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The German Association of the Automotive Industry (Verband der deutschen Automobilindustrie – VDA) has published ‘Ongoing Crisis or New Start for Car Industry Suppliers?’

Its findings show that German suppliers can emerge from the current crisis stronger than their foreign competitors.

According to the study, the key to success lies in the company’s respective business model.

It must be based on fulfilling customer needs, achieving cost leadership and strengthening innovation.

Even small companies must set themselves these aims.

A good example of such a company is Kortenbach.

Based in Solingen, Germany, the company specialises in producing blanked and deep-drawn parts.

Annual production figures range from 10,000 to several million parts.

The company mostly produces complex parts for car manufacturers – such as fuel-pump housings or sleeves for common-rail injectors.

For the expansion of its production facility, Kortenbach chose a new press from Schuler with Servodirect technology.

The press was the first servo press in monoblock construction Schuler had ever supplied.

It boasts a press force of 2500kN (250 tonf).

The highly productive solution also includes a roll-feed unit supplied by Schuler Automation.

After one year of manufacturing, output has been significantly raised.

The family-owned company put the press into operation in July 2008.

Following this fast installation, customers can immediately benefit from presses featuring Servodirect technology: the freely programmable curves enable variable slide speeds, which in turn reduce the wear and tear on dies and prolong their service life.

Depending on the part manufactured, output can also be significantly improved – variable curves enable much higher speeds without adjusting the die.

This leap in output is clearly illustrated by the example of a suspension fastening that Kortenbach produces for a car-part supplier.

Schuler’s servo press offers users maximum variability.

Small to mid-size companies in particular benefit from being able to use the same line to produce totally different parts in different batch sizes: the stroke height is freely adjustable in oscillating stroke operation.

A further key aspect for many businesses is that servo presses can reach their full working range from stroking speeds of one stroke/min.

This also makes them suitable for use as tryout presses.

The monoblock construction of the press also allows fast die changes.

The high output levels that the new line offers are also secured by an automation solution supplied by Schuler.

The roll feed unit with two feed rollers operates with a system accuracy of just 0.05mm.

A coil width of 200 to 350mm is moved forward 180mm in a feed time of 0.42 seconds.

This highly accurate feed performance is perfectly adapted to the performance characteristics of the servo press.

The fact that small to mid-size companies can also benefit from Schuler’s service during press set-up and operation was important for Kortenbach.

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