Customer needs are best served when extensive consulting experience is combined with advanced technology.
Without steel and other alternative metals, many developments in various industrial sectors would hardly be possible. Their many uses and applications are practically boundless. The things that designers, developers and engineers conceptualize at a digital drawing board are transformed into a reality composed of precisely machined steel, beams, profiles, pipes and plates in a great variety of grades and in satisfaction of unique specifications. Stürmsfs AG in Goldbach (CH) is one of the companies that plays a significant role in this process.
The Swiss wholesaler of steel, metal and alternative materials,Stürmsfs AG, includes among its customer-base industrial manufacturers and their suppliers from across all sectors. Some 290 skilled and dedicated employees at six locations provide services to Switzerland, western Austria, Tyrol, southern Germany and Slovakia. The company has a long history in the field of steel, with roots that go back as far as 1835. From its beginnings as a family-owned ironmongers shop, Stürmsfs AG has grown into a professionally managed production and service company. Along with the sale of steel and metal products, the company also provides processes that industrial manufacturers could no longer do without: from sawing and deburring, to polishing and punching as well as drilling, notching and tumbling, and much more. Oxy-fuel and plasma cutting are among the services they provide, together with an in-house plate service center for plate cuttings in steel, aluminum and stainless steel.
Keeping up-to-date to better serve the customer
Right from the very beginning, openness to new ideas – especially when it comes to meeting customer needs – was part of the company’s DNA and was one of the major factors that contributed in making the company a success. Because only the latest processing methods, technologies and equipment will be able to provide the customer what he needs. So it’s no surprise that the company is constantly investing in the latest facilities, training and technology in order to deal with current market demands and anticipate future needs. The latest step that Stürmsfs has taken in this regard involved the integration of a new drilling-notching line into the existing production facilities at our Austrian location in Klaus.
Those who aim to provide customers with expert solutions will in turn rely only on partners who are also proven experts in their own fields, especially when it comes to machinery and components. That’s what led Stürmsfs to turn once again to Kaltenbach, manufacturer of metal processing machinery, just as it did once before some 10 years ago. The decision in favor of the Lörrach-based equipment supplier was based on Kaltenbach’s years of experience in providing solutions that are above and beyond the commonplace.
The expectations placed on the new drilling-notching line were high. It should not only be able to ensure flexibility in handling a wide range of customer requirements, it should also be able to overcome the challenges posed by severe space limitations as well as allow for easy and efficient integration of new components into the existing production system. Owing to space limitations, it was necessary to make modifications to the material supply system right at the start. Similarly, in integrating the new components, it was necessary to deal with the interfaces to the existing system while also seeing to it that compatibility requirements were met. The smooth interaction of old and new called for both practical experience and proven technical ability.
The new drilling-notching line is now processing all varieties of steel beams and has shown itself fully able to satisfy the demands made of it. The company can now notch and drill components in a single step; or perform the procedure separately on pre-cut materials – an option requiring extensive know-how and not available just anywhere.
Speed and flexibility are key
The equipment makes use of Kaltenbach’s high-performance drill for structural steel sections, KDM 1015. Its strengths lie in its speed and precision, made possible through the combination of a high-powered motor, automated linear tool changing system with five tools on each of three drill axes, a mechanical drill feed with ball-screw spindle and a friction-locked and securely seated drill socket. It allows beams to be processed in dimensions of 1000 x 500 millimeters. Stürmsfs has particularly benefited from the increased processing speed. The ability to work with carbide tools has greatly reduced production times, producing time savings of up to 70 percent, which in turn result in significant economic advantages for the company. The equipment was also outfitted with a swarf conveyor in order to provide for automated and continuous swarf disposal. And the incorporation of a contour marking system helps facilitate the application of individualized texts, design elements or reference lines for welded attachments.
The drill operates in combination with the notching robot KC 1201, sliding measuring trolley, M 152 GG with two gripper claws and the transport system T 13. This provides the logistics needed to tackle even the most sophisticated metalworking orders. The notching robot serves as an ideal supplement and was specially developed for notching H, U and L profiles as well as square pipes. It’s compact in design and has over 8 axes. The equipment used at Stürmsfs allows for welding using both oxy-fuel and plasma. No effort was spared to ensure customer satisfaction.
Answering every kind of customer requirement
Customized software was developed in close coordination with the customer to meet his specific needs. Once the data is loaded, the software calculates the robot’s movements to provide optimum cutting. This sort of efficiency produces greater economy, which in turn pays out in any number of ways. STP files can be converted into DSTV via an additional CAD interface and converter for trouble-free processing. The customer has been pleased with the equipment’s easy adaptability. Using the welding robot, it’s possible to generate practically anything based on customer drawings. It’s no longer necessary to use macros; instead, the user is free to proceed pretty much however he prefers.
Owing to space limitations in the work area, the configuration of the equipment had to be modified so that materials could be fed directly into the equipment without a great deal of effort. This is where the sliding measuring trolley with its dual gripper claws, M 152 GG, comes into play. The second gripper claw is first raised so that the material can be held in place by a small, rear grabber claw, then transported to the front and transferred to the second claw on the measuring trolley arm. This ensures that even small components are properly placed in the welding robot. This allows the measuring trolley, together with the material, to pass through the drill and the welding robot in the shortest and most economically efficient manner.
The transport system T13 is used to transport materials. With its durable welded design and low-maintenance, ball-bearing mounted castors made of sturdy materials, this unit is built to handle heavy-duty jobs. The conveyor belts are driven by an adjustable-speed motor controlled by a joystick on a stand-alone control panel. It’s another example of how well-designed technology helps make the operator’s job easier while allowing orders to be handled with greater efficiency.
“This new equipment provides us what we need logistically to handle even the most exacting orders. Precision and efficiency – that’s just what we were looking for. And that’s what makes it such an important contributor to the company’s overall competitive advantage,“ says production manager, Marcel Wilhelm. He was also impressed by how economical the equipment is in terms of maintenance and servicing: “These machines are built to last,“ Marcel Wilhelm adds approvingly. A decade of experience with Kaltenbach has shown that with regular maintenance, the equipment needs very few replacement parts – even after 12,000 hours of operation. The reason for this is clear: engineers at Kaltenbach make sure that the component configuration and interaction are taken into consideration right from the outset, during the design phase. So it’s no surprise that people are talking about this latest device from the folks in Lörrach – who always have the customer’s best interests in mind