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Home arrow Case Studies arrow Kettler opts for low-manning complete machining of high-precision parts
Kettler opts for low-manning complete machining of high-precision parts Print E-mail
Written by Jeeva   
Friday, 14 December 2007

Production expertise for sports article producers

Frankfurt am Main: Keep-fit equipment can be found on many Christmas lists this year as well. At-home fitness fans are exacting customers, keen to be offered a completely redesigned piece of equipment every year. So the requirements for production technology at sports equipment manufacturers like Kettler are concomitantly stringent. For them, the trade fair combination METAV with wire and Tube 2008 in Düsseldorf constitutes an ideal source of information.

The sports article and leisure sector is in a process of perpetual transformation: this naturally affects the production technology involved, which has to be flexible and at the same time cost-efficient. Heinz Kettler GmbH & Co. KG from Werl has found the right machine tool technology. To quote Klaus Wedekind, Tube Plant Manager: “The laser tool has enormously upgraded our capabilities, thanks to low-manning complete machining of assemblies made from steel tubing and sheet-metal.”
The frames for indoor bikes, for example, used to be punched and milled. This is why design studies were initially likewise costed with these technologies. However, they proved to be not financially viable. The targeted production costs would not have been achievable. The project seemed doomed to failure, until the laser came into play. It enabled Kettler to itself manufacture the key components for its sports equipment cost-efficiently in the requisite high quantities, proactively exploiting the advantages offered by laser tube-cutting: the TruLaser Tube from Trumpf machines high-precision steel tubing with tunnel profiles in Kettler’s tube factory.
Tool costs reduced by 40 per cent
The base frames have been slightly modified for laser tube machining, enabling them to be provided with cutouts and contours on the laser machine in a single pass. The use of tunnel profiles offers considerable advantages for secure fixing of adjustable components such as saddles and handlebars on home and cross-trainers: these are constructed as bent elements, so as to reduce the number of parts and weld seam lengths involved. To quote Norbert Beier, Sales Manager Laser Tube-Cutting at Trumpf Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH + Co. KG, Ditzingen: “The result doesn’t only look good; compared to conventional metal-cutting, it cuts the tool costs by about 40 per cent.”
Thanks to minimised make-ready times, machining is extremely flexible. Laser tube machining has now become a fixed constituent of design work at Kettler: laser-cut tubes have meanwhile been incorporated in almost all leisure equipment. And this creates another advantage for Trumpf. “Our company has in recent years built up such extensive expertise in laser tube machining that it is meanwhile also operating as a contract manufacturer“, reports Beier.
Production expertise will be presented at the METAV
Firms from the sports equipment sector acquire the expertise required for such sophisticated manufacturing operations at production trade fairs like the METAV in Düsseldorf. Representatives of Kettler are accordingly regular customers at these fairs. What will the machine tool industry be exhibiting there? Beier cites an example: “Trumpf will be exhibiting at the METAV and the concurrent Tube. There will be various innovations on show for laser inscriptions and laser tube machining.”
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