Machine tools from Racibórz are created in order to search for new machining technologies. This type of strategy brings the company success.
“First of all, we focus on innovation. We solve technical tasks that cannot be performed with standard machine tools. We produce machines that meet the specific needs of our customers. Our philosophy is not to deliver a machine tool, but to solve a problem, ”says Sławomir Sywak, president of Design Technologies International DTI. Therefore, the manufacturer from Racibórz creates original machines that solve specific technical problems of customers.
85 THOUSAND CONSTRUCTION HOURS
Design Technologies International is a well-known manufacturer of special machine tools. The company specializes in the design and production of modern numerically controlled machine tools, used mainly in the energy, aerospace and defense industries as well as railways.
The company thus defines the principle of operation, which is fundamental to its strategy: “The development of many branches of industry forces producers to use newer and newer materials. At the same time, companies strive to increase efficiency and reduce production costs. To meet such challenges, new machining technologies are needed. That is precisely the job for DTI. ”
The company is known on the market primarily for machine tools that require heavy machining of details made of hard materials. Design Technologies International is able to produce no more than two machines per year. In addition, the company builds several lighter machines. The number of contracts carried out during the year, however, also largely depends on the level of innovation of a given project, and thus, on the degree of involvement of the company’s design office in a given project.
Due to the individual nature of the created technical solutions, the activity of the company’s design office becomes of primary importance. It is located in two places: in Racibórz, at the company’s seat, and in Pruszków. Currently, the design office employs 11 mechanic constructors and 5 electric / electronic constructors. “On top of that, there is also a group of regular collaborators who support DTI on larger projects. But this group of 16 constructors with an average age of less than 40 is the core of the company – says Sławomir Sywak and adds: – We value all projects. Undoubtedly, however, the greater the intellectual challenge, the more interesting it is. We have a great group of designers with world-class skills, vast experience, but with a fresh, innovative look. In this respect, the most interesting thing is the initial phase of the project, brainstorming until the final concept is developed. ”
This is important, all the more so as in the case of DTI each constructed lathes is different. Among the machines produced so far, the largest horizontal lathes had a distance between the centers of 22 m, and the workpiece weight was up to 100 tons. On the other hand, the company created centering machines in which the smallest rollers were one meter long and weigh several hundred kilograms. “Taking into account the specifics of our business, it can be said that for DTI technology is constantly changing, and each contract is a new technological solution,” argues the president.
The greatest technical challenge in the history of the company was to design and manufacture a lathe for machining propeller shafts for aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. Their recipient was the US Navy. We spent 85 000 construction hours on this project. ”
The lathe, made in Racibórz, is in operation at a shipyard in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. When it comes to machining accuracy, it is the best machine in the world in this class of machine tools. Pursuant to the contract, the spindle runout could not exceed 5 μm with the machine weight over 400 tons. The processed shafts had a weight of 80 tons and a length of 22 m. Such precise processing of large-size details had to be secured with special design solutions.
The lathe had 24 numerical axes and a pallet system with a “B” axis. “We met all the client’s requirements. This month the warranty period ends and the client is extremely pleased with the first years of the lathe’s operation – emphasizes Sławomir Sywak and adds: – We cannot comment on the details of the new contracts. As the subject of our activities are the most modern technologies, our clients always require the signing of confidentiality agreements. As for the contracts currently being performed, we are in the process of installing another gantry milling machine for processing rail turnouts for our Polish client. This will be the third installation at his plant. And next year, we will deliver machine number four to the same company. It’s hard to find better references ”.
When creating new machine tools, DTI each time solves specific technical problems that are to be a response to customer needs. Therefore, the technological process is of great importance. The starting point is the proper recognition of the needs of the potential recipient of the machine tool. This is important because many of the company’s customers primarily use the price, and not the technical parameters. While this can work for small machines, it is not for large and special machines. The selection of parameters is a derivative of the details to be machined on the machine, including the type of material they are made of, and depends on the type of processing (roughing or finishing), efficiency, etc.
“In the case of small and medium-sized machines, the basic selection criteria really can only be price and service. However, when it comes to heavy and special machines, it should be the implementation of the technical task and service – says the president of DTI. – Heavy machine tools are to solve the technical task set before them. For this to work, their manufacturer must have a lot of experience. In this type of projects, it is impossible to compare only basic technical parameters, such as the maximum diameter of the workpiece, its length or maximum spindle revolutions. In the case of heavy machine tools, the technical characteristics of the spindle depending on the speed (power and torque) should be additionally specified, as well as the actual rigidity of the machine tool (both static and dynamic) in terms of the technical task being carried out. Failure to specify these parameters in many cases may mean that the client’s expectations will not be met ”.
