R&P Metrology has been selling to the U.S. for a little over a year now. How did that start?
I’ve worked in this business, especially in the U.S. market, for many, many years. I think the first time I went to the states was around 1984. So I know the market very well, and I know the customers very well. When we started R&P, I knew that the U.S. market should be and could be one of our main markets. We are not concentrating on the whole field of gear inspection. We concentrate on medium and large size machines, customized solutions, and portable systems. The U.S. market seems to have a lot of good opportunities for us.
Kapp Technologies is the distributor for R&P products in the U.S. How did that relationship form?
Our cooperation with Kapp comes from the fact that I’ve known Martin Kapp well for over 30 years now. Therefore, when we started, I talked with him about the possibility of working together in this market. We agreed it would be mutually beneficial for both parties.
What industries or markets does R&P Metrology serve?
Our products are designed for gears starting at 1m and above. Companies who are cutting small gears are not our area. So automotive, for example, is not one of our fields. We look to serve the mining industry, the wind energy industry, shipbuilding, Navy suppliers. Companies who are cutting gears from 1m to about 10m or larger are our area of interest for our gear inspection or gear related machines.
What are some of your noteworthy products for the gear manufacturing industry?
We have several products of interest for gear manufacturing. We have the largest gear inspection machines that are presently sold in the world. These machines go to 4m and 5.5m, at a price at which nobody else can compete. Another very interesting field which we just started is the portable system, which can check gears right on the production floor, or directly in the cutting machine — hobbing machine, shaping machine, or grinding machine. This is of great interest for a lot of U.S. companies.
What are your expectations going forward for the portable system?
I think there is a real good future for it. There was a company who has had a solution 20 to 25 years ago, I worked for this company during that time period. People within the industry know this idea of inspecting the part directly in the cutting machine. Often, people have asked me, knowing that I was part of the development team 25 years ago, to now offer a similar new system based on the present technology. The old system was not portable. Our system now is really portable. You can carry it around on the production floor by a crane or by a forklift.
How has the portable system been received thus far?
We had a very successful trial of the system a couple of months ago at a very large mining company. The final result was that the people said our system exceeded their expectations, and these expectations were very high.
Can you give an example of applications for the portable solution?
One example involves the repair business. Often, when gearboxes come in for repair and the gears are damaged, technicians have no idea about the gear specifications. They can put our system either directly on the open gearbox and use reverse engineering to find out the data of the damaged gear. They can also check the gear just by putting it on the floor, or on spacers or supports, and then put our machine in front of it.
Also, this system can be put on what we call a docking station, which is a base plate of individual size (according to the customer’s needs) with an integrated rotary table (also sized to the customer’s needs). If you put this portable system on the docking station, it can be used just like a regular 4-axis gear inspection machine. When there is a need for the portable system in the production room, then you just take it off the docking station and move it where needed.
What is it that makes R&P Metrology unique?
Prior to R&P, I always worked for companies who had standard products. They produced all of the sizes — small, medium, and large machines — but they were still more or less standard products. There wasn’t much interest in modifying products to meet the customer’s individual needs. This is exactly what R&P is now doing. We do not want to go into the standard business. I do not want to go to a customer with a catalog. When I meet with a customer, I have a white piece of paper, and my first words to the customer are: “Tell me what you really need.”
Our goal is that the customer finally gets HIS machine and not just a machine. This separates us from the big players. They offer standard machines in standard sizes. For example, another company might offer a 1.5m, a 2m, and a 2.8m machine. If my customer wants a 2.4m machine, I build a 2.4 meter for him. We are willing to customize our product and for the customer. This sets us apart. It’s the basis for the success we have had in the three years of so since we started R&P.
MORE INFORMATION To learn more about R&P Metrology and its product line, please visit www.rp-metrology.de. Kapp Technologies serves as the distributor for R&P Metrology products in the U.S. Kapp can be reached by phone at (303) 447-1130, by email at email@example.com, or by visiting its website at www.kapp-usa.com.