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New roll forming technologies for highly flexible roller shutter manufacture

These days customers are increasingly less inclined toward mass produced products, instead they want products tailored to their wishes. Once they have decided to purchase, they do not want to wait a long time for the delivery of the products they require. If they are not satisfied, these customers are lost just as quickly as one thinks they may have been won. This statement also applies to roller shutter manufacture. Manufacturers who design their production to meet these demands will have an advantage in the competition for customers.

It is not always as easy to keep the related increasing costs under control. At R + T in Stuttgart, Dreistern is presenting a new manufacturing concept for roller shutter slats and roller shutter boxes that could provide assistance on this aspect. In both cases the concepts are highly flexible manufacturing solutions that permit the cost-effective manufacture of the smallest batch sizes due to very short setup times on a product change.

Up to now a product change could easily take two hours or even longer on machines for roller shutter slats. Many manufacturers do not therefore change tools at all, instead they produce different products on different machines. However the number product variant is then limited to the number machines available. This situation is often inadequate to be able to react flexibly to customer wishes. With a new system the effort for a complete product change can be reduced to a quarter (less than 30 minutes). The welcome aspect here is that, as a rule, old machines can also be upgraded with the new system.

This is not the only improvement related to the new roll forming system. Tools on modern roll forming machines for the manufacture of foam filled roller shutters have numerous adjustment features. The tool manufacturers utilise these features to perfectly trim a new tool to the highest quality. In day-to-day production only a few adjustment features are necessary, e.g. to compensate for occasional material fluctuations.

In