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Saving Space, Gaining Productivity

February 2012

Hago GmbH in Germany had a problem.

The company needed to add stamping lines but had limited space. What the company eventually found was an alternative method for stamping in a tight area while adding the stamping production it desperately needed.

Hago started in 1970 producing stamping tools for local industries, explains Klaus Gohrich, owner. “Later the company offered punching services. Then we purchased NC equipment, such as a laser and milling machines that allowed the company to expand.”

Hago has several main production areas: high-volume and fine-blanking stamping production, toll design and construction, laser-cutting and welding. The company is committed to innovation and technology by using up-to-date production lines and machinery. Automation is also very important to Hago along with new production lines that allow it to be very competitive.

Currently Hago employs 500 people working usually two shifts and sometimes three depending on the workload. Its main products are parts for the German automotive industry such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but also other well-known auto OEMs, which makes up about 70 percent of the company’s income. Hago sales are more than approximately €100 million per year.

For stamping, Hago has five fine-blanking systems. A Schuler press is used for one system while three others use Finetool presses, and another uses an Osterwalder. The company primarily processes steel and aluminum parts. ARKU was introduced to Hago more than 20 years ago when the company purchased its first used ARKU leveler built in 1977 and is still in operation today. The quality and efficiency of this machine convinced Gohrich that ARKU was the right company when he needed compact-coil lines added for production.

Faster stamping

Today, Hago operates more than 20 ARKU levelers and coil-lines operating with transfer, servo and fine-blanking presses. Seven of these coil lines are compact lines that feed presses, also servo-presses. Hago introduced this equipment to save space and to increase productivity by minimizing set-up times, coil-run and coil-change times.

One example of an ARKU press-feed line for a 1,250-ton transfer press includes a coil loading car, decoiler, threading unit and a feeder/leveler. “ARKU’s CompactFeed 65 combines two machines in one: a roller feeder and leveler, saving significant production space,” remarks Gohrich.

“The ARKU coil-line can handle a material thickness from 0.8 mm up to 8 mm, along with a maximum strip width of 1,500 mm and a coil that can weigh up to 15 tons. All press feeding components are synchronized and automated to minimize coil-changing times and increase the press line’s uptime. This particular line currently produces stainless steel parts,”
says Gohrich.

Rainer Hack, managing director and plant manager, says, “ARKU coil lines are not the cheapest, but we are convinced that they were the right choice for us because of their high reliability. The operational uptime of our ARKU coil-lines is 95 percent.”

Hago’s stamping press lines consist of presses from 30 to 1,250 tons, producing punched parts from 0.5-mm to 8-mm thick.

ARKU’s compact-press feeding lines combine the feed and leveling processes in a single machine to save space. When using a feeder/straightener combination, a loop pit as a buffer isn’t needed. The line length is reduced, and unwinding and rewinding times are noticeably shortened. This equipment can also be equipped with zigzag traverse systems that can save material costs.

He also mentions that the benefits the company has received from the ARKU equipment are many. They offer a reduced footprint. Coil loading is faster, because a second coil can be placed on the machine while the first coil is being fed. A standard ARKU operator CNC interface works with all major stamping press suppliers. The thicker the material used, the shorter the coil run times are, and when heavy coils are used, the highly automated ARKU equipment offers easy material handling by employees to reduce processing.

Laser cutting

Along with stamping, the company uses lasers for both cutting and welding automotive parts. Hago has a large Stopa material handling system that feeds four cutting lasers working three shifts.

The company also uses a laser to develop prototypes, cutting out a blank and bending it to develop the final dimensions of the part before production.

Hago has 80 skilled toolmakers and engineers in its facility. They use wire EDM to make stamping tools. This equipment is replaced every two years to keep up with the latest technology and to assure the highest tool accuracies.

Another service the company offers is to make and design specialty equipment for high-volume production to add nuts and subassemblies to stampings or to laser cut and bend parts. Hago designs the equipment for high-volume production and then spreads the cost of it through the production expenditures for the part.

Hago runs approximately 3,000 different part numbers during the year says Gohrich. “But we have produced 20,000 to 30,000 different parts over the years,” he adds.

ARKU
Hago GmbH