Finding solutions to real-world challenges from real companies and presenting them to the company in a pitch – that’s what students attending InnoCamp36 at Steyr University of Applied Sciences do every year. RUBBLE MASTER took part in the competition again this year with a challenge relating to Marketing & Sales. The challenge: The pandemic has put a stop to many traditional channels of communication. In the construction industry, these include meetings in person as well as trade fairs and events. How can you persuade people who are critical of digital communication to join events online? Nine students from a wide range of countries tackled this challenge.

 

“Ask Rob” landing page to attract customers

The students created a “typical” RM customer named “Rob.” The idea: create a separate web page for customers who are not (yet) so web-savvy. The students even recorded several videos with “Rob” showing everyday scenes and questions from RM customers. In these videos, you can see how customers are presented with the solutions to their problems. “I am fascinated by how the students understood our problem after a short presentation and developed a workable approach in just 36 hours. We will definitely take the students’ concept into account when we develop a new website,” says Werner Ammerer, Head of Global Marketing at RUBBLE MASTER.

For 30 years, RUBBLE MASTER has been setting the trends by launching major innovations in mobile processing. This is no reason for a world market leader to rest on its laurels, quite the contrary: The RM Group is working flat out to bring the construction site of the future into the present to help its customers succeed with innovative crushers and screens. The balance sheet also confirms that this drive for innovation is exactly the right course: after a corona-related decline in sales in 2020, the RM Group was already able to exceed the 2019 level again in 2021 thanks to a high level of incoming orders.

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New products: Electrification and digital fleet management

Offering customers all-round solutions was a major force behind this year’s product launches. The launch of the new RM MXJ1100 signals RM Group’s decision to also produce jaw crushers for its customers. Together with RM impact crushers and RM screens, the jaw crusher creates a highly efficient processing line.

Processing lines and large fleets of crushers and screens also require a different and new kind of management system. On the construction site, everything needs to be connected – from the individual machines that interact with the operator and with each other to the central power supply. This is where RM NEXT level electrification plays an essential role. Although RUBBLE MASTER has been using electric drives for thirty years, the company has gone one step further and now also offers hybrid mobile machines. RM NEXT level electrification also includes communication between machines and is the basis for RM XSMART, the new Fleet Management and Condition Monitoring system. Recently launched, RM XSMART is the next logical step into a digital future.

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Investments in RM location and infrastructure

The RM Group is strategically focused on growth. That is why land and existing production and office buildings near the RM headquarters in Linz have been purchased in recent years. Work will start in 2022 on an extension to the existing production hall at Im Südpark 196 as well as on the construction of a new service centre in Südpark.

Further expansion of production in Pichling and Dungannon is planned for the coming years. “This will double our production capacity from the current 400 to 500 machines to 1,000 over the next few years,” says CEO Gerald Hanisch. In addition to the sustainability of RM products, RM’s strategy includes sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing plants. That is why the goal at the Linz location is to achieve energy-neutral operation within the next few years.

 

RM Family has also grown

Employees and sales partners are also needed to successfully implement the growth strategy. Accordingly, the RM Group has taken on more than 100 new employees worldwide this year alone, half of them in Linz and the other half in Northern Ireland. In six countries, new dealerships were also found:

  • Crusher & Screen Sales Pty Ltd in Australia,
  • NUEL CORPORATION MMC in Azerbaijan,
  • Suzhou Chengya Construction Machinery Co, Ltd in China,
  • Montreal Tracteur Inc. and Hot Mix Aggregate Equipment Company of Canada Inc.(HMA) in Canada,
  • James River Equipment and Southeastern Equipment Company Inc in the USA, and
  • OOO Ispat in Belarus.

We wish everyone at RM Group and all our business partners a Happy Christmas and much success in 2022!

The RM Family continues to grow: since 2018, the RM Group has added several production locations in Austria and Northern Ireland. This growth makes processes more complex and encourages teams to work together more closely. The RM Group answer to this is the RM Family Spirit, which embodies openness and reaching out to each other. One way this works is by using and expanding the latest communication technology with the internet and smartphones. Another way is to promote personal contact by organising visits to the various locations, even if this has to be planned and implemented with extra care due to the pandemic.

