Productivity increase due to low voltage

Rundum zufrieden mit dem Peak Performer (v.l.): Alexey Levantev, Maschinenbediener Richten mit dem Abteilungsleiter Blechvorfertigung von WECUBEX, Theo Pflieger © Kohler

In all areas of sheet metal processing, stresses in the sheet play a decisive role. Together with the flatness of blanks, they have a decisive influence on productivity and quality in the production of folded and bent parts. Straightened plates are low-stress, have the required flatness and can therefore be processed further without any problems.

On the Kohler Peak Performer 60P.100, Wecubex straightens laser-cut and stamped sheets from various steels such as stainless steel, aluminum, S235 and S355. © Kohler
On the Kohler Peak Performer 60P.100, Wecubex straightens laser-cut and punched sheets from various steels such as stainless steel, aluminum, S235 and S355.
© Kohler

1.4 million sheet metal parts per year are produced by the approximately 270 employees at the Herbolzheim site of Wecubex, a full-range supplier of sheet metal assemblies. They process around 12,000 tons of steel, stainless steel and aluminum per year. The range of services includes lasering, edging, bending, welding, coating and assembling – from single components to complex system groups.

In order to supply customers – companies from the mechanical engineering, vehicle, construction and furniture industries, rail and transport, solar and energy technology, food and packaging – with high-quality products, the sheet producers need flat and low-stress sheets.

Wecubex’s machinery is impressive: laser machines, punching-laser combination machines, edging benches, welding stations and welding robots are available for sheet metal processing in an area of around 25,000 square meters. Parts of the production and storage area are occupied for paint shop, assembly and storage.
The sheet metal specialists in Herbolzheim have long known that the punched and laser-cut sheets have to be straightened before further processing. After all, the less stressed and flatter the parts are, the easier they are to edge, weld and assemble. Enormous advantages are the higher repeatability of the bending angle during bending and the accuracy of fit of the parts during welding, as the stresses in the sheet metal are reduced to a minimum and the parts have less distortion. As a result, the downstream work becomes process-safe and more efficient.

During straightening © Kohler
When straightening
© Kohler

Higher quality, more time saved

A key advantage of straightening is the higher quality of products made from these parts. What is still done manually in many areas today usually achieves the required flatness, but there is no reduction in residual stresses. In addition, manual processes are time-consuming and therefore expensive. This also requires experts who are not always available.
On a Kohler Peak Performer, straightening parts takes only a few seconds. After often only one pass, the straightened plates not only have the required flatness, but the stresses are also significantly reduced.

“The demands of our customers have increased enormously, and in return, the raw material is getting worse and worse,” says Klaus Wehrle, head of sheet metal production. “That’s why it’s even more important to get the best quality out of every sheet,” Wehrle emphasizes.
In the past, the company still straightened its plates itself with a round bending machine, but was not convinced by the results. Therefore, a few years ago, the decision was made to use Kohler’s contract straightening service and have the parts straightened on a contract basis.

When the need for straightened parts increased sharply, management decided to purchase a Kohler Peak Performer. The very good straightening quality known from the contract straightening orders spoke for itself. In addition, the parts leveler was immediately available, and the geographical proximity brings advantages for the cooperation: there are just a few kilometers between the Wecubex site in Herbolzheim and Kohler in Lahr. The Wecubex employees were therefore able to get started quickly and straighten the required sheets themselves. The Peak Performer has now been in operation in two shifts since December 2021.

The advantages for Wecubex are obvious: “We are even more flexible with our own machine, the parts are optimally aligned, and this makes our products of higher quality. Customers notice this immediately. And as a modern, environmentally conscious company, we specifically chose the hydraulic-free parts leveler from Kohler,” says Klaus Wehrle.
Sheet metal and sheet metal parts straightened on a Kohler Peak Performer thus make an important contribution to the quality of the end product, for example a welded assembly. The high energy efficiency and improved environmental compatibility also conserve resources with every straightening operation.

Settings already saved for known parts can be accessed quickly, making work easier. © Kohler
Settings already saved for known parts can be accessed quickly, making work easier.
© Kohler

Intuitive to operate and hydraulics-free

Intuitive operation makes all the difference. Also in the operation of the Peak Performer has thought further. The human-machine interface is designed to be simple and intuitive so that operators feel comfortable and confident using it. This is because the menu structure is modeled after human thinking. There are only clearly recognizable input options, comparable to a smartphone.

A big plus is also the ease of use of the advanced cleaning system, which is highly appreciated by numerous customers. Because not to be neglected is the regular cleaning of the straightening rolls and back-up rolls from dirt particles, especially when a mix of steel and stainless steel is processed. This prevents abrasion from being deposited on the straightening material and dirt or even scratches from affecting the straightening material. The rolls and rollers can be cleaned effortlessly by just one person between two straightening jobs.

The patented straightening gap control Gap Control also ensures the desired straightening result with Wecubex. Together with the very stable design of all Peak Performers, the responsive straightening gap control ensures a constant straightening gap throughout the straightening process. And this is independent of the contour of the parts to be straightened and independent of the distribution of stresses in the part. According to Kohler, the entire Gap Control system is virtually maintenance-free, as there are no hydraulics, which also provides excellent energy efficiency.

Basically, all dividing levelers operate without hydraulics. The result: low maintenance, zero leakage, insensitivity to temperature fluctuations, higher energy efficiency and improved environmental compatibility. Starting with the 85P series, all Peak Performers are also equipped with a powerful and energy-efficient direct drive. This significantly reduces energy consumption, while at the same time increasing straightening performance and further reducing maintenance requirements.

Christian Graeve, Managing Director of Construction at Wecubex, is completely satisfied with his decision in favor of a Kohler Peak Performer: “From the first meeting to the commissioning at the Herbolzheim site and the excellent training provided by the Kohler specialist, everything went like clockwork within a very short time”.