Krüger Erodiertechnik crowns its equipment for the machining of large workpieces with the FA50-S Advance V – no less than the world’s biggest wire-cut EDM machine.
Would you risk modifying your high-tech wire erosion machine with a flex in order to create a longer Z-axis and an enlarged tank? Probably not. And it is precisely this that makes the Krüger Erodiertechnik GmbH & Co. KG success story unique. The jobshop from Biedenkopf has not only modified one of its now many Mitsubishi Electric machines, but has grown in boldness from machine to machine. The company has thus managed to achieve impressive cutting heights of 980 mm in this unconventional way. And because even these dimensions didn’t always satisfy its own needs and, more importantly, those of its customers, the company recently became the first European company to install the world’s biggest wire erosion machine – namely, the FA50-S Advance V from Mitsubishi Electric.
Against the background of its own (success) story, the investment of Krüger Erodiertechnik GmbH & Co. KG in the FA50-S Advance V from Mitsubishi Electric is a logical consequence, as the chronology leading up to its “European first” illustrates. Because, for a good 14 years now, Krüger Erodiertechnik GmbH & Co. KG in Biedenkopf has been successful as a jobber for a huge array of sectors, ranging from mechanical engineering, plant engineering, the automotive industry and tool- and mouldmaking through to projects in the aerospace industry and for the flourishing sector of energy technology. Having committed itself exclusively to wire and start hole erosion in the early years of its existence, the company gradually extended its process chain, initially to include die-sink erosion and then milling.
„Both in terms of its operating characteristics and accessibility as well as its precision, cutting speed and reliability, I was aware of nothing better.“
This was later followed by the consistent introduction of high-speed milling and (as a complementary service) investment in mobile laser welding. In view of the all-inclusive customer orientation of the Krüger corporate strategy, it goes without saying that it has achieved mastery not only of manufacture, but also of CAD, CAM and CAQ together with 3D coordinate measuring technology with equal perfection. No less comprehensive than the technology and process chain is the company’s range of services and materials. Krüger Erodiertechnik has an excellent command of all facets of its trade and some evidently quantifiably better than the competition. This applies particularly to the machining options in the field of wire-cut EDM on the installed machines from Mitsubishi Electric. Although these machines are items of standard equipment, they have been gradually adapted with supreme mechanical engineering finesse to its own needs and those of its clients. For instance, the maximum cutting height of about 620 mm of a series machine has been raised to 750 mm and, with an FA 30-V modified on the premises, Krüger now achieves up to 980 mm – on workpieces measuring up to 1,920 x 1,450 and weighing up to 3,000 kg.
However, the fact that high-tech from Mitsubishi Electric has been the key to the company’s success in wire erosion since the founding of the company has nothing to do with its “set-up friendliness”, as Friedhelm Krüger explains looking back: “I knew the machines from Mitsubishi Electric from my earlier
years working for other employers, and also became acquainted with other makes. Both in terms of its operating characteristics and accessibility as well as its precision, cutting speed and reliability, I was aware of nothing better. So it was only natural that I didn’t want to take any risks when setting up my own business and trusted in proven and familiar equipment.”
And there has evidently been no reason for questioning the decision taken when the company was founded, as Friedhelm Krüger confirms: “Of course, I wanted to keep myself abreast of developments and looked at alternatives when it came to investing in new machinery. However, anyone who wants to replace an established supplier has to be clearly and quantifiably better. And no competitor has so far filled the bill.” He doesn’t hold back with praise either: “The earlier machines and today’s technology are worlds apart – this applies as much to the user-friendly control as to the efficient generator systems. This is where Mitsubishi Electric is in my view one of the undisputed innovative leaders in the field of wire erosion. On top of this, there’s the machine’s high degree of reliability over all the years, an all-important feature for a service provider, and excellent support from Ratingen in all matters concerning technology and service.”
But what about the penchant for unusual cutting heights in wire erosion? Friedhelm Krüger supplies the answer: “We simply hate having to turn down a job merely because we don’t have the necessary working range. So we looked for ways and means of improving on the standard instead of having to invest straight off in more expensive, larger machines. And so we boldly risked a modification on a smaller machine and discovered that it is possible to increase the cutting heights on Mitsubishi Electric machines – if it’s done properly – without compromising on performance. Consequently, we were suddenly able to offer our customers a spectrum of services that were unavailable elsewhere, or only on less attractive terms.” But only if it’s done properly! Because the modifications were anything but trivial, as Friedhelm Krüger stresses. Extra height mustn’t be achieved at the expense of precision. “Today, we cut components 700 mm high on a tuned FA 30-V from Mitsubishi Electric with a parallelism of ±0.02 mm,” says the company founder quoting a both impressive and representative example. Although such results were not achievable with mechanical engineering skill alone, Krüger continues. All the cutting parameters also have to be adapted to the new task, as the standard values are not much use when working on a larger scale. And it is not without good reason that he emphasizes (and probably to discourage potential imitators): “Knowing how to use a flex is not enough!”
Despite the performance spectrum of his “tuned height-extended cutter”, Friedhelm Krüger wouldn’t be Friedhelm Krüger if he had been content with the status quo. Because however flexible his machines may have become in terms of cutting height, there were other basic parameters like the maximum clamping weight that he was unable to manipulate. And in terms of workpiece dimensions, i.e. clamping area, he could have done with the odd extra centimetre from time to time.
And because that’s the case, he recently installed a huge FA50-S Advance V from the Mitsubishi Electric Power Master series and now calls nothing less than the world’s biggest erosion machine his own. The FA50-S now enables him to effortlessly machine workpieces measuring up to 2,000 x 1,600 x 600 mm and up to a weight of 4,000 kg.
As far as the accustomed outstanding performance and operating comfort are concerned, nothing has changed. The only novelty for the operator is that the table is so large that it is accessed from a platform. No individual modifications have yet been made to the machine, nor does Friedhelm Krüger intend to make any changes to cutting height at present. But he doesn’t want to entirely exclude it …
Name and place of business:
Krüger Erodiertechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Biedenkopf, Germany
Number of employees: 12
Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger
Jobshop in the field of wire erosion, die-sink erosion and HSC milling.
Krüger Erodiertechnik GmbH & Co. KG
Zur Wolfskaute 8-10
Tel: +49 (0) 64 61 / 92 63-0
Fax: +49 (0) 64 61 / 92 63-25
Krüger Erodiertechnik GmbH & Co. KG
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