Service – precisely what you value

On a small, high-tech machine, one customer produces high-precision components for respiratory protection devices; another mills gigantic tools on several portal systems; the third produces turbine blades on a 5-axis machining center. Günther Eller, Head of the Customer Servicebusiness unit at Starrag, knows only too well that such different customers with their own individual requirements do not want off-the-shelf products. In this interview, you will find tailor-made answers.

What does the service strategy look like in a company that has made a name for itself through, among other things, a unique parallel kinematic machining head for machining aluminum or through Starrag machining centers specializing in turbine blade production?

Günther Eller: We go to great lengths to offer our customers service solutions tailored to their needs. As part of this, the service often starts before a failure occurs. We use a wide range of measures to ensure that machines fail rarely or not at all.

How do you optimize the service? What do you focus on?

Günther Eller: We are currently investing in developing proactive support in particular. This is not just a question of products for preventive maintenance, but also preventative consulting. We want to promote dialog with the customer during the useful life of the machine. To this end, we have significantly increased the number of onsite support staff to reserve time for customer visits.

The spindles play an important part in the life of a machine: What do you see as a strength of your spindle service compared to manufacturerindependent service providers?

Günther Eller: Of course, as the manufacturer, we know our products a lot better. The customer can also be sure that, where necessary, our service will use the latest methods to bring the spindle up to current levels of technology. All in all, we differ from external providers in one key respect: We are responsible for the safety of the entire machine, not just for the safety of the repaired or replaced spindle. We also have replacement spindles available that the customer receives immediately with no waiting time.

The motor spindle is extremely common across all Starrag model series: What do you recommend here for a customer who is very interested in high reliability and stable costs?

Günther Eller: Here, I would recommend a contract with predictable fixed costs: If the spindle fails before the typical service life, the customer only pays a proportional amount, i.e. pro rata. Otherwise, the full price is due.  

Is there a special service offer?

Günther Eller: Yes, this is the new ServicePlus concept, which contains a tailored, customer-specific solution to guarantee machine availability according to agreed availability targets. This is all available for a fixed price. I see this concept as our most innovative solution at this time for each machine from the Starrag Group.

What exactly does ServicePlus offer?

Günther Eller:  The customer receives a five-year warranty including annual preventive and forward-looking maintenance according to MTBF consideration for the period of the contract. There are additional special agreements regarding things like spare part supply, remote diagnostics, telephone support and training of machine operators. All of these extras complete the package.

Who has been enthusiastic about this concept? 

Günther Eller: We have successes in the UK, France and even in China. In Germany has the Siemens turbine factory in Görlitz decided for ServicePlus.We offer ServicePlus today as well along with new machines as well in hindsight.

What about the cost?

Günther Eller: Practice has shown that the ServicePlus concept is cheaper for the customer than to pay for unplanned outages.