The HSB Group produces swimming and adventure pools made of stainless steel for municipal needs. Precise individual parts for dimensionally accurate, large stainless steel thin sheet constructions are required. An MSF Compact solved the existing productivity deficits and created enormous flexibility.
Water is life. But also recreation, fun, therapy. No matter what age – generations enjoy swimming, sliding or splashing around. In order for the pleasure to last long and to function independently of quarry ponds and seasons, the appropriate infrastructure is necessary. One elementary building block has been provided by the HSB Group since 1969. Because more than 50 years ago, the pioneer of swimming pool manufacturing installed the first stainless steel swimming pool in Austria. It was also the first in the world – and it is still in operation today. Thanks to the material stainless steel as well as a lot of precision and know-how in the processing, construction and project planning of swimming or adventure pools, the products can be used for many generations.
Stainless steel swimming pools – the most sustainable solution in the swimming pool industry
The group’s products are in demand throughout Europe, with various locations and around 140 employees. More than 2000 systems have been delivered since the beginning, which corresponds to around 6000 pools. “We process 20 to 70 tons of stainless steel per plant. This is an extremely sustainable product. Because I can build 20 square meters of pool from one ton of stainless steel, and only 2 from one ton of concrete,” explains Dr. Alois Dachs, Managing Director of HSB Austria GmbH. The company looks after customers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Scandinavia. The company processes around 800 tons of stainless steel annually in its production facilities in Vöcklamarkt in Upper Austria and Berlin Spandau. Around ten manufacturers are represented in this segment throughout Europe. “We claim to be the quality and market leader,” postulates Dr. Dachs. The challenge here: “The stainless steel wall is a thin sheet construction with a thickness of 2 to 2.5 mm, which is created by welding. The parts are up to five meters long and 2.20 m high. This has to be manufactured very precisely and without distortion.” In swimming, for example, tolerances of less than 1 cm over a length of 50 m must be maintained.
Waiting for delivery or costly rework with insufficient technology
For many years, the company relied on external suppliers or processing by a punching-nibbling machine to cut the dimensionally accurate sheets. Many hole patterns and also a wide variety of complex configurations have to be cut into the 1.5 to 10 mm thick sheets. Purchased parts lacked speed and flexibility, and the punch-nibbling machine required time-consuming deburring each time. “That’s always been a drag. We’re in the ancillary construction business, and individual projects shift from one week to the next. Then the production sequence has to be able to be switched from one day to the next.”
Newly gained flexibility inspires employees
Circumstances that are now a thing of the past thanks to a new investment. Because since mid-2020, the company has been relying on its own cutting solution: a 2D fiber laser system of the MSF Compact series from MicroStep with a processing area of 1,500 x 3,000 mm. “We are completely satisfied. Our people are all thrilled. Our product consists of a lot of manual work. So everyone is very happy that we can handle parts flexibly in this way,” the managing director draws an interim conclusion.
The space-saving laser system is currently being used to around one third of its capacity in single-shift operation. For HSB Austria, it is nevertheless a worthwhile investment after a focused search; “Since we have limited space, a compact design was very important to us. First we asked the usual suspects in the industry, looked around on the Internet and in our environment. We then came across MicroStep via an Internet search. The concept of the system is ideal for us and the price-performance ratio is also very good.”
The plan of acquisition worked out perfectly. “We have bought flexibility with it. It is important that we can produce as many elements as possible as precisely as possible. The laser covers that. We have greatly reduced rework, and this also increases the quality of the workplace for our personnel.”
The highlights of the laser cutting system MSF Compact
The MSF Compact is a space-saving high-precision fiber laser cutting solution. The laser cutting system is quickly ready for operation: assembly, commissioning and training take place within just one week. For reasons of space and in order to realize the tight tolerances when machining stainless steel for swimming pool construction, HSB Austria GmbH decided on the MSF Compact with a machining area of 1,500 x 3,000 mm. The pull-out cutting table enables uncomplicated and fast loading and unloading. An ideal cutting system for 2D processing of stainless steel for specialist companies active throughout Europe. A powerful TEKA Filtercube 4H filter system with 5.5 kW is used as the extraction system, including a TEKA spark trap.
In addition to the space-saving design in the limited footprint, the cutting quality was the decisive factor in favour of the MSF Compact. The compact laser series is available as standard with laser sources from 1 to 4 kW. As a laser source for stainless steel processing, the company relies on an IPG fiber laser source of the type YLS 3000 U with 3 kW beam power. The Ex-Trabeam Pro laser cutting head from Thermacut was integrated. A low-drift control system ensures the best cutting results, while the “Smart Protection” seal monitoring system protects the optical components.