Walter unveils a new perspective on metalworking

A metalworking shop can be a noisy place. For dedicated metalworkers like cutting tool manufacturer Walter AG of Tübingen, Germany, and its U.S. affiliate Walter USA, LLC, though, that noise can also be a form of music. They recently set out to prove it with a one of a kind project called "Walter Metal Music."

To start the project, professional musician Jorg Honecker was invited in to the Walter AG plant in Tübingen to explore the plant floor and seek out interesting sounds. Honecker then revisited the shop and recorded those sounds. “I was particularly interested,” he said, “in machines that ‘had their own groove,’ like the shrill whine of a drill ramping up to higher speeds or the growl of a heavy-duty milling cutter biting into a workpiece. Honecker manipulated those sounds and placed them into a format that allows others to collage them together to form new sonic combinations—new forms of metal music.

The results were unveiled in mid-September in the form of a web site,, where a video documentary provides a look behind the scenes. Concurrently, an interface to this web site was featured in the Walter booth at EMO where visitors were surprised, amused and amazed by the musical compositions they were able to create. In addition, Walter sponsored live concerts at the show that were based on these shop floor sounds.

It’s a matter of perspective, said a Walter spokesperson in commenting on the company’s reason for a project as unusual as Walter Metal Music; Walter wished to broaden people’s perspective when it comes to metalworking and show that there are fascinating aspects to this ancient yet constantly evolving trade that we generally don’t consider.


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