The façade for an office building? How about a door for a wheeled loader? And why not both, asks Matthias Weyer. No problem at all for TMS.
A glance in the TMS shop shows the wide diversity of the work carried out here. A TruLaser 5030 is cutting steps for construction machinery while a nearby TruLaser 5030 cuts sheet metal brackets for façade construction. At the same time the TruMatic 6000 combination machine is making up anti-slip grates of the type used for building equipment or outdoor stairways.
Every operation is fully automatic. That is guaranteed by the connection to an automated high-rise warehouse and by the LiftMaster, LiftMaster Sort and SheetMaster. Processing continues on the other side of the storage area. There, press brakes, welding robots and CNC machining centers are waiting to go to work. And it is exactly this latitude in manufacturing processes and products that is the TMS trademark. “Our core competence is flexibility,” emphasizes Matthias Weyer, general manager at this middle-market company. And thus the company’s motto is: “Metal is our calling”.
Rooted in architecture
Everything began with Matthias Weyer’s desire to go into business for himself. At that time he was chief materials manager for a major construction machinery manufacturer. In 1991 he took over a company located in the city of Trier involved in window construction, steel engineering and pre-fabricated buildings. In 1997 the company relocated to the nearby town of Grevenmacher, just beyond the border with Luxembourg. The old site could no longer satisfy the needs of the expanding operations. And “the business climate simply proved to be more amenable in Luxembourg than in Germany”, as Weyer points out diplomatically.
A much-in-demand partner
Having barely arrived in Luxembourg, the company soon became a much-in-demand partner for architects and builders. TMS technicians calculate the budget necessary for planned projects and work out alternatives if the analysis reveals potential technical problems or overly expensive details. The company’s own construction crew ensures proper assembly of the façades and steel structures.
In addition to conventional windows and doors or folded aluminum façades, TMS offers custom architectural design work. Matthias Weyer: “Our target market is commercial construction. Here every façade is unique, something that will be built just once. This is why TMS does not offer standardized products. Instead, it develops individualized solutions tailored to the requests of architects and building owners. The laser cutting systems — the company bought its first in 1998 — guarantee the flexibility needed for this market.
Most certainly, one highlight among the façades fabricated with laser cutting technology is the one for the new administration building of the Luxport harbor and logistics company. The building’s stairway, rising like a tower and sloped in two planes, is completely clad in Corten panels. The desired corrosion on the surface of this mild steel offers not only rustic weather protection but optics that fit perfectly into the harbor environment. “Each sheet is different; we designed them all in a 3D process and used laser beams to cut them,” Weyer explains. This elaborate design, thoroughly impressive in its effect, has paid off. In 2007 the building was recognized with the prize for steel building, the Concours Construction Acier.
Second business segment: the industrial sector
The first laser cutting machine not only laid the foundation for creative architectural projects but was also the basis for developing a second business segment — manufacturing components for the industrial sector. “Our drawback at the end of the 1990s was that there was little work in the winter — following the seasonal cycles of the building trade. And so we looked around to see what else we might do.” Weyer’s contacts to his former employer, the construction machinery manufacturer, proved helpful. That company was looking for a new supplier of sheet metal components and TMS had the perfect equipment for that job.
Initial orders were soon followed by others. In the industrial sector, too, the company has enhanced its standing with comprehensive consulting support. The TMS engineers not only match the individual manufacturing steps to the customer’s engineering specifications. They also plan construction components to meet individual requirements, if desired. Helpful engineering hints are just as much a part of the services as is information on the materials and processing techniques to be utilized.
Broad spectrum of products
Today TMS can fabricate items weighing as much as ten tons, from mild steel sheets up to twenty millimeters thick, from stainless steel or from aluminum. The spectrum of products that TMS manufactures is just as broad. It ranges from motor mounts and fully assembled tool boxes for wheeled loaders to specially designed switchgear cabinets for the automotive industry. TMS uses the TRUMPF systems to process even those sheet metal materials — such as brass, copper or titanium — that are difficult to work with the CO₂ laser. These experts, for whom “metal is a calling”, have worked out their own solution — and keep it shrouded in secrecy.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in summer 2010.