2022/12/12   |   Bischofswerda   |   Germany

Made-to-measure "suits" for windows and doors

Meesenburg Großhandel KG invests in a HOMAG saw-storage combination

"The collaboration with HOMAG runs optimally. We have received exemplary support in every respect and at all times, from the time the order was placed to the present day. This is extraordinary and impressively justifies HOMAG's reputation as a market leader."

Martin Meesenburg, owner of Meesenburg Großhandel KG

Construction and furniture fixtures, tools, machines, industrial safety equipment, construction chemistry products and much more: with over 120,000 products in its range, Meesenburg Großhandel KG is a real megastore for corporate customers from the construction trade and industry. That was not always the case. Founded in 1758, the company has often reinvented itself in the course of its history, just as it is doing now. The most recent chapter of innovation is about nothing less than the company changing from a wholesaler to a manufacturer of its own innovative products. Taking center stage is a newly installed HOMAG "made-to-measure production center."

Meesenburg Großhandel KG is located in the far north of the country on the German border with Denmark. The company, founded more than 260 years ago in Flensburg, is still a family-owned company and trades in hardware as it did at the time of its founding. But that's the only thing that hasn't changed. When you look more closely, the history of Meesenburg has proven to be a history of constant transformation and change. At the beginning, the company made hardware for agricultural customers, and at some point, the fixtures that still characterize the range and the assembly material for windows and doors were added — but were not always as dominant as they are today. "When I took over the management from my father more than 30 years ago, we also sold porcelain and household goods in our own store," recalls owner Martin Meesenburg.

Leading construction fixture wholesaler for assembly materials and construction fixtures in Europe

Since then, the company has developed into one of the leading wholesalers for assembly materials and construction fixtures in Europe. The family-run company generates sales of around EUR 330 million per year. In addition to the headquarters in Flensburg, Meesenburg operates 31 further locations in Germany alone, with additional branches in other European countries. All in all, the wholesaler employs more than 1200 people. "With this performance, we are one of the 100 oldest family-owned companies in Germany with an annual turnover of more than EUR 100 million," says Meesenburg, adding immediately: "However, this proud company history doesn't buy us anything. At the end of the month, we too have to be able to meet our costs and pay salaries. This is only possible if we are economically successful and convincingly competitive."

The environment in which the wholesaler and its customers have to assert themselves is shaped by the megatrends of our time. The three most important ones are digitalization, lack of skilled workers and the big issue of sustainability. Meesenburg faces these challenges and sees them as an opportunity. The company therefore consistently focuses on digitalization and is already generating a growing share of its sales online. "We develop products and systems to meet market requirements and offer our customers the right solution," emphasizes Robert Leinert, head of product management at Meesenburg.

New in the range: Made-to-measure "suits" for windows and doors

This is exemplified by the innovative products that Meesenburg has recently been producing using the newly installed HOMAG production center at the Bischofswerda site. The driving idea behind it? With new buildings and energy-efficient renovations, a great deal of technical effort goes into increasingly improving the insulation in houses. This is done, for example, with highly insulated facade elements and windows that are designed to keep the noise outside and the heat inside the house — or so the theory goes. "In reality, there are often enormous gaps around the windows and doors of a building. Gaps through which noise penetrates and heat escapes," explains Leinert. The reason for this is the lack of assembly solutions. Companies active in the construction industry have so far simply executed these structural connections on their own with varying degrees of improvisation. This has been time-consuming and not energy-efficient.

"Our aim is to close this gap in the market and offer our customers tailor-made profile system solutions for fitting windows and doors to optimize energy efficiency," explains Leinert. To this end, the team around the product manager has gradually developed an entire portfolio of products. The portfolio ranges from base insulation profiles and adapter profiles through windowsill connection profiles and frame extensions to special profiles for lifting/sliding doors. "These products are like made-to-measure suits for windows and doors," says Meesenburg, "they just fit perfectly."

