Success Story

In customers' hands: Dörries CONTUMAT 2400/200 MC vertical turning lathe from the Starrag Group

The "packaging artist" from Lengerich

A "passion for new ideas" has made Windmöller & Hölscher a global market leader. The company — which is a manufacturer of systems for producing and processing flexible packaging based in Westphalia — also expects a high level of passion and innovation from its machine tool suppliers. The Starrag Group is proud therefore that the Westphalian "packaging artist" has once again opted for their machine tool. 

"It’s like being at a luxury watchmaking firm", says an astonished Ralf Baumgarten, a photographer who has made his name with illustrated books about watchmakers and their creations. He spontaneously takes a photograph of Heinz Schantin. The specialist from Windmöller & Hölscher KG (W&H) from Lengerich is using a large magnifying glass to examine the surface of a part for an extrusion line, on which extremely thin plastic films will later be created. W&H adopts this type of quality control in advance of the conventional 3D image processing. However, the final checks on these machine parts involve the use of precise, high-tech measuring centres. 

And the demands on production technology are equally high. "The machine tools at W&H are a central component of our production chain", states Matthias Richter, Head of Maintenance. "We exclusively manufacture complex components that require a very high level of accuracy and knowledge of manufacturing." Most of the machine tools run around the clock in 3-shift operation, to ensure a good supply of parts for the assembly of W&H machines. So when it comes to new investments, reliability, maximum technical availability and fast, excellent service are crucial deciding factors. 

As an example, the business is very satisfied with the portal machining centre from Droop+Rein, which W&H brought into operation in 2008 to enhance two portal milling machines from another manufacturer. "On these machines, we primarily produce large frame parts for our whole range of machines", says Richter. "These components play an important role for us, as they make a significant contribution to the high quality of our printing machines, processing machines and film winders."

Just as important a role is played by the core components for blown-film extrusion lines, which are partially made from chrome-nickel heat-treated steel forged especially for W&H, or from grey iron and cast aluminium turned parts. Every part is unique in batch size 1. In order to ensure productive machining, W&H relies on complete processing and quick tool handling. To keep up with growing demand, the Westphalian firm recently opted for a new Contumat VCE 2400/200 MC vertical turning lathe from Dörries Scharmann in Mönchengladbach, a subsidiary of the Swiss Starrag Group.

The new machine's most important feature for the company is the ability to offer complete machining in a single clamping operation. "The additional angled drilling and milling head means we are able to work very flexibly and productively on the new vertical turning lathe", explains Equipment Planner Tobias Baune. "Every additional clamping operation produces deviations in size, which we have to spend time correcting. So we manufacture our parts in a single clamping operation." 

At the request of W&H, the 4.5-metre-high turning lathe also has a basement beneath it, which is over 5 metres deep. The demands on the machine are very high indeed, since W&H predominantly uses the Contumat to manufacture components for blow-moulding machines with an accuracy of 20 µm. The components can weigh up to 2 tonnes and have a maximum rotation diameter of 1,800 mm. 

The driving force for this comes from two high-performance 40 kW electric motors (torque: 38,300 Nm). They are located in the basement, along with the water treatment equipment, which is accessible for servicing and maintenance. Richter: "When designing the basement, we received excellent advice from Dörries Scharmann." Environmental concerns play an increasingly important role in Lengerich, next to efficiency, performance, reliability and safety. For this reason, in the case of new investments, W&H ensures that the machine room is fully encapsulated with exhaust vents and emulsion fume filtration. This attitude goes down very well with employees, whose high levels of motivation are particularly important to the Westphalian firm. A comment from machine operator Andreas Gräler: "I am very impressed by the complete enclosure, as it makes my work on the machine quiet and safe." 

Just how much more productive this machine is in comparison to its predecessor is impossible to say exactly, because of the changes in design and equipment. Another bonus is the increase in flexibility, which is indicated by the suffix ‘MC’ (Machining Centre) on the type designation. Because this is actually a vertical machining centre, designed to be multi-functional thanks to its additional 30 kW drilling and milling drive (3,000 min-1). It was demonstrated very impressively by machine operator Andreas Gräler, through the precise, powerful and low-vibration machining of a machine part with a 650-mm-long solid drill (diameter: 113 mm). This is one of many examples that demonstrate the extreme versatility of the Contumat. Baune comments: "We’re only just discovering everything we can do with the Contumat. We have been able to machine pieces which we hadn’t previously expected to."  

That is an indication of how precisely the machines are designed to match customers’ requirements. Richter: "In fact, machine tools from the Starrag Group can be configured precisely in accordance with customer requirements." Proof that the new marketing message "Engineering precisely what you value" has been a reality for some time



Company Profile

Windmöller & Hölscher KG

W&H is a family business from Lengerich which has 2,500 employees worldwide and had a turnover of around 720 million euro in 2015. According to its own data, it is the global market leader for machines and systems for the manufacture and processing of flexible packaging. The company's product range consists of high-performance machines for extrusion (plastic film manufacturing), printing and processing. As a company that is represented worldwide, W&H is able to offer its customers everything from a single source: from advice and engineering, to delivery of high-value machinery through to the complete production of packaging materials. The company is the only provider to cover the whole value chain, from the film to the end product. As a technological leader, W&H lives on innovation: 80 % of their products are less than three years old.

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