Thursday, November 30, 2017

You know you've made it when...

... your product becomes a synonym for an entire industry. Which is precisely in the case of Renishaw - or renishaw.
The Renishaw company was founded by two Englishmen: Sir David McMurtry and John Deer in 1973. McMurtry had needed to measure fuel pipes on a prototypejet engine. At the time, measuring machine sensors featured a rigid 'tip' which required manual positioning and which yielded poor repeatability when measuring delicate components. To meet this need, McMurtry invented a spring-loaded touch-trigger probe device tip, which he then patented. The new instrument tip was an elegant solution and was quickly adopted by leading manufacturers who needed measurements of ultra precision.
Our Kern mill arrived equipped with a renishaw probe. What a beautiful instrument! A glass enclosure reviling an electronics 'brain'; micro ruby ball on the tip of the styli; rigid - yet at the same time, a fragile, delicate instrument. The renishaw is mounted on the tool holder and can be 'grabbed and attached' on the main milling spindle automatically. Of course, for those of you who are into fine machining or coordinate measurement systems, this precision instrument is something you commonly see in action, on perhaps a daily basis. But for us, who have just started our journey into watchmaking, this renishaw is a very exciting newcomer to our workshop.
Made in the UK. Cool! 
And here is one more bit. Unlike the watch industry where every brand is working hard to 'stamp' its name on every single component claiming that the dial, hands, cases and all movement components are made 'in house' (when they are clearly not) it is really refreshing to see that true engineering companies which specialise in high-end manufacturing are actually proud to disclose their association with other industry leaders. And when you think of it - why would Kern even want to make their own renishaw when Renishaw has already invented a damn good one? Why would a world leader in the milling industry want to make collets for its machine when Schaublin, the leader in collets, has already reached the levels of precision required? And the list goes on - Erowa, Siemens, Zeiss, Boch... all supplying parts and technology to each other, for a common benefit. 
While 100% 'made in-house' may be great marketing news, such a watch mechanism is doomed to be a very average performer. Like it or not, sooner or later, 'in house' will become a synonym for a product which will lack the future; a product developed to please the brand itself rather than a consumer, at the cost of innovation and technical advancement. Open for cooperation, open for learning and sharing, an open mind. 
Quite frankly, I am so glad we are not in the watch industry anymore.

No comments: