MTE: a Spanish-German success story in XXL format
Frankfurt am Main, 9 June 2015 – The success story of a long-standing METAV regular is Iberian to the core: Gunther Borbonus heads the German subsidiary of the Spanish machine tool manufacturer MTE in Montabaur. In 20 years, the company has sold 1,100 large milling machines all over the world, and thus ranks among the most successful firms in this sector. In the interview, Gunther Borbonus tells us about the points that really matter when it comes to large machinery.
Who uses your machines?
Gunther Borbonus: Basically, all those companies that have to machine large components, including, for example, rail producers, contract manufacturers, and other metalworking plants. The fields in which there’s currently most of the catching up to do are tool and mould construction. One reason at the time was the advance of 3D design software, which had largely superseded conventional prototyping. In the second half of the new millennium’s first decade, this led to a severe slump in investments in large machinery. And it’s precisely that investment backlog that would now appear to gradually be melting away.
How high is the vertical integration of your manufacturing capabilities?
Gunther Borbonus: Very high indeed, since MTE produces everything in terms of mechanical components and complete cast assemblies in-house. This is crucial in assuring the requisite stability and precision. The only outsourced components are control cubicles, drives, control systems, and casings. Nonetheless, we are always able to meet tight delivery deadlines. A travelling-column machine, for example, takes us three to four months to make.
What gives your machines the requisite rigidity?
Gunther Borbonus: In part, the machines consist of top-quality spheroidal graphite cast iron, GGG 70, which lends them a high degree of rigidity, and thus of precision and long-term accuracy as well, while simultaneously providing optimum vibration damping.
What are the requirements stipulated by your customers?
Gunther Borbonus: That depends on the job profile involved: while one customer’s priority is sheer size, another one wants dynamic properties, while a third one goes for stability and a fourth for precision. In a sales talk, we may then sometimes even have to tell the customer that it’s not always possible to implement all of the properties required to maximum effect simultaneously.
For many customers, it’s indubitably flexible deployment that plays a crucial role. How do you meet this requirement?
Gunther Borbonus: One solution for meeting it is the milling-head change-over feature, for example. This enables users to change over their travelling-column machine fully automatically to any new workpiece using their CNC control system. So in the program the machine operator can, for instance, switch from one milling head to another fully automatically, thus always using the head that is optimally suited for machining the workpiece concerned.
Another important issue is dynamic properties: how fast are your XXL systems?
Gunther Borbonus: This question touches upon an important decision we took a few years ago. Back then, we had to make up our minds as to whether we wanted to build machines that are first and foremost especially stable or especially dynamic. We did not – as many others did – go down the path of putative dynamics optimisation, and through our stable machines have built up an enviable reputation. This means that we continue to opt for conservative stable machine designs, because conservative in this context means: keeping the good things.
What is included in your service support?
Gunther Borbonus: We prioritise complete-system solutions, which is why from a modularised kit we put together each machine in the configuration that’s actually needed in practice. So obviously, a strategy based on stocks of machines is in clear contradiction to what we see as good customer service support and soundly based consultancy.
How do you develop your machines?
Gunther Borbonus: As from the year 2000, our designers have already been developing the machines completely in terms of 3D models. The customer then gets a quotation tailormade to suit his specific needs. Then when the order is placed, we create a realistic 3D image of the erection site, factoring in all the local idiosyncrasies. After that, we plan the foundation as a 3D volume model and check it for constructional validity once it’s been put in place on the customer’s premises. Order processing also includes close liaison with the safety officers – an aspect that’s gaining progressively in perceived importance. Not only must the machine ultimately comply with CE standards and the Machinery Directive, it must also and especially perform the functions it was designed for and be easy to operate.
How do you – as a manufacturer of large machines – rate the METAV in Düsseldorf?
Gunther Borbonus: The infrastructure in the halls is very good compared to many other fairs. Düsseldorf also attracts METAV visitors from the north of Germany, the regions around Aachen and Frankfurt/Main, and from the Netherlands as well. This means it’s a brilliant catchment area with a large base of potential and interesting customers.
How do you rate the new fair concept, and the future areas?
Gunther Borbonus: For me, the Moulding Area sounds particularly interesting, since at our company business with tool and mould manufacturers, particularly, is currently very successful.
Mr Borbonus, thanks very much for talking to me.
The interview was conducted by Nikolaus Fecht, specialist journalist from Gelsenkirchen
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MTE Deutschland GmbH, Montabaur
The German subsidiary of MTE Machine Tool Engineering, S.A. (Spain), started operation in 2007. It looks after the customers of the Spanish headquarters in Itziar (between Bilbao and San Sebastian), which makes large bed-type and travelling-column milling machines. The German team handles acquisition and service support, plus spare parts supply, for the currently around 500 MTE machines up and running in the German market (worldwide 1,100). Total turnover: approx. 28 million euros; payroll: 75.
You will find further information under www.mte-deutschland.de
METAV 2016 in Düsseldorf
The METAV 2016 – the 19th International Exhibition for Metalworking Technologies – will be held in Düsseldorf from 23 to 27 February. It showcases the entire spectrum of production technology. The principal focuses are machine tools, production systems, high-precision tools, automated material flows, computer technology, industrial electronics, and accessories, complemented by the new themes of Moulding, Medical, Additive Manufacturing and Quality, which are now permanently anchored in what are called “areas” with their own nomenclature in the METAV’s exhibition programme. The METAV’s target group for visitors includes all branches of industry that work metal, particularly machinery and plant manufacturers, the automotive industry and its component suppliers, aerospace, the electrical engineering industry, energy and medical technologies, tool and mould-making, plus metalworking and the craft sector.
You will find further information under www.metav.de
VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association)
Press and Public Relations
60325 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. +49 69 756081-33
MTE Deutschland GmbH
Auf der Birke 13
56412 Montabaur – Heiligenroth
Tel. +49 2602 99965-13
Press Agency Dipl.-Ing. Nikolaus Fecht
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