How Wimmer International helped create Hardox® 450
Wimmer International, a manufacturer of excavator attachments in Austria and the Czech Republic, has been using Hardox® wear plate and SSAB steel for almost 30 years. The family-owned business was founded in 1984, and today makes attachments for demolition and recycling, earthmoving, tunneling, and drilling technology.
Wimmer was, in fact, the company that first worked with SSAB to create Hardox® 450 in the early 1990s. The company is today a certified member of the Hardox® In My Body brand program and uses Hardox® steel not only in buckets but anywhere it can provide an advantage. This includes quick coupler systems, system adapters, buckets, tongs, milling cutters, hydraulic hammers, grippers, and more.
The birth of Hardox® 450 and a decades-long partnership
“When my father founded the company in 1984, he started by repairing excavator buckets,” says Andreas Wimmer, CEO of Wimmer International. “He wanted to find a stronger material for excavator buckets, to extend their lifetime, and that is when he came into contact with SSAB. He was one of the first to use Hardox® 400 for digging buckets, but even that was not enough for him.”
Around 1990, Alois Wimmer flew to Oxelösund, Sweden, to meet with SSAB and discuss how to create an even stronger steel. Working together, Wimmer and SSAB developed what would become Hardox® 450.
“At that time, it was called WHD450S,” Andreas says. “We had exclusive use of the steel for ten years, and now it is widely used in construction and excavator equipment. The funny thing is, if you buy Hardox® now it comes with the 450 signs on them, but ours still say WHD450S. Even though SSAB is a big company, they are very traditional in certain ways. They keep these traditions alive not because they need to, but because they remember these kinds of things.”
Hardox® 450 becomes the industry standard in Austria
Wimmer International is always looking for ways to improve its operations and increase quality. SSAB’s high-strength steel has been a key part of this.
“We use Hardox® and SSAB steel in everything we do,” Andreas says. “Up to 90 percent of our products are made with Hardox® 450. There are other parts where we need more elasticity or other properties, and in these cases we use SSAB’s Strenx® or Hardox® HiTuf. In Austria, Hardox® 450 is becoming the industry standard. If you don’t use it, customers won’t consider it to be a quality product.”
Wimmer International uses Hardox® 450 both as a wear plate and a structural material. With its digging buckets, for example, the company also uses Hardox® 450 to make the bottom plate.
“You don’t need to do that to be a certified Hardox® In My Body® manufacturer, but we pump up our products with as much Hardox® 450 as possible because this makes them lighter and last longer,” Andreas says. “If you use the material in a smart way, you can reduce the weight of a bucket between 10 and 15 percent. This helps our customers, because this means they can increase the bucket’s capacity.”
Continuing to innovate with SSAB steel
Wimmer’s new product for the tunneling industry is the Blue Badger, a compact excavator that delivers maximum safety and precision in tunnel construction.
“The Blue Badger is used for excavating cross passages between tunnels for emergency exits,” Andreas says. “We, of course, use SSAB material in it, especially in the boom. A regular excavator digs down, but a tunnel excavator has to dig in front, so the design is different. What’s unique about this product is its very small size.”
Wimmer International continues to share information and experiences with SSAB about its steel, and the company regularly sends engineers and welders to Sweden for training.
“We try to find good partners who are willing to listen and solve problems,” Andreas says. “SSAB is definitely such a partner for us. If our customers come to us with a problem, we try to find an innovative solution. SSAB helps us find a solution together. That’s how we are able to be successful.”
Bring on the benefits! Hardox® steel in excavator attachments
• Increase equipment uptime and productivity
• Make equipment safer, less prone to cracks and wear
• Boost sales with a strong steel brand recognized worldwide
• Get unparalleled tech support and service