“We make pretty well anything except railings,” is how Dominic Janoschka, Managing Director of Alois Maibaum Metallbearbeitung GmbH, jokingly describes his company’s range of services. The family-run metalworking business, owner-managed for over 50 years, produces a sizable range of subassembly components. With its broad-based pool of advanced machinery, Maibaum can quickly respond to even unusual customer requests and meet tight deadlines. With its latest investment in a Mitsubishi Electric MV4800R, the company is underlining its claim to quality.
There may be more innovative descriptions of companies’ capabilities, but ‘a tradition of quality’ describes us just perfectly. Our customers can expect us to quickly deliver the highest standard of quality at market prices. We produce subassemblies and complex individual parts in different batch sizes.
Dominic Janoschka, Managing Director of Alois Maibaum Metallbearbeitung GmbH
“There may be more innovative descriptions of companies’ capabilities, but ‘a tradition of quality’ describes us just perfectly,” Janoschka explains. “Our customers can expect us to quickly deliver the highest standard of quality at market prices. We produce subassemblies and complex individual parts in different batch sizes.” Above all, customers appreciate the company’s high degree of vertical integration. With its machinery, the company covers all machining processes requested by its customers in machine manufacture and toolmaking. The machining processes available include milling, turning, wire cutting, grinding and CNC turning with a counter-spindle and Y-axis plus a bar feeder.
We were able to go into full-scale production with the second and third machines from day one. On the Mitsubishi machines, we were also impressed by the software link to our VISI system. Our job scheduling runs entirely on the PC.
Stefan Menke, head of EDM at Maibaum
Alois Maibaum founded the company in 1970. “52 years on, we now employ 52 people,” says a gratified Janoschka. “We carry out production at our two locations in Kirchlengern. This where we turn, mill, erode and grind metal and, for some years now, high-grade plastic parts as well.” In a forward-looking move, Maibaum set up a sales office in Hannover two years ago. “Until then, we didn’t have our own sales organisation. Customers came to us, saw our work and trusted us,” Managing Director Janoschka reports. “On the strength of our quality, we have simply built up a customer base step by step over the years”. In view of its size and the goals it has set itself, however, active business acquisition is now important for the company if it is to develop further.
The new sales office has a number of tasks that go beyond pure sales. Although Maibaum has a comprehensive range of machinery with a high degree of vertical integration, “new tasks also call for new processes,” Janoschka explains. So as to be able to continue to give customers an all-round service with innovative machining, new, dependable cooperation partners are needed. The Hannover office is responsible for finding and coordinating these partners. With its first of these, Maibaum has managed to expand its range of services in the turning sector. “Until recently, we were limited to workpieces up to one metre across in the turning sector. With our new partners, we have virtually no limits and can handle almost all turning jobs,” Janoschka proudly reports.
Since its founding, Maibaum has concentrated on production. “Our customers provide the design, and we are the manufacturing specialists,” says Janoschka. “We handle all our work exclusively on the basis of customer data”. Its customers come from right across industry. Companies from machine building, the automotive industry, medical technology and toolmaking – to name but a few – place their trust in Maibaum’s quality.
With our new partners, we have virtually no limits and can handle almost all turning jobs
The product range is highly diversified. It includes the one-off output of classical toolmaking, the production of turned and milled parts in small batches and series in the order of 500,000 units per year. “An integral feature of our small series production is EDM technology,” adds Stefan Menke, head of EDM at Maibaum. “We have been cutting grooved bushings for a customer for several years. For the first order, it was some 100 bushings that we cut. The order volume is now a little bigger, and we have already cut 70 bushings in the first quarter of the year alone.”
Since the beginning of this year, six wire-cut EDM systems have been in use at Maibaum, two Mitsubishi Electric MV2400s and, since March 2022, an MV4800. For over 25 years, the company used machines from different manufacturers for EDM. It was only in 2014 that the first Mitsubishi Electric machine, an MV2400, went into operation at Maibaum. “When we bought the first machine,” says Menke, “Mitsubishi won us over with its pricing and technically it was okay.”
In the meantime, the company has come to appreciate the benefits of using the same or similar machines. The controls of the three machines operate in the same way, and this keeps the time needed to learn the ropes to a minimum. “We were able to go into full-scale production with the second and third machines from day one,” Menke confirms. “On the Mitsubishi machines, we were also impressed by the software link to our VISI system. Our job scheduling runs entirely on the PC.” The data is then transferred to the machines, which works perfectly.
Menke makes a point of highlighting the machines’ threading function. “It can be relied on to find even tiny 0.5 millimetre holes in the plate,” Menke stresses. “We have come to expect the jobs we start in the evening to be finished by the next morning.” Good support and a rapid supply of spare parts are also important to the head of EDM. After all, wear parts have to be replaced regularly to keep the machines running. And wear and spare parts are usually expensive. “But the Mitsubishi prices are fine,” says Menke. “You look at the bill and say ‘That’s okay’.”
As a subcontractor with six wire-cutting machines, Maibaum is able to react swiftly and flexibly to almost all requests and cut workpieces up to a height of 500 millimetres. “A key point in terms of overheads is wire consumption, which we always keep an eye on,” Menke explains. “And this includes trying out different wires.” On the new Mitsubishi Electric MV4800S NewGen, Menke has compared workpiece machining with a classic brass wire and a coated wire. “Beforehand,” says the head of EDM, “we serviced the machines so that all parameters were really set to zero for the test. We replaced the contacts, cleaned the machines completely and put in new filters.”
Menke selected work on a grooved bush for the test cuts. Such jobs regularly come up at Maibaum. Cut with a classic brass wire, the job was completed on the MV2400R in about 12 hours. Using a coated wire on the same machine reduced machining time by 30 per cent. “To test the performance of the new MV4800S NewGen, we cut the workpiece with the same materials. With the coated wire, the MV4800S NewGen took seven hours to do the job.”
The price is right at Mitsubishi Electric.
Then they examined the quality of all cuts and measured wire consumption. All grooved bushes were machined to the desired quality and no significant differences were found in wire consumption. All chucks were machined to the desired quality and no significant differences were found in wire consumption. “But there’s one difference that shouldn’t go unmentioned,” says Menke. “We did the cutting on the MV4800S NewGen with 0.25-millimetre wire and the cuts on the MV4800R with a 0.3-millimetre wire. We’ve given the coated wire the nickname ‘turbo wire’ and it has a good chance of becoming the standard one.”
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