The importance of open-air gastronomy has increased significantly in recent years: sitting comfortably outdoors and enjoying life – no matter what the weather. This is made possible with solutions from Meissl, the pioneer of umbrella bars. The sheet metal blanks required for this have been produced absolutely reliably on a water jet cutting machine from StM for more than four years.
For over 40 years, Meissl Open-Air Solutions GmbH has been creating the best conditions for people to meet, laugh, live and enjoy themselves outdoors with its large umbrellas, umbrella bars and windbreak solutions – whatever the weather.
“With ever new product ideas and solutions, our initial umbrella bar, consisting of a bar with a stable large umbrella, became a very wide range of products up to individual large area canopies and mobile windbreaks”, explains Hermine Meissl, who has been working in the company since 1989 and took over the management from her father and company founder in 2001.
Not only for restaurateurs, but also for hotels, municipalities or the retail trade, such versatile “open spaces” on terraces and open spaces are becoming increasingly important. As attractive meeting points, they enliven boulevards and promenade zones, squares and green spaces.
Meissl concepts create striking, lively points of attraction and today prove their reliability in alpine highlands as well as in coastal regions or at highly frequented city locations. “Each solution is unique and tailored exactly to the customer’s individual needs – no matter how extreme the location and load,” she says.
And Martin Eltbogen, Managing Director of Meissl Forschungs- und Entwicklungs GmbH, which is responsible for the product development of Meissl products, adds: “The success factors of our umbrella bars, for example, include functionality, reliability and ergonomic planning. Taps, cooling systems, music system, lighting control – everything is in its place and functions even under challenging conditions. Effect lighting, radiant heaters, design or sound – all these contribute to the special atmosphere of an umbrella bar and make it an extraordinary experience for guests.”
Cutting by water jet
In order to meet its own high quality standards, Meissl Open-Air Solutions relies on a 100 percent Austrian value chain at its Pfarrwerfen site (province of Salzburg) with around 50 employees and 8,500 m² of operating space, both for raw materials such as steel, stainless steel, aluminium, textiles or wood and purchased components, as well as in its own production. This also applies to sheet metal cutting. For more than four years, a waterjet cutting machine from the Austrian manufacturer StM has been performing its services there with absolute satisfaction.
“Previously, we were only equipped with an impact shear and therefore had to buy in a large part of our sheet metal blanks externally. Since we repeatedly had to deal with delivery delays and deficiencies in part quality with our cutting partner at the time, we decided to invest in our own machinery,” Eltbogen recalls.
Due to the range of materials to be processed, the Pfarrwerfen company decided to use waterjet cutting technology. “When making investments or purchasing materials, we pay particular attention to strengthening Austrian companies and, if possible, even companies from the region,” explains Hermine Meissl.
In Eben in Pongau, less than 20 kilometres away, one of the leading suppliers of waterjet cutting systems was found in StM, which was ultimately awarded the contract. “The decision in 2016 was spot on. The machine convinces with highest part quality, economic efficiency and comfortable operation. STM’s service is also exemplary in terms of response time and competence,” the managing director is full of praise.
Flexibility and creativity gained
Specifically, an STM PremiumCut 4020 with a 2D cutting head was selected, which can also process large-format sheets. “Our PremiumCut waterjet cutting systems are high-performance systems that leave nothing to be desired. They are ideally suited for cutting tasks with high accuracy requirements and high speeds. The systems operate in a resource-saving manner and are characterized by extremely low power, water and air consumption. All structural components and screws are made of wear-resistant stainless steel or aluminium,” says Jürgen Moser, Managing Director of STM waterjet GmbH, describing the advantages of the machine.
At Meissl, it is used exclusively for cutting flat material in steel, aluminium and stainless steel up to 30 mm. “Since we have brought the sheet metal cutting in-house with the machine, we are independent of external partners. This has given us enormous flexibility,” emphasizes Eltbogen, who adds: “In addition, we can be much more creative in the design of our solutions. We now have design options that were simply inconceivable before. For example, we cut lettering, logos and images or produce attractive bar cladding.”
He sees another advantage of waterjet cutting technology in the fact that the blanks do not show any hardening and therefore no post-processing of the parts is necessary.
Environmentally conscious and resource-saving
For environmentally conscious and resource-saving operation, StM also offers solutions for the treatment of used water. “The mostly multi-stage systems
enable the purification of wastewater down to the detection limit of solids and dissolved substances. The filtered water can either be discharged into the local sewer or returned to the cycle if required,” Moser goes into detail.
In Pfarrwerfen, for example, a multi-stage abrasive spreading system is in operation. The used abrasive is flushed out of the cutting basin by the automatic abrasive flushing system. “All parts of the system that come into contact with abrasive are located outside the cutting basin. This reduces downtimes for maintenance work and also the running costs that have to be applied for the abrasive separation,” emphasizes the StM managing director.
A ceramic-coated high-performance pump sucks the water-abrasive mixture out of the cutting basin via the suction filter. The abrasive settles in a container. The second high-performance pump in turn conveys the water separated from the abrasive back into the cutting basin via two rinsing heads.
“The control is automatic via a PLC. The automatic abrasive rinsing system also switches on automatically when cutting with abrasive and switches off again after the cutting process at the end of a short follow-up time. The abrasive can then be disposed of dry or handed over to the abrasive manufacturer for reprocessing,” continues Moser.
Furthermore, by integrating a hydrofilter, the process water is treated in such a way that it can be fed into the sewer via the pressure bag filter.
Ease of use meets functionality
In order to fully exploit the potential of the waterjet, StM offers powerful software for creating programs, importing drawings and setting the process-specific cutting parameters.
“The intuitive user interface and strategies suggested by the software make the machine very easy to operate. Thanks to the possibility of simulating the respective cutting job, there is also absolute process reliability,” Eltbogen is reassured. “Our designers generate the cutting patterns in the work preparation department, send them to the machine and all the operator has to do is press the start button.” This means that Meissl is also able to run the machine unmanned into the night if necessary.
Future-proof thanks to digitalization
In order to position itself in the best possible way for the future, Meissl Open-Air Solutions generally wants to invest more in digitalisation measures. “Comprehensive digital networking will enable us to make our production more transparent, control it better and continuously optimise our processes,” says Martin Eltbogen confidently.
Hermine Meissl concludes: “Our recipe for success has always been to grow healthily and sustainably. To achieve this, the necessary framework conditions and structures must always be created beforehand with intelligence, so that our employees can develop their potential in the best possible way. We do not want to become bigger, but permanently better. With reliable and competent partners like StM, we are also well equipped for the future.”
Text: Norbert Novotny (x-technik)
StM Waterjet Group
StM is a leading supplier of waterjet cutting systems with a total of 70 employees. The company has four locations in Eben im Pongau (Austria), Schweinfurt (Germany), Reiden (Switzerland) and Frans (France) as well as the service base “RWS -Waterjet Service” located in Schlüßlberg (Austria).
For over 30 years, the traditional company has been developing integrated manufacturing solutions – primarily for the steel, aluminium, metal, plastics, stone and glass industries.
In development, STM pays particular attention to innovative modular system technology in combination with connectivity, intuitive operation and high availability of the StM waterjet cutting systems. StM underlined the great importance of after-sales service by founding RWS – Waterjet Service GmbH.
Since 2018, StM has also held the sole production rights to Bystronic waterjet cutting systems.