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Fischer Stanz- und Umformtechnik: Successful production with ProcessMonitoring

„Flexibility is one of our most important competitive advantages.“

The competitive pressure in the international automotive industry is intense. Companies in the so-called commodity industry are particularly exposed to this pressure. Especially, when parts can be manufactured at other locations around the world to the same quality standards. Despite these rising demands, small companies are capable of standing up to the competition from their locations in Germany. Just as the Fischer Stanz- und Umformtechnik from Niederkrüchten. The 12-man strong operation has been relying successfully on regional partnerships and modern technology.

„If a customer needs new parts within 2 days, we are able to handle it.“ This is a clear promise from Ralf Fischer, entrepreneur from Niederkrüchten in the Viersen region (NRW/Germany). The 45-year-old has developed this into a common trait of his company for stamping and forming technology. The specialists from the region west of the lower Rhine River valley have a real home advantage when it comes to just-in-time deliveries to their German customers: „For us, logistics are no problem. If we had to first procure the part from Eastern Europe, for example, it would be practically impossible to make it work. And the increased transport costs would have to be considered, as well.“

Home advantage with just-in-time

Thus, the small mid-sized company with twelve employees and an annual volume of 1.5 million Euros are on the road to further growth. Perforated belts, stamped parts and circular blanks from Fischer are used in the construction and furniture industries, for example. In the meantime, however, the primary customers are part of the automotive industry. In this branch, Fischer’s components are used, among other applications, as oil dip sticks, car roof container latches or children's seat frames. „Top quality, absolute reliability on delivery and maximum flexibility are the basic prerequisites for this circle of customers“, says Ralf Fischer.

The price must be right

And the price must be right. As in the past, two-fisted calculations are standard in the automotive industry. This follows the example of the legendary chief procurement officer from General-Motors and later Volkswagen, José Ignacio López. He was referred to quite simply as merciless. This applies almost everywhere in 2006: Parts must get cheaper every year with the same or even higher quality. But Ralf Fischer was able to supply his customers with arguments, just as to why they should buy from him. And why the parts are priced as they are. Fischer remains relaxed. He has done his homework. „We have maintained a partnership for many years with a tool maker, representing a well-rehearsed and flexible team, able to offer logistic advantages with a production process under perfect control through ProcessMonitoring systems. This helps to keep the price down, as well. And that allows us to remain competitive in the marketplace.“

Companies in the commodity sector are under considerable pressure on a global level. After all: their products can be produced almost anywhere in the world at the same quality. Fischer Stanz- und Umformtechnik from Niederkrüchten has been able to produce and remain competitive from its location in Germany despite the competition.  For this, the company relies on ProcessMonitoring „Made in Erkrath“.

The team surrounding owner, Ralf Fischer, has been using the ProcessMonitoring technology from the first mover and world market leader, BRANKAMP, in the production process for two years already. The systems are an essential building block for its success. “Our error rate has gone down to almost zero and, in addition, our tools and presses are preserved", says Fischer. The ProcessMonitoring systems ensure a progressive in-process control.

“Our error rate has gone down to almost zero.“

Part quality and tool wear are acquisitioned in real-time. Errors are identified immediately so that the machine can be shutdown in a timely manner. Repair costs are minimized in this manner while service lives are increased. „That saves time and money. It allows us to produce in a cost-effective manner. We can then pass these advantages on to our customers.“ In discussions with their customers, Fischer is persuasive, above all, due to their know-how. As opposed to many large-scale operations, the chief executive from Fischer Stanz- und Umformtechnik himself knows, how the parts are manufactured. The 45-year-old is a trained machinist. He completed his high school education at night school, achieved his technician certificate and finally completed his education as technical branch specialist. He has command of the entire process - from the drawings to the finished part. „I learned the business from the bottom up. If something gets hung up, I can quickly jump in if need be to contribute to the solution. Our customers appreciate this.“

Continuing to grow

The Niederkrüchten-based company was founded in 1998 with only one eccentric press in a 350 square meter hall - and as a part-time job. At that time, Ralf Fischer was still in touch with an industrial company. He manufactured the first parts during special shifts after work. „Back then, the hall seemed so big. The machine seemed almost forlorn in there. Today, we have more than three times the space and further growth cannot be discounted.“ At the present time at Fischer Stanz- und Umformtechnik, there are seven different automatic stamping machines in various sizes and applications. Entry into the plastic processing market is currently being examined. „This would compliment our portfolio ideally“, Fischer is convinced. The positive development realized since founding the business has encouraged the entrepreneur. „Do you see the large hall next to here? Who knows? Perhaps the name Fischer Stanz- und Umformtechnik will be on it in a few years.“


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