Since ancient times, people protect their homes with doors - be it from wind, rain or cold, from dangerous predators or other uninvited guests. Today, there are doors in varying sizes, shapes, materials and finishes. They also have to meet increasingly diverse requirements, from soundproofing, fire resistance or water resistance to protection against chemical or radioactive radiation.
Switzerland benefits from a particularly traditional relationship with doors, as it was here that some of Europe's oldest doors were discovered during excavations. The Confederation, specifically the Canton of Aargau, is also home to the Brunegg AG door factory. A family enterprise with more than 50 employees and based in the same area, which produces annually around 120,000 door panels under the brand name Brunex. The manufacturer, founded in 1954, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary - and has also manufactured nearly seven million doors.
The Brunegg AG door factory has grown steadily in recent years - just like their range. "Even 50 years ago there was a door for all functions", says sales manager Christian Goettelmann. "Today a door must be built differentiated, depending on the sound, fire, heat and climate protection requirements or safety devices against burglary." The manufacturer makes them to order just-in-time from batch size 1, the portfolio also includes special sizes up to 3.4 x 2.5 meters and special doors for hospitals and hotels. "From blanks to ready to be installed interior and exterior doors all produced here in Brunegg" emphasizes Goettelmann.
The door factory has expanded its production area by another 5,000 square meters, an increase of 70 percent. "In the future we want to provide our customers with even shorter delivery times while maintaining high quality," explains CEO Martin Eisele. "Because of this we are making targeted investments in our store and are trying to make all processes as efficient as possible." During the course of production expansion, the Swiss also decided to improve the manufacturing process for large and heavy doors. The up-to 250 kilogram special productions need to be transported from pallets to a CNC machining center - "until now has been a job for up to four men", Eisele recalls. "Special doors for hospitals may be manufactured with lead for example. "Moving these is really hard work." A new production station should accomplish this arduous operation faster, safer and gentler.
The best solution for this task: A powerful lifting aid. Several of these are already in use at the Brunegg door factory. For years the company has relied on the technology of the vacuum specialist J.Schmalz GmbH. Ten jumbo type lifting devices facilitate the work of the staff in many areas, such as when loading a saw, in the commissioning and repair area and for loading an automatic milling line. For handling heavy doors, the experts recommend the use of a JumboErgo 300 vacuum tube lifter for loads of up to 300 kilograms. Schmalz offers the tube lifter in a modular system. There is the correct suction cup for almost every application. From variants for elongated workpieces or beams, up to the four head suction cup for large sheets - both are implemented in Brunegg. With a quick change adapter the grippers can be changed as needed. The JumboErgo 300 scores especially in terms of safety and ergonomics: Heavy loads can be lifted easily and placed accurately. Four gripping points optimally transfer the vacuum of the tube lifter to the workpiece. A quick-response non-return valve prevents a drop in the load, even in the event of power or air failure. With the mobile operator handle, which is modeled on a motorcycle handlebar, users can also easily pick up workpieces at high altitude or from the ground. The length of the operator handle can be freely adjusted, which provides the benefit of always maintaining a safe distance from the load.
In addition, Schmalz has a custom-made aluminum overhead crane system with dimensions of 16.3 x 8.0 meters installed for the tube lifter in the new production hall. The employee gently picks the door up from the pallet, moves it with a crane on the CNC machining center and accurately places it there - all with minimal effort, and without scratching or otherwise damaging the workpiece. "Schmalz has mounted the crane accurately onto a new workplace," says Eisele. "We have a large traverse in order to reach the machining center easily - and our employees were amazed at how easy it is to move the workpieces." The ergonomic design is also particularly easy on the back, no one needs to invest more painstaking work by hand.
Where previously four people were needed to move a single door, a person can now operate the entire work station. This also convinced the employees of the Brunegg door factory. "At first they felt a certain skepticism towards the new technology" Eisele recalls. "But now they can't live without the JumboErgo." The company maintains continuous and solution-oriented partnerships with its suppliers - as well as Schmalz. "The project management and installation went very smoothly," says Eisele as he praises the collaboration. Even the quality with regards to the service is an important advantage for the manufacturing company, which is in urgent need of reliable equipment. "We have always had a positive experience in recent years. Should there be a problem, we are guaranteed help fast", says the manager. "The new JumboErgo has fulfilled all our expectations one hundred percent, exactly as the existing equipment has. We were able to increase our production in a safer, more ergonomic and more efficient manner."