A specialist in low- and medium-volume production, the company is based in Germany’s Black Forest region – long since known for its tradition of perfection and precision. Many of Germany’s “hidden champions” and leading metalworking companies hail from the valleys of the Black Forest. From sanitary fittings to control instrumentation and much more besides: the painstaking passion for detail inherited from the earlier watchmaking industry is ever-present here and the basis for many success stories. And the same is true for Schneider Gutach, who adopts exactly this kind of ambitious approach to serving customers in every industry in Germany and international companies with bases in Germany when producing long turned parts with diameters of up to 38 mm and up to 1,000 mm in length, and short turned parts with diameters of up to 60 mm.
With its 120 employees, Schneider mills, drills, grinds and presses parts from brass, steel and stainless steel, as well as soft, long-chipping materials such as aluminium and copper. Also important is being able to ensure a high degree of flexibility with regard to what is being processed on which machine at which point in time. These requirements are a particular source of problems in production machining because of the wide range of chip types involved and degree of soiling of the lubricant used. While this can lead to long-term negative outcomes for process stability, output quality and (ultimately) profitability, Schneider Gutach has things well under control here. This is not only thanks to modern machining technologies and a highly qualified technical workforce but is also a direct result of Müller’s continuous investment in top-of-the-line high-pressure filtration systems.
// combiloop CL2 under the bar feeder
“If you look at the spectrum of parts we make, around 40% is processed using an internal coolant feed under high pressure”, explains Managing Director Frank Bildstein. “Wherever space permits, we also ensure we use the Müller combistream, a combination of high-pressure unit, machine tank and chip evacuator. If space is tight – or when working with specific kinds of parts and machines – we use the combiloop as an auxiliary unit. With its broad-based portfolio, Müller even offers a number of bar feeder solutions: although small, these offer outstanding performance for filtration and high-pressure applications. We’ve connected the combiloop CL2 E to our Miyano machines, for example. Whether combistream or combiloop, Müller solutions are typically extremely compact. And if we ever find ourselves in a tight spot, we can rely on a team of friendly and highly competent problem-solving experts. As one example, Müller produced a custom combistream design for DMG Mori machines, for example, where chip ejection was moved over to the side to save space.”
// custom combistream design – where chip ejection was moved over to the side
One striking feature of Schneider’s production plant is that both the combiloop (and the combiloop CL4 in particular) plus integrated combistream solutions can be found with a full range of options, including control pumps and automatic filter systems. “Initial investment costs are obviously high. But the machinery very quickly pays its way: it can be operated at higher speeds, it offers a greatly expanded processing spectrum, a longer service life, energy savings and much, much more. Another important point is that the configuration also gives us maximum flexibility. This is a key priority for us and one that directly benefits our customers. Above all, however, we get stable manufacturing processes – and these go hand-in-hand with positive effects on quality. This last point in particular is the be-all and end-all at Schneider: we want to ensure we offer our customers maximum precision – every time!” For high-pressure machining with internally cooled tools, quality improvements can be explained by ensuring early chip breakage, chip flushing and chip evacuation. Another hugely important issue is the fact that with stainless steel and high-strength alloys, this also ensures significantly longer lifetimes for the plates. This means the plates need to be replaced less frequently, which in turn offers other advantages. Frank Bildstein: “The less often I have to change a plate, the fewer dimensional changes I have on my part – which improves the part’s final quality. And I also reduce my scrap. A worn plate will start to alter my dimensions. If I don’t notice this immediately, I run the risk of producing defective parts. So, as you can see, a process using high-pressure internal cooling is much more stable, while simultaneously being able to improve quality and reduce the volume of scrap.”
// combiloop CL4 – with eco+ regulating pump technology
Schneider Gutach is something of a pioneer in the use of high-pressure cooling and was one of the first to embrace the new technology. And the high-precision turning shop from the Black Forest was quick to realise the advantages: both companies have invested continuously in further development work and have defined standards that benefit customers and employees equally. Frank Bildstein: “Apart from the control system design and the pre-configured interfaces that ensure smooth and trouble-free deployment, we’re also deploying self-cleaning automatic filters to ensure that employees need to spend as little time as possible with the high-pressure unit. For us, frequent filter changes or cleaning means that personnel are tied up with machine maintenance and cannot get any other work done. Since we set up our 90 machines around ten times a day, this would be a real problem for us in terms of efficiency and delivery reliability.”