The new production process: Highly automated

"Initially, we spent a great deal of effort producing the new profile system solutions on a simple table trimming machine — cutting was done using a circular saw. In 2019, during the pilot phase, that was okay," Leinert recalls. However, demand grew so fast that it was difficult to cope with the incoming orders — both technically and in terms of personnel. Initially, the team primarily produced windowsill connection profiles. However, other solutions were quickly added. Today, the portfolio of profile system solutions manufactured in-house comprises around 4000 items.

This rapid growth was only possible thanks to the consistent investment in an intelligent, highly automated and efficient production center at the Meesenburg site in Bischofswerda. It includes a HOMAG saw-storage combination, consisting of the SAWTEQ B-400 panel dividing saw in conjunction with the STORETEQ S-200 automatic storage system, as well as the downstream HOMAG CENTATEQ P-200 CNC processing center. The pace of development was tremendous: "At the beginning, we had to exert a great deal of physical effort to place the panel materials on the circular table saw and cut them, then bring the parts to the CNC trimmer, destack everything and store offcuts in between, but with our new HOMAG production center, everything now runs almost fully automatically," says Leinert, pleased.

Efficiency also improved in leaps and bounds

At Meesenburg, digitalization is the key to progressive automation. For example, the company's order process is SAP-based. When a customer orders the new profiles for their system online, all order data is recorded in the SAP system and forwarded from there to the HOMAG Cut Rite optimization software for work preparation. This is then used to create the cutting pattern and supply the machines with job data. In the pilot phase, at least three skilled workers were still occupied finding the right panel material, cutting it to size and then processing it on the CNC trimmer but now, the same work is done in a much shorter time and much more precisely by just one skilled worker.

The increase in efficiency results from major improvements in many areas — for example, in offcut management. On the one hand, the optimized cutting results in much less waste and much fewer offcuts. The latter are also recorded immediately and—in the truest sense of sustainability—are immediately available again for production. The HOMAG woodStore storage software handles all of this fully automatically. The process has also been made considerably leaner in terms of setup times. "With our old table trimming machine, we had to change the trimming tool manually for each new profile. This involved a lot of personnel, interrupted the process constantly and took a lot of time," says Leinert, adding: "With the new HOMAG CNC processing center, this effort is completely eliminated. The unit is equipped with an automatic tool change system and is virtually self-equipping."

The upstream saw-storage combination ensures even more throughput power and strain relief for the CNC. "For example, we opted for the power grooving option for the saw," confirms Leinert. Equipped with this, the saw creates all the required grooves at the same time, in just one throughfeed — and at an unprecedented speed. The HOMAG saw takes just 5 seconds to make each groove. On the CNC, this work step would have taken around 20 seconds. "We now save this processing time on the CNC station, meaning this work step is four times faster," confirms the product manager, concluding, "This increases our efficiency and throughput enormously."

Conclusion and outlook

In August 2022, with the commissioning of the new HOMAG production center at the Bischofswerda site, the long-established wholesaler finally achieved the change they had desired and became a manufacturer of innovative profile system solutions for doors and windows in the construction industry. Natalie Schell, head of brand management at Meesenburg, explains that this is a big step that is also unique in the industry: "With the profile system solutions of our own brand blaugelb, which are manufactured exclusively by us, we have become the link between assembly companies, investors, architects and production companies. The first C2C SILVER certification of the blaugelb Triotherm+ profiles and blaugelb production products of the EPS family will give all participants the opportunity to combine their projects in terms of economy and ecology in the future. We look forward to making our contribution to continuous CO2 savings."

The innovative products can be ordered around the clock on the new Meesenburg online marketplace and delivered quickly from the manufacturer. In addition, they increase the energy sustainability of the buildings equipped with them and minimize the effort required on the construction site. The same applies to the production process itself, confirms Meesenburg: "We use the HOMAG production cell to produce in a digitalized, automated and sustainable manner with relatively low energy consumption and very little waste so that we can fully serve a completely new market segment for the time being and continue to grow as a manufacturer without having to hire additional skilled workers."

Back to List

We are here for you!

Stiles Machinery Sales

616-698-7500 info@stilesmachinery.com www.stilesmachinery.com

Stiles Machinery Service

616-698-6615 techsupp@stilesmachinery.com Contact form