What a shock: at the turn of the year an arsonist sets fire in the production halls of Mühlhoff Umformtechnik on its site at the border with the Netherlands. The column of smoke can be seen for miles, resulting in damage in the high double-digit million euro range, including loss of production. But just six months later, the automotive supplier can start up again with its large presses: Schuler Service has already repaired two of the four damaged presses, and a new 2000-ton system from the TSD series is scheduled to go into operation in early 2021.
Mühlhoff managing director Markus Wermers had only been in office for three months when the fire broke out: “Just a few days later, Schuler Service was on site with nine employees.” Together, the decision is made to first repair the machines with 800 and 1,300 tons of press force that were only a few years old. In order to do this, the specialists have to replace the entire electrical and control system, and also remove several mechanical parts in order to have removed the contamination with soot and extinguishing water manually.
Mühlhoff can send some of the dies to the Schuler site in Erfurt so that parts production can continue there on a 1,600-ton press with TwinServo technology. “Other suppliers have also stepped in to process our orders,” recalls Wermers, who is currently running the business from a container in the parking lot – the administration building was also damaged by the major fire. He is grateful to his competitors for being able to continue to supply customers from the automotive industry with parts: “Everyone has helped so that everything can now gradually start up again.”
Mühlhoff Umformtechnik goes even further and is also investing in a new press from the TSD series with ServoDirect technology and 2,000 tons of press force. In addition, the system features the camera-based system “Visual Die Protection” and the “IIoT Connector” from Schuler, which enables numerous other Industry 4.0 functions such as process monitoring or predictive maintenance. “This means that we are optimally positioned for the future,” says production and project manager Christian Pennekamp with conviction. Pennekamp has been responsible for the configuration and project planning of the complex press systems at Mühlhoff for more than ten years.
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