Author: Philipp Moser
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.”
Following the Bauma Shanghai 2020 trade fair, an RM 120X accompanied by an HS5000M screen went to one of the region’s largest construction companies: concrete and brick manufacturer Dongyang Beijiang New Construction Materials Co, Ltd. in Zhejiang on the east coast of China. They were impressed by the machinery’s Austrian origins, its throughput, performance, technology, smart NEXT connectivity, and the high quality of its components and spare parts. The crusher’s first job is the construction of a reservoir for supplying water to the local population.
This construction project involves the RM 120X crushing chalcanthite from a nearby quarry to produce construction material in sizes of 0-7, 7-20 and 20-45 mm. As the construction of the reservoir progresses, the crusher supplies gravel directly to the concrete mixing plant. The project is scheduled to last three years and will involve the processing of between two and three million cubic metres of natural stone.
Within a short time of arriving on site, the new crusher had made a strong impression on its new owner. Not long after, a change of location was necessary, and the crusher was able to cover the distance of about one kilometre using its own remote-controlled crawler gear, without the need for a trailer or transport vehicle. With the help of the light signals on the Performance Indicator and the Operations Assist interface, the status of the machine is clearly visible to the operator. The light signals provide information on loading and machine status and can be seen outside the danger zone or from the excavator cab. RM GO! SMART also provides continuous information on the status of the machine in real time.
The FH University Upper Austria has carried out a number of projects working together with the RM Group over the years. Last week, FH University Wels presented their latest project on the topic of future trends in the construction industry to more than 20 RM employees from various international locations.
RUBBLE MASTER has been a pioneer from the very beginning and continues to set new standards in mobile reprocessing. To maintain this edge, it is necessary to continuously monitor and evaluate industry trends. This ensures that product developments meet future market needs. That is why 4 students on the Innovation and Product Management course developed a trend radar, which visualises the most important industry trends, categorises them into segments and shows the time horizon as well as their importance.
They have analysed 32 trends to identify the top 5 trends for the next five years and to review the current focus in product development. Trends were examined that met the following criteria:
• Concerning the whole market
• Bringing about medium or long-term change
• Based on the evolution of machines
• Are associated with other trends
The evaluation shows that the RM Group identified the right topics for the future at an early stage and already offers products that are aligned with the trends. The five main trends are:
2. Networking of machines
3. Safety on site
5. Electrification of hydraulic components
The next step involves analysing and evaluating more distant future trends with the help of the trend radar, while continuously monitoring and updating that status of short-term trends. We would like to thank Stefanie Hörburger, Thomas Achleitner, Thomas Hüttler and Mathias Weber and for their great work. We look forward to seeing how things develop during their internships and wish them all the best for their further studies.
Even Corona could not stop RM Group moving from strength to strength. At the very beginning of the crisis, RM formulated a strategy taking various scenarios into consideration, that the company has followed ever since. The company’s founder and CEO, Gerald Hanisch, together with the RM Team, continued to push ahead with major topics such as the growth strategy and ongoing digitalisation. This has also seen further optimisation of the processes at the RM Dungannon location in Northern Ireland. Turnover is expected to grow by another 21% during 2021.
Over the past year, strong internal cooperation, flexibility in daily work routines and permanent availability for the customer have become more important than ever: “Even during these difficult times, our principles and corporate values have once again been confirmed. The strong corporate culture and open information policy have ensured that RM continues to act as a strong team. Each and every employee makes an important contribution to the company’s development,” says Hanisch proudly.
Team spirit proves its worth in the crisis
“The well-being of our employees is a primary success factor for RM Group. That’s why we implemented proactive measures to protect our team at a very early stage, going beyond the legal requirements,” says Hanisch. Since the beginning of the year it has been possible to take part in voluntary rapid testing every week; and there are plans for getting vaccinations at work.
In addition to standard prevention measures, RUBBLE MASTER also pays attention to the social aspects. While employees are working from home, active communication is maintained with colleagues to make sure everyone stays in contact and keeps up the team spirit. A designated COVID representative is available for employees to contact at all times, and employee events have been hosted digitally. As compensation for the Christmas party, each employee received a meal voucher so they could support other local businesses at the same time.
Apprenticeship training during Corona
RUBBLE MASTER stays ahead in the increasing competition for attracting the best skilled employees with a well-established, high quality apprenticeship training programmed. This already has a long tradition at RM and is seen as an integral part of corporate culture – even during the crisis.
As a result, all the apprenticeship positions available in 2021 have already been filled. Four apprentices will start their training as construction machinery technicians, metal workshop technicians and office assistants in August to strengthen the current team of 17 apprentices. Thanks to extensive preventive measures (rapid testing on arrival, wearing masks and social distancing), job application management and this year’s try-out days were carried out safely, even with the pandemic.
“The challenges faced by our current apprentices were also overcome through working together and the mutual support of the RM Family,” says Hanisch. For example, apprentices attending their first year of apprenticeship with distance learning, were provided with extra tutoring in the company. This gave older apprentices and employees who joined the company as apprentices the opportunity to help the newbies get a good start.
Digitalisation in everyday work
During times of social distancing, it was also necessary to adapt the company’s internal and external communications. Thanks to RUBBLE MASTER’s international presence, the digital infrastructure for setting up offices at home and decentralised work was in place from the very beginning. All the documents used by Marketing, Sales and Engineering are available at any time and anywhere on RM Mediaworld – a cloud solution for employees and sales partners. To keep in close contact with sales partners despite travel restrictions, online meetings with international dealerships have become regular events. RM will continue these frequent, short but intensive meetings in the future, because then campaigns can be implemented faster and be more focused on regional markets.
In addition, a digital company presentation called “RM Cockpit” has been developed that can easily be used in digital meetings with customers and completely replaces print documents and PowerPoint presentations. An online spare parts shop rounds off RUBBLE MASTER’s new digital service offering.