The Swedish construction industry faced a big challenge in the nineties as different manufacturers of quick coupler systems drifted apart more and more and tools and couplers of different makes did not fit together. At that stage an initiative was taken by the Swedish trade association for suppliers of mobile machines to develop the Symmetrical Standard (S-Standard), in order to create compatibility between tools, quick couplers and tiltrotators. Today the industry face basically the same challenge when different fully automatic systems are not compatible, and the customer suffer the consequences.
Open-S builds on the established and open S-Standard and is not a company-specific or closed partner program. In the latest revision of the S-Standard, from 2011, it is also stated that one of the purposes of the standard is to “create a design that allows for future installation of fully automated systems for hydraulic couplings and electrical cables” . Open-S is thus completely in line with the original ideas behind the original S-Standard.
Open-S has been developed with the dealers and machine owners in mind. Customers have different needs and we think it is important that the customer has the option to choose and is not locked into a company-specific solution. This is the reason why Open-S is open and we already have other manufacturers who have applied for membership.
As we have agreed on how the products should be connected with each other, the customers can choose freely from the product offering by manufacturers that are in compliance with the standard. It becomes clearer for the customer what fits together and what warranty commitment apply. We continue to take full responsibility for our respective products, but by collaborating we can focus on avoiding problems and find better technical solutions. That also creates more room for new innovations.
Compatibility and safety are of course important questions in the development of Open-S. That is why we ensure that the tiltrotator and work tool fit together with the customer’s choice of equipment. Members of the standard must meet a number of technical criteria and tolerances, and also be able to produce the products with good quality in large series. The door is open to all manufacturers who are interested and the technical questions can be managed.
This is therefore not a question of technology but about politics. You need to want to cooperate to be able to cooperate. An example of a design change that causes problems is Oilquick’s introduction of their Front Pin Guide-pins that no longer follow the symmetrical de-facto standard, with the only purpose of preventing compatibility. This is a sign that compatibility is not seen as desireable. Instead of focusing on what makes us different from each other, we prefer a scenario where we keep developing the common standard together, to be able to make the same journey in the future as for example Bluetooth or CAN-open, that also started out as collaborations between different companies and that in time have become CEN standards.
We are certain that more manufacturers will join and we also welcome Oilquick to make that journey.
This is good for the machine owner and for the whole industry.
The initiators behind Open-S
Stefan Stockhaus, CEO Steelwrist AB
Anders Jonsson, CEO Rototilt Group AB