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08/19/2016|RONAL GROUP

Maximum productivity thanks to minimum downtimes

For its production of light alloy wheels the RONAL GROUP banks on flexible and reliable tool and mould making. And also on board: CNC technology from DMG MORI.

Since 1990 ALRON Lda. has been part of the RONAL GROUP. The plant in Portuguese Murtede supplies the production facilities with tools and moulds for low-pressure aluminium casting.

As a manufacturer of quality light alloy wheels the RONAL GROUP supplies virtually all big car manufactures from its base in Swiss Härkingen. The wheels from the company that was founded in 1969 impress with their first class design and high standards of quality. The RONAL GROUP employs over 6000 people worldwide at its in total 19 locations. The Portuguese company ALRON Lda located in Murtede has also been part of the corporate group since 1990. It produces the tools and moulds needed for the low-pressure casting of aluminium and delivers them to product facilities spread all over the world. The sophisticated production is carried out with the expertise of its 74 specialists and a high-performance machine park that includes 16 machine tools from DMG MORI.

Keeping an eye on the production at ALRON: Fernando Silva (Production Manager Lda.), João Romão (Head of Service and Maintenance) and Andreas Dusold (Managing Director).
A DMC 125 FD and a DMC 125 U duoBLOCK from DMG MORI are among the latest investments in the machine park at ALRON.
Even complex components for tool and mould making are produced efficiently in a single setup at ALRON – in this case on a CTX beta 1250 TC.

“Light alloy wheels are far more than just an eye-catching feature on cars. They also contribute greatly to the safety of the vehicle”, says Andreas Dusold, Managing Director of ALRON. And that is exactly why the RONAL GROUP places such great demands on the quality of their products. “Our customers also expect this, of course.” The latter comprise more or less all big car manufacturers – from the Volkswagen Group to Mercedes-Benz and BMW and on to include the Toyota Group, to mention just a few. 97 percent of the light alloy wheels are destined for this OEM business. This also requires close cooperation with customers, claims Andreas Dusold: “We pursue a full-service philosophy in this respect. The scope of our service starts with the design and product development including prototype construction and encompasses the entire serial production including all quality controls.”

ALRON constructs its own high-precision tools and moulds in order to meet the high quality standards of the RONAL GROUP and its customers.

The numerous process steps reflect just how complex it is to manufacture light alloy wheels: aluminium is first melted and then blanks formed in a low-pressure casting process. These blanks undergo an x-ray control before being released for the next manufacturing steps. Heat treatment, mechanical processing, manual finishing and finally surface treatment round off the process steps. A key part of production is tool and mould making, which is carried out in-house, by the RONAL GROUP at its main plant in Switzerland and ARLON in Portugal. The location in Härkingen is responsible primarily for development, while the Portuguese plant manufactures all the tools and moulds for the production facilities to be found all around the world.

Expertise combined with state-of-the-art machine tool technology.

The importance of in-house tool and mould making is easy for Andreas Dusold to expain: “This allows us a high degree of flexibility and means we keep absolute control over the quality of the moulds.” After all, the quality of the finished light alloy wheels depends on this. “The many years of experience of our employees is just as important for us as training young talent for the future.” The team can give full rein to its know-how thanks to the modern equipment in production. Where CNC technology is concerned the machine park also boasts no less than 16 machining centres and lathes from DMG MORI.'

Manual finishing rounds off the integral range of services at ALRON.
The light alloy wheels of the RONAL GROUP are not only an eye-catcher, they also contribute greatly to the safety of the car.

“The accuracy and reliability of the machines are an important mainstay in our daily business”, is how Fernando Silva, Production Manager ALRON, explains the many years of continuous cooperation with the machine tool manufacturer. The latest investments in production include a DMC 125 U duoBLOCK, a DMC 125 FD and a CTX beta 1250 TC. For Fernando Silva the diversity of the machine park is a decisive factor: “It means we can respond quickly and produce even complex components economically as well as in low tolerance ranges – often in a single setup.” In this way they meet the high quality demanded of the moulds as well as the short delivery times.

As the person responsible for service and maintenance at ALRON, João Romão sets great store on the reliability of the machining centres and lathes. “It is necessary for us to keep downtimes to a minimum and to ensure a high level of process reliability.” Exactly why ALRON expects a competent, quick-response service on the part of DMG MORI. “Here, too, the cooperation works really well”, João Romão goes on to tell us. The DMG MORI Service Hotline alone is a great help, because of the uncomplicated manner with which it handles so many challenges. “Technical problems can often be solved simply over the phone.” The service staff identify causes very exactly and give detailed instructions for solving the problems. “We rarely need a service technician, but when we do this, too, is arranged at very short notice.” João Romão is also very pleased with the fast response when spare parts are needed: “DMG MORI delivers from Germany within 20 hours.”

For ALRON the high demands placed on DMG MORI as a machine supplier are a direct consequence of the RONAL GROUP’s business development. “By 2019 we intend to expand our current production of 18 million light alloy wheels significantly”, explains Andreas Dusold the aims of the company. This would also mean a sustained expansion of the capacities of our tool and mould making operations. “In other words: we will work even more flexibly and reduce our throughput times in future”. And DMG MORI will continue to play a key role within the framework of this growth: “Because if we wish to keep a competitive edge on the market, we will also have to expand where production is concerned.”