„Enormous increase in manufacturing efficiency“
Schaaf: Delivering Technical Springs Reliably, Quickly and On Time
By introducing the LEANTOOL system and acquiring a new GRM-NC servo stamping and forming machine, Mario Schaaf GmbH & Co. KG in the German town of Möglingen has massively increased its efficiency in the field of both tool manufacture and component production. As a result, the company is ideally placed to respond to the demand for ever shorter product cycle and life cycle times.
From the automotive sectors, through aviation and on to electronic and medical technology: high-tech springs are used in practically every area of industrial manufacturing. These are produced in their millions by the Möglingen-based Mario Schaaf GmbH & Co. KG and every year, the company used to manufacture these hard-bended stainless steel components on two aging mechanical radial stamping and bending machines. “Although the systems provided the required quality, the setup times were extremely long at between 8 and 16 hours”, explains Maximilian Schaaf, Assistant to the Managing Board. “In addition, the slides, which weighted a good 20 kilograms, always had to be handled manually and another problem was that changes at the machine, for example for modifying the dimensions, were extremely laborious, sometimes even involving the milling of new disk cams coupled with the machine downtimes lasting days.” Just as time-consuming was the task of manufacturing the 70 or so tools that have so far been used at the mechanical machines.
Convincing system-oriented approach
All this explains why Mario Schaaf GmbH & Co. KG took such great interest when Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik launched its LEANTOOL system for tool manufacture on the market. It made the decision to invest in the new technology and, at the same time, also acquired a new GRM-NC stamping and forming machine. “We were won over by the idea and concept of the LEANTOOL principle from the very beginning. It is an end-to-end, transparent system subject to clearly defined constraints which greatly simplify the entire toolmaking process and eliminate many sources of error”, stresses Schaaf. “Thanks to this system, our tool construction times have been significantly reduced and tool changes and setups take only a fraction of the time used to. The Bihler LEANTOOL concept also gives our toolmakers enormous security because with it, we can cost our projects far better than in the past.”
At the touch of a button
The company has now already produced three progressive dies and three radial tools using the LEANTOOL system. Apart from the need for a few minor adaptions, all of these worked very well straight away – and run on the new GRM-NC at a speed of up to 250 strokes per minute. Schaaf points out the most important advantage of this: “Adaptions and optimizations can be performed in just a few minutes at the touch of a button and even the entire bending sequence can be completely reprogrammed in just as short a time. That would have been inconceivable on the old machines.” What is more, ten existing tools were adapted for use on the GRM-NC where they run between two and three times faster than they did on the old systems. Since then, the new GRM-NC has completely replaced the two old mechanical machines, enabling the company to gain a considerable amount of space on site.
The right decision
To implement the new technology in the company, Maximilian Schaaf successfully completed a LEANTOOL course lasting several weeks at Bihler in Halblech. “There is no doubt that this training was very useful. However, changing over to the new technology was demanding in itself and required a certain change of approach on the part of everybody involved”, explains Schaaf. “Nevertheless, it was absolutely the right decision to invest in the LEANTOOL concept and the new GRM-NC. With this solution, we have enormously increased our manufacturing efficiency and can therefore supply our customers with the quality they need reliably, quickly and on time – a crucial capability at a time of shrinking cycle and delivery times.”
Mario Schaaf GmbH & Co. KG, which was founded in 1993, specializes in the manufacture of flat springs, shaped springs and leaf springs, spring clips, contact springs, steel springs as well as clips and holders and even complex assemblies. The family-run company covers every process step in the manufacture of hard-bended stamped and bended parts from stainless steel – from development and design through the manufacturing of tools and on to full-scale series production.