Better thanks to in-house sheet metal processing With Bystronic’s help, MKW is getting started in laser cutting. The Austrian family-owned enterprise invested in highly modern machinery for sheet metal processing. For laser cutting, they chose a ByStar Fiber with the automation solution ByTrans Cross.
With five production locations in Austria, Russia, and Slovakia, and with around 500 employees, MKW Holding offers a range of services including metals technology, plastics technology, powder coating, as well as sanitary ware. The plants in Weibern and Haag am Hausruck (both in Upper Austria) make up the competence center for surface finishing and wire working (MKW Oberflächen + Draht GmbH). The focus is always on powder coating, the company’s core competence. “Highly modern systems and specifically applied coating technologies enable the processing of practically any batch size. Powder quality, gloss level, and surface texture can be individually selected in the process,” Managing Director Karl Niederndorfer explains.
More flexible, with higher quality
Since there were frequent problems with quality and delivery when it came to material provided by customers and produced abroad, those in charge at MKW decided to invest in their own sheet metal processing. Three press brakes in the Haag Plant 3 have been working since April of last year, and the laser cutting system has been in operation since the beginning of December.
Precise sheet metal blanks and edge parts can now also be manufactured by contract directly on MKW premises, exactly according to customer specifications, and subsequently finished with the in-house powder coating. “Be it sharp angles, processing without edge marks, or specific designed parts, practically anything is possible,” the managing director says with satisfaction.
Fiber laser and modular automation
A fiber laser cutting system from Bystronic was selected for cutting blanks. Initial contact was made with Bystronic in May of last year, in the course of a trade fair visit at the Intertool in Vienna. “Since the majority of our parts are meant for unmanned or lightly-manned production, the automation of the laser played a major role in our decision-making process. To this end, Bystronic ultimately offered the most flexible total solution for our individual requirements,” explains Christoph Mittermayr, director of sheet metal processing at MKW.
Currently, the selected fiber laser machine, the ByStar Fiber 4020 with a working area of 4 by 2 meters, quickly and reliably processes mainly mild and stainless steel, as well as aluminum with a material thickness of up to 15 millimeters. MKW is particularly impressed with the automation solution ByTrans Cross, which includes large parts removal that can ensure the fulfillment of customer requirements for 100-percent scratch-free parts. Additionally, the loading and unloading system makes it possible to store raw material (up to 6 tons) and intermediate layers such as cartons or PVC sheets for sensitive parts in cassettes, as well as to deposit cut parts. The loading and unloading system can be expanded in a modular fashion at any time, tailored for any need.
Software and live monitoring tools
Christoph Mittermayr also has praise for the simple operation of the BySoft 7 software: “Within the shortest amount of time, we were able to handle the software more than adequately. Of course, the Bystronic technicians accompanied our production with superb support, particularly at an early stage.” Furthermore, MKW also uses the Bystronic digital tool ByCockpit, which includes a camera. The live monitoring app records all of the laser machine’s processes, evaluates them, and delivers status reports. Currently, the tool is still applied mainly for real-time remote monitoring of the cutting process. In the future, however, the company would also like to increasingly use additional functions, such as assessments of machine utilization, production efficiency, material performance, or shift comparisons.
(This article appeared in its unabridged version on March 26, 2019, in the trade journal Blechtechnik 1.2019)