Swiss electronics manufacturer Schurter AG has to meet the demanding standards set by the automotive industry, so 100% control and traceability are essential requirements in its production process. Schurter's new fully automated plant to produce complex safety-critical parts incorporates four Kistler systems for process monitoring – including fast cycle times, automatic sorting and measuring instrument capability testing.
Schurter, the Lucerne-based Swiss electronics manufacturer, has ambitious plans for the future: with a workforce that already numbers over 2 000, 11 production facilities and companies in 17 countries, the stage is clearly set for growth to continue. Acquisitions are generating added impetus; turnover already amounted to CHF 259 million in 2017, and the trend is upwards. Schurter's portfolio has two cornerstones: electric/electronic components (connectors, switches and circuit breakers, etc.), and input systems such as HMIs, touch panels and membrane keypads. Recent years have seen the addition of custom solutions based on a high level of vertical integration: these are grouped together in the firm's Solutions division.
As the trend towards electromobility gathers pace, electric fuses are now taking on a key role – especially in the production of batteries for electric automobiles. Each battery cell requires individual fuse protection, so the total number of fuses in a vehicle can quickly reach four or five hundred. In 2017, an end customer in the automotive sector commissioned Schurter to produce large quantities of fuses for use in safety-critical areas. André Schürmann, Head of Automation & Maintenance at Schurter, explains the background: 'We can draw on many years of experience in automating fuse production processes. And thanks to our technological edge, we're still able to carry out the development work here in Switzerland, as well as some of the production. That's something our customers really appreciate.' The fuses consist of numerous small parts; large quantities have to be manufactured with maximum automation, in compliance with the standards and of course with high quality. To meet these exceptional challenges, Schurter invited a near neighbor to come on board: special-purpose machinery manufacturer ROBO • MAT AG. 'ROBO • MAT presented us with a very detailed offer for the development of the plant, including a 3D layout and exact pricing. Combined with their physical proximity and the close working relationship that developed from day one, this added up to a highly convincing complete package,' Schürmann recalls