Case study - Hoffmann/ Meusburger Best practice: Standard parts pass trial phase
Germany/Austria - Trying out new tools on a testing press is always useful, but just not the same as using them in day-to-day production. Hoffmann thought so too and consequently thoroughly tested new Meusburger guiding systems during a three-month trial phase.
There are some important centres for punching technology in Germany, for example around Pforzheim, where Hoffmann and their 140 employees successfully produce stamped-bent parts for the global automotive, medical, electronics, telecommunications, and home appliance industries. The company has positioned itself as a classic development partner and works on machines from Bruderer, Haulick+Roos and Bihler. They are so successful that they have already outgrown their brand new headquarters, opened as recently as 2012. The first annex is almost completed - a new hall for tool construction and logistics. Hoffmann work to meet specific customer demands and design and manufacture unique tools that can be machined with sheet thicknesses of 0.05 to 4.00 mm and widths of up to 320 mm. “We construct our tools modular, which makes us very flexible and also capable for smallest parts,” explains Martin Fischer, responsible for toolmaking production planning at Hoffmann . “Of course we can also construct larger parts up to a press force of 1600 kN and an installation space of 2000 mm.”
Smallest parts are possible
For this, standard parts are purchased from different manufacturers, including Meusburger & Co KG from Austria, which have added module technology to their portfolio in mid-2014. “Until then, Meusburger for example offered only slide guides, which were unsuitable for the high number of 800 strokes per minute we have in the production of contact parts for the electrical industry,” says Fischer. But when the Austrian company introduced guidance systems with pillars with central collars, guide bushes, and ball cages, Meusburger Sales Manager Michael Kunzmann approached Fischer about testing them. “I knew that Hoffmann worked with ball guidance systems, so I wanted to present our new products to Martin Fischer and make Hoffmann a partner for testing the newly developed products.” Fischer adds: “It is of course flattering when we are considered in the design of a brand new product. However, it is not possible to change everything overnight, so we agreed on a trial phase." Thus, the new guidance systems were installed on an existing tool on which said contact parts have been running for almost 10 years. After some initial complications, Hoffmann was able to produce 40 million parts in three months before the first component, one of the 16 ball cages, became defective. “This was an impressive result for us,” say Fischer and Kunzmann in unison. Previously, the first components had to be replaced already after about 16 million pieces. “The pillars with central collar get a superior finish from us, enabling much smoother sliding of the ball cages," explains Kunzmann. Fischer is very happy with the new guidance systems and summarises: “The test paid off, it was a big success. Consequently, since then we use Meusburger guidance systems for this contact part on the Bruderer automatic punching press.”