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One of the best toolmakers in the German-speaking region

Kalsdorf / Leinfelden-Echterdingen - The Laboratory for Machine Tools at RWTH Aachen and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology have been presenting the best tool, die and mould making companies in the German-speaking region for 17 years now. Among them is Roto Frank Austria GmbH, which was ranked in the top 10 of this year’s competition and is in the top 3 in the “Internal toolmaking with fewer than 50 employees” category. The judges examined the technological performance and organisational aspects throughout the entire order processing stage especially thoroughly. A total of 203 companies took part in the competition. The ten finalists were presented and celebrated as part of a digital event on 18th November. 

Independent benchmark study

Before participating in the competition, Roto carried out extensive data logging and analysis within the company with regard to process strengths and potential, as well as possible areas of action for high-performance toolmaking at the Kalsdorf production site. The topics evaluated included process planning and management, as well as a reduction in the lead time and manufacturing costs for the tools. The data was compared with data from the current best toolmaking companies in Europe and Asia. 

Investment in a fully automated machining centre for producing individual tool components and other measures for digitalised process data logging were among the results of this benchmark study to be implemented in a short space of time. These efforts combined led to Roto Frank Austria GmbH taking part in this year’s competition.

Kalsdorf Managing Director Christian Lazarevic describes the business purpose as follows: “Needless to say, like the other 14 factories in our group, we also carry out final assembly of many components from the window and door technology range at our site.” In addition to the in-house toolmaking and installation, the equipment at the Austrian site also includes technologies such as punching, galvanising, powder coating, zinc die-casting and PVC injection moulding. This is supplemented by prefabrication and custom production for individual parts, warehouses for semi-finished products and finished goods, as well as dispatch. Around 80% of global FTT door lock deliveries come from the production facilities at Kalsdorf – the factory with the greatest vertical integration in the architectural hardware specialist’s production network. Thanks to this “end-to-end capacity” and efficient processes, it is possible to produce both small-scale and large-scale series depending on requirements.

Reliable hardware quality

Lazarevic also mentions another “crucial aspect” in providing benefits for customers: “With our toolmakers, in-house die and mould making facilities, and our state-of-the-art systems technology, we are also able to produce prototypes in a short space of time and therefore respond to new product requirements directly.” The success achieved in the “Toolmaker of the year 2020” competition is also partly attributed to this “DNA of the production process.” As an important element in enabling production, the internal Toolmaking department with over 30 members of staff also produces the required die casting and injection moulding tools for the Roto Fenster- und Türtechnologie’s entire production network. The Managing Director summarises the impact for customers around the world as follows: “Ultra-precise tools in an efficient production process 4.0 reliably result in the best hardware quality.” This should and will remain the same, even as customer requirements continue to increase.

Well placed for the future

The around 370 members of staff currently at the Kalsdorf site include 38 commercial trainees. In 2018, the company launched a “unique training initiative” with a focus on dual training schemes. Through this option to combine various vocational training programmes, Roto can optimally bring together a wide range of different qualifications, such as toolmaking and casting technology, in its value chain. In this way, the “leading company from Styria” is ensuring “maximum flexibility in the product manufacturing process” on the one hand while providing many different career opportunities to its trainees on the other hand. The systematic promotion of junior employees is also an expression of the high quality standards within the company while being a “fundamental requirement” for meeting customers’ quality standards.

Spanning a total factory area of 111,500 square metres, the Kalsdorf product range includes mechanical and electronic multipoint locking systems for front doors, main door hinges for various application ranges, window shutter comfort hardware, hardware for Tilt&Turn, Turn-Only and Tilt-Only windows, electronic accessories for windows and doors, zinc and PVC components, and punched parts. These are mainly supplied to other companies within Roto Fenster- und Türtechnologie. The company’s customer base also includes customers from other industries.