A longstanding partnership that has led to exclusive supplier status
What are the critical factors behind Rosenberger's worldwide success? Peter Rosenberger, Managing Director at Rosenberger, answers emphatically: 'Our production has an extremely high level of vertical integration – we handle all our tool manufacture, surface processing and injection molding in house – and our quality standards are very high. These advantages make us the supplier of choice for many customers – not only in Europe, but also in America and especially in Asia.'
Kistler has been playing its part in this success story since 2005 by supplying tried-and-tested measurement technology – the key to reliable and efficient quality monitoring. Sensor technology and process monitoring systems from Kistler are deployed at manual workstations and also in semi-automated and fully automated plants. 'Systems from Kistler are installed in many of our production lines. In fact, we now specify Kistler as the measurement technology provider for our external special-purpose machine manufacturers,' Rosenberger adds.
Christian Wimmer holds a highly responsible position in the production operation at the Fridolfing facility. He joined Rosenberger back in 2003 as an industrial mechanic in the Tool Manufacture department. Since 2012, he has been a member of the 40-strong Manufacturing Equipment Design department, with responsibility for Tool Design and Engineering. In practice, Wimmer's work focuses on sample assembly, ongoing optimization of production, and issues such as ergonomics, efficiency and consistency. 'When I joined the design team in 2012, Kistler was already playing its part in many of Rosenberger's production processes. Depending on production volumes, we opt for manual workstations in some cases – especially in the pre-series phase. To take one example, we use force sensors from Kistler to ensure that the components in a complex connector are assembled correctly,' Wimmer explains.
Rosenberger also uses the maXYmos process monitoring and control system from Kistler to monitor entire processes, both for manual and automated assembly. 'Thanks to the integrated Sequencer Mode, we can use maXYmos as a small control – which eliminates the need for any additional controls. Employees on the production line get direct feedback on the display, telling them whether the individual steps have been completed correctly and what needs to be done next,' Wimmer continues.
Individually adapted solutions generate added value
Products from Kistler also demonstrate their strengths in the second area where they are in use at Rosenberger: semi-automated and fully automated machines. 'Properties such as high rigidity, overload capacity and high resolution make piezoelectric sensor technology from Kistler our solution of choice. What's more, it's easy to record the measurement data and forward it to the customer,' Wimmer points out. Traceability and transparency are increasingly important factors, and zero defect production is set to become the standard in many industries. 'Thanks to Kistler, we can send the OK/NOK signal (good or bad) for every single part directly to the MES (Manufacturing Execution System). But that's not all: we can also provide the end customer with complete measurement records including the serial numbers, if they ask us.'
Alongside the 9340A force link – developed by Kistler to meet the customer's specific requirements – and the BL (Basic Level) and TL (Top Level) variants of the maXYmos process monitoring system, Rosenberger uses other Kistler solutions: 'Thanks to a retrofit set for manual presses that Kistler developed, we've also been able to optimize some of our older workstations and connect them digitally to the production environment,' Wimmer explains. 'Another very helpful innovation is the new cable that is compatible with dragchains: we have already installed it in some of our machines. It's highly resilient, so it makes the whole plant significantly more effective.' The 190023A coaxial cable – robust, with low noise and high insulation – was specifically developed by Kistler for use with piezoelectric sensors in dynamic environments. This cable is extremely resistant to abrasion, and intensive laboratory testing has proven that it can withstand at least 10 million bending cycles.
Quality that leaves the competition standing – thanks to Kistler
Summing up his opinions, Wimmer comments: 'We're highly satisfied with our working relationship with Kistler. That applies to the quality of their products and solutions, and also to Kistler's readiness to adapt sensors and systems like the maXYmos to Rosenberger's specific needs.' He adds: 'On top of that, Kistler's response times are fast, and they continue their development work on solutions that span the critical range from assembly to software. For all these reasons, we will continue to opt for measurement technology from Kistler in the future.'