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

In order to determine the price for turning and milling parts reliably and quickly, Dürr Metall & Kunststofftechnik from Karlsbad-Ittersbach near Karlsruhe in Baden relies on the "Spanflug for Manufacturers" calculation software. With just a few mouse clicks, the CNC experts can 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 - even in the case of complex workpieces.

What sets us apart?" Michèl Dürr doesn't think twice. "We offer our customers high quality and can respond 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," says 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 cloak-and-dagger operation, we milled a large quantity of titanium parts for him," says Michèl Dürr.
Dürr Metal & Plastics Technology
Managing Director Michèl Dürr (right) and Operations Manager Daniel Schäfer: "We offer our customers high quality and can respond flexibly to very different orders."
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 at 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 parts 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 the quotation prices in a reproducible manner because certain parameters such as setup or manufacturing 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 turning and milling parts, in order to increase the hit rate of their quotations. Then they got into conversation with the experts from Spanflug.

A reliable calculation software

The Munich-based company offers companies like Dürr Metall & Kunststofftechnik "Spanflug for Manufacturers" for precisely these cases. The calculation software is based on a pricing algorithm that Spanflug has been using since 2018 for its online platform for the procurement of CNC turning and milling parts. This has been optimized based on more than 100,000 turning and milling 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.

"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 get a subscription of the software for the company after the test phase. Less than an hour later, the software was up and running. This is because "Spanflug für Fertiger" is a cloud-based software-as-a-service solution that runs without installation or own data set.

Reaching the goal without much effort

Daniel Schäfer uploads the CAD model and the technical drawing. The parts appear 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 parts. "It also detects whether the part can be machined on the selected machine tool at all," says Schäfer. "If not, the program reports back with an appropriate warning." This is an important aid for the plant manager, who doesn't 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 part to be manufactured is a milling 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 sets the time to program the part on the CNC machine to just under two hours, and the manufacturing itself to 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.

 

"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 for Manufacturers" recalculates the price accordingly for each change. Optimized settings are particularly necessary for demanding parts, 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 manufacturing, 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 the simplicity

"Spanflug for Manufacturers" 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 price for a certain part is always the same and can be precisely reproduced."

The Spanflug solution relieves the Manufacturer from Karlsbad of administrative tasks in order to be able to answer customer inquiries more quickly. "This 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 for Manufacturers" thus fits well into the business strategy of the CNC manufacturer.