Franz Kattner, owner of Franz Kattner GmbH & Co. KG (left) has been supported by ARNO external sales engineer Ulrich Wenzel for over 15 years. The mutual trust that has grown up has produced many new high-performance and reliable process solutions.
Franz Kattner GmbH & Co. KG in Esslingen is well known for zero defect production on its CNC milling and turning machines. After the company was founded in 1993 with 4 employees and a small machine pool, it has successfully stayed on track despite economic downturns. Today, it ranks among the specialists in metalworking and metal machining in the automotive, aviation and shipping industries. Its success is also due to a willingness by the company’s founder Franz Kattner to take entrepreneurial risks. “I’ve invested in new machines almost every year although there were no confirmed orders on the table,” he stresses.
In the meantime, Kattner is constantly working on the company’s speciality – new solutions to complex parts made of materials which are difficult to machine on a site measuring 2,000 m². Through many years of business relations, Kattner has built up a wide range of knowledge in this sector. One aircraft seat manufacturer in Schwäbisch Hall collaborated with Kattner on developing a product from test trials through to the complete assembly. It must be remembered that the aviation industry is extremely demanding due to the multitude of regulations. The finished safety parts must meet high requirements. All the work steps and the tools used including their coatings have to be precisely documented and certified. One of Kattner’s special services is the supply of complete modules and components. This offering alone is a constant challenge for the company to take on a certain amount of risk since it is also responsible for purchasing the raw materials.
In Franz Kattner’s opinion, success lies in a mix of having qualified skilled employees, an excellent machine pool and tools which work reliably in the processes. Over 15 years ago, ARNO Werkzeuge turned out to be the supplier with the best all-round package. The main factors were competent consulting, product quality and performance, reliable deliveries and local proximity. “Waiting 4 to 5 hours for replacement tools is no option because of urgent delivery deadlines!” says Franz Kattner. The ARNO external sales engineer Ulrich Wenzel has looked after Kattner right from the start. Over the years, this has become a well coordinated team based on trust where both sides can rely on each other to develop new processes. Part-off and grooving solutions including optimised cooling for high-temp materials
These materials may be tough and durable but they cause relatively high concentrated cutting forces when machined. Especially these difficult to machine materials are becoming more and more popular in the aircraft industry due to their advantages in using them. Here the great advantage is the experience and continuous further development carried out by ARNO Werkzeuge in the field of demanding materials.
In the meantime, Kattner fully relies on the SA grooving system from ARNO to perform parting off and grooving work on demanding materials. Ulrich Wenzel explains: “This system has a high performance and is also incredibly versatile with groove widths starting at 1.5 mm and cutting depths up to 70.0 mm. This is precisely the right solution for Kattner.” The latest technology is used on the Index C100 automatic lathe to achieve better tool life without compromising process reliability. The patented cooling technology of the ACS2 – ARNO Cooling System brought immense advantages straight away for the SA grooving system product range. The high sensitive material 1.4548 or 1.4404 is grooved in high volumes. In the past, the complex stainless steel parts were machined at a feed of 0.06 mm/rev. at a cutting speed of 100 m/min. Tool life of previous tools: 95 parts. ACS2 gets the coolant through the insert seat right to the cutting zone and the second coolant hole from the bottom. This increases tool life by over 200 per cent. Feed improved to 0.12 mm/rev. and cutting speeds to 150 m/min. In addition, the flange mounted holders from ARNO Werkzeuge can be used both in the main and counter spindles to optimal effect. Franz Kattner is delighted: “The tight tolerances required for the finished parts are extremely difficult to maintain. Later, the products will operate at temperatures between -40° and +70° and everything has to be exactly right!“
He is now well equipped to take on future contracts from the aviation industry. A new machining centre specially produced for Kattner is capable of machining high-pressure tubes up to 3 m long. Short tooling time and a high capacity of tools in the magazine permit complex 5-axis machining processes. Again, ARNO Werkzeuge provides its support with tailor-made special tool solutions in addition to the wide standard product range.
The main factors which are important to Franz Kattner are constantly optimising and raising the efficiency of internal processes in order to stay ahead of the competition. This is why the entire process from the incoming order through to delivery is subjected to regular company and product audits. For the future, he also regards personnel as the most critical point. Since it is almost impossible to automate the entire production process and retooling is a daily necessity, operators need to have specialist skills. But this is where the two companies are also joining forces. Kattner’s skilled workers are trained directly at ARNO Werkzeuge and learn about tool developments, tips and tricks right from the source. This builds a solid foundation for successful cooperation in future.