In the last edition of SysNotes, I talked about the level of integrity used in the production of our products. Think about this... If I told you that I would become your cell phone provider and guaranteed that your phone would work 99% of the time would that be acceptable? That means that 14 minutes of every day your phone would not work. Not so great after all, huh?
I don't know about you but it's almost uncomprehensible to think about something in terms of millions. When is the last time you counted a million of something?
We measure our tolerances in terms of parts per million. Ok, what's the big deal? The big deal is that our parts suppliers need to meet very strict tolerances and most of them have fewer than 60 parts per million (or 99.994%) that do not meet those tolerances. Let me give an example of a strict tolerance to put things into perspective. There's a part in our Rotex sanders that has a specification of an 8mm diameter with a tolerance of 8 microns. A micron is 1/75th the width of a human hair.
In simple terms, that means we strive for perfection because we want to provide you with the best tools in the world.
A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to the Festool headquarters located in Wendlingen, Germany. During my visit, I had the opportunity to tour the production facilities where Festool power tools are born. The operation was just as impressive as the tools that are produced there with exacting detail given to every step of the manufacturing process.
Decades Of Experience.
Festool developed and patented the guide rail in 1962 and the plunge cut saw in 1980. These are two of the many innovations that Festool has introduced that have changed the landscape of woodworking. Since their original development, these technologies have continued to be refined based on decades of experience. For instance, in 1982, the guide rail was redesigned to include a splinterguard and updated again in 2003 to add additional functionality.
Today the current versions of the Festool FS guide rail and TS plunge cut saws continue to set the benchmark for precision and reliability. Bernd Fleischmann, a Festool engineer, sums it up best...
"If the result of our work at Festool is not better than everything else on the market, we prefer not to come out with the tool at all."
You may not have noticed but the new Festool MFK 700 Trim Router and OF 2200 Router both employ a newly designed collet.
The new design dramatically improves the service life of the collet and protects against the invasion of contaminates such as saw dust, solid surface dust and other abrasive materials that would normally damage the internals of the collet.
Festool performs a test where Arizona dust is blown on a tool in a dust chamber while the tool is running. The time taken for the tool to fail under these conditions is measured. This is how it is determined if the switch, electronic parts and gears withstand the toughest conditions in a dusty environment and meet the minimum durability requirements of the tool.
Arizona dust is supposedly the most aggressive dust in the world.
In 1951, Festool introduced the world’s first handheld orbital sander which shaved hours off of an otherwise tedious job.
In 1976, Festool develops the first random orbital sander to market maturity.
In 1984, the dual-mode Rotex RO 150 E for outstanding surface results with a single tool, from rough sanding to fine finishing - the first sander of its type.
There are many reasons why more and more customers would rather invest in a high quality tool than "throw away" models. One of those reasons is directly related to the availability of consumables and spare parts.
Here is a question we often get from customers; "If a tool that I bought a while ago gets discontinued, do I have to worry that I won't be able to buy consumables and spare parts for that tool anymore?" The answer is "no". Festool guarantees the availability of consumables and spare parts for at least 7 years after a tool is discontinued. We say "at least" because for almost every tool we have discontinued in the last 20 years, there are still spare parts and consumables available. Festool tools last very long under normal conditions. Believe it or not, we sometimes get tools back for repair that were sold in the 1950s and have been in use since then! In most cases we still manage to find the right parts for these tools.
So the next time you make a tool purchase, choose to invest in a Festool product that is designed for durability and for which consumables and spare parts will be available for decades to come.
Faster. Easier. Smarter.