Making the perfect hole

Alpen drill bits

The new Alpen Sprint Master is a universal twist drill bit that reduces the drilling time by a third.

In June, Alpen’s local distributor, Vermont Sales held an event to launch the latest in drill bit technology, the Alpen Sprint Master and Pro. It is also Alpen’s 60th anniversary. Andreas Oszwald, Alpen Export and Marketing Director attended the launch. 

Alpen’s headquarters are located in Salzburg, Austria. This is not just home to one of the best known drill bit companies in the world, but also the birthplace of the legendary classical music composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who was born there in 1756.

Alpen is a family owned and run company who manufacture all its products in its own factories in Austria and has done so for the past 60 years. Alpen offers a 15 000 item product range for every conceivable application needed for drill bit use.

The company produces over a million items a year, resulting in 130 000 pieces and 100 tons of steel being used each month.

These products are distributed and sold across the world. With all products kept in stock, Alpen handles its logistics as well as quality control of every product to ensure orders can be dispatched immediately. “In Europe, a client can order at 17:00 and can expect delivery the next day. We will do that,” says Oswald.

Alpen has a laboratory where research and development is an ongoing process to stay ahead of technology, the opposition and offer the best innovation any client can ask for.

The quality of product is micro managed with non-compliance at an average of 18 per 1 000 000 (0.0000018%). This sort of product quality is only possible if all systems are controlled precisely, from fully automated factories to the steel used.

“Alpen only uses Austrian steel. This might come at a premium as steel can be bought cheaper from other suppliers across the world, but this is just one way we directly control product quality, ” says Oswald.

Numerous certifications confirm the highest quality standards and quality controls during the whole manufacturing process.

“Our drill bits bear the PGM test mark (Masonry Drill Bit Certification, Prüfgemeinschaft Mauerbohrer e.V.), which guarantees the safety of doweled joints. This test mark is granted to only 14 manufacturers in the world. It guarantees observance of tight tolerances in the marked drill bits for the diameter of the cutting tip, its symmetrical soldering and the even rotation of the drill bits.”

Alpen is a brand defined for professionals. “There is a market for cheap drill bits, but that’s not Alpen. When you buy Alpen, you don’t buy the cheapest bits you can find. Alpen is not inexpensive, but what Alpen offers is the best performance ratio in the market. When you work out how many holes you can drill with a bit, you see why Alpen is actually not expensive,” Oswald says.

How do you define a quality drill bit?

  1. Fast drilling – The faster you drill into the material the better
  2. Lifetime – The longer a bit lasts the better
  3. Hole quality – Perfect hole diameter is vital for quality work.

Alpen offers all three drill bit qualities to its customers.


A wide range of retail displays that speak to consumers is available to retailers – from counter stands to an 8m wall display. This is to ensure retailers have maximum control over floor space used and product meets the clientele’s demands for the specific store. The stands are designed with a presentation that is illustrated in such a way that product and product information is easily found and understood.

The product packaging has won an international industrial design award for its latest designs. Products are identifiable by colour, picture, description and quality markings. Alpen offers it customers’ quality by using a star system, starting at three. This illustrates products by ‘Good, Better and Best’ with three being ‘good’, ‘four’ better and five ‘best’.

Different languages options are available to customers around the world. English is the accepted language of communication in South Africa.

Shelf stoppers are available to get customers to stop at certain products.

All this is well thought out to create stands that are self explanatory to customers. Combine this with a quality product on the inside the retailer can expect higher profits per square metre – a proven working model in the hardware industry.

Alpen Sprint Master

The new Alpen Sprint Master is a universal twist drill bit that reduces the drilling time by a third, compared to the standard Sprint due to optimised drill bit geometry. This is made possible by the special Alpen innovative cutting edge. Another plus point is the drill bits offer a three times longer service life, due to Alpen’s high quality HSS steel and that the tool undergoes a special heat treatment. The Alpen Sprint Master is particularly suitable for use in hand-held drills when drilling alloyed and unalloyed steel.

Alpen Pro

The second twist drill bit innovation, is the Alpen Pro, besides having a reduced cross-cutting edge and an optimised drill bit core, it also features a point angle of 135 degrees with a C-shaped point. Due to the special split point, it is even faster and will last twice as long as the previous HSS Super range. The Alpen Pro scores highly thanks to narrow tolerances and high concentricity and is ideally suitable for machining alloyed and unalloyed steel in high production environments.


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