STIHL has been betting on modern cordless power tools since 2009: Its initial range of four products has grown to include more than 30 cordless power tools for numerous uses and user groups. Each of those cordless power tools is the result of years of research and development. To ensure that this process goes according to plan, and that the tools then meet STIHL’s high quality standards, development engineers are responsible for coordination throughout. Leonard Mattheis is one of them. In this interview he describes his work, discusses the challenges that batteries present for STIHL and explains why this topic is so exciting right now.
Leonard Mattheis, Development Engineer at STIHL
Leonard Mattheis has been at STIHL for seven years. Since completing a dual study degree in mechanical engineering, the development engineer has been working in function coordination for diagnostic tools and chargers. His office is in the new extension to the development centre. It is the beating heart of STIHL’s battery-related activities. We met Leonard Mattheis in his office at the STIHL development centre and asked him about his work with STIHL’s modern battery technology.
STIHL is currently very interested in the topic of batteries. As a function coordinator, what role do you play in the development of new products?
Leonard Mattheis (L. M.): My role is best described as an interface between electrical and mechanical engineering. Along with my desk-based activities, I also do practical work. Together with my colleagues in the laboratory and at the new battery test benches, we constantly carry out testing during the development process and throughout the whole project period, evaluate hardware and software with regard to the required product maturity and ensure that, at the end of the project, everything works, deadlines are met and the product is brought to market as planned.
Between electrical and mechanical engineering: Leonard Mattheis and his colleagues test both the hardware and software of cordless power tools.
What are the challenges with regard to batteries?
L. M.: The project plans for the development of cordless power tools are very short. New methods allow us to significantly reduce development times, depending on the project and technology. The market is currently changing at great speed. Many companies have recognised the potential of battery technology – a major transformation is underway. At the same time the market is very price sensitive, which creates significant challenges for everyone involved. My work is cutting edge – a perfect mix of theory and practice, and it involves combining the knowledge of the company’s many experts.
STIHL currently has 40 cordless power tools in its range. The cordless power tool range was launched in 2009 with four products.
What requirements do customers have with regard to STIHL cordless power tools?
L. M.: They expect the usual STIHL quality for their money. The products also have to be ergonomic, powerful, good value and quiet. The concepts we create combine those requirements, and we consider how we can integrate and implement them. I work closely with colleagues in the electronics laboratory on those tasks. They have in-depth technical knowledge and we discuss design and test results a lot. Our approach is always solution-oriented, with everyone pulling in the same direction to make the project a success.
Which innovations do you work on specifically?
L. M.: In 2017, we launched an additional battery, the STIHL AK 30, onto the market for all the tools in the COMPACT cordless power system range – without the need for a new charger. It combined both new and existing systems. That is a major challenge for us, because the compatibility of STIHL cordless power systems is constantly increasing. We are currently working on even faster charging processes and a battery management system. They are aimed at professional customers, in particular.
However, our development activities always fundamentally focus on the full breadth of our customer base in order to meet their needs and requirements as closely as possible.
The new rapid charging function reduces overall battery charging times by 25 %.
Do you want more information about cordless power made by STIHL? Then read our article on the topic STIHL battery technology and cordless power tools or find out which cordless power tool best meets your needs: Ready for any challenge. STIHL cordless power.