METAV 2016 to boost tool and mould construction business

Gunther Borbonus mteThe Spagnish machine tool manufacturer MTE is a long-standing METAV regular. The German subsidiary is lead by Gunther Borbonus. In 20 years, the company has sold 1,100 large milling machines all over the world, and thus ranks among the most successful firms in this sector. In the interview, Gunther Borbonus tells us about the points that really matter when it comes to large machinery.

Who uses your machines?
Basically, all those companies that have to machine large components, including, for example, rail producers, contract manufacturers, and other metalworking plants. The fields in which there’s currently most of the catching up to do are tool and mould construction.  One reason at the time was the advance of 3D design software, which had largely superseded conventional prototyping. In the second half of the new millennium’s first decade, this led to a severe slump in investments in large machinery. And it’s precisely that investment backlog that would now appear to gradually be melting away.

How high is the vertical integration of your manufacturing capabilities?

Very high indeed, since MTE produces everything in terms of mechanical components and complete cast assemblies in-house. This is crucial in assuring the requisite stability and precision. The only outsourced components are control cubicles, drives, control systems, and casings. Nonetheless, we are always able to meet tight delivery deadlines.  A travelling-column machine, for example, takes us three to four months to make.

What gives your machines the requisite rigidity?

In part, the machines consist of top-quality spheroidal graphite cast iron, GGG 70, which lends them a high degree of rigidity, and thus of precision and long-term accuracy as well, while simultaneously providing optimum vibration damping.


What are the requirements stipulated by your customers?

That depends on the job profile involved: while one customer’s priority is sheer size, another one wants dynamic properties, while a third one goes for stability and a fourth for precision. In a sales talk, we may then sometimes even have to tell the customer that it’s not always possible to implement all of the properties required to maximum effect simultaneously.

For many customers, it’s indubitably flexible deployment that plays a crucial role. How do you meet this requirement?

One solution for meeting it is the milling-head change-over feature, for example. This enables users to change over their travelling-column machine fully automatically to any new workpiece using their CNC control system. So in the program the machine operator can, for instance, switch from one milling head to another fully automatically, thus always using the head that is optimally suited for machining the workpiece concerned.

Another important issue is dynamic properties: how fast are your XXL systems?

This question touches upon an important decision we took a few years ago. Back then, we had to make up our minds as to whether we wanted to build machines that are first and foremost especially stable or especially dynamic. We did not – as many others did – go down the path of putative dynamics optimisation, and through our stable machines have built up an enviable reputation. This means that we continue to opt for conservative stable machine designs, because conservative in this context means: keeping the good things.


What is included in your service support?

We prioritise complete-system solutions, which is why from a modularised kit we put together each machine in the configuration that’s actually needed in practice. So obviously, a strategy based on stocks of machines is in clear contradiction to what we see as good customer service support and soundly based consultancy.


How do you develop your machines?

As from the year 2000, our designers have already been developing the machines completely in terms of 3D models. The customer then gets a quotation tailormade to suit his specific needs. Then when the order is placed, we create a realistic 3D image of the erection site, factoring in all the local idiosyncrasies. After that, we plan the foundation as a 3D volume model and check it for constructional validity once it’s been put in place on the customer’s premises. Order processing also includes close liaison with the safety officers – an aspect that’s gaining progressively in perceived importance. Not only must the machine ultimately comply with CE standards and the Machinery Directive, it must also and especially perform the functions it was designed for and be easy to operate.


How do you – as a manufacturer of large machines – rate the METAV in Düsseldorf?
The infrastructure in the halls is very good compared to many other fairs. Düsseldorf also attracts METAV visitors from the north of Germany, the regions around Aachen and Frankfurt/Main, and from the Netherlands as well. This means it’s a brilliant catchment area with a large base of potential and interesting customers.


How do you rate the new fair concept, and the future areas?

For me, the Moulding Area sounds particularly interesting, since at our company business with tool and mould manufacturers, particularly, is currently very successful.



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