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Visits between Northern Ireland and Linz

“We are creating new jobs in Austria and Northern Ireland and establishing our RM Family Spirit across all our locations. We learn a lot from each other, both professionally and personally, and develop new products together. And it’s the TOGETHER that I would like to highlight in particular,” says RM CEO Gerald Hanisch, who very much appreciates the many years of screen expertise provided by RM colleagues in Dungannon. The different approaches boost ideas, kick-start innovations and improve workflows. So teams from Engineering, HR, Marketing, Purchasing, Logistics, etc., keep heading over to Ireland while Northern Irish colleagues travel to Linz. It was only in the autumn that Hannah Dillon, a business analyst from Dungannon, visited Linz. She is enthusiastic about the RM spirit in Ireland and Linz: “RUBBLE MASTER has a very progressive attitude to work, and the colleagues here are all very friendly and helpful”. During her visit to Linz in autumn, she was able to take away loads of inspiration for the implementation of an ERP system at the location in Dungannon, as well as having gained many personal contacts. Meeting colleagues in person and getting to know the locations also simplifies communication by email and phone. In addition to the economic aspects, the RM Group is also aware of its ecological responsibility and plans business trips for maximum effectiveness.

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Internship abroad for apprentices

Apprentices in Linz also have the opportunity to spend time abroad at the RM location in Dungannon, Northern Ireland. “The two-week internship is an incentive for our apprentices. We assist them from the beginning with planning their trip as well as establishing contact with colleagues. The way they have to organise the internship themselves and the cultural exchange promote independence enormously,” says Regina Denkmayr, apprentice trainer at the RM Group. “All-in-all, it was a great and interesting time. The colleagues in Northern Ireland were extremely friendly and helpful; they welcomed me as one of their own and showed me their everyday working life,” says Simon Gabriel about his internship in September. The apprentices not only benefit personally and professionally, the experience also has advantages for the RM Group, as warehouse logistics apprentice Gabriel explains: “The internship was very informative for me because it showed me how important good organisation and, above all, communication are within a company. I could see that good stores management, as well as a well-run ERP system, can make a very big difference to how quickly work can be done.” Now that the prospective warehouse logistics specialist has become familiar with the working methods and on-site layout of the Northern Ireland location during his internship, he will be able to make a decisive contribution to the implementation of the ERP system.

“Innovation is an integral part of RUBBLE MASTER’s DNA. This spirit of innovation requires courage, passion and a healthy error culture,” RM CEO and founder Gerald Hanisch made clear right at the beginning of his keynote speech. Together with our pioneering partners, renowned speakers were invited to hold inspiring keynote speeches covering a variety of topics:

 
 

Megatrends: The future belongs to the alliance of human and machine

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Marcel Aberle, Managing Director of the Austrian Future Institute, was the first speaker. He talked about current megatrends such as connectivity, globalization, circular economy and neo-ecology and how these influence the future of the construction site and the future of mobile crushing and screening.

 

Construction trends: Digital. Networked. Automated.

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Alexander Sommer-Fein, Managing Director of Peak Pride Management GmbH, then delved deeper into the construction industry topic. He drew attention to terms such as environment monitoring and BIM (Building Information Modelling) that he says are pointing towards the future. One conclusion: the construction site of the future is already here. A point that Sommer-Fein underlined with practical examples of start-ups from the construction industry. These pioneers have toolboxes that contain things like artificial intelligence, robotics and sophisticated sensor technology.

 

Construction site electrification with mobile voltage storage systems

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In addition to being autonomous and safe, the construction site of the future is also electric. This calls for new concepts to deliver the power needed by high performance construction machinery. The Austrian company xelectrix provides a solution for this. With their Power Box, they offer a power storage system that also meets the special requirements on construction sites. CSO Shaun Montgomery demonstrated how the system works and the capabilities offered by xelectrix.

 

Hackathon with students from the Technical College in Wels

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Under the direction of Dr. Alexander Brendel-Schauberger, almost 30 students from the technical college in Wels also took part in the RM Innovation Day. Following a two-hour briefing by RM CTO Markus Gaggl and RM Innovation Manager Jörg Reiter-Jäger, the students had two days to come up with forward-looking solutions to current challenges RM faces every day. In total, they presented six different pitches to the RM employees. The winning team will be invited to bauma Munich 2022, before which their idea will be followed up by from RM After Sales technicians.

