The grand piano - a prized piece of furniture

Technologies for decorative objects and sports equipment

Bösendorfer manufactures around 300 design pianos each year and 80% of its production is artisan. The "orchestral work" with the most advanced technologies means it can accomplish outstanding innovations, that considerably enhance the range of sounds in tune with each instrument. Since 2016, SCM's "morbidelli m800" five-axis drilling and routing centre has been an integral part of the production process at the Wiener Neustadt company.

The Austrian company, Bösendorfer, has been manufacturing pianos since 1828. The hand-crafted details found in the production of these instruments is symbolic of skill and a long-standing tradition. Each year, around 300 are manufactured in Wiener Neustadt. The 125 company employees work on each instrument for about 14-16 months, until the work is finished. Proof that they are genuine works of art is also reflected in the price: the cost of a grand concert piano can vary from 86,000 Euro for a standard version to 175,000 Euro for the largest version, the Imperial.



The sound of Vienna

"Many of our clients see the grand piano as a piece of furniture, so we share some common ground with furniture manufacturers", says Marion Alexander, PR & Marketing Manager at Bösendorfer. Even if our clientele wants the instrument to blend in to the surrounding space, it is always the sound that takes centre stage and the company's quality standards continue to find their familiar "score" in the renowned "Viennese tradition".


Wood as a material

"Spruce allows us to achieve the best acoustic effects and is, therefore, our main material", explains Alexander The wood is cut in winter and stored in Wiener Neustadt for years. Our timber suppliers then analyse it and it is subsequently checked and further selected by our Bösendorfer co-workers at our supplier's plant. As well as spruce, the pianos are also manufactured using beech, hornbeam and maple wood. "The essence of the selected wood is the most important aspect for us, so we carefully follow the drying process". explains Alexander. Each instrument, together with the material used to manufacture it, has its own sound potential that the Bösendorfer experts are capable of bringing out. And that's not all: for the high-end clientele that represents the company's target market, it is important that each piece carries with it a story.


Tradition and innovation

"We work on an instrument for an average of 400 hours, of which 14-17 hours with CNC machining centres", explains Thomas Broukal, Technical Director at Bösendorfer. "While we regard tradition and the attention given by craftsmen as significant values, innovation and perfection are also important to us, as is the continuous improvement of products and processes. Certain precision work can only be achieved using the CNC machining centre", explains the piano manufacturing specialist.

One particular feature of Bösendorfer is the principle of the sound board on which the production of each grand piano is founded and the company's "philosophy of sound" is based. Over the last four years, this long-standing Austrian manufacturer has further enhanced and innovated this principle thanks to a special routing operation performed on a CNC machining centre supplied by the Italian manufacturer, SCM.

Since 2016, the "morbidelli m800" five-axis machining centre has been an integral part of the production process developed at the Wiener Neustadt plant. "We chose SCM and this technological solution on the advice of some of our suppliers who also work with these machines supplied by the Italian Group. So far, we have been extremely satisfied. It was the right decision, says Thomas Broukal.


Maximum precision

One of the specific aspects of the "morbidelli m800" CNC machining centre used by Bösendorfer, is the automatic worktable: the piece locking systems automatically position themselves in line with the machining program previously set by the operator.

This saves a considerable amount of time and reduces the risk of errors, by optimising production.

In addition, the special version is fitted with a five-axis routing unit with a machining height of 430 millimetres. "The equipment can hold up to 48 tools, thanks to a 24-position tool change, a twelve position side tool change and another twelve 'on board' tools which accompany the routing unit, explains Stefano Buratti, the SCM Sales Engineer.

When the sound board is being produced, a splitting frontal cutter removes the panel layer by layer, making the table flexible enough to be inserted taut into the piano frame. "Manual processing would be impossible due to the high level of precision", explains Buratti.

Grand piano with no pianist

Digital technology makes its entry to the company not only on the production side but also in other areas. For example, there is an automatic piano in the selection room, which is impressive not only because it does not require a pianist, but above all for the wide selection and quality of the music. As well as the vast "library" with numerous historical recordings which only Bösendorfer possesses, the distinctive feature of the system is that it can, not only reproduce musical pieces (there are so many on the market), but can also record them in high fidelity. This means a performance can be recorded and one can take note of the results for learning purposes. So, musicians can record and re-elaborate their pieces. Broukal and Alexander see this as a growing market.



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