The right partner helps you get ahead
At FU-KS Formenbau, KNARR guarantees quality and flexibility with its straightforward approach
by Richard Pergler
FU-KS Formenbau in Lemgo sets itself apart with its extensive customer portfolio – from OEMs from the automotive and home electronics sectors up to and including start-ups or dedicated inventors. This flexibility is owed to the company’s skilled, committed employees, high-performance machinery and partnered suppliers. When it comes to standard parts, the company always relies on quality from KNARR.
At FU-KS Formenbau in Lemgo, injection moulds are primarily manufactured for technical applications, but also for the sectors of automotive, advertising, aerospace, the furniture and computer industries as well as many more. The injection moulds built here offer dimensions of up to 1000 x 800 mm.
“In this respect, the selection of prototype and pre-production aluminium tools ranges from unscrewing moulds, elastomer and duroplast tools up to and including complex, multi-component tools with a multitude of different designs”, explains Wilhelm Fedorow, who serves as one of the company’s managing directors alongside Stephan Lück and Klaus Siekmann . “For us, quality is paramount – at the same time, we are very flexible and fast.”
A wide range of different materials is processed. The majority of which are classic tool steels, but also copper, bronze, hard materials or graphite are machined here. The relatively young team at FU-KS Formenbau is highly motivated and always open to new experiences.
Mould makers use ultra-high-performance machinery – when milling, the company now prefers to rely on Hermle machines while the latest EDM comes from OPS Ingersoll. And in-house programming means that the mould makers are very flexible when it comes to accommodating the requirements and needs of their customers.
The machining experts at FU-KS Formenbau are known not only in the sector itself: In addition to mould making customers from a wide range of sectors, customers often include founders, start-ups and numerous inventors, but also private persons with a wide variety of needs. The range spans from repairing an item of everyday use up to and including professional projects.
“I think it’s great that there are people who handle things like that”, explains Fedorow.
Wilhelm Fedorow, managing director at FU-KS Formenbau in Lemgo:
“There is good reason why we order our standard parts from KNARR in Helmbrechts. There are many more reasons than just the high quality of the products. It is a genuine partnership that we experience on a daily basis.”
“Universities also often come to us – their needs may, for example, involve highly specialised parts for racing vehicles or for research projects. We support all our customers equally with our expertise.”
This openness on equal footing pays off: “Often even the smallest projects with private customers can provide new ideas and experience, which helps us to progress further in our daily business”, explains Fedorow regarding the policy of the toolmakers. “Even if it is just an exotic material one learns more about. We have a very young and highly motivated team that enjoys taking on new challenges.”
Reliable partners who are capable of delivery in a rapid and straightforward manner are the precondition to enable the mould makers to provide the flexibility needed for small and large projects. To an increasing degree, Fedorow’s team relies on standard parts from the manufacturer KNARR, based in Helmbrechts, Bavaria/ Germany.
“KNARR has continued to develop its range in recent years”, explains Fedorow. “In the past, the specialist for standard parts was known first and foremost for its ejector pins. Now I get everything there I need to build an injection mould. This also applies to our more complex projects such as multi-component tools.”
About 13 years ago, the first part the Lemgo toolmaker ordered from KNARR was a stepless ejector sleeve, which is still part of its product portfolio. Now, nearly the entire range of their products is ordered from KNARR – from ejector pins up to and including guiding elements and plate material.
As an alternative to 1.2311/1.2312, KNARR plates are now often made of Toolox 33. Occasionally, FU-KS also relies on the quenched and tempered material Toolox 44. “Mould makers are sometimes of the opinion that this Swedish engineering and tool steel is much more difficult to process than the conventional standard tool steels 1.2311 or 1.2312”, explains Fedorow. “That’s not the way we see it – we started off working with Toolox 44 on a trial basis and were very sceptical at first given that it is a tempered material. But we were very pleasantly surprised to discover its good processing properties. We now work first and foremost with Toolox 33, as is offers very good machinability and is a better alternative to other conventional tool steels.”
When it comes to processing the material, the right drilling tool is decisive – which they found quickly with their tool supplier partner Gühring. “Now, we have virtually no problems when processing”, explains the managing director. “We have a very good handle on the material. As with every new material, one must address its unique properties. Then everything will go smoothly. Toolox is a material that we enjoy working with and we intend to use it to an increasing degree in the long term.”
As the material is already given three to five weeks’ time in the steel mill to – during the annealing process – relieve any tension that may be present from casting and rolling, there are no unpleasant surprises from distortion when processing it.
Generally, milling goes very smoothly. “Particularly with 1.2312, there is occasionally still tension in the material – as it has destroyed the odd miller cutter of ours”, mentions Fedorow. “We don’t have this problem with Toolox.”
The quenched and tempered steel Toolox 44 is in turn perfectly suited for all tool parts subject to substantial wear. Its properties ensure reliable, low-maintenance and long-lasting tools. And when repairs are necessary, using the pre-hardened Swedish steel saves precious time.
The specialists at FU-KS Formenbau use it regularly to the benefit of their customers: “When it’s crunch time, we can respond very quickly with Toolox 44”, stresses Fedorow. “Thanks to our philosophy, the high level of flexibility of our employees and our high-performance machinery, we have also made a name for ourselves when it comes to getting repairs done fast. And for all other tasks that don’t require tempered steel, for me, Toolox 33 is clearly the better alternative to conventional tool steels.”
