KOHLHAGE hat auf der IZB 2018 in Wolfsburg ausgestellt

Positive trade fair appearance at the IZB

Yesterday the IZB, the international supplier exchange in Wolfsburg, came to an end. KOHLHAGE has exhibited there and draws a positive conclusion. “Of course we know what to expect every two years at the IZB,” says Marc Schreiber, Managing Director of KOHLHAGE Fasteners. He is referring on the one hand to the unusual nature of the fair and on the other hand to the quality of the trade visitors. “The IZB is indeed “extraordinary” because there is actually no exhibition centre in Wolfsburg. Instead, every two years a mobile trade fair is organised in the Allerpark, a large green area in the middle of the city. With large tents as exhibition halls.

But the IZB is also unusual because it takes place within sight of the VW plant. Many employees, developers, designers and buyers take the opportunity to talk to suppliers or get to know new ones. “The quality of the contacts at the fair is surprisingly good. We already received direct enquiries on the first day of the fair, for which we have already submitted offers,” Schreiber is pleased to report.

Sven Wohlgemuth, Project Manager at KOHLHAGE Automotive, agrees. “There weren’t that many contacts,” he says, “but very high-value. This enabled us to significantly expand our network within the VW Group. However, and this surprised us a little, the topic of “electric mobility” was not as present as we thought it would be,” says Wohlgemuth. “The customers who visited us were more interested in classic KOHLHAGE Automotive products such as exhaust gas flaps, welded assemblies or media-carrying pipes.

The two are also sure of one thing: “In two years’ time, when the next IZB takes place, we will be there again and exhibit.

High-bay warehouse

Anyone who is currently on the road in the Hönnestraße industrial estate in the Küntrop district of Neuenrad can see them: Excavators, bulldozers, construction workers. The reason? KOHLHAGE builds on a grand scale. There are still larger earthworks to be carried out. But the further timetable stands and is ambitious: Construction of the building began in week 37 and the new high-bay warehouse is scheduled for completion in April 2019.

“Why do we build? We are in a good position to have received a major order from the e-mobility sector in the KOHLHAGE Automotive division. At the same time, the KOHLHAGE Fasteners division continues to grow,” say managing directors Marc Schreiber and Sven Lehecka. “The previously available storage, logistics and production space had therefore become considerably too small. Hence enlargement.”

The decision to build a new high-bay warehouse has already had far-reaching consequences for the company. Already months ago, the previous warehouse of KOHLHAGE Fasteners including the employees working there was completely relocated to Werdohl. Now, where KOHLHAGE products used to be stored, a new production area of approx. 1600 m2 is being created. “This is a feat of strength for us. That is why we are proud to have met all the deadlines so far. But that only worked because the entire team went along with it,” said Schreiber and Lehecka. An area of 2,500 m², 8400 pallet spaces, modern packing and packing stations – the 15 employees from the logistics department are already looking forward to returning to completely new workplaces next spring. “Until then, we have to make do with our outsourced logistics,” they say, adding, “But when we’re done, we’ll be even more efficient.”

Successful at the AEE

“The AEE is the only platform that provides the necessary technical depth for car body construction along the process chain – and this trade fair concept is a success. is the message of NürnbergMesse and Vincentz Netzwork, responsible for the Automotive Engineering Expo, which took place at the end of May in Nuremberg. The figures of the two organizers confirm the upward trend. 20% more exhibitors (2017: 97) and trade visitors (2017: 1,202). A development that can be seen.

The event is still young. It has taken place three times so far, the trade fair at which automotive suppliers and manufacturers can exchange information on products, developments and trends in the field of “body construction”. KOHLHAGE Fastenerswas there for the first time this year. “The automotive industry is very interesting for us. Because we have the know-how and the products to play our part in this demanding market environment,” says Marc Schreiber, Managing Director of KOHLHAGE Fasteners. “There are not so many opportunities in this industry to meet all relevant people simultaneously in one place, no matter whether they are existing customers or project developers for tomorrow’s customers. At the AEE we had almost every OEM operating in Europe at our stand during the two days of the fair. It was worth it. In addition to good conversations, we also took concrete inquiries with us. What more could you ask for when you visit a trade fair as an exhibitor?” That is why the conclusion Schreiber drew after this year’s trade fair appearance is clear: KOHLHAGE Fastener will again be exhibiting at the Automotive Engineering Expo in 2019.

CarboLase

The demand for fiber composite components is constantly increasing due to the growing importance of energy and resource efficiency and the simultaneous demand for increasing component performance. For manufacturing technology, this means that above all process chains have to be simplified and costs reduced despite a large variety of geometries in order to achieve a sustainable penetration of the application with fibre composite components. Fibre composite components can be produced on the basis of near-net-shape textile preforms. Currently, automated production of preforms is only economical for large quantities. Medium and small batch sizes are therefore often characterised by a high proportion of manual work steps.

The main objective and core innovation of the CarboLase project is the combination of productive 2D CNC cutting, high-precision laser material processing of textile preforms using ultra-short pulsed (UKP) laser radiation and fully automatic handling of individual preforms with integration of metallic inserts. Precisely fitting recesses are made in preforms by laser and functional elements are automatically integrated. The technologies will be integrated into a robotic cell that will create a highly flexible, hybrid production system using flexible software/hardware interfaces and sensors in the production process. The process cell thus permits just-in-time production for FVK components, independent of component geometry and batch size.

Industry and research work closely together in this project. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is working together with Amphos GmbH on laser technology tasks in the project context. As a system integrator, LUNOVU GmbH accompanies the networking of individual process steps and implements the integration of sensors into the robotic cell at the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University ITA. The KOHLHAGE Fasteners GmbH & Co. KG develops the automated provision and integration of force introduction elements. The ITA takes over the implementation of the automated process chain for the production of the laser-machined preforms in close cooperation with all project partners.

This project is funded by the European Union and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.