Automated and Digitalized: Schaeffler Opens New Tool Technology Center
2022-05-03 | Herzogenaurach/Höchstadt
- Investment to the tune of tens of millions strengthens tool expertise in Germany, allowing innovative products to be manufactured
- Tool Technology Center in Höchstadt produces precision tools for global Schaeffler locations
- “Bits meet metal”: Automated, digitalized manufacturing significantly increases the competitiveness of toolmaking
The automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler has opened a state-of-the-art Tool Technology Center at its facility in Höchstadt an der Aisch in Germany. Precision tools for the global Schaeffler production network will be manufactured over 8,000 m² of floor space, particularly for the strategic future target areas of e-mobility and robotics, but also for mechatronic chassis applications. “Schaeffler's outstanding capabilities in toolmaking are now being given a new dimension in both technical and structural terms with the Tool Technology Center. Against the backdrop of the technological changes of our time, this is of outstanding importance,” says Georg F. W. Schaeffler, Family Shareholder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Schaeffler AG. In total, the company has made a multi-million investment in the Tool Technology Center. “Manufacturing excellence and innovative tool technologies are an integral part of the Schaeffler DNA and have played a major role in the successful business development of the Automotive Technologies and Industrial divisions for more than 75 years,” explains Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG. “The new Tool Technology Center, a unique selling proposition of Schaeffler across all sectors, unites this expertise at a single location and is the driving force for future technologies, true to our motto: ‘We pioneer motion’.” Since September 2021 around 100 pieces of machinery have been brought together in an existing hall at the Höchstadt site. They are used among other things to produce punches and dies which, combined as assemblies, are used for punching and forming strip steel.
Reinforcing tool expertise
The Tool Technology Center in Höchstadt includes a 7,000 m²-large manufacturing area and more than 1,000 m² of office space, thus making a significant contribution to Schaeffler’s expertise in tool technology. “Grouping our expertise together in Höchstadt is allowing Schaeffler to unite development, production, and tool manufacture at a single site so as to be in the best possible position to meet future customer requirements,” comments Andreas Schick, Chief Operating Officer at Schaeffler AG. Automation and digitalization mean that high machine capacity utilization is possible at all times. This results in highly efficient, profitable operation of toolmaking in Germany, a country well-known for its technological prowess.” High-precision tools will be developed and manufactured at the toolmaking site, which in turn will facilitate volume production of top quality products. Technologies such as aluminum die casting, plastic injection molding or die-cut stacking are critical to success, particularly in e-mobility, as other types of material need to be processed apart from steel.
“Three fully automatic robot lines and 50 processing machines that are digitally linked are among the technological highlights in the Tool Technology Center at Höchstadt,” adds Wilfried Schwenk, Head of Global Tool Technology at Schaeffler. “The machinery includes a state-of-the-art press with servo drive and a maximum pressing force of up to 630 tons. This press is used to map all requirements, for example with regard to installation space and other technical properties, for all of our customers' presses.” The Tool Technology Center is also capitalizing on digital solutions: In the future, using "model-based definition" will be key. It is a method for describing all production and process-relevant information directly on the 3D CAD model. Here, all data for digital processes is available from a single source, significantly reducing development times.
Publisher: Schaeffler AG