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05/06/2024|Kappler GmbH & Co. KG

The Search for the micron

Friedrich Kappler became self-employed in 1934, STARTING OUT with a press from his previous employer, and laid the foundation for the still-expanding Kappler GmbH & Co. KG (Kapplercnc) in Birkenfeld. 

In order to avoid any vibration, the measuring machine is equipped with its own 6 m deep foundation, which is completely separate from the rest of the building.

Today the company manufactures complex precision components and assemblies for global key industries such as semiconductors, aerospace and optics. Some 150 specialists carry out efficient production processes in a new building that was completed in 2020 over an area of 23,000 m2. For production, Kapplercnc puts its faith in machine tools from DMG MORI. About 25 models from the technology leader are currently installed – including two automated mega-centers for the machining of high-precision, large components for the semiconductor industry: a DMC 210 U μPrecision and a DMC 340 U μPrecision, each with a rotary pallet pool. Complex turnmilled components are manufactured on a CTX beta 1250 TC 4A. DMG MORI technology cycles and networked machines are also the guarantee of long-term, process-safe and future-proof production.

Rainer Gottschling
Rainer Gottschling, Managing Director of Kapplercnc

Machining by chip removal down to tolerances of a few microns is only possible thanks to the symbiosis of human competence on the machine and maximum repeatability over the entire working volume.

Rainer Gottschling, Managing Director of Kapplercnc

Accurate to the nearest micron thanks to a sustainable climate control concept 

“As a service provider to high-tech companies in many future-oriented industries, a state-of-the-art production environment is crucial for our very existence”, stresses Rainer Gottschling. He is the grandson of the company founder and the third generation to manage Kapplercnc. After years of growth, the company recently optimized its activities in a new building in Birkenfeld. The building has been constructed in accordance with KfW55 energy efficiency standards. It has the latest climate technology, a 1,190 kWp photovoltaic system has been installed, and a combined heat and power unit provides 50 percent of the power requirement. “Our challenge is to cool the building, even in the winter”, explains Rainer Gottschling. 80 percent of the heat given off by the machines and the building can be used for cooling via heat exchangers. “In this way we achieve a constant 21 degrees C in the manufacturing area”.

μm precision at the limit of the accuracy range 

But back to the core of the Kapplercnc business model. When he is asked about the reasons for his company's success, Rainer Gottschling particularly likes to point to the well-trained and experienced engineers, who are in a position to fulfill all customer requirements at all times with regard to precision and quality down to the nearest micron. “With regard to the precision of our workpieces, we work at the absolute limit”. The DMG MORI machines are said to be the perfect platform for this. “The icing on the cake, i. e. the last micron, is then provided by our employees”. Kapplercnc trains its highly competent engineers in-house.

Vibration-free measurement at XXL scale 

Kappler GmbH & Co. KG
On the DMC 210 and 340 U μPrecision, Kapplercnc manufactures high-precision components which are used in the semiconductor industry for manufacturing wafers, for example.

100 % quality control of all parts and documentation takes place using cutting-edge measuring technology. An XXL measuring machine was installed on a foundation decoupled from the rest of the building and anchored on a six-meter high column deep in the ground in order to avoid any vibration from the environment. The manufacturing technology is equally “up to date”. To ensure that it is, field tests with partners from the machine tool industry are carried out regularly in order to compare the status quo with new ideas in machine development. “This keeps us on our toes and keeps our eyes open at all times”, says Rainer Gottschling.

Automated large machines with micro-precision 

In DMG MORI, Kapplercnc has found a partner that continually enriches everyday manufacturing with powerful precision machinery and also innovative software solutions. The latest examples in 5-axis simultaneous machining are the DMC 210 U μPrecision and the DMC 340 U μPrecision from the technology leader. “The volumetric accuracy of less than 30 μm and the achievable positioning accuracy of 4 μm have allowed us to deal with every precision requirement”, underlines Alexander Roeth, technical operations manager at Kapplercnc. He particularly highlights the demanding components for the semiconductor industry.

DMG MORI technology cycles for even greater accuracy 

The reason for the high accuracy as far as the precision machining centers are concerned are the scraped guideways. There are also the exclusive DMG MORI technology cycles. 3D quickSET measures and corrects the positions of the rotating and swiveling axes, meaning that the machines can be reliably recalibrated at any time. “We do this prior to finish machining in order to get maximum accuracy out of the machine and minimize the amount of reworking”, says Alexander Roth. VCS Complete is also soon going to be installed, which improves the volumetric accuracy of the machine. This enables up to 30 percent higher accuracy over the entire service life of the machine. Kapplercnc uses a third technology cycle, MPC 2.0 – Machine Protection Control, for process monitoring including machine protection. “In this way, through vibration we can detect when a tool is at risk of becoming blunt at an early stage”, says Alexander Roeth, mentioning a decisive advantage. The process monitoring is also said to be beneficial for automated operation. Both machining centers are equipped with a rotary pallet pool – with five pallets in the case of the DMC 210 U μPrecision and four pallets on the bigger model. “Many components have long machining times, meaning that we also manufacture them in 2 or 3 shift operation with the aid of the automation”.

CTX beta 1250 TC 4A: 6-sided complete machining to within microns 

“Workpieces produced during turning operations are also highly complex”, explains Rainer Gottschling. 6-sided complete machining has established itself based on Turn & Mill machines. The third Turn & Mill machine was installed in 2020 with the arrival of a CTX beta 1250 TC 4A, on which Kapplercnc manufactures optical components, for example. “Here too, we use 3D quickSET to provide the high precision”.

Alexander Roeth
Alexander Roeth, Technischer Betriebsleiter bei Kapplercnc

Thanks to the counterspindle, the workpieces are completely machined on all 6 sides. Also with micron accuracy thanks to 3D quickSET.

Alexander Roeth, Technischer Betriebsleiter bei Kapplercnc

End-to-end digitization of all processes 

According to Rainer Gottschling, the sustained growth in the semiconductor industry and its precision requirements are a perfect yardstick for modern manufacturing: “The industry requires components that can only be manufactured with state-of-theart production technology. DMG MORI sets standards here with its products”. Also with a view to the future, he adds: “Efficient manufacturing also requires consistent and end-to-end digitization of all processes”. The entire manufacturing area including tool management is networked in order to guarantee optimum planning. “We already know during planning which machines are equipped with the right tools, and where anything is missing”. Kapplercnc also relies on digitized processes in the service area: “All machine information is available to us in the my DMG MORI online portal – technical documentation, for example. And if something has happened, service inquiries are dealt with in a prioritized way”. You receive transparent information about the process status via Track & Trace and can reliably plan spare part deliveries. Rainer Gottschling realizes that the modern setup of the site and the experienced team are important for successful business development. There are not many companies using a DMC 210 U μPrecision or a DMC 340 U μPrecision: “They are therefore a unique selling point for us, which allows us to manufacture components to within microns”. Kapplercnc has already ordered another DMC 340 U μPrecision, also with technology cycles to increase precision.

Kappler GmbH & Co. KG
Dammfeldstraße 2
75217 Birkenfeld, Germany

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