When simplicity convinces - Dürr Metall & Kunststofftechnik relies on "Spanflug Make" calculation software

Man in front of two screens

In order to determine the price for turned and milled parts reliably and quickly, Dürr Metall & Kunststofftechnik from Karlsbad-Ittersbach near Karlsruhe in Baden relies on the "Spanflug Make" calculation software. This enables the CNC experts to quickly and reliably arrive at a reproducible result and a price in line with the market based on a technical drawing and a CAD model with just a few mouse clicks - even for complex workpieces.

What sets us apart?" Michèl Dürr doesn't think twice. "We offer our customers high quality and can respond very flexibly to very different orders." He has been managing Dürr Metall & Kunststofftechnik in the second generation since 2019. His customers include manufacturers from the electrical and microtechnology industries, as well as the construction and medical sectors. "With our CNC milling and turning machines, we process a variety of materials such as stainless steel, copper, aluminum, plastic and even titanium," interjects plant manager Daniel Schäfer, pointing to a milling machine in the production hall that is currently producing nose implants from this extremely strong light metal. "We not only supply parts, but also complete solutions. In everything we do, we are reliable and fast," he says. This was demonstrated, for example, at the beginning of the pandemic, when a customer started manufacturing respirators. To weld them, he needed a suitable machine within a short time. "In a night and fog operation, we milled a large quantity of titanium components for him," says Michèl Dürr.

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The company currently employs just under 20 people. If the managing director has his way, the number should continue to rise: "We want to grow, even if this has become somewhat difficult due to Corona. For 2021, the CNC-manufacturer plans to invest in a new machine tool. "Then the order situation will also recover," he says confidently.

The right partner by your side

The fact that Dürr Metall & Kunststofftechnik has been part of a network of qualified manufacturing companies from all over Germany for some months now has also contributed to the return to a better order situation. This network was established by Spanflug Technologies, a start-up of the Technical University of Munich. With this network, Spanflug always provides its customers with the right partner - for example Dürr Metall & Kunststofftechnik from Karlsbad. "In this supplier portal, the customer receives the components at a fixed price quote," explains Operations Manager Daniel Schäfer. "We noticed that Spanflug's prices always fit quite accurately, whereas ours often inflated, especially as the order volume increased." It was also not possible to determine quotation prices in a reproducible manner because certain parameters such as setup or production times had to be estimated and thus depended heavily on empirical values. Managing Director Dürr and Plant Manager Schäfer had been looking for a more efficient solution for some time that would speed up the calculation process, especially for complex turned and milled parts, in order to increase the hit rate of their quotations. Then they got into conversation with the experts from Spanflug.

Picture of a component

A reliable calculation software

The Munich-based company offers companies like Dürr Metall & Kunststofftechnik "Spanflug Make" for precisely these cases. The calculation software is based on a price algorithm that Spanflug has been using since 2018 for its online platform for the procurement of CNC turned and milled parts. This has been optimized based on more than 100,000 turned and milled parts in the meantime. Manufacturing-relevant features are automatically evaluated from a CAD model - and optionally an engineering drawing. In addition, manufacturers can see a detailed breakdown of the calculated costs for materials, setup, programming, production and shipping, and adjust them individually.

Picture shows software

"We were able to test the full version free of charge," reports Schäfer. The handling was intuitive and therefore no major training was required - an online seminar was sufficient for the introduction. Both, Managing Director Dürr and Plant Manager Schäfer, were quickly convinced of the advantages, such as the simplicity and the time saved in preparing quotations. Together they decided to have the software activated for the company after the test phase. Less than an hour later, the software was up and running. This is because "Spanflug Make" is a cloud-based software-as-a-service solution that runs without installation or data stock.

Picture shows software

Reach your goal without much effort

Daniel Schäfer uploads the CAD model and the technical drawing. The component appears on the screen in 3D view. The software automatically reads in the required information about the workpiece, such as surface properties, material and tolerances. The program registers whether there is a thread, for example, or sharp corners and edges that are often not visible on the drawing, especially with complex components. "It also detects whether the part can be produced on the machine at all," says Schäfer. "If not, the program reports back with an appropriate warning." This is an important aid for the plant manager, as he does not have to think his way into the process.

The software takes the information "aluminum" as material and automatically hides all other available materials. This is also how it handles other parameters, so that miscalculations can be ruled out from the outset. Since the component to be manufactured is a milled part, there are also no lathes to choose from. The plant manager clicks through the various fields. He can variably change all important parameters. For example, he has stored details of the machine tools used, such as type, speed or size, and customized calculation settings such as margin, setup and material costs. He puts the time to program the component on the CNC machine at just under two hours, and the production itself at about twelve minutes. "I can adjust these values at any time," explains Schäfer. The setup times then seem too tight to him after all, and he extends them by a few minutes. The program asks him whether a measurement report or a material acceptance test certificate is required. Finally, Schäfer selects the number of pieces required by the customer. After a few minutes and a few clicks, the sales price appears on the screen: For five workpieces, each part costs 147 euros.

Picture shows software

"It is important that we can freely set the values within a certain framework," says the plant manager. "After all, we know ourselves, based on our experience, how long it takes our colleagues to set up, for example." "Spanflug Make" Optimized settings are particularly necessary for demanding components, for example, if they have extremely thin walls - the material must then not yield at these points during machining. This also applies when material prices change. "If we get the aluminum at a lower price, we indicate that for this order in the software, which has a positive effect on the bid price," says Schäfer. "We may also be able to save on toolpaths during production, which is especially noticeable with higher quantities. If the number of pieces changes, the user simply has to type in the new value. The software adjusts the price - and shows the graduated price for ten, 25 or 150 parts, for example.

Then comes simplicity

"Spanflug Make" takes care of the complete basic calculation, and that's exactly what makes the work so easy - and fast - for Daniel Schäfer: "Manual price calculation not only took longer, it was also less accurate," says the plant manager. "With the new software, on the other hand, the same price always comes out for a component, which can be accurately tracked." The Spanflug solution relieves the Karlsbad-based manufacturer of administrative tasks so it can respond to customer inquiries more quickly. "It also fits in well with our digitalization concept here at the company," explains Operations Manager Schäfer. "For us, it's about using our time even more wisely. Once we've stored everything cleanly digitally, we subsequently benefit from the simplicity and save significant time and costs." Simplifying processes is an important point, especially with the planned growth, interjects Managing Director Dürr. "Spanflug Make" thus fits well into the business strategy of the CNC manufacturer.