We were able to build two machines this year for our customer Bionic Composite Technologies AG (short: BIONTEC) from St. Gallen, which produce high performance parts based on bionic fiber layers.
It is an exciting technology we wanted to learn more about in an interview with Elmar Biller, CEO, and Michael Bachmann of Equipment Engineering:
We were able to build two machines of the RTM-900 type. What exactly do you produce with it?
We use the equipment to produce high-performance fiber composite components for a wide range of applications. We are using bionic fiber depositions– mostly carbon fibers – allowing us to produce particularly lightweight and dimensionally stable components.
The parts can vary between a few centimeters and almost one meter in size. They can be reproduced at will.
Where are the produced parts used?
Wherever specific material advantages, such as high stiffness combined with low weight, are required. The possible applications are very diverse, among others, in mechanical engineering, medical and measurement technology, aerospace technology and sports equipment field.
How did you proceed with the development of the machines and what were the difficulties?
During the last 10 years we have developed the machines according to our special needs, as there is no solution on the market that meets our very high requirements. The gradual increase in the degree of automation and the possibility of successive expansion with regard to our technology were important to us in terms of the new machines. In addition, security and strict compliance with legal requirements are playing an increasingly important role. Bringing all aspects together was a great challenge.
Both machines were built by Spühl in Wittenbach. Which requirements were the most important for you when choosing your partner?
As a small medium-sized company, we have to focus on our engineering and process design skills and also use our scarce resources in a targeted manner. That is why we started about 5 years ago to look for a suitable external partner who, on the one hand, could manufacture the majority of the components and, above all, who could master the assembly of the machines and carry it out promptly. A common understanding of quality, mutual trust and the technical interfaces (e.g. CAD) were also of great importance and paramount.
With Spühl we now have a supplier for almost everything. We have also been working with Spühl in the area of contract manufacturing for several years now, where we have always had good experience. We are very satisfied with the very close and always expeditious collaboration.
Was it an advantage to work together with a machine manufacturer from the same region?
Definitely - the language makes many things easier and the close personal contact helps enormously in solving problems. Thanks to the very short distances, we can and could usually meet directly on site at very short notice to discuss and solve the problems that arise.
How would you describe the collaboration with Spühl?
The relation with Silvan Mesmer and Norman Eigenmann from the Spühl Production Services division is qualified and straightforward. If something unplanned happens, we seek solutions right away and communicate them to each other openly.
on the right: Michael Bachmann, Equipment Engineer, Bionic Composite Technologies AG
on the left: Silvan Mesmer, Manager SPS, Spühl GmbH