Purchasing a new machine is often one of the most important decisions that medium-sized companies will make, as they can only remain competitive if they introduce new solutions that make their operations more efficient and save costs. But it’s not just a question of applications and costing: the decision frequently comes down to trust in the manufacturer. Take the longstanding Swiss company JOSEF MEYER Stahl und Metall AG, for example, which uses elumatec’s SBZ 628 XXL and SBZ 151 Edition 90 profile machining centres to machine aluminium profiles.
The combination of these two production machines allows JOSEF MEYER to achieve a production output of 20 to 30 million Swiss francs a year in the curtain wall construction sector. Based in Emmen, near Lucerne, the company employs 120 people, about half of whom work in curtain wall construction and half in steel construction. As well as manufacturing individual doors and windows and producing element and closed-cavity facades, its impressive track record includes large-scale projects such as the construction of the new Zurich Insurance headquarters.
The new Zurich Insurance headquarters – an impressive design featuring a glass prism façade made in Emmen.
Image copyright: JOSEF MEYER Stahl und Metall AG
The elegant glass façade of the Zurich Insurance headquarters.
Production is only part of a package of services covering all aspects of steel and curtain wall construction, whether it’s design, installation or maintenance. The company has customers all over Switzerland, and products manufactured in Emmen, such as its steel construction composite columns, have also been shipped to Germany, Norway and the USA.
2010 the company entered the fifth generation of ownership when four employees completed a management buyout. One of the co-owners is Lukas Baumann, Head of Curtain Wall Construction. “Partnership and trust are the key to our success”, he says, which applies to employees as well as to suppliers and customers. Baumann’s contact person at elumatec is Mark Hess, who leads the five-person team at elumatec Switzerland. “We have a partnership that serves as a model for others”, says Hess, and Baumann agrees: “We’re glad we chose elumatec.” He puts their joint success down to smooth and productive communication – plus the performance of the elumatec machines, of course.
Case study: the glass façade of the Zweifel Pomy-Chips AG company building in Spreitenbach, Switzerland.
It all started with consultation
When Baumann and Hess met in 2015, machinery wasn’t yet on the agenda. At the time, JOSEF MEYER was focusing on designing workshop equipment and an assembly line with the greatest possible flexibility – an essential requirement given the wide range of products the company offers. Hess came on board as a consultant and worked together with Baumann to develop a holistic approach. “Profile machining is only the first step”, says Baumann, “then comes element assembly, where we generate 80 percent of our internal added value.”
Baumann and Hess believe that companies don’t always recognise the huge importance of high-quality profile processing for the subsequent work steps and the overall process. “The elumatec machines allow us to do a lot more”, says Baumann. A prime example is mullions and transoms: each hole milled by the machine saves an employee from drilling, making assembly much faster.
SBZ 628 and SBZ 151 Edition 90: flexibility and identical programming
Two assembly lines were commissioned in 2016, but it wasn’t until the following year that Baumann began looking for new machines. “The question was, which machine do we need first – or might one even be enough?”
Baumann and Hess thought long and hard about this and many other questions before making the decision: JOSEF MEYER bought the SBZ 628, because the company already had orders pending which suited its performance range. Six months later, the SBZ 151 Edition 90 profile machining centre was acquired as well. Today Baumann says: “It was the right decision.”
Jasmin Sabanovic vor dem SBZ 151 Edition 90 - extreme Flexibilität, geringe Umrüstzeiten.
Image copyright: elumatec AG, Mühlacker
Baumann is keen to praise the performance of both machines. “The SBZ 628 works quickly and is perfectly suited for dimensionally stable profiles such as doors and windows and for larger series, while the SBZ 151 Edition 90 is ideal for large profiles and offers extremely high flexibility and quick changeover times.” Both machines are very well utilised, with the SBZ 151 working more or less round the clock, and the two elumatec machines make a powerful combination. “If the profile can be machined with the SBZ 628, obviously it’s much faster. If it’s a bigger profile, we use the SBZ 151”, he explains.n.
Hess adds that the machines are programmed identically, “which offers an important competitive advantage”. Baumann sees things the same way (“It makes using them much simpler”), and the Head of Curtain Wall Construction has also started to use eluCloud for automated process analysis. The software allows him to speed up machining by making adjustments, and he can check which spindle is used most frequently – rotating the milling cutters helps spread the wear on the spindles, increasing their service life and saving costs.
Orders processed up to 20 percent faster
Baumann has worked out that in profile machining alone, productivity for window orders has increased by 10 to 15 percent, “and the SBZ 628 has played a huge part in that”. The overall efficiency gain across the assembly lines is difficult to measure, “but if the element size is right and the order fits the line, we’re up to 20 percent faster.”
The SBZ 628 in the production shop,
where it has played a “huge part” in increasing efficiency.
Impressive performance and speed: Production Manager Slavko Mijac (left)
and Lukas Baumann in front of the SBZ 628.
Another plus is that downtimes in production are rare. If questions arise or problems occur, in Baumann’s own words they are usually addressed “extremely quickly” over the phone, via email or using remote maintenance – and if elumatec staff are needed on site in Emmen, they get there much faster than their competitors. “The Swiss and the Swabians think along the same lines”, he says, and for both elumatec and JOSEF MEYER the first and most important requirement for success is that the machines work reliably.
And in the medium to long term, this productive cooperation is bearing fruit for both companies: feedback from JOSEF MEYER is implemented at elumatec, e.g. by adding new features, which in turn also benefits other elumatec customers.
What better proof could there be that a relationship built on trust benefits both sides and opens up new possibilities for the future? The Production Manager at JOSEF MEYER is certainly convinced: as Baumann says, “He wouldn’t want to be without the elumatec machines under any circumstances. He hates it when things get quiet.”
Lukas Baumann, Head of Curtain Wall Construction at JOSEF MEYER Stahl und Metall AG, Switzerland
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