For a few months, a big and most of all well thought out cross-laminated timber production plant has been operating in the northwest of Germany. With the start-up of the factory in Westerkappeln, which has an annual capacity of 100,000 m³, Derix Group is now one of the biggest CLT manufacturers in Central Europe. When planning the new plant, two things were particularly important to Markus Derix and his team: the realization of easiest possible approaches and a redundant design of all central system components. “This makes production planning relatively easy for us and also guarantees a high degree of reliability”, explains CEO Markus Derix. In practice, this means using smaller universal machines instead of one or more highly specialized machines. When it comes to CNC machining, Derix opted for three identical machines by Reichenbacher Hamuel, Dörfles-Esbach/DE after careful consideration.
According to Derix, an important factor in the decision for Reichenbacher Hamuel’s five-axis CNC machines was performance: “We previously defined processing speeds with single tools – and Reichenbacher exceeded them.” For Hubertus Hünker of Reichenbacher’s sales staff, the reasons for this high performance are the considerable experience in the construction of CNC systems for heavy elements, the compact, stable construction and the 55 kW spindle. The five-axis aggregate can access a tool changer with 30 different tools and thus carries out all processing steps. “Of course, we also looked at layouts with several spindles and special machines for the single processing steps. In the end, however, it was more important to us that every machine can do everything”, emphasizes Derix. The machines also have a deep drilling aggregate for up to 1800 mm deep holes in the edges.
Another crucial aspect in the decision for a solution by Reichenbacher was the company’s experience in the automotive sector. “We have been integrating our systems into fully automated productions for years – we have a handle on this”, says Hünker.
The CNC machines installed at Derix are a combination of tried-and-tested assemblies, such as the five-axis aggregate complete with a tool changer, and detailed solutions developed specifically for Derix and the use in CLT production. Hünker lists the table design, the pressure roller system for fixing the panels or the removal by suction as examples. The latter has 14 suction sliders, which means that the required power is always used precisely where it is needed. “A closed layout, in which the chips do not fall out of the machine, but are removed immediately, is essential for a smooth production process”, says Hünker with regard to the advantage of this solution.
What the new CNC machines at Derix still lack is a precise type designation. Since the basic structure of the machines is derived from the “Vision” series, “Vision Holzbau” would be an in many ways appropriate name according to Hünker.
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