In the design process, DTI employees consult not only with the client at various levels (the technologist thoroughly reviews individual operations, production analyzes the existing problems with the processing of given details, the planning department is interested in the expected performance, and the sales department – the expected series), but also with tool manufacturers. (adjusting the parameters of the machine to the possibility of using the latest tools). This makes it possible to create a solution with the best possible cost-effectiveness ratio.
Working meetings with a potential client also indicate which details will be the most important in the created project. As a rule, it is the customer who has experience in machining important or similar details. Therefore, DTI obtains information about what has been the customer’s biggest problem so far, such as low efficiency, chip removal problems, etc. – says Sławomir Sywak. – We thoroughly familiarize ourselves with the technological process and operations to be performed. Should the machine be task-oriented or more universal? Is it to be able to process details, the sizes of which are not yet in production today, but will be in a year or two? We consult this with a tool company to adjust the machine tool parameters to the use of the latest tools ”.
The next step is to prepare a 3D project. DTI tries to take into account all the previously collected information and on this basis, and on the basis of its experience, offer the most appropriate product in terms of quality, price, efficiency and durability. If the project is approved, the contract is signed. “But the commitment of the client with whom we are still consulting detailed solutions is still very important,” emphasizes the president of the company. – After the delivery of the machine tool, we jointly assess whether it has lived up to the expectations. These requirements are written in the contract, e.g. checking the accuracy and repeatability, failure-free machining for a specified time, specific processing period of a given detail, and we also happened to have a contract stipulating the weight of the chips to be “produced” on the machine tool within one machining hours “.
Thanks to this type of approach, DTI creates technical solutions, often unique in the world, which are also adapted to the individual and often unconventional needs of the recipient. Therefore, it is not surprising that the manufacturer from Racibórz has a number of patents, indicating the uniqueness of the solutions used in its machines. “Our main advantage is that the client does not have to adapt his needs to the catalog of our products, because we adapt to the client’s requirements,” argues Sławomir Sywak and adds: – Almost every project allows you to find solutions that can be patented. On the other hand, and equally important, our machine tools meet all standards, including very strict safety standards ”.
CONDITIONS FOR CONSTRUCTORS
“First, we focus on innovation. We solve technical tasks that cannot be performed on standard machine tools. Secondly, what counts for us is the quality of workmanship, including the use of components from the best producers from the European Union (mainly from Germany, to a lesser extent from Italy and Spain). Thirdly, we focus on reliability, our machines are prepared for many years of work. They are adequately stiff, and therefore they work accurately and repetitively ”- this is how the exceptional standard is described by the president of DTI.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the United States was the main market for the machines from Racibórz for many years. Machine tools with the DTI logo also work, among others in Germany and Russia. In recent years, the share of the domestic market in the company’s sales structure has clearly increased. It can gradually increase, because the most promising industry for the company is primarily the energy industry, as well as the defense industry and aviation. At the same time, Polish manufacturers are beginning to mature to be able to become a recipient of special machines, such as DTI machine tools. As Sławomir Sywak states, this is the result of the fact that domestic customers are able to define their needs more and more precisely. They are also starting to look for solutions not the cheapest, but the best. This is a huge difference and an opportunity for DTI.
An interesting issue in this context is how the management of the company from Racibórz perceives the company’s development in the coming years. “In the niche in which we operate, flexibility and adaptation to customer needs counts. Inherently, smaller companies are more flexible. So we don’t want the company to grow unnecessarily. The development will focus on the use of better and more effective programs, because design is our strength. And it is the constructors who have to create the best possible working conditions. Give them a constant chance to develop and follow global trends – emphasizes Sławomir Sywak and sums up: – We also equip our assembly hall on an ongoing basis and expand quality control systems. Most of all, however, it is important that we have a fantastic group of people, competent and full of enthusiasm, who are associated with the company for better and for worse. These people are the foundation of DTI.
“Our designs have so far been based on CNC systems from companies such as SIEMENS, FANUC, HEIDENHAIN and INDRAMAT. Depending on the country of destination, the electrical control system is designed and manufactured in accordance with the regulations in force there. For example, for US customers, the electrical components we use are only UL Listed approved. For the construction of control systems, we use devices and materials of the highest quality, bearing in mind safety, functionality and the longest possible uptime – says Sławomir Sywak, president of Design Technologies International DTI sp.z o.o. – We offer our clients technical solutions enabling remote diagnostics of the control system, thus ensuring constant technical support and quick service ”.