The 10-man company Metallbau Mühlbacher in Navis, Austria, south of Innsbruck, has been active in the field of metal construction, steel construction and sheet metal working since 2016 and specializes primarily in the construction of railings and columns as well as stairs and custom-made products. True to the credo: “Anything is possible!” Since mid-2021, a plasma-autogenous cutting system of the MasterCut series has been the heart of the company and an elementary component in production.
The year 2016 was a new start for Robert Mühlbacher: After around 20 years of experience in the locksmith and metal construction industry, he set up his own business as managing director of Metallbau Mühlbacher. Brother Markus went along the way to independence and opened a carpentry shop in the same rented property. A perfect symbiosis of metal and wood that customers love to use. Since then, the metal construction company has been manufacturing mainly in the “classic steel construction sector”.
Railings, columns, stairs, brackets: the company is broadly positioned. The machine park was gradually expanded mainly with used machines, for example a press brake. A lot of manual work and know-how led to a fast, steady and positive development. With the successful growth, the orders also became more demanding over time. The idea matured in Robert Mühlbacher’s mind that an own automated cutting solution would be necessary and would help to become even more productive and to grow further.
From a manual solution to automated plasma-arc combination
Until then, the required parts were mostly cut manually using a hand plasma torch or impact shears – or bought in if necessary. As a result, speed and flexibility in production suffered, and employees were tied up with rework. A dedicated solution should change that. The contact to MicroStep was established via Kleineberg Maschinen GmbH, a dealer known in the company for many years.
Actually, the specialist company had a laser cutting system in mind. However, when taking a close look at the materials to be processed and their strengths, MicroStep area sales manager Alois Bergmann arranged for a demonstration of a 3D plasma cutting system at the nearby Neuschmid company. The company has been using a system with Plasmarotator from MicroStep since 2016.
Laser cutting machine in mind, plasma cutting machine convinced
The demonstration was convincing. “It was clear to us quite quickly that this was the right thing for our company,” Robert Mühlbacher looks back. Away from the originally envisaged laser cutting system, the decision was made in favor of a 3D cutting system with plasma rotator and oxyfuel torch. For example, chamfers can be applied automatically for weld seam preparation and higher material thicknesses can be cut out efficiently with the oxyacetylene torch.
“… a complete success”
The new system quickly paid for itself. For example, when cutting stringers for staircase construction. Where previously the work took three to four hours, the CNC machine produces the finished result in around 15 minutes. “Thanks to the system, we can plan and work completely differently during production right from the start,” says Robert Mühlbacher. The company has even successfully performed contract cutting for external companies, thus making even more use of the already well-utilized machine and expanding the portfolio. “The investment was a complete success. We can now do many things faster, easier and more precisely. This also gives us completely different options compared to the competition!”
And this has been eagerly used since the start-up in July 2021. For Robert Mühlbacher, there is no question that the new acquisition is bearing fruit. “From the first contact with sales to acceptance, everything has been great with MicroStep. Everything is up and running and has worked great.”
“Your Partner for Cutting & Automation”
MicroStep is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of CNC cutting systems. The company develops and produces plasma, oxyfuel, laser and waterjet cutting systems – from small CNC machines for schools and workshops to customized production lines for shipyards, steel centers or the automotive and aerospace industries. In addition, MicroStep offers tried and tested automation solutions: From material handling around the cutting system to picking and sorting of cut parts.
The internationally active MicroStep Group was founded in the early 1990s in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. It includes MicroStep Europa GmbH, which offers consulting, planning, financing, training and support for all MicroStep products, especially for customers from German-speaking countries. In addition, MicroStep Europa GmbH also develops and sells independent products & services for cutting and bending workpieces worldwide.
At its headquarters in Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria, MicroStep Europa operates the CompetenceCenter South, and at its branch in Dorsten (NRW) the CompetenceCenter North. State-of-the-art cutting solutions are always available in the two training and demonstration centres.
In addition, MicroStep is still represented in Germany with two bases in Kiel (Schleswig-Holstein) and Berlin. For Austria, MicroStep maintains a base near Vienna (in Bratislava, Slovakia) and in Switzerland near Bern (at MicroStep partner LWB WeldTech AG in Wünnewil).