In the past, Dominic Löscher restricted capital expenditure for his small electrical engineering enterprise to relatively low sums. Purchases typically extended to, for instance, a power screwdriver or a company car. So when his father – who has provided business advice to his son since Elektro Löscher was founded – suggested investing in a CNC machining centre, Löscher was initially hesitant. “Perforex from Rittal Automation Systems is perfect for machining housings and enclosures. As a small company, however, we were not accustomed to investments of this scale. But it proved to be worth it.” The success experienced with subsequent customer projects showed it was the right move. Today, for example, Elektro Löscher is able to regularly complete contracts for customers who serve the energy industry. In these scenarios, control systems for distribution transformers are housed decentrally in terminal boxes. These terminal boxes are hooked up using rectangular plug-in connectors from Harting or Phoenix Contact. And the new Perforex is ideal for making the corresponding rectangular cut-outs.
In addition to investments in its workshop, Elektro Löscher is making upgrades to its electrical design and planning systems. In future, the company will benefit from the Eplan Electric CAE system and EPLAN Pro Panel visualisation and configuration software. The goal is integrate and streamline all processes, from planning to manufacturing. Once electrical planning tasks are complete, EPLAN Pro Panel is leveraged to create a virtual prototype of the enclosure. This data is then used to operate the Perforex and an AC 18 Secarex cutting centre in the workshop.
Remarkable time savings
Before Elektro Löscher acquired its Perforex, it took around two hours to make a typical mounting plate – every task had to be performed manually. Now, the workshop is able to save precious time: “With the Perforex, we need for the same mounting plate, including component installation, three quarters of an hour, tops, and that includes programming the Perforex,” explains Dominic Löscher. And since the CNC machining centre, once started, can operate autonomously, the human worker can focus on other activities. When producing multiple products of the same design, the time savings are even greater, as the Perforex only has to be programmed once.
Further investment in automation
Löscher’s positive experience with the Perforex led to further changes. Soon after introduction the CNC machining centre, he began to explore additional ways of increasing automation. A C8+ length-cutting machine and a RE8 stripping and crimping machine from Rittal Automation Systems now help with creating wire assemblies for connecting internal components. The wires are cut to the correct length and subsequently insulated and fitted with a wire-end ferrule in a single operation. Elektro Löscher’s most recent acquisition was a Secarex cutting centre. The system is easy to operate and is able to cut wiring ducts, duct covers and support rails to length with speed, precision and reliability. The integrated label printer allows the finished components to be marked in accordance with the specific project. The Secarex has helped to accelerate workshop processes, and to reduce waste material and therefore costs.