A simple press of the red button and the enormous machine was set into action: today, Weiss Technik’s new sheet metal processing center in Reiskirchen was put into operation. “This investment of more than six million euros marks the advancement of automation at our Reiskirchen location and increases our competitive edge,” stated Dr. Arno Roth, CEO of Schunk Group, of which Weiss Technik is a division. According to Dr. Roth, the Schunk technology group is one of the biggest industrial corporations in Hesse and employs 3,200, making it one of the most significant employers in the region. That is why he was particularly pleased to have Prime Minister Bouffier attend this important event.
Peter R. Manolopoulos, Schunk Group Member of the Executive Board and responsible for the Weiss Technik division, showed guests the benefits of the new sheet metal processing center. As a producer of environmental simulation systems and air-conditioning technology, Weiss Technik manufactures high-tech products that have housings made primarily of sheet metal. This includes climate test chambers, air-conditioning units and clean rooms. “Our new sheet metal processing center will significantly improve our productivity and we will be able to more efficiently manufacture the required sheet metal,” states Manolopoulos. “Investing in state-of-the-art production systems will ensure that Weiss Technik continues to be a market leader when it comes to further developing environmental simulation systems and air-conditioning technology, and will still give it a competitive edge, even when it is up against countries that pay lower wages.” The automated sheet metal processing center is but one component of the substantial investment in this location, which includes 20 million euros invested over the past five years. Over this same period, the number of employment positions in Reiskirchen increased by 100 to 840, and this number will increase.
“When it comes to actively shaping the future, your business is front and center. The cutting-edge sheet metal processing center that we are inaugurating today is only one example of many. The Lindenstruth location is now fully prepared to enter the digital age. It’s been a while since Industry 4.0 has been the music of the distant future at this location,” said Prime Minister of Hesse Volker Bouffier. He continued: “The Hessian roots of your company run deep and strong, and at the same time, Weiss Technik is open-minded and internationally successful, or, to use more current terminology, Weiss Technik is a real global player. This is a prime example of regional solidarity and open-mindedness, tradition and innovation – rather than standing in contrast to one another, they fit together perfectly. This is what you represent, and this is also what the state of Hesse represents.”
Sheet metal processing and Industry 4.0
The new sheet metal processing center will allow Weiss Technik’s sheet metal processing to reach a whole new level. This is reflected in the fact that a production hall was needed to accommodate the 25 x 40 x 6 meter machine. The sheet metal processing center, built by the Italian industrial machinery manufacturer Salvagnini Group, combines high-bay racking with a so-called punching, shearing and bending center. In other words, the entire process, from getting the sheet metal out of storage, to shearing, punching and bending the sheet metal, is fully automated and done by a single machine. Before, these were each individual processing steps, carried out by different machines. This shortens the time needed to manufacture the outer and inner housing for climate test chambers, for example, which increases Weiss Technik’s productivity.
Furthermore, the sheet metal processing center in Industry 4.0-compatible and can process a large variety of very different client-customized sheet metal configurations, with a high degree of software support. The Reiskirchen location will also be manufacturing sheet metal components for their affiliate, Vötsch Technik, located in Balingen, Baden-Württemberg. “To put it simply, a quick click of the mouse, and our colleagues in Balingen will be able to send their manufacturing orders via their software interface to the sheet metal processing center, and their components will come out of the machine here in Reiskirchen,” Manolopoulos declared, enthusiastically explaining the new production potential.
The Weiss Technik brands weisstechnik and vötschtechnik represent the most significant developer and manufacturer of environmental simulation systems, air-conditioning and heating technology systems, as well as clean-air and containment systems. The company’s solutions are implemented worldwide by all key research and development industries, as well as in the fields of manufacturing and quality assurance. A strong distribution and service organization ensures optimum customer support, both regionally and globally, and guarantees a high degree of operational safety.