2010/06/03   |   Switzerland

Quality prevails – high-class engineering meets high-class house construction

Building elements with an accuracy up to 0.5 mm Nussbaumer is producing in his carpentry WBZ 160.

Astonishingly, production at Nussbaumer takes place on three levels. In the basement, all of the panel materials are prepared on a horizontal panel-cutting saw. All beam processing work takes place on the ground floor, while the element construction takes place on the upper floor. The materials are transported from the basement to the ground floor in an elevator. The elements from the upper floor are loaded on the ground floor using a giant flap in the floor - a solution devised in-house.

„That is mechanical engineering“

„We produce houses of a very high quality standard, and to do so we need the corresponding technology,“ notes Hans Nussbaumer, referring to the investment in the beam processing technology from WEINMANN. Nussbaumer explains the reason for his decision to move from manual beam processing to mechanical beam processing as follows: „Manual beam processing is not very modern; the switch to mechanical beam processing is unavoidable. Our quality standards can only be met using an extremely precise machine. Therefore it was clear to us that we wanted to invest in a carpentry machine. And we wouldn‘t be without it now.“ As to the question of whether the company would have considered outsourcing beam processing, Nussbaumer responds with an outright no. In his opinion, outsourcing would not guarantee the relevant quality standards are met and would also restrict flexibility.

Naturally, when planning the acquisition, various manufacturers were considered and a wealth of information was gathered. Ultimately, it was the machine technology that was the decisive factor in the company‘s decision to invest in the carpentry machine from WEINMANN. Nussbaumer is delighted with his investment: „That is mechanical engineering, real mechanical engineering. It‘s incredible how everything is integrated.“ The technology impressed Nussbaumer a great deal even before the company made the investment, and he has been impressed more and more each day since the system was put in place. The system is also equipped with a number of technically sophisticated features that impress Nussbaumer and make day-to-day work much easier. These features include the clamping system, which consists of vertical and horizontal clamps and works in combination with an NC-controlled gripper system. This clamping system means that components can be positioned to exact specifications. The two main spindles available reduce throughfeed times, as the sawing unit does not have to be changed. What‘s more, thanks to the full encapsulation of the machine housing, the integrated sound insulation, and the employee-friendly control elements, the machine also guarantees extremely good work ergonomics. The operator can insert the wood from a standing position, the screen and keyboard are installed at an appropriate height, and the operator is protected against dirt and noise. These features ensure a high level of motivation among employees in their day-to-day handling of the machine. „The ergonomics and low level of noise produced by the WEINMANN machines make them a pleasure to operate,“ says Nussbaumer.

Another benefit offered by the system according to Nussbaumer is its compact dimensions. As a result of arranging the processing units in the booth, the booth is now just 2.20 m long. There is also no need for any foundation work with this machine, making it easy to integrate the system into the hall. Peter Holdener, master carpenter at Nussbaumer, operates the carpentry machine today. He was involved at all stages of the decision-making process. As Holdener is the one actually working with the machine, it was important for Nussbaumer to actively integrate him in the process and to make the decision regarding the carpentry machine together with him. The consultancy services provided by Robert Niklaus from HOMAG Switzerland also played a key role. Niklaus allowed plenty of time to consider the concerns of Mr. Nussbaumer and Mr. Holdener. For example, visits were made to various companies to see how the WEINMANN machines work in an actual production environment.

Production support: The foundation for working with the machine

The machine was installed and subsequently commissioned in November 2013. An application technician from WEINMANN was on site in the production facility during this process. The trained carpenter supported the team at Nussbaumer in learning to use the new system. This allowed processes to be optimized and any questions to be answered direct. This support in the initial phase ensured that no obstacles stood in the way of starting production with the new system. For Nussbaumer, this phase in particular was very important for production today, as it laid the foundation for the subsequent work with the machine.

The WEINMANN WBZ 160 carpentry machine has been in use at Nussbaumer for just under a year now. Peter Holdener, who works with the machine on a day-to-day basis, is extremely enthusiastic about the numerous processing operations he performs with the machine. Almost all of the joints produced now are dovetail joints, as these can be produced not only with the highest level of precision using the system, but also extremely quickly. Even more complex joints, such as scarf joints and lap joints, can also be produced quickly and easily. As such, all joints today are produced from wood, in contrast to former manual beam processing work where the joints were mainly made from metal. Frame parts for lifting/sliding doors are also produced for a local carpentry company. The WEINMANN carpentry machine even achieves the low tolerance values that are normal for these products.

Carpenter Peter Holdener is passionate about his work. If there are any processing operations that cannot currently be realized using the machine, Holdener makes it his job to find potential solutions. For example, if a beam is too large for processing on the machine, this does not cause a problem. The beam is produced as two single parts and then glued together using machined solid-wood dowels. The cross-section of 200 x 455 mm that can be processed by the machine is ideal for Nussbaumer. Larger cross-sections, which make up for around 2 % of parts, can be covered as described above. In the event that questions arise, Nussbaumer is happy to work with the remote service team provided by WEINMANN. According to the managing director, the staff in the team are „within immediate reach via the hotline and able to respond quickly.“ This means that periods of downtime can often be avoided. Robert Niklaus from HOMAG Switzerland explains that around 90% of all service incidents can be resolved in next to no time via the remote service team. This saves not only costs, as a technician does not have to be deployed, but also time.

Precision of up to 0.5 mm

When asked whether the investment was worth it, Nussbaumer does not hesitate to confirm that it was. In addition to the savings in terms of time and the low personnel requirements (previously, three employees performed the beam processing work for one house over two days, now only one employee is required), the greatest benefit is the high level of precision. And the carpentry machine from WEINMANN allowed a significant increase in exactly this aspect. Nussbaumer now produces elements with an incredible precision of up to 0.5 mm. „We want to deliver quality, and to do so, we need to take action,“ the managing director notes, addressing the environment of the machine. He notes that even the most precise machine cannot produce high-precision results if the environment is not right. The quality is not dependent solely on the machine, but also on the quality and moisture of the wood, the maintenance of the tools, and the employees. Nussbaumer receives its high-quality wood from its only gluing unit. This wood is planed on four sides to a precision of 0.3 mm prior to processing with the carpentry machine. Furthermore, the machine and the tools are cleaned on a regular basis, attention is given to any noises that occur during processing, and the processing results are subjected to regular checks. This allows employees to detect any worn tools immediately and replace them. The end product of the interaction of all of these factors: a precision house from Nussbaumer. Hans Nussbaumer is proud of his team of twelve employees. Qualified and motivated employees combined with advanced machine technology are the key to creating high-quality products.  

Source / Image rights:

Reproduction approved by Hans Nussbaumer Elementbau & Architektenbüro AG

631 Alosen, Switzerland


written by: Tamara Brumm

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