At the turn of the year an arsonist set fire to the production halls of Mühlhoff Umformtechnik, a German automotive supplier based in Uedem, on the border with the Netherlands.
The column of smoke could be seen for miles and the resulting damage, including loss of production, ran in the ‘high double-digit’ million euro range.
However, just six months later the company has started producing parts with some of its large presses after Schuler Service (www.schulergroup.com
) repaired two of the four damaged presses.
Moreover, a new 2,000-tonne press from the company’s TSD-series is scheduled to go into operation in early 2021.
Markus Wermers, Mühlhoff’s managing director, had only been in office for three months when the fire broke out. He said: “Just a few days later, Schuler Service was on site with nine employees. We decided to first repair the machines with 800 and 1,300 tonnes of press force, as these were only a few years old.
“This necessitated replacing the entire electrical and control system, several mechanical parts and manually removing the soot and extinguishing water that had contaminated the machines.”
Mühlhoff also sent some of its dies to the Schuler site in Erfurt, so that parts production could continue there on a 1,600-ton press with TwinServo technology.
Mr Wermers, who is currently running the business from a container in the car park (the administration building was also damaged by the major fire), added: “Other suppliers have also stepped in to process our orders. Everyone has helped so that everything can now gradually start up again.”
The new TSD-series press system that is to be installed at Mühlhoff features Schuler’s camera-based ‘Visual Die Protection’ system and ‘IIoT Connector’, which supports numerous Industry 4.0 functions, such as process monitoring and predictive maintenance.