Austrian family business Leeb Balkone GmbH, Europe’s leading balcony manufacturer, uses a wide range of elumatec machines at its headquarters in Carinthia, from double mitre saws through to the SBZ 151 Edition 90 profile machining centre. But they don’t just increase the efficiency of balcony and fence production: Leeb is also using elusoft software to pave the way for automated, future-proof manufacturing.
Leeb: a success story going back 113 years
Founded in the Carinthian town of Gnesau by Ulrich Leeb in 1906, not many family businesses can boast Leeb’s remarkable continuity. Today, 113 years later, the company has over 200 employees, produces customised, made-to-measure balconies exclusively in Austria, and is renowned across Europe for its innovative designs. Leeb customers can design their balcony railings exactly how they want them, with a wide range of options for decorative elements, meshes, materials and colours. And Leeb has also developed a special powder coating called ALU COMFORT PLUS®, which makes its balconies and fences three times more resistant to weather and scratching than conventional coatings.
Perfect for enjoying the view:
Leeb customers have over 200 balcony and fence designs to choose from.
Image copyright: Leeb Balkone GmbH, Gnesau, Austria
Embracing digital technology
Leeb has always seen itself as a leader when it comes to high-quality products and services. Maintaining this pedigree is a challenge, but the company is rising to it and has fully embraced digital technology such as VR glasses, which allow its customers to take a virtual showroom tour. In production, Leeb is committed to moving towards automated manufacturing – and it is already paying off: “Currently, around 30 percent of our machine data is generated directly from the 3D import, with almost no additional effort required. Without our highly reliable machines equipped with eluCad, the double-digit growth we have achieved over the past few years would not have been possible”, says Emanuel Stingl, responsible for production planning at Leeb.
A wide range of machinery
Leeb and elumatec began working together in 2009 with the acquisition of an SBZ 122/30 profile machining centre . Today, Leeb’s machine pool includes three elumatec double mitre saws, two MGS 245 mitre saws and four profile machining centres: the older SBZ 140 and SBZ 150 models, plus an SBZ 628 XL from 2018, an SBZ 122/75 and an SBZ 151 Edition 90 from 2019.
The SBZ 628 XL at Leeb: the elumatec machine has accelerated development of
key innovations in balcony substructures.
Image copyright: Leeb Balkone GmbH, Gnesau, Austria
“We needed to buy the SBZ 628, which has the major benefit of automating the machining process, because we have added balcony extensions and canopies to our product range”, says Thomas Bachler, currently in charge of machine acquisition. The SBZ 151 Edition 90 was intended to replace the older SBZ 150, but the latter has not yet been withdrawn to ensure customer demand can still be met. “The SBZ 151 Edition 90 helps us work much more efficiently, as profiles can be clamped together to be machined and cut”, Bachler explains, and he is also keen to point out its impressive versatility and how its eluCad connectivity makes it future-proof.
elumatec machines have helped Leeb achieve double-digit growth.
From left to right: Robert Aichinger (Sales, elumatec Austria GmbH),
Martin Köstenbaumer (Operator), Philipp Stingl (Team Spokesperson).
Stingl describes how Leeb currently uses the smaller elumatec machines for routing in particular: “Aluminium expands, so our connecting pieces are designed for pluggable and invisible screw connections. This means a lot of routing is necessary, and the high processing and routing speeds of our elumatec machines allow us to do this extremely quickly.”
The balcony extensions and canopies recently added to the Leeb product range are designed to be free-standing, easy-to-install structures that create additional living areas, and the SBZ 628 XL and the SBZ 151 are coming into their own in this project too. “Profile dimensions are getting larger and larger with this system, so the demands on the machines are growing too”, says Stingl.
Problems solved thanks to quick customer service and consultation
It’s not just the machines that make working with elumatec so enjoyable for Stingl: the customer service and consultation is also second to none. “The training we have been given is first-class, and elumatec responds quickly if we have problems or questions.” Many recent issues have been resolved over the phone and using remote maintenance, and he has found elumatec’s consultation service to be consistently geared towards finding solutions.
“elumatec supplies a high-quality product and follows it up with friendly customer support”, adds Bachler. “The result is innovative and long-lasting production machines.” Indeed, when it comes to design, construction and assembly, he even describes it as “German perfection” – and it’s not every day an Austrian says that.
Managing Director Markus Leeb is the fourth generation of the Leeb family to run the company.