A critical insight– expert interview with WB Werkstatt + Betrieb

How has Müller developed in recent years; how is the company dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, and what ongoing developments can be expected in terms of high pressure and coolant filtration? This and much more will be revealed by Managing Director Martin Müller during an interview with Martin Ricchiuti of WB Werkstatt + Betrieb, one of Germany’s most renowned trade journals for machining.

"We make high pressure available to the entire industry."

The main area for high-pressure applications of more than 70 bar, is the sliding headstock lathes sector, where, in most cases, cutting oil is used as the cooling lubricant. Müller Hydraulik is expanding its technology in order to make use of the many different advantages of high-pressure supply at the tool cutting edge even when processing with water-based emulsions. Managing Director Martin Müller shares more details in the interview with WB.

Interviewed by Martin Ricchiuti.

Managing Director Martin Müller: “We make high pressure available to the entire industry.”

WB Werkstatt+Betrieb: Mr Müller, about four years ago, you bought the new business premises and, at the time, you were in the middle of a steep growing curve. What developments have there been since then?

Martin Müller: This period of growth lasted until the onset of the global pandemic. Therefore, the main items on the agenda were the expansion of our customer service network and the establishment of a new subsidiary in China at the beginning of 2019. Furthermore, with the acquisition of a sheet metal processing company, we have further increased our level of added value and created a second pillar for us.

WB: What does the service expansion mean for your users?

Martin Müller: We have created service clusters, which has improved the way we are able to serve our partners. Instead of setting up more and more service technicians on-site here, our approach is now to ensure a locally comprehensive range of services. Transparency and service standards are particularly important to us, in order to guarantee the well-known Müller quality in all our locations.

WB: How did you deal with the consequences of the pandemic?

Martin Müller: We actually had a good order intake in 2021, plus, we had sufficient stocks to compensate for our suppliers’ difficulties with supplying our core components. But supply chains have still not returned to normal, so unfortunately the times for replacing parts are now much longer.

WB: What has changed on the technical side, and what notable developments have there been?

Martin Müller: From the strategic point of view, we have adapted our organisational structures and deepened the platform concept of our modular system. This enables us to meet individual customer requirements with standardised and combinable modules, which in turn has a positive effect on costs and availability. We are expanding the concept of compact high-pressure systems and filtration to the hitherto often neglected market segment of universal machining centres, lathe and milling centres, and standard lathes. Conventional machining strategies also run more productively and are kinder to both tool and machine if there is a stable and powerful lubricating solution.

"The finest particles such as those produced by lasering or grinding require coordinated filtration solution."

WB: What differences and similarities need to be considered in the new segment? How can your expertise be transferred to the new area of activity?

Martin Müller: Our strengths lie in the construction of highly compact systems that are unique on the market today in terms of their efficiency. What makes the difference in our products is the regulating pump technology and their power efficiency plus the filter technology used. Because we fully understand the interaction between these components, we are able to adapt it perfectly to the industries where emulsions are used. The differences lie in the flow rate and the maximum pressures. While inserting powered tools into the tiniest drill holes requires pressures of 120 bar and more, 20 or 30 bar are usually sufficient for milling applications. In combination with a constant flow volume of the coolant, the results are the well-known high-pressure effects such as higher production, tool service life, improvement of surface quality and process reliability and, thanks to the higher feeds, significant reductions in processing times.

"We can also provide tailored solutions for the emulsions market."

WB: Isn’t this already the case with most machine tools in the medium pressure standard to 30 bar?

Martin Müller: No, neither in terms of the fine controllability of the flow rate nor in achieving a uniform, stable high pressure. This is because of the types of pumps used, which have a poor pressure-to-performance ratio. We believe our concept of frequency-controlled cascade pumps with stable and constant flow rates is highly preferable. That’s why powered or hydrostatic tools can even be used in the first place.

WB: In a long-term perspective, do you think that progressive developments in tool technology and mechanical engineering will make the use of high pressure as an essential requirement of complex machining unnecessary?

Martin Müller: No, and this is clearly demonstrated by the example of oscillating machining processes. Our approach has a complementary effect on the absolute process reliability, and also has various other advantages. As a rule, users know exactly what they have in their high pressure.

WB: What new developments have there been with regard to ongoing developments in Müller Hydraulik’s product range?

Martin Müller: The “combiloop CL1 B” pressure boosting solution, which marks the entry into the segment, and provides a self-sufficient medium-pressure supply solution in no time at all. Unlike normal coolant pumps, thanks to the double pump-feeder principle and integrated filtration, it is always clean and reliable in operation with no fluctuations in volume pressure. It counteracts the risk of overheating as well as raising Müller’s design language for compact systems to a new level.

The space-saving CL1 B pressure booster system comes with an environmentally friendly and cost-friendly pumping system and washable replacement filters

WB: Are you planning a further expansion of this product line?

Martin Müller: Our modular system is being given an entirely new look by the combiloop series of high flushing capacities. The CL1 B and CL3 G, both of which are already available, are soon to be joined by the CL6 G 800, 1200 and 2500. They can be designed for the tightest of spaces while still being easily accessible for maintenance purposes, in accordance with the customer’s requirements. Whether it is needed for filtration process, coolant separation or heat exchanges, we create the exact unit that is best suited to the machining tasks in question.

WB: Thank you very much for the interview.

© Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich. Reproductions, including extracts, are not permitted without licensing by the publisher.


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