From one to another!
40 Years of Valued Partnership
Since being set up in 1974, leading injection mould tool and plastics engineering specialist Kaut has relied on milling machines and CNC machining centres from Hermle AG
The chronology of the medium-sized business Herbert Kaut GmbH & Co. KG, Werkzeug- und Formenbau und Kunststofftechnik from Sigmaringen, D-72488, Germany, in many ways reflects the development stages of German machine tool manufacture. First established in 1974 by graduate engineer Herbert Kaut and today employing 75 staff, the company has steadily grown from its small beginnings and is now a leading precision engineering specialist. The unwavering focus of every department is fixed on the delivery of consistently high quality and added value services in the complementary business fields of tool and mould making (injection mould tools for thermoplastics and precision casting tools) and high-quality and increasingly complex plastic injection mould parts (injection parts with fabric inlays, filters, membranes and inserts). Since the company commenced trading, Herbert Kaut has set high standards for himself and his teams and made investments in the best available technology. He therefore sensed an opportunity therein and, in particular, in the concentration of sophisticated technologies and parts to get ahead of the competition. This is one of the reasons why Kaut has been training young recruits since the early days and has already helped in excess of 50 young people become qualified engineers; roughly 50% of them have remained with the company since completing their apprenticeship. Jürgen Sauter, master toolmaker and long-time mould making manager, says of the exemplified corporate philosophy: "The primary goal in both production areas is technology leadership and we therefore place particular emphasis on highly qualified staff, a modern machine portfolio and well equipped workstations. From brainstorming, through design and tool making to full-scale production and service, we close any gaps in the relevant process chain with high-quality equipment, and in doing so, develop long-term business relationships with both suppliers and customers."
From '70s drilling and milling operations…
A good example of this is the highly-valued 40 year relationship with one of the most important (machine) suppliers, namely with Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG from Gosheim, D-78559. Soon after the company began, Herbert Kaut acquired a Hermle UWF 800 universal milling machine in 1975, and a decision to add further capacity resulted in the purchase of a UFW 700 in 1978 and 1979. The acquisition of a UWF 850 machining centre in 1983 marked the company's entry into CNC technology. This was followed by investment until 1991 in a total of nine machining centres (UWF 700, 720, 850, 1000, 600 with an additional fourth axis, 1000, 851 and a second UWF 851). When Hermle launched the C-series at the end of the 1990s, thus introducing a new level of capacity and capability, Kaut grabbed this opportunity by the scruff of the neck and launched in 2000 its entrance into 5-axis/5-sided complete machining with a C 800 CNC machining centre. The youngest machine is the high performance, 5-axis CNC machining centre C 42 U, which was purchased in 2012. Herbert Kaut comments on the decision to identify Maschinenfabrik Hermle as a key partner and to establish the relationship over the years: "Milling is a fundamental metal-cutting technology for tool and mould making, and we've never been prepared to make any compromises on service. Looking back, we can say that we made the right decision and have built a partnership based on mutual trust, respect and support. Over the years we have always received valuable help, something that was very important at the start of the CNC era, particularly in the case of 5-axis technology. Trust in the delivered machines plays a major role for the implementation of all ultra-modern and highly complex machining technologies and is therefore crucial for the success of our company. Viewed from this perspective, Hermle has contributed significantly to our success and development over the past 40 years, which is reason enough to continue building on the innovative spirit and capabilities of this partner."
…to today's 5-axis-/5-sided complete/simultaneous machining
As a traditional manufacturing company with a high-tech portfolio, Kaut plans to maintain its leading position by using all but two - after having sold a CNC 850 and a CNC 700 machining centre - of its Hermle machines (the UWF 800/700 universal milling machines and the machining centres CNC 600/700/720/850/851/1000) for a diverse range of machining tasks in its tool and the mould making. Apart from a bit of maintenance the machines are still in regular daily use. Both the older CNC series machining centres and newer 5-axis C 800 and C 42 U machining centres are equipped with Heidenhain CNC controls. This has led to a wealth of experience in terms of learning, operating, programming and process management with members of staff showing a high level of acceptance of Hermle machines, which ultimately results in greater efficiency and quality. Jürgen Sauter comments on the quickening and relentless pace of progress in milling operations at Hermle machines: "As a provider of services to customers, which includes our own plastic injection-moulding technology division, we must always be able to utilise the full efficiency and performance of our equipment quickly and flexibly in order to fine-tune marketable product designs and meet customer requirements and deadlines. According to demand, we currently operate over single or multiple shifts and must not have any doubts about the reliability of the milling machines and machining centres. The service provided by Hermle is hard to fault and has never let us down in all the years of working together. In other words always providing complete support whenever and wherever it was needed. Furthermore, we have always profited from Hermle's innovative approach, a fine example of which is the high-performance, 5-axis C 42 U CNC machining centre."
C 42 U with ZM 160 additional magazine = 5-axis machining plus ratio effect
This machine is equipped with a ZM 160 additional magazine with 160 tools, which, when combined with the machine magazine, provides the operator with a total of 202 tools. Besides machine operators, the designers and programmers of the moulds and injection mould tools also reap the benefits of this. On the one hand, the extensive range of tools enables a certain level of standardisation when designing mould plates and parts and helps to reduce tool costs. And, on the other hand, the extensive range allows all the work, from roughing to finishing, to be carried out in one setup, thus reducing changeover and setup times and enabling unattended overnight machining. Finally, the machining centre equipped with a main spindle that can accelerate up to 25000 rpm can also be used for hard machining. In other words, many mould and tool parts emerge from the machine ready to install without the need for further treatment. The C 42 U machining centre is used for a wide variety of machining applications and materials (tool steel, CU, hard machining up to 60 HRC) and undertakes a key position in the company due to its 5-axis design, efficiency, production capacity, long-term accuracy and good size working range (based on an 800x 630 mm NC rotary table), which are backed by the said dependable service support.