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02/28/2024|PWS Presswerk Struthütten GmbH

Autonomous series Production for e-mobility

After its establishment 85 years ago, PWS Presswerk Struthütten GmbH from Neunkirchen quickly developed into a full service supplier in the areas of forming, joining and cutting.

As a partner in both development and series production, the company and its 200 skilled staff supply customers in demanding industries – including the automotive, commercial vehicle and heating sectors. PWS started machining in 2022 after receiving an order for the production of floor components for the batteries of hybrid vehicles. The highly automated precision production of these components takes place in a total of four NHX 8000 machines, which DMG MORI has connected via a MATRIS system. The productive automation includes the handling of the panels from unmachined part to production, washing, quality inspection and deburring to the final, unique marking of the components.

Daniel Jud; Steffen Metz
Daniel Jud, managing partner (right); Steffen Metz, Head of Purchasing and Materials Management at PWS Presswerk Struthütten GmbH

It was clear from the beginning that we needed fully automated production in order to ensure that we had reliable series production. We have found exactly the right partner for this in DMG MORI.

Daniel Jud, managing partner; Steffen Metz, Head of Purchasing and Materials Management at PWS Presswerk Struthütten GmbH

Precision from tradition in the 4th generation

The range of services provided by PWS has developed continuously over the decades. “We have constantly expanded our product range, particularly in terms of materials,” explains Daniel Jud, who is a member of the fourth generation to run the company as a managing partner. His great-grandfather started with the processing of black steel and stainless steel followed later. “Aluminum and titanium are becoming increasingly important nowadays.” The trend towards lightweight construction is being driven forward by the electric vehicle industry, for example.

In prototype manufacturing, PWS supports its customers in the early stages of development. The team is constantly faced with new challenges in manufacturing innovative components with maximum quality and also economically, with a view to series production. Daniel Jud thinks that his team and the production area are well prepared for this: “On one hand, we benefit from the many years of know-how of our specialists and on the other from our high-performance manufacturing technology.”

The modern machines in the factory are also attractive for young talent and trainees. “We are fortunate to continue receiving unsolicited applications which allow us to fulfill our personnel requirements.”

DMG MORI: Flexible manufacturing solution with standard machinery

Each NHX 8000 has a pallet changer with one fixture per pallet, each of which is equipped with a panel at both sides. Two floor panels are manufactured in a single machining process.

One of the new machines has led to PWS expanding its technology portfolio to include innovative machining. “We produced a proto-type of a floor component for the battery for a large automobile manufacturer and ultimately received the order to manufacture the series,” remembers Steffen Metz, Head of Purchasing and Materials Management at PWS. “We were looking for a suitable manufacturing solution for this.” Our core business of punching did not technically meet the requirement and processing in a gantry machine was too inflexible for us. “In DMG MORI, we have found a partner who can reliably supply equipment to produce  the components to the required quality on standard machines, which has been verified by test machining in Wernau and now also in series production, of course.” The choice was quickly made to machine the part on an NHX 8000. Its work area provides sufficient room for the 652 × 980 mm components and, if necessary, the horizontal machining center will easily be able to be used for other jobs in the future.

The series production of the floor components involves up to 6,000 components per week. In order to be able to provide this capacity, PWS has purchased four NHX 8000 machines. Each has a pallet changer with one fixture per pallet, each of which is equipped with a floor component at both sides. Two floor components are manufactured in one machining process. The decisive reason for selecting DMG MORI as a partner in this project was the automation expertise of the machine tool manufacturer. Steffen Metz says: “It was clear from the start that we needed fully automated production in order to ensure process-reliable series production.” With the MATRIS system, DMG MORI designed an individual solution and also delivered the entire manufacturing process as a turnkey project, and all from a single source.

From the unmachined part to the ready-to-install floor component, including digital documentation

The NHX 8000 machines at PWS are equipped with #40 speedMASTER spindles as a special option.

PWS transfers the unmachined parts into the system using a special load carrier developed in-house with room for more than 100 panels. Two robots handle the workpieces at the center of the MATRIS system. The components are aligned and automatically clamped in the fixture at both sides. The two components that have already been machined are removed and transferred to the other stations. “The finished parts are cleaned using a blow-off device, a camera inspection system checks the holes and the parts are processed in a deburring machine. Each panel is then laser-marked with a QR code and scanned. “We use this to record all production data digitally in order to guarantee complete traceability,” says Steffen Metz. “The smooth process provides floor panels that are ready to install.” For further quality assurance, the MATRIS system was subsequently supplemented with a washing system and a flatness checker.

Continuous production during Maintenance

Process reliability is crucial for PWS, since every machine downtime has serious consequences. Daniel Jud refers to the contractually agreed delivery quantities and deadlines: “This is why the production system was designed so that it can continue to work independently, even if a machine not in operation”, which is the case during maintenance, for example.

Cooperative project

DMG MORI completed the complicated turnkey design and progressed the project through to series production in the complex automation solution in approximately 18 months. One of the NHX 8000s was even delivered in advance so that PWS could manufacture the initial floor components and test the process. “This allowed us to gather some important information before final acceptance took place in Japan and incorporate the findings into the construction of the system,” says Steffen Metz about the cooperation provided by DMG MORI.

By starting the quality-oriented machining of sophisticated components, PWS has looked outside the box and embarked on a path for which Daniel Jud has high expectations: “With the experience we have gained over the past two years in a technology area that is new to us, we believe that we are well prepared for future orders and further investment in innovative manufacturing solutions.”

PWS Presswerk Struthütten GmbH
Im Wiesengrund 7
57290 Neunkirchen

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