Twins for greater planning freedom

C 12 | C 22 | PW 150 | Prokutec | Metal products

These days, Prokutec is a successful metalworking specialist that provides a full range of services for all types of machining. "Our flexibility is our advantage", emphasises Managing Director Michael Beyer. A reliable stock of machinery with automation gives him the necessary capacity. This also includes two identical type C 22 U 5-axis machining centres as well as a C 12 U machine from Hermle.

Matthias Beyer loves mountains, skiing and the USA. He lived there for many years and was most recently employed as managing director for a German company. Then, he was tempted to become self-employed. In 2005, he returned to his home in Raubling in the Upper Bavarian district of Rosenheim, where he took over the contract manufacturer Prokutec. Until that point, the company had been organized as a public limited company (AG) and generated sales of around two million euros with 25 employees. Beyer saw the potential in the customers and employees, converted the AG into a GmbH (private limited company) and became the managing partner. "Back then, I realised that we were involved with many customers but were not active across the board", explains Beyer. Today, Prokutec GmbH is a successful provider of metalworking and metal machining services with a workforce of around 90.

The company name is a combination of the German words "Produktion" (production) and "Kunststofftechnik" (plastics engineering) although the latter is barely relevant these days. In 1992, the company founders initially focused on water-jet cutting. Two years later, they set up their own CNC milling and rotational machining operation to manufacture worn high-pressure components themselves. Eventually, customers requested other machining services in addition to cutting. In 2006, a 2D laser system was added to the stock of machinery. "If we can laser sheet metal, we could also bend it. And if we can bend it, we could also weld it", says Beyer, clarifying the logical chain of thought that allowed his company’s portfolio to grow. Today, Prokutec offers services covering all aspects of metalworking, from laser and water-jet cutting to bending, machining, sawing and welding all the way to building entire assemblies. The customers are located close by and are active across a range of industries such as aerospace, food and commercial vehicles, medical technology and semiconductors. "Our ideal customer is based in Upper Bavaria and is a world market leader in its field", is how the managing director puts it.

  • Blick in die Zerspanung bei Prokutec: Hier stehen neben einer C 12 U (rechts) zwei C 22 U mit Palettenwechsler.
    A view of the machining area at Prokutec: In addition to a C 12 U (right), there are two C 22 U machines with pallet changers.
  • Der PW 150 von Hermle
    The Hermle PW 150 has space for 18 pallets.
  • Die C 22 U
    The C 22 U can also produce production parts without human supervision – usually until 10 p.m.
  • Prokutec programmiert die C 22 U
    Prokutec programs the C 22 U based on STEP files it receives from its customers.

One machine for precision

In personnel terms, machining is the largest single department. It’s also where most of the added value is created. Among other things, it houses several machining centres from Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG. The first that Beyer purchased was a C 12 U in 2015. "Aerospace engineering requires parts with very fine tolerances. While searching for a suitable milling machine for this purpose, we examined the market in great detail. Ultimately, Hermle convinced us with its price-performance ratio and service offering", explains Beyer.

Hermle technicians are currently working on the 5-axis machining centre because Prokutec wants to automate it. "Our portfolio of parts requires it: we manufacture a great many smaller parts with short run times on the C 12 U machine. Automating the parts handling would enable us to expand our capacity despite a shortage of skilled workers", explains Beyer. This would be the first robot in the machining department, but not the first automation solution because the contract manufacturer had already invested in a C 22 U with a PW 150 pallet changer in 2016. "Back then, I was advised to buy it as well and assured that I wouldn't regret it", says Beyer, recalling the discussion with his contact at Hermle. He also freely admits that he was no expert in automation issues at the time. He had trusted in the experience of the salesperson, who was thoroughly familiar with the Prokutec product portfolio. In retrospect, the recommendation certainly paid off, and Beyer ordered a second C 22 U with an identical layout some two and a half years later. "It was no longer a question of whether we needed a pallet changer. The system was operating at full capacity, and we needed more", explains Beyer. Why? Prokutec’s customers have grown. "If they become bigger and want to order more product lines, it goes without saying that we want to stay on the ball", adds Beyer.

On both 5-axis milling centres, the PW 150 pallet changers are fitted along the sides – due to space limitations in the old production hall in Raubling. In 2021, the company moved to a new site in Rosenheim, where Prokutec is currently building another hall for water-jet cutting. Each pallet changer holds up to 18 load carriers on which parts made of aluminium or steel are usually mounted and take ten to 15 minutes to machine. Prokutec then delivers these to its entire range of customers.


The last is as good as the first

"We’re not always asked to work within thousandths of a millimetre. Sometimes, we’re challenged by the geometry – but also by the speed and reliability. I must be able to rely on the fact that in a series of 1,000 parts, the hundredth part is every bit as good and exact as the first", says Beyer, referring to what he expects from the Hermle machines. He goes on to say that the service is no less important. "Knowing that the machines will be running again a few hours or days after a fault keeps us happy", says Beyer, getting to the point.

However, investing in milling centres from Gosheim is also worthwhile for him in another respect: the reputation of Hermle. "After all, we impress not with our own products but with quality, performance and on-time delivery. A customer only needs to look at our stock of machinery to know that we can keep our quality promise", explains Beyer. The other thing that his clients appreciate about Prokutec is its flexibility, for example, when it comes to delivery dates ahead of schedule. "To create room to manoeuvre in our planning, we need a certain capacity", says Beyer. This is made possible by the option of unmanned production, reliable machines and, when the chips are down, prompt service.

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