With the AMADA VENTIS-3015AJ, the AMADA MP FLEXit loading and unloading system and the AMADA CS II compact storage system, osthaus & beckert GmbH in Schwanewede has successfully completed the changeover to automated laser-cutting technology. The company makes full use of the capabilities of the manufacturing solution and has consequently been able to boost its competitiveness by an unexpected amount.
The transport truck automatically travels on its ground rail at the AMADA CS II rack system as far as the required location, takes the pallet loaded with a 4-mm-thick stainless steel sheet from it and transports it to the AMADA MP FLEXit loading and unloading system. This transfers the sheet to the cutting table of the AMADA VENTIS-3015AJ and the fiber laser then immediately starts the extremely fast, high-precision cutting process. Just a few minutes later, the finished parts and scrap are returned to the AMADA MP FLEXit, which passes them to the truck for transport back to the rack storage. When it gets there, a new metal sheet is already waiting at the next location for transfer to the cutting system and the process is repeated fully automatically.
Cutting as core competence
This production solution has only been in operation at osthaus & beckert GmbH in Schwanewede near Bremen, Germany, since the end of August. The company, which was founded in 1994, uses it to manufacture ready-to-use parts and modules for the mechanical engineering, ship and yacht building, automotive, construction and aviation industries. The company acts as a developer and full-range supplier to these sectors and the portfolio of services it offers is correspondingly large, ranging from engineering through welding, cutting as well as sawing, forming, chip removal and joining and on to surface marking and assembly work. The cutting of steel, stainless steel and aluminum as well as of copper and titanium is of central importance for the company’s activities. “The company was originally set up to offer the high-quality, precision cutting of a wide range of metals and this is still one of our core competences today,” explains Christian Osthaus, who runs the company together with Andreas Beckert.
Convinced by the technology
In the past, the company has relied on a water-jet cutting system and two AMADA CO2 LC-F1 NT lasers to cut metal components out of a total of 460 different material types and thicknesses. “The AMADA CO2 laser in particular always provides perfect results – clean, smooth and without burr. For a long time, we believed that a fiber laser wouldn’t be able to match that,” reports Andreas Beckert. However, all that changed overnight when AMADA launched the AMADA VENTIS-3015AJ with variable beam control, which ensures smooth, high-speed, high-quality cutting without burr thanks to the side-to-side movement of the laser beam. “We saw the AMADA VENTIS-3015AJ with variable beam control at the last EuroBLECH trade fair and immediately decided it was for us,” recounts Andreas Beckert. “We were convinced by the new cutting quality and, of course, by the particularly high cutting speed. At the same time, it was clear to us that we could only exploit the full potential of this system by introducing additional automation.”
Massive synergy effects
osthaus & beckert GmbH achieved this automation by introducing the AMADA MP FLEXit-3015 and the AMADA CS II rack storage system. The storage system keeps all the raw materials close at hand in 136 storage locations with a payload of 3 tonnes each and can transfer the contents of the required location to the AMADA MP FLEXit or the laser cutting system extremely quickly – a capability that is of crucial importance given the frequent changes in the parts manufactured by the company. “Another vital factor was the ability to manage partially used sheets at the rack system and, of course, to handle the temporary storage of all the manufactured parts,” emphasizes Mathias Raulf, Sales Executive at AMADA. osthaus & beckert GmbH is now able to use the entire potential of the rack system since the system’s software is closely integrated with the company’s own ERP system. Since it was introduced in the company 16 years ago, this has been gradually extended and now manages all production jobs, including the production sequence, sheet metal requirements and stock management. The two Managing Directors agree: “The synergy effects are truly massive, quite apart from the increased speed of cutting itself. Order management and material handling are organized in such a way that the laser cutting system can run by itself practically non-stop around the clock.” At osthaus & beckert GmbH, approximately 80 percent of all parts are now cut using the new AMADA VENTIS-3015AJ.
Impressive competitive position
In combination with the outstandingly high cutting speed of the AMADA VENTIS-3015AJ, this has resulted in a considerable increase in capacity in the parts manufacturing shop. It enables the company to manufacture existing products far more economically as well as to take part in sales platforms that now allow it to be active at supra-regional level and thus gain access to completely new customers. As a result, the assessment of the new manufacturing solution is also extremely positive. Christian Osthaus and Andreas Beckert are convinced: “With the combination of the new laser cutting system, the rack storage system and the loading and unloading unit, there is no doubt that we made the right decision. The way these solutions have worked together to increase our competitiveness is truly impressive and has exceeded our expectations.”
Images: Steffi Behrmann