 

RM Innovation Challenge – #keepinnovating

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In addition to the keynote speeches and pitches, various departments presented the projects they are currently working on. External exhibitors such as xelectrix, Dynell, Abaut, Software Competence Center Hagenberg and LCM (Linz Center of Mechatronics) also provided some exciting insights. On day two, thoughts and ideas were developed further during workshops at the Tabakfabrik Linz. The RM Innovation Days provided an interesting prelude to the current RM Innovation Challenge. During the challenge, employees from all departments are encouraged to talk about their ideas for crushing and screening in the future. In keeping with the principles of the circular economy, RM’s tagline is “eat, sleep, innovate, repeat” or #keepinnovating

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“When I founded RUBBLE MASTER as a mechanical engineer 30 years ago, I never imagined that one day the RM team would file a patent to do with artificial intelligence and digitalisation,” says RM founder and CEO Gerald Hanisch. This reflects the openness of Hanisch and the RM Group and is the basis for the success of RM crushers and screens all over the world. He puts buzzwords like construction site 4.0, zero emissions, connectivity and the like into perspective: “Yes, these terms describe current trends. But for me, it’s important to keep a 360° view. We take a look at everything directly on-site together with the customer to find potentials for how we can contribute to the construction site of the future. And to be honest, I like to set trends myself rather than jump on those claimed by others.”

 

Electrification of crushers AND screens

Hanisch gives a concrete example with electrification, where RM has been a pioneer for decades: “We electrified all the drives of our crushers right from the start in 1991. Other suppliers are only now following suit after 30 years and boasting about something that we have been consistently implementing since 1991.” As a pioneer in the electrification of processing machines, the company will launch a completely revised pre-screen later this year. “Screens are still almost exclusively equipped with diesel-hydraulic drives. We set a milestone here and continue to develop our screens. This means we offer customers a fully electrified solution that not only reduces costs but also increases efficiency,” explains Hanisch. Following the spirit of RM NEXT level electrification, this pre-screen is part of a smart processing line. Find out more about RM next level electrification.

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Visions for the construction site of the future

Reading about the construction site of the future often brings up the image of urban construction sites and terms such as autonomous driving, digitalisation and zero emissions dominate. Gerald Hanisch, however, knows his customers: “Construction sites will still vary greatly in the future. Of course, it will be extremely important in urban areas that noise, emissions and dust are kept to a minimum. For construction sites in remote areas such as the jungles of Southeast Asia or desert regions in Central and South America, on the other hand, issues such as energy supply and predictive maintenance are key. That’s why our top priority is to respond flexibly.” Digitalisation and artificial intelligence are essential for RUBBLE MASTER to evaluate and manage the entire flow of information from sensors and cameras. “Many machine builders see their crushers as solo players in processing. With our mobile impact crushers, we are thinking along the entire processing chain. Depending on the application, pre-screens and post-screens are important components in the process. That is precisely why we have also added a jaw crusher to our product range this year, in order to offer our customers the entire processing line to RM standards. These machines can communicate with each other  in order to avoid belts running empty and to save energy, for example,” explains Markus Gaggl, CTO. While autonomously operating crushers and screens are still at the development stage, the RM Group already offers its customers assistance procedures to optimally feed the crushers and screens thanks to the Performance Indicator. https://www.rubblemaster.com/en/rm-next/

 

Energy supply is a central topic

“Because we take the entire processing chain into consideration, power management has emerged as a particularly important topic for us,” says Gaggl, providing insight into another exciting topic from the RUBBLE MASTER innovation forge. Preventing energy from being consumed while machines are idling is one aspect of this topic where we have already come a long way. Still on the desks and PCs of RM engineers, however, are concepts for energy supply. Gaggl also sees the construction site of the future as definitely being electric: “The automotive industry is setting the pace here. Considering that the decision has been made to practically phase out combustion engines by 2030, there will be many more electric construction machines in the foreseeable future.” However, the grid operators also need to do their homework and expand the grid more. For RM, this is sometimes the reason to offer its customers the possibility to either connect to the grid or to work completely self-sufficiently or even to supply an entire processing line consisting of pre-screen, crusher and post-screen from a single power source.

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Company culture of innovative design

“We want to remain among the best crusher and screen manufacturers in the world and continue to set the pace for major innovations in mobile processing. We are pulling out all the stops to achieve this,” says Hanisch, confirming the company’s goals for the next decade. RUBBLE MASTER fosters a culture of innovation and a culture of error within the company. Problems are treated as opportunities to move forward. The key is bringing together the best minds in the industry under one roof at the RM Group. This includes having a dedicated team of employees as well as working together with universities and technical colleges. In keeping with the spirit of open innovation, Hanisch also talks openly about his source of creativity: “Diversity and openness are the most important aspects of creativity for me, to think out of the box and to create something new for our customers.”