Worldwide development hinges on PLM
NX and Teamcenter provide the platform for growth and market leadership in the international arena of door and window fittings
Innovation as competitive edge
We expect modern windows to be sealed against the elements. We expect to be able to open or tilt them, and then close them again, without effort. We expect this kind of performance whether it is cold or hot, over a period of many years. We also expect windows to meet safety regulations and to make it as difficult as possible for potential burglars. But we don’t want the frame to be too wide or bulky, which would minimize the area of glass. Window hardware from Mayer & Co Beschläge GmbH (MACO) addresses all these issues. MACO develops, produces and sells furniture and fittings for windows, balcony doors and window shutters as well as locks for house doors.
The company was founded 60 years ago by Lorenz Mayer in a factory that was just a little over 3,000 square feet. Today MACO employs 2,300 people. Its first products were fittings for furniture and hinges. The economic growth that followedWorldWar II helped the small company expand rapidly. Hinges that were originally manufactured under license were followed in 1968 by the first tilt-and-turn hinges developed by MACO itself. Since then, MACO has become one of the leading international companies in its sector. The first milestone on the road to globalization was Mayer’s entry into the German market in the mid-1970s. This was followed in the 1980s by the establishment of companies in Italy, England, Holland, Germany, Poland and Russia, among others.
Today MACO supplies joineries and large-scale industrial door and window producers in 35 countries from two factories in Austria, with two additional factories being planned. There are independent branches of the company in nine countries, and items supplied include rotary hinges, tilt-and-turn hinges, door locks, door handles, sliding door furniture, shutter and blind fittings, e-locking systems and lockable latches. Manufacturing 95 percent of the components used in its products in its own factories, MACO is the only producer of tilt-and-turn hinges and furniture that actually manufactures the die-cast, aluminum-cast and injected-molded elements in-house.
Customer requirements drive development
The development of MACO fittings and components takes place in the main factory in Salzburg.Development is driven by customer requirements and ongoing standardization, and also by the fact that the same problems are solved in different ways in different countries. Reducing costs naturally also plays a part in product development, but not in such a way that MACO competes directly with manufacturers from low-wage countries. This increases the pressure on product development because for MACO to secure its market position, it must do so through innovation.
MACO’s design department includes 30 product developers and 30 designers of production equipment. NX™ digital product development software and the Teamcenter® digital lifecycle management system – both from Siemens PLM Software – are used exclusively for design work. A small CAD/CAM IT group supports the 12 CAM workstations and 48 installations of NX and Teamcenter.
The company’s history with 3D design dates back to 1996. In 2001 the company undertook a total conversion to NX, which took a year to complete. Today the company also uses NX for mold design and CAM. To further increase flexibility, MACO creates its own custom programs using NX graphics interactive programming (GRIP) language, and has been significantly investing in NX Knowledge Fusion programming.
Parametric modeling and application programming, along with working guidelines from the system support team, ensure that individual users make good use of NX and Teamcenter. “In 3D design, there are generally several paths that lead to the same goal,” says Schumacher. “We get maximum efficiency out of the tools by standardizing the methods internally.” For example, the company has standardized the 14 different closing parts that can be required for each window. Deviating forms are designed and implemented as inserts and modular elements.
MACO makes use of two types of rapid prototyping. Since 1999, it has used a stereolithography machine to provide a reliable means of verifying designs. In 2006 the company added a 3D printer that acts as an output device for NX, translating design data into solid objects.
Efficiency boost through Teamcenter
A decisive improvement in efficiency took place in 2003 when document management was transferred to Teamcenter. “From today’s standpoint, we should have made this move sooner,” admits Harald Schumacher, MACO’s head of system support, CAD/CAM. “Obviously, we had to invest a certain amount of work to enter existing documentation completely into Teamcenter. However, the advantages we have gained from company-wide data integrity have more than compensated us for our efforts.”
Production also benefits fromTeamcenter via a simplified web interface for visualization, and CGM files for printing. “In the future, production will be given more NX functionality, including 3D visualization and an improved search function,” says Schumacher. “The tool making area will also benefit from the complete integration of NC programming into Teamcenter. The effectiveness of our product development and our tool making activities confirms that we made the right choice when it came to the CAD/CAM system. Ultimately, we owe our significant process improvements to a powerful integrated solution that encourages designers instead of restricting them and excellent support from Siemens PLM Software.