Trissler & Kielkopf GmbH is based in Reutlingen, known as the gateway to the Swabian Alps. Since the early 1990s Peter and Christel Dorau have been in charge of this contract manufacturing company, which will soon celebrate its 100th anniversary. The medium-sized Swabian-based enterprise has been relying on HEDELIUS machining centres for 22 years.
Johannes Trissler founded the company in 1921. Back then, it was simply a supplier for Stoll, a knitting machine manufacturer also located in Reutlingen. By the time that Peter Dorau joined the company in 1983, the company was already producing its own knitting machines, and had also started operating as a contract manufacturer for general machine construction, as a way of creating an additional source of revenue in the face of structural changes within the textile industry. Peter Dorau and his wife Christel took over the management of the company in the early 1990s.
Efficiency as a key to success
The first few years under the Doraus’ management were marked by extensive investment: the machine pool was completely upgraded, and the company eventually moved to a larger production hall built in 1997. That same year, the company purchased its first two 3-axis machining centres from the North German HEDELIUS machine plant, a BC 40 and a BC 100. These were later joined by two HEDELIUS C60s. Peter Dorau first became aware of the manufacturer when he was sent a machine leaflet. He took up a personal invitation to visit the plant in Meppen, where he saw the machines live in operation for himself. He would not regret this trip.
“At the very start, the price pressure was huge. As a result, we mainly produced series parts back then,” Peter Dorau explains. This made the HEDELIUS BC 100 with pendulum operation the ideal machine for his purposes. “The option of working in two spaces greatly increased our productivity,” he recalls. A partition was used to create two separate workspaces that allowed machining in parallel, thus minimising idle time. He saw the good accessibility of the workspace as another plus: “Retooling the machine was always a quick process.”
“A first-class technical all-rounder”
Today, Trissler & Kielkopf’s customers most appreciate the company’s flexibility in production and the reliably high product quality of the workpieces. The HEDELIUS machining centres – currently numbering four – play a key role in this. “We are a first-class technical all-rounder; we can do everything, from small batches to large series,” says Christel Dorau, summing up her company’s range of services. “We aim to work with the very latest technology and go on delivering consistently high quality to our customers,” continues Christel, who previously worked as a development engineer for a well-known technology corporation.
They have a diverse customer base: customers from a broad spectrum of sectors, from the packaging industry to environmental technology and special machine construction rely on workmanship from Reutlingen. The demand has continued unabated for years: “We have never had to advertise for customers,” says Peter Dorau with pride. New customers visiting the Trissler & Kielkopf’s production side often tell him, “Just looking at your machine pool tells us that you’re going to be able to meet our needs.”
Over time, Trissler & Kielkopf has even been entrusted with manufacturing high-precision parts for research apparatus. “In such cases, we expect a tolerance not of 1 hundredth, but of ten thousandths, even for parts measuring 1 metre long,” says Peter Dorau. “We then wrap them in tissue paper.”
Tiltenta 7-4200 with maximum tooling
In view of the high demand, Peter Dorau is delighted that the HEDELIUS Tiltenta 7-4200, which the company purchased in 2017, is delivering “consistently excellent results”. With its large X-travel of 4,200 mm and a speed of 18,000 min-1, the versatile 5-axis machining centre with a continuously adjustable main spindle and integrated NC rotary table allows a wide variety of workpieces to be machined flexibly and accurately. Longer workpieces can also be machined on all sides with the utmost precision.
The Tiltenta 7-4200 was purchased as a substitute for the HEDELIUS BC 100, which provided faithful service for some twenty years until it was replaced. As such, the fact that the company once again opted for HEDELIUS when sourcing its new machine comes as no surprise. The Tiltenta 7-4200 sets completely new standards in productivity thanks to its extensive equipment package: together with the tried-and-tested pendulum mode, the rapid tool changer, the standby magazine with 190 spaces and the high-precision laser measuring system ensure even shorter set-up times, while maintaining top production quality. Four tool axes guarantee workpiece-independent dynamics – an ideal set-up for rapid transverse rates and feed rates of up to 40 metres per minute. The high feed rates are supported by an internal coolant supply (IKZ) at 75 bars of pressure. In addition, the IKZ keeps tool wear to a minimum.
Personal service: a major plus
Together with the impressive machine concept, there was another important purchasing criterion that led the Doraus to opt for HEDELIUS – its expert personal support. “Good service was one of the reasons why we opted for a HEDELIUS machining centre once again in 2017,” says Peter Dorau, praising the commitment of the service technicians. “If anything ever needs to be done, they always help us quickly and reliably.”
Trissler & Kielkopf now has eleven permanent employees. However, they are urgently looking for new staff, as the contract production industry is heavily affected by the skills shortage. The couple believes that one of the reasons for this is the immense pressure of competition, which is making work as a cutting machine operator increasingly unattractive for young people. “It’s all too easy to forget that people should be the focus, as people are needed to operate the machines,” they explain.
A brief glance around the company’s production hall is enough to reveal that the owners are serious when it comes to showing their appreciation for their employees. For instance, when purchasing the HEDELIUS Tiltenta 7-4200, they made sure that the machine had a closed working space, so as to keep the surrounding area clean. Mineral oil-free cooling lubricants are used on all of the machines in order to protect the health of the machine operators. “We want to provide our members of staff with high-quality jobs and demonstrate that we are able to keep on employing them in the long term,” stresses Christel Dorau.