Plates made of Toolox are very workshop-friendly. They have already been annealed at the steel mill for three to five weeks to relieve stress, which prevents unpleasant surprises resulting from distortion.
KNARR supplies plates made of Toolox 33 and Toolox 44. With the right drill from precision tool manufacturer Gühring, the holes in this material can be drilled in a very uncomplicated and process-reliable manner. By the way: In addition to Toolox 33 and Toolox 44, KNARR also has other conventional materials in its portfolio. As an extended workbench, the standard component specialist also offers plate machining as part of its service portfolio.
Meanwhile, even inserts are milled at FU-KS Formenbau in Toolox 44. The pre-tempered material offers significant time savings, which is why it is a go-to solution when timing is key.
In addition to the high quality and high stock availability of the standard parts, practitioners appreciate their partner’s swift, straightforward approach to handling orders. “Now, we often just sent the parts list from the design department to our contact person at KNARR”, explains Fedorow. “She takes care of compiling the right components together for the mould. If something is not plausible, she double-checks with us. We’re pleased to know that the counterparts at our standard parts partner have a firm grasp of the process and always keep an eye out to ensure that everything fits.”
This saves time and helps prevent mistakes from happening. An advantage that shouldn’t be underestimated – especially in today’s day and age where deadlines in mould making are generally very tight. Working with KNARR means that the parcel from Helmbrechts contains all the right items for sure.
“What’s more, at KNARR everything is taken care of very quickly – without delay”, explains Fedorow. “Everything is right there. Generally, just one call is enough. So I don’t have to keep searching or asking around until I get the right expert. After all, in everyday business, I often don’t have time for that. The contact persons at KNARR know exactly what we tool and mould makers need. And that most of the time we need it asap. Basically right now.”
KNARR’s pricing is also very highly rated. “It is very transparent”, explains Fedorow. “Despite rising commodity prices, KNARR has refrained from increasing its prices during the Corona crisis. They have shown great solidarity towards us mould makers as we are always under price pressure. And we appreciate transparent pricing – we don’t have time to negotiate prices with external field staff.”
With KNARR, the mould makers in Lemgo are very satisfied. They have continually increased the share of standard parts they purchase from Helmbrechts over the years and more new products are added time and again.
“As a tool and mould maker, one should not rely on a single customer”, emphasises Fedorow. “The same applies to suppliers as well. However, KNARR is a very strong, reliable supplier and partner. It’s no secret that we very much enjoy ordering our standard parts from Helmbrechts. There are also many more reasons than the high quality of the products. It is a genuine partnership that we experience on a daily basis.”
FU-KS Formenbau is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. KNARR field sales manager Leo Blank (on the right), contact person for the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region, also hands over a stepless ejector sleeve to FU-KS managing director Klaus Siekmann as a present in recognition of their long-standing, personal working relationship – the first part the mould makers ordered from KNARR.
The toolmakers at FU-KS Formenbau in Lemgo rely on the high quality of the products of their standard component partner KNARR. Here, the anti-twist lock ejectors from the standard component supplier’s portfolio are used.
High-quality moulds for complex technical parts in a wide range of materials is another speciality of the Lemgo mould makers. Customers in this area come from a multitude of sectors.
FU-KS Formenbau offers a broad range of injection moulds for a big variety of different thermoplast and duroplast parts. The mould makers are also highly familiar with the different designs in multi-component engineering.
FU-KS FORMENBAU GMBH & CO. KG
The name of the mould making company is made up of the initials of its founders, of whom only Klaus Siekmann (KS) is still at the company as one of the managing directors in addition to Wilhelm Fedorow and Stephan Lück. FU-KS Formenbau is located in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region and is also a dynamic, highly capable company not only when it comes to tool and mould making. Mainly injection moulds are manufactured including prototype and pre-production tools made of aluminium and steel as well as sophisticated large series moulds in multi-component engineering. With its young, dynamic team, high-performance machinery and in-house design department, the tool makers are able to accommodate the wishes of their customers in a highly flexible manner.
TOOLOX 33 and TOOLOX 44
The Toolox steels from the Swedish manufacturer SSAB in KNARR’s portfolio set themselves apart, among other things, with low residual stress. The steels are annealed for three to five weeks at high tempering temperatures so that they already have time to relieve residual stress at the steel mill. As a result, there is hardly any distortion at Toolox despite extensive processing. Toolox also corresponds to high-quality ESR steel. The steel is also extremely pure and virtually segregation free. According to the SSAB, it is easy to texture, polish and a very good choice for EDM. Also with thermal cutting and welding, SSAB promises highly workshop-friendly properties due to Toolox’s low alloy content.
Point of view:
KNARR: a partner who understands the process
Standard parts manufacturer KNARR has grown considerably in recent years. At the same time, the company always ensures that is consistently aligned with the needs of tool and mould makers. This includes of course the high quality of the components, rapid availability and good value for money. Furthermore, in Helmbrechts one has also recognised that companies, in addition to the ability to order via the online portal, also appreciate fast, straightforward access to the experts of the standard component supplier – this ensures deliveries are fast and accurate. Of course, all of this isn’t possible without the right employees who can draw on their extensive experience and who have a firm grasp of the standard component portfolio not to mention the challenges faced by tool and mould makers. And those in charge at KNARR are investing in these very experts. A service that today is anything but a given.