the Autofacer® may not be ideal for. Here again, I’m referring to manufacturers who have less parts to produce and need a more manual option for short-run production. For this, H. Bilz offers the TU-Style Reverse Counterbore System, a manual system with a fast cutter head change-out that is easy-to-modify to special sizes and geometries.
Q: Any other H. Bilz products that you’d like to mention?
A: There’s also the RBS-Style Reverse Boring Bar for very fast back counterboring applications with “normal” length-to-diameter ratios, as well as the RFS Reverse Chamfering Bar, another automatic reverse boring tool that is perfect for creating back chamfers and countersinks. The RFS chamfering bar has high material strength and a large cross-sectioned body that allows for higher cutting data than some other manufacturing processes. Both of these tooling solutions can be smart, time-saving choices that greatly improve your operations.
Q: When will we see H. Bilz products on Steiner’s website?
A: Soon! Our Steiner website redesign, which will feature both Steiner and H.Bilz tooling solutions, is well underway and we look forward to launching it soon. It will also contain several helpful resources (videos, technical documents and more), to help manufacturers make informed decisions and feel connected to the manufacturing community. We’re very excited about all of these changes!
Want to be in the know about H. Bilz and other tools that can benefit manufacturers? Sign up now (see form at top right) for Steiner updates and we’ll let you know once our newly redesigned website is ready! And as always, if you have questions or would like to discuss, don’t hesitate to connect with us at any time.