Quality always enjoys top priority at Formbau Schneider. The two managers of FB Schneider GmbH are certain that their future lies in highly advanced moulds, the production of which is demanding and requires a good deal of expertise. To make this possible, the company needs high-tech machines, such as the Mitsubishi Electric MV2400R wire erosion system installed in February 2021 and the start-hole drilling system START43Ci.
“Precision with passion.” This slogan sums up the ambition of the company for the two managers of FB Schneider GmbH, Ulrich and Maximilian Schneider. “It describes the aspiration of our company today and at the same time also defines our plans for the future,” Maximilian explains. “We have always given the company a long-term outlook and have looked at the skills and technologies we need. We don’t see our future in the making of simple moulds that can be produced with little expertise, as they can be made at locations with low production costs. For us, this means that we have to deliver superlative-quality and high-precision moulds.”
In the mid-1990s, they repaired their first moulds in their own barn and purchased their first machines. There was no need to go to great lengths to attract customers. They started up the business unassisted and won over customers with quality and an attractive price-performance ratio.
Today, 15 skilled employees work for the company, which purchased a building in Reddighausen in northern Hesse in 2014. “We’re a classic tool and mould maker with a broad base,” Maximilian explains. “Our customers come from right across industry.” In addition to product development and toolmaking, Schneider’s focus is on the production, modification and repair of injection moulds. This is where the broad spectrum of prototype tools with aluminium or steel inserts begins, ranging from pre-series moulds to high-cavity moulds for series production.
“Our aim is to always offer the customer the solution they need. If the customer needs an all-round no-worry package, a complete solution, he gets it. But we are also a subcontractor and fabricate tools and moulds to customer specifications. For us, it is always important to respond quickly and flexibly to our customers’ wishes.”
It is not only the large-scale orders for bigger tools and moulds that are taken seriously at Schneider. Equally important to the managers are the smaller contracts, repair jobs or orders for spare parts. This is where rapid processing is usually called for. “Customers with such requests often call us because they know Schneider will take good care of them,” Ulrich continues. “Our team of employees is highly motivated and ready to support our customers even in stressful situations under deadline pressure.”
So that it can operate successfully with this commitment and in a customer-focused manner, Schneider Formenbau has given itself a broad technological base. All the key machining steps can be carried out with high precision on the in-house machines. On the modern 3- and 5-axis machining centres, Schneider can also machine graphite in addition to the metals commonly used in toolmaking, as the systems are fully encapsulated. Conventional and CNC turning operations are also among the company’s standard processes. In the grinding sector, the company has both cylindrical and surface grinding machines.
“In the EDM sector, we concentrated solely on die-sinking EDM with our own machines until the beginning of 2021,” Ulrich reports. “For wire-cutting, we drew on the services of an external provider, whose work we were also very satisfied with. But we want to develop our company further, so we take a regular look at all areas.” For Maximilian and Ulrich Schneider, there were two factors that prompted them to invest in wire EDM at the beginning of 2021. Firstly, there was the considerable volume of wire-cutting orders outsourced each year and, secondly, their assessment of wire EDM as a key technology. “We looked at the costs of our external EDM jobs and compared them to the investment and operating costs of a new wire EDM system. Everything favoured the purchase of the new system,” says Maximilian.
Impeccable technology on site.
So as to be able react quickly to customer requests, it is important for the business to always have unrestricted access to the relevant key technologies. “So we obviously want to bring the know-how of this technology in-house – in other words, pursue insourcing when we see the value of introducing new processes,” Maximilian stresses. Since the wire EDM system has been added to the range of machines, this technology has been used more frequently in design engineering. “We have only been using the wire EDM and start-hole drilling systems from Mitsubishi since the beginning of 2021. So our experience with it so far is relatively limited. But we can already observe a rethink in design. A lot of work that used to be preferably milled is now wire-cut. If you have the ideal technology on site, it is readily and willingly resorted to.” Looking ahead, FB Schneider plans to implement wire-cutting in other areas, such as in the machining of cemented carbide.
The existing premises are already full. To realise their plans, FB Schneider intends to expand production by adding a roughly 400-square-metre shop in the third quarter of 2022. “So that we can continue to live up to our aspirations, we need larger air-conditioned facilities where we can do our work under defined conditions,” says Ulrich, outlining their plans. “In our new building, we have decided that two thirds of the space for production and measurement will be fully air-conditioned. We are currently working a single shift and want to keep it that way.” From now on, the company wants to push ahead with the automation of its equipment so as to raise productivity.
Name and place of company:
Formenbau Schneider GmbH
Ulrich Schneider, Maximilian Schneider
Injection moulds, prototype, pre-series, series and slide moulds, multi-component, measuring and handling devices, single components/custom-made products, milling, CNC start-hole drilling, wire-cut EDM, die-sinking EDM, turning, grinding, assembly and tuning of sub-assemblies
Formenbau Schneider GmbH
Am Lehmberg 6
Tel +49 64 52 9 39 17 60
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