Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AGMaschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG

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Danish niche politics

24.01.2013

The highly automated 5-axis milling on a Hermle C 42 U with pallet changer rounds off the technology needed at Denmark's AM Værktøj Odense A/S for economic production of complex shapes and large tools.

"Toolmakers will always have work. But if all you do is fabricate tool parts, then you'll always have challenges!" that is the philosophy behind the success of Carsten G. Laursen, Production Manager and Torsten Viby, Sales Manager. Together with the company founder and managing director, Claus Jensen, the two co-owners complete a powerful leadership triangle at AM Værktøj Odense A/S. From 1970 to 2005, AM Værktøj focused primarily on the Danish market, becoming a known player there. With globalization and the trend towards large tools, the medium-sized tool manufacturing specialist which tends to work behind the scenes has been confronted with new requirements. Reason enough to re-equip for the future and reposition the company accordingly. As a result, from 2006 they have not only targeted the neighbouring Swedish and Norwegian markets, but at the same time have developed with corresponding technological investment into a specialist in large tools and larger, more complex OEM parts.

A TECHNOLOGY LEAP AT ALL LEVELS

"It quickly became apparent that at a global level, seen as a relatively small Danish mould-making and tool manufacturing business, we would only have opportunities if we offered our customers a full range of services from construction through production to spare parts for large tool systems, on the basis of our full expertise," explains Torben Viby. Starting with 3D construction using a CAM system and CNC full machining through CNC coordinate measurement systems, the company put together a technology package that was provisionally completed by the acquisition of a Hermle C 42 U machining center." This enabled AM Værktøj to fabricate complex mould and tool components and OEM parts fully automatically, in "installable" quality, from one unit upwards.

5 AXES MEAN NEW CUSTOMERS

To exploit the advantages of the CNC high-performance machining center even further, and offset the lack of qualified expertise in the labour market, the managers went one step further and acquired the PW 850 pallet changer system to finish off the C 42 U. "Many large tools have a number of complex components and segments that are ideal for fully automated machining on the Hermle production systems. Normally we operate a single shift, but use the machining center with the pallets around the clock 24 hours a day. This frees up our experts for completion of other more demanding work, while we can continue to use the parts produced automatically, which are of highest quality and ready for installation," explains Production Manager Carsten R. Laursen. When I remember that we first planned to use two 4-axis machines with auxiliary axes, I am very happy that we followed the advice of our partner Lars Lynge at Hermle Nordic. Thanks to complete 5-side machining and parallel working, we are much more productive and rational than before.

EFFICIENCY AND FLEXIBILITY IN SUPPLY

With the acquisition of the C 42 U 5-axis CNC high-performance machining center with the PW 850 pallet changer, AM Værktøj i now able to supply customers that they previously could simply not have entertained. Even better: "As our new and old customers see how we continue to develop in their interests, they continue to return to us, even with orders for tools or OEM parts from Asia, and have these manufactured in Denmark instead," says Sales Manager Torben Viby. There are sound reasons for doing so: Complete machining with one or just a few clampings saves work in terms of complex finishing and expensive reprocessing. Short throughput times and fast response to customer requirements and spare parts orders also contribute. The door is open to further growth.

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