Stromag: Engineering and quality combined
Founded in 1932, Stromag is now a globally recognised manufacturer of high-quality, engineered power transmission parts including brakes, clutches couplings and geared cam limit switches. Having been acquired by Altra Industrial Motion Corporation in December, 2016, Dr. Robert Rank, Stromag Managing Director, explains the secret to the company’s continued success and what the future holds for the brand.
Stromag has a great deal of engineering expertise across many industries. Where does this heritage originate from?
This year Stromag celebrates its 85th anniversary, but we don’t consider ourselves to be an old company. Of course we’re extremely proud of our history and the expertise we’ve developed, but we’re constantly looking to improve and develop our capabilities to offer customers even greater performance.
When the business was first founded in 1932 it produced clutches and brakes for the mining and steel industries. As the company grew throughout the 20th century we moved into an expanding number of industries including oil & gas, tooling, agriculture, construction, civil engineering and even stage & theatre. Our product portfolio quickly began to expand to meet the changing customer needs of these new industries.
Today we produce clutches, brakes, couplings and geared cam limit switches, and offer custom engineering services to the majority of our customers. We’ve also developed a maintenance and aftermarket service to ensure our customers get the best performance from our products throughout their entire service life.
How important are your engineering capabilities to delivering a strong solution to your customers?
Our engineering expertise and know-how is how we separate ourselves from many other manufacturers on the market. We start from a very broad product portfolio, but for almost all of our customers we offer bespoke solutions.
We have an engineering community of qualified application engineers who have experience working in many different industries. They will talk to the customers to help define (and sometimes anticipate) what is needed to best meet their performance requirements. From there we will develop the best product with the best value for any given application.
Our customers know the Stromag name and appreciate that quality is designed into all parts as standard. Beyond that they also want our engineering input. They work with us because they know that we understand their application and their industry.
How are your engineering capabilities set up to provide long term maintenance support to your customers?
Good service extends beyond product design and installation. Many of our customers expect a service life of between 10 to 20 years without any complaints as standard – in some applications this may stretch to 40 or 50 years. This is where our history is important as we can prove our ability to commit to long-term, effective maintenance and aftermarket partnerships.
We store all the data and drawings for each application so that we retain knowledge on all our customer projects. This means that we can source spare parts and provide on-hand engineering support at any time.
Beyond simple maintenance and servicing, we also work with our customers to recondition and retrofit pre-installed systems with state-of-the-art technology. Features such as sensors and online monitoring allow us to improve efficiencies, while new materials technology will often improve the performance of a component. Our engineers will always look for ways to make useful improvements when servicing a part.
Now that Stromag is part of Altra Industrial Motion what changes should customers expect?
Being part of the Altra Group of companies presents us with an opportunity to further grow our international footprint and support end-users worldwide. For over 20 years we’ve operated beyond Europe in North America, India and China. Altra has extremely strong manufacturing, engineering and aftermarket roots in all of these regions (and the rest of the world) so we look forward to working with company’s global manufacturing and supply network.
Altra has a great reputation for working with its brands to improve manufacturing, engineering expertise and logistics; so we will be working to expand our global manufacturing capabilities and maximise the competitiveness of our service on an international scale. In particular, we will continue to make strides towards Lean Manufacturing – a discipline that Stromag has always believed in and that Altra has particular expertise with.
Stromag is seen by our customers as a provider of high-quality, premium products which are engineered perfectly to the needs of their application. I’ve always told our employees that if our customers sleep well using our products, that is the best thing we can achieve. I believe that working as part of the Altra Group is the best opportunity for us to maintain the very highest standards for our customers.