The development aids
By the time an order is passed on to the machine, the jig specialists at BBW Lasertechnik have already launched their work. The component is held by their tailor-made fixtures.
Welding complicated shapes accurately, and frequently under time and cost pressures? This is everyday routine at BBW Lasertechnik. “Pressure is what we thrive on,” says Dr. Johannes Weiser, who manages the company together with Johann Bürger. “Our goal is to be a strong partner for our customers, right from the development phase, and to find the most efficient solution.”
BBW Lasertechnik, based in the Upper Bavarian town of Prutting, has plenty of options at its disposal: welding, cutting, drilling, and laser marking — and processing sheet metal mechanically. Customers from a wide variety of industries appreciate not only the range of technologies available, but also the company’s certificate confirming compliance with the automotive industry’s ISO/TS 16949 quality standard. “This certificate has helped us along considerably,” reports Weiser. “It is a genuine milestone in our company’s history.”
From 20 to 7,000 square meters
The story began in 1997, with a shop floor of 20 square meters in a building owned by Burkart Elektronenstrahltechnik GmbH, at that time Weiser and Bürger’s employer. They were already laser cutting so-called stents for one customer. That customer was sure that the team would be even more efficient if it had better technology and was ready to shoulder larger investments.
Bürger and Weiser, together with company owner Arno Burkart, founded BBW Lasertechnik. By 1999, huge companies such as Daimler and Robert Bosch had started placing orders with them. The numbers of machines and employees shot up. In 2002 Burkart withdrew from company management but the young firm stayed on its expansion course. Since 2009, the new company production facility in Prutting, with 7,000 square meters of floor space, has provided enough room for the special tasks at BBW.
Unique selling proposition: fixture construction
And those tasks are mastered not only by applying their many years of experience in laser welding, cutting, and drilling, but first and foremost by careful fixture construction. This has given rise to a unique selling proposition. “Accurate fixtures are the key to quality when laser welding complex components,” says Johann Bürger. Additionally, the experts from BBW provide comprehensive support. What may well happen is that the team might question the way that customers previously designed their parts and then revamp the design completely, never losing sight of the goal: to create the best possible basis for fixture construction.
“In this way we have achieved far more efficient production processes for a customer in the lock industry, because every millimeter counts in electronic locks with their complicated inner mechanisms,” states Johannes Weiser. Initial quality control takes place during the manufacturing process, with the aid of sensor and inspection devices. BBW also takes special orders for laser cut parts. “With our TruLaser 2025 from TRUMPF, we are able to cut extremely accurate contours in detailed parts in sheets ranging from 0.3 to 8 millimeters thick. That lets us cover a further niche in the market,” says the CEO.
Girded for every contingency
This company does more than supply tailor-made solutions to satisfy specific customer needs. BBW also takes on welding work for parts that reduce harmful emissions or for steering column adjusters for mass production in the automobile industry. To achieve the deep weld seams required, the company invested in a TRUMPF TruLaser Robot 5020 with a four-kilowatt TruDisk laser.
“We have had programmable focusing optics (PFO) installed. That is ideal for welding a large number of small seams efficiently. This is where we see an enormous potential for the future,” says Johann Bürger. Convinced of the benefits of the laser cell, BBW has also invested in a TruLaser Cell 3000 with a 6.6 kilowatt TruDisk laser and PFO.
Offering the entire process chain
“The concepts behind TRUMPF’s machines are, quite simply, technically mature,” states Johannes Weiser. “The appropriate TruTops software packages have convinced us of their worth.” This was an important argument in favor of acquiring the TruBend 5085, since the software is compatible with their corporate CAD system. Thus BBW is able to offer its customers the entire process chain involved in sheet metal processing.
Above all, fixture manufacturing and prototyping represent a market which, according to Bürger, is far from being exhausted. “We grow with every order and are always learning something new.” That is exactly as it should be in every good partnership.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in autumn 2013.