Compressed and free of cooling lubricant - Case Study


Courtesy of Ruf Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG

RUF’s briquetting press increases the efficiency of Zollner’s aluminium production

Zollner AG compresses more than 100 tons of aluminium chips per year using a RUF briquetting press. The mechatronics service provider thereby reduces the volume of this recyclable material to a fraction and isolates clinging oils and emulsions. By recovering cooling lubricant and thanks to increased prices for aluminium briquettes, the press has amortized itself within a very short time.

Everyone has come into contact with Zollner Elektronik AG’s products in some way, but hardly anyone has ever heard the name of this family enterprise from the Bavarian village of Zandt. But this is part of their business principle. Zollner does contract manufacturing of mechatronic products for many different industry sectors as individual items or for large-scale production. The check in terminals of Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn’s tickets machines for example are made by Zollner and the complete power electronics of the pre-production models of the BMW electric vehicle i3 also come from the main factory in Zandt. But the company often goes beyond producing according to customer specifications. On request the mechatronics service provider develops the required products partly or sometimes even completely.

More than 100 tons of aluminium chips are left over every year

Almost 50 years ago, the electrician Manfred Zollner founded an electronics shop and installation service. Back then a one-man-company, it has developed into the biggest European EMS service provider and is part of the worldwide top 15 of this business sector. To this day, the founder Manfred Zollner is an active part of the company as chairman of the board. The list of buyers like longtime customers IBM, Miele and Siemens has grown by hundreds over the years.

Numerous turned and milled parts are produced in the main factory in Zandt. 80% of the material used is aluminium, which makes it the most important material. 40 to 50 percent of the processed material is left behind in the form of aluminium chips. Back when the company’s own CNC manufacturing was still very small and a lot of parts were bought in, handling the voluminous and cooling lubricant soaked chips was costly, but still acceptable for Zollner. But in recent years the chipping production, for example the 5-axes-technology, has been massively expanded. Approximately 250 tons of aluminium are processed every year in 18 machining centers and eight long and short automatic lathes. Through this process, at least 100 tons of chips are left over. For Johann Dietl, head of CNC manufacturing, it became clear very quickly that the chips from his state of the art production had to be dealt with more efficiently, considering these kind of bulks. He recalls: “We had to transport the chips a long way to a warehouse and used up an enormous amount of space. It was definitely not a clean process due to the adhesive cooling lubricant and oil.” Always in search of new ways to perfect his production, he steadily exchanges information with other production plants. When he discovered a RUF briquetting press in one of them it was clear to him that this was the solution for the chip problem at Zollner.  

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