Machines from Mitsubishi Electric have been constant companions to subcontractor Reiner Jäger for his whole working life. So it’s hardly surprising to learn that the machines from Ratingen played a prominent role when he set up his own business and have had a hand in his success.
In hindsight, 2009 probably wasn’t the most auspicious time – in the middle of the financial crash – to be thinking about setting up his own business. “Many mould makers nearby went broke at the time – yet I took the plunge all the same and haven’t once regretted it,” says Reiner Jäger, Managing Director of Reiner Jäger Erodiertechnik, recalling the beginnings. With a mixture of expertise, a nose for the market and perhaps a slice of good fortune, he soon managed to build up a broad stock of regular customers. “At the time, we managed to buy a lot of machines and tools inexpensively – among them a used EDM system from Mitsubishi Electric,” Jäger smiles. This machine was installed in the 160 m² shop in Cadolzburg in 2010. Only six months after going solo, a second EDM system was required and, at the same time, the business was already looking for a larger location for the rapid growth in customer orders. His wife Stefanie handled the commercial side of the company from the outset. Today, the family business in Rosstal near Nürnberg serves over 140 customers. These include not only small businesses, but also major players in the automotive and toy industries.
I wouldn’t know how the present machines could be improved – they’re simply mature.
The original one-man business has long evolved into a trans-regional specialist in mould- and toolmaking and repairs, offering customised precision solutions from a single source. At the new location, which is fully air-conditioned, two large wire EDM systems from Mitsubishi Electric were quickly purchased. This means that Jäger now has two MV4800 systems, an FA 20 Advance with automation and a MV2400. “We’re one of the few jobshops to have two large MV4800s in operation and we were additionally one of the first users when this model first came into the market,” says Jäger, who probably knows the machine as intimately as Mitsubishi Electric itself. Even while still doing his apprenticeship at the end of the 1990s, his everyday work included a wire-cutting machine from Mitsubishi Electric. And they have been constant companions in the subsequent stages of his career. It therefore wouldn’t currently occur to Jäger to consider a different manufacturer. “I wouldn’t know how the present machines could be improved – they’re simply mature,” is his verdict. His business’s central activities are wire-cutting and die-sinking, but not only. Jäger also attaches importance to being able to offer his customers the complete machining of workpieces, by also resorting to CNC milling and high-speed cutting, for example.
Jäger is not one to be intimidated by difficult jobs. “While others may claim a job is impossible, we take the time to find a solution. Wire-cutting may run smoothly, for example, but unexpected problems may arise during milling or a coating causes difficulties,” Jäger explains. And sometimes the material is so special that the zero error rate applies. For one job, for instance, wire-cutting is regularly used for removing samples from a block of material. This material only exists twofold – once in a safety-relevant system and once as a retained sample. Since the original cannot be checked, the tests are performed on the retained sample. The cutting process is carried out under the watchful eye of external experts. “This is where you have to be able to rely on the machine,” Jäger stresses. As a subcontractor, he is rarely confronted with standard jobs. In fact, every part and every job is special. But one thing they do all have in common: “Complexity continues to increase and as a jobshop we only ever get the parts that are too elaborate for our customers in conventional production,” says Jäger describing his everyday work. Another commonality is that the orders – complexity notwithstanding – have to be quickly completed. Just-in-time also applies to customised components.
So he can keep to deadlines and maintain the necessary quality, Jäger accords high priority to taking good care of his wire-cutting machines. “We work with µm precision, and that has to find expression in the machine’s surroundings,” says an uncompromising Jäger – although he admits that weekly maintenance of his machines isn’t really necessary. “It rarely happens anyway that they simply come to a standstill. They run very smoothly, which also applies to automatic threading.” Even when a glitch occurs, the stoppage doesn’t usually last long. “On these machines you can still personally modify the parameters and get them quickly up and running again,” says Jäger citing another argument in favour of Mitsubishi Electric.
His customers appreciate his reliable machining and the fact that in emergencies they can quickly obtain a helping hand from Jäger in Rosstal. So it is no wonder that he is slowly running out of space at the current location. The plans for a shop extension have therefore already been drawn up. This time, however, the next step will be in the automation sector, i.e. in machining cells incorporating the EDM systems along with milling machines and measuring devices.
For many of his colleagues, automation is not worth it for one-off parts, but Jäger stands firm: “It’s not a question of increasing the speed of a machining process, because the sticking point is set-up. At the moment it costs us too much time that the customer is unwilling to pay for. The advantage of machining cells is that set-up can take place during the machining process.” He is therefore firmly convinced that the future belongs to automation. Since the interfaces are optionally available on the existing machines, he doesn’t see any technical obstacles. Jäger has already gathered his first experience with automation – a Mitsubishi Electric robot arm already hands workpieces to the FA20 Advance EDM system for machining.
Name and place of company:
Jäger Erodiertechnik e.K.
Innovative processes like wire-cutting and die-sinking, production and repair of moulds and tools, CNC and HSC milling, and various subcontracted jobs
Jäger Erodiertechnik e.K.
90574 Rosstal / Germany
Tel +49 9127 9 54 33 54
Fax +49 9127 9 54 33 55
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Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V.
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