Ackermann Metallwaren GmbH is a German supplier of hose fittings. Since 1985, the company has developed into a qualitative and reliable partner for a wide range of different fittings and screw connections. Decisive for the company's growth strategy was the focus on quality and innovation, which is why the company was RoboJob's first customer in Germany.
Carsten Ackermann, business manager: “We obtained the first RoboJob installation in the whole of Germany at that time and that has certainly contributed to our success in recent years. Firstly, this system has significantly increased our productivity. Secondly, many customers were amazed at the high level of automation in our company. Our business philosophy is not to just grow and hire more and more employees. We want to hire the right people and use them in the right way. Robots are just simply better suited to some tasks, especially when it comes to batch production.
That is why we were looking for an automation system that can be used flexibly for different workpieces and is also simple and quick to operate. We came into contact with RoboJob via Mazak in Düsseldorf. The business manager, Helmut De Roovere, visited us and brought us a full-size layout of the Turn-Assist 180. I couldn't believe that the robot could be so compact. He invited me to Belgium, where I visited RoboJob's sister company and three other customers. This not only convinced me of the system, but also of RoboJob as a supplier.
In August 2013, our Mazak QSM 300 was automated with a Turn-Assist 180. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the speed of the installation. Everything was installed in less than a week, including the automatic door and interface. There were some communication problems because the RoboJob colleagues didn’t speak German very well, but we were able to understand each other. We were also the first customer in Germany!
At the end of that week we were able to get started right away. This robot has been working for over 7 years and has never broken down. Given the huge success of this first installation, we added a second one a few years later: also a Turn-Assist 180, but this time on a Mazak QTN150. For the foreseeable future it is already clear that RoboJob will be automating yet another installation.
Automation is now in our company's genes. On Friday I had a meeting about a potential new customer who was enthusiastic about it. An hour later I had my first request with the comment 'This product is something for your robot'.
In fact, I would even say that our robots have made us hugely successful this year. During corona, some orders were cancelled and others were reduced. But thanks to the robots, we still managed to get new projects. For example, there was one order that had to be delivered with an extremely tight deadline. Obviously our robots can work all day long and that's how I was able to meet the delivery time. They now operate 7 days a week, so they also work at weekends. I often drive to the company myself to remove the finished pieces and prepare the new ones. That’s how we won this contract and we now have a turnover that’s even higher than last year! That’s very exceptional, especially for this year. We also didn't have to fire anyone, and I dare say that this is partly due to the robot.
It’s not always possible to compare the machine efficiency or spindle hours with and without automation. Of course we make sure that we plan the repetition work on the machine using automation. However, we usually see that efficiency is a lot higher with automated machines. On machines with a robot, we easily achieve 15 to 30% more spindle hours than on machines without a robot. Our analyses show that our two robots replace up to 1.5 operators. With the difference that you only have to pay once for this robot and that it pays for itself quickly. It’s therefore not surprising that a third will soon be added."