“I was very lucky,” says a grateful Wolfgang Weil when asked about the early days of weil engineering. Working as the head of research and development in a Swiss company, he had the opportunity of getting to know laser technology, which was in its infancy 30 years ago.
Three things were absolutely clear for the mechanical engineer right from the word go: He did not want to position himself as a direct competitor to his former employer. Nevertheless, the business idea was to build on his long years of know-how related to the roll forming and welding of sheets. And finally, the laser was to play a key role as a tool. Yet first of all, the important thing was to bridge the gap until the first laser welding machine produced by his company was ready for market launch. Wolfgang Weil was very familiar with the tin can industry market and their call for quality assurance machines. For this reason, he founded his company – weil engineering – as a manufacturer of quality assurance equipment for the tin can industry, at the same time continuing to push development of the technology for which the company is renowned today: (laser) welding machines plus peripherals for short tube production.
Constant growth can only succeed if you remain inquisitive and keep your ear to the ground in terms of market requirements. This is precisely the philosophy of Wolfgang Weil – taking a good look at clients, listening closely to what makes them tick, picking up on this information and supplementing it by own ideas, resulting in products that customers need. Using this procedure, completely new machines are developed. For this reason, Wolfgang Weil sees cooperation with his customers as give and take: both partners rise to the new challenge and both come out winners at the end of the day.
Weil does not deny that there was luck involved at the very beginning. Supplying a machine that cleanly welds the butt joint of the stainless steel sheets formed into tubes using a laser: this idea came at just the right time for the heating and air conditioning industry. Following the reunification of Germany, manufacturers of chimney pipes faced the task of being able to supply a low-cost and quickly implemented refurbishment solution for numerous dilapidated chimneys in the new federal states. The idea of inserting a stainless steel tube into the chimney was like the “Egg of Columbus”. And when the first laser welding machine launched by the southern Baden-based company in 1992 made the production of such tubes much easier, it aroused great interest in the industry.
In retrospect, the entrepreneur has another reason for believing that developing such a machine for chimney pipes first was precisely the right step to take. It gave him and his workforce, which was growing slowly but surely, the opportunity to put the relative new welding unit thoroughly through its paces, learning a lot along the way and better exploiting the achievement potential of the laser for thin stainless steel tubes in particular. Ultimately, the quality of the weldseams on chimney pipes does not have to meet the high demands made on weldseams by other industries (such as the automotive industry). Nevertheless, chimney pipe manufacturers were impressed. It allowed them to produce pipe after pipe with clean seams from start to finish within a very short time. Time-consuming rework became a thing of the past. No wonder that laser welding machines have become the standard for this industry segment.
It is quite simply amazing to see the range of products made using machines for short tube production. Alongside chimney pipes with different diameters, they are used in the automotive industry for components for exhaust gas technology (such as catalytic converters or exhaust gas inner tubes), airbag parts and gearbox components, and for double-wall tubes, bellows, pressure containers, water reservoirs or fittings for a range of other industries. Not forgetting dishwasher housings, washing machine and dryer drums, which can all – strictly speaking – be described as short or large tubes.
The more recent machine generation is made up of laser cells in which sheet metal assemblies are assembled and welded. Off-the-press parts and individual parts cut to size by laser within the machine are brought together, mounted and then welded by laser. The transport times no longer needed thanks to the integration of working cycles, higher component quality and process precision as well as cost savings are solid arguments for Weil clients.
No-one knows what the long-term future will bring, however. Wolfgang Weil does not wish to plan more than five years ahead. But he is sure that there are many more niches worldwide which need flexible and fast production lines (with laser) for the production of tubes (in the broadest sense). 30 years ago he could never have imagined how many different areas of application exist for tubes – and in time, no doubt he will discover a few more.
(Text by Claudia Treffert, Karlfried Kunz)
Stuttgart, 2018-06-05 - Mr. Michael Kleiner, Head of the Baden Württemberg Department of Economics, Labour and Housing, paid the weil technology LASYS 2018 trade fair stand a visit on June 5th. One of the important topics of conversation with Mr. Wolfgang Weil, Managing Director of weil engineering gmbh, was the skills shortage in the technology sector. Mr. Weil presented his visitor with a puzzle set, made out of laser-cut metal segments and depicting a rotating globe, which illustrates how components can be substituted to achieve cost and resource savings.
Müllheim, 2018-04-12 - weil technology has expanded its range of flexible, automated tube production machines up to comprehensive turnkey solutions for HVAC applications through the newly established cooperation with novatech engineering. This means that our customers have access to the proven quality of the weil technology tube manufacturing equipment combined with pre- and post-welding process steps (CTL, laser tube cutting, manufacturing of single and double-wall Tee pieces, elbows, necking, tube end forming, isolation of double-wall tubes).
This cooperation rounds off the tube and tube components program and supports the motto “one stop shop” for our customers needs.
“With novatec engineering as a cooperation partner, we are able to respond to the market requirements for shorter delivery times and system solutions from one single source”, explains Wolfgang Weil, CEO of weil technology.
weil technology is a weil engineering gmbh brand and incorporates different enterprises, which are market and technology leaders in the field of sheet metal processing. Machines and systems for innovative forming, cutting and joining techniques have been designed and manufactured for the global market within the group since 1987.
Each company within weil technology focuses on its core competency and together we are able to offer our clients a large pallet of customized system solutions.
Our focus is on flexible, rational and efficient production while making use of innovative roll-forming, stamping, laser welding and laser cutting technologies.
Shape. Join. Look ahead.
Specialist media “MM MaschinenMarkt” and “blechnet” award innovations at the trade fair for metalworking
The leading branch magazines “MM MaschinenMarkt” and “blechnet” presented six awards to different categories for the third time for outstanding innovations in the industry at the “Blechexpo 2017” metalworking trade fair on 07.11.2017.
Numerous exhibitors had submitted their developments as entries for the innovation prize “Blechexpo 2017 Award”. The preconditions: The innovation had to be based on a completely new development or an advanced development or improvement which is quite distinct from the current status of the respective technology. The jury, comprising six specialist editors from “MM MaschinenMarkt” and “blechnet”, evaluated entries according to their degree of innovation as well as their benefits for users, the environment and society. 18 companies were placed on the shortlist, from which the jury selected ten category winners. In addition, two “special prizes” were awarded.
The winners of the innovation prize “Blechexpo Award”:
Category “Handling technology/robotics”: AVAC Vakuumteknik AB
Multi-circle ejector AMS
Category “Process control and quality assurance”: Raziol Zibulla & Sohn GmbH in cooperation with the Fraunhofer-Institut für Physikalische Messtechnik IPM
F-scanner for imaging oil-cöating measurement
Category “Thermal/Mechanical cutting technologies”: ANT Applied New Technologies AG
Abrasive agent mixing unit ConSus
Category “Cold/warm forming technologies” :Bystronic AG
Mobile bending unit “Mobile Bending Cell”
Category “Multi-functional metalworking technology”:TRUMPF Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH + Co. KG
Offline programming TecZone Bend
Category “Joining and fastening technology”: weil engineering gmbh
Flexible Laser Cell FLC 1002 – CutFusion
The metalworking trade fair Blechexpo is organized in a two-year cycle by P.E. Schall GmbH & Co.KG at Stuttgart exhibition center. It showcases the whole process chain of cold-forming metalworking and the thermal or mechanical cutting, joining and fastening technology related to this. The branch magazines “MM MaschinenMarkt” and “blechnet” accompany the exhibition as official partners with comprehensive reporting in the print magazine, online at maschinenmarkt.de and blechnet.de as well as live from the trade fair with their official “Trade Fair Daily”.