New Perspectives for Steelmaster Metal Finishing and Deburring Machines, now part of the LISSMAC family
LISSMAC CEO Klaus Kiefer and VP of Sales and Marketing Rolf Angerer answer questions regarding the acquisition of Steelmaster
Interview: Peter Springfield
Homag Group is in the process of joining their subsidiary Buetfering Schleiftechnik GmbH with another one of their affiliates, Weeke Bohrsysteme GmbH. In addition to wood grinding machines, the plant in Beckum also produces metal finishing machines under the Steelmaster name. LISSMAC Maschinenbau GmbH, located in Bad Wurzach, has now assumed ownership of the metal finishing segment.
Mr. Kiefer, what are the benfits to your customers arising from the Steelmaster metal finishing & deburring machines acquisition?
LISSMAC Maschinenbau GmbH has four business divisions, offering machines and automation for various target audiences. Those business divisions are CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY, our line of construction machinery, then there is METAL PROCESSING, our line of steel brushing, deburring, edge rounding and deslagging machines, which we have developed from scratch and continue to produce in house. MT-HANDLING is our division for material handling and manipulators, which achieve considerable improvements with regards to rationalization in automotive applications as well as many other industry sectors. Our activities and competencies in the areas of automated plant systems and specialized custom machinery are concentrated in the division of PLANT ENGINEERING. The Steelmaster metal finishing & deburring machines will complement and expand our METAL PROCESSING division. Our steel brushing, deburring, edge rounding and deslagging machines work exclusively in dry operation, with the well known benefits of processing both sides of sheet metal parts in just one single pass, but with some technological limitations. With the Steelmaster machine we can close that gap by offering a wet grinding process. Customers who have been accustomed to the wet grinding process can rest assured that the Steelmaster metal finishing & deburring machines will continue to be available in the same high quality. To underline that fact we are decidedly keeping the brand name Steelmaster.
Mr. Angerer, how will the acquisition of Steelmaster by LISSMAC affect the regions of Beckum and Bad Wurzach?
LISSMAC is preserving 17 jobs in Beckum in the production area of the Steelmaster metal finishing & deburring machines. LISSMAC is taking over the entire line of Steelmaster machines and will also create many additional employment opportunities in Beckum. We are looking to set up a service center in Beckum which will cover the Northern German area as well as the adjacent Benelux countries. We will have a showroom presenting not only the Steelmaster machines, but also the entire line of LISSMAC machines, including our construction machinery. All machinery will be ready for operation and our customers will have the opportunity to test our machines on site. They can bring their own sample parts, run them through our machines and see the quality results first hand. We have placed quite a few machines in Northern Germany and the Benelux countries, and having this site in Beckum will give us the flexibility of being able to provide timely and convenient service. The expansion of our product pallet to include wet grinding technology and our extended involvement in Beckum will give us an additional edge which we expect to generate an increase in production. As a consequence of our positive sales results we are already in the midst of an expansion of our production space in Bad Wurzach. This means that LISSMAC can offer, in Beckum as well as in Bad Wurzach, attractive employment opportunities with a promising future of continuing growth.
Will this merger bring along the clashing of two differing corporate cultures?
The Steelmaster metal finishing & deburring machines, as well as the LISSMAC product line offer premium products in all areas. Experience shows that sophisticated, innovative quality products can only be conceived in a climate of positive team work, where each individual can contribute their ideas, where innovation is encouraged, but also where a run into a possible one way street is stopped before it’s too late. LISSMAC has always had the courage and financial strength to develop new products. When we acquired the company MT we used our commitment and knowledge to continue with the development of their products and made them a market leader in the automobile and many other manufacturing industries. Out of the needs of our own production line we have developed the metal processing machines that have become a worldwide success story. All of this was possible, because our owners were always willing to invest in the future. Our company has always, in good and bad times, had the financial strength to recognize and implement good ideas. Stimulation of creativity as well as promotion of teamwork have always been important to us, whether in the technical, commercial or sales fields. By taking on production of the Steelmaster machines we are decidedly staying within the sheet metal processing field, where we are further expanding our existing competences, so we can offer positive future perspectives for our employees and customers.
Is the LISSMAC know-how in the areas of material handling, conveyor and automation technology, as well their experience in devising and building complete processing lines also applicable to the new LISSMAC product Steelmaster Metal Finishing & Deburring Machines?
With the collaboration of our business units METAL PROCESSING, MT-HANDLING and PLANT ENGINEERING, LISSMAC is capable of automating all aspects of parts processing, from edge treatment of cut sheet metal parts to having them picked up from the respective cutting machine, to getting them palletized - all precisely according to customer requirements. All involved conveying, manipulating and automation technology can also be used with a wet grinding process as applied by the Steelmaster Metal Finishing & Deburring Machines. Furthermore, a combination of our LISSMAC Sheet Metal Processing and Steelmaster Metal Finishing & Deburring Machines is not only conceivable, but very much so practically implementable. With the Steelmaster Metal Finishing & Deburring Machines we can achieve a defined surface grain on a variety of metal sheet and plates. We can realize smooth, glossy or matte finishes, as well as structured surfaces with patterned polishes, according to each customer’s wishes. Most often though, the edges of the parts will need to be processed before any kind of surface graining is applied. In this respect the two technologies are perfectly compatible and work well with each other. The customer benefits from getting all the hard ware, automation technology, as well as maintenance, service, and repair from the same source.
Processing of sheet metal surfaces applies a completely different technology than processing of the edges of metal sheets. Does this result in new perspectives for your customers?
LISSMAC’s unique machine concept is based on processing both sides of sheet metal parts in just one single pass. This is achieved exclusively with a dry operation process. Our focus is on a clean surface, with perfectly deburred and rounded edges. The Steelmaster machine on the other hand applies a defined surface grain, used for example as a decorative element in highly visible components of products, and focuses on a wet grinding technology. This wet grinding technology reduces heating up of the parts during processing. This helps to reduce deformation of heat sensitive parts like long thin metal sheets or composite materials. Both machine types can process parts made of steel, stainless steel, copper, brass and aluminum. The Steelmaster technology helps us substantially to diversify our established product line and gives us the opportunity to offer solutions for an increased variety of applications.
LISSMAC has managed to achieve stellar sales results in a very short period of time. Is is safe to assume that the Steelmaster Metal Finishing and Deburring line of machines will also profit from LISSMAC’s sales know-how?
In 2004 we sold our first two machines for oxide removal. Since then we have continued to develop and refine our sheet metal processing machines, creating a full line which now encompasses models not only for oxide removal, but also for edge rounding, deburring, and deslagging. We have been very successful at positioning our machines in the market. The Steelmaster products certainly stand to benefit from this sales know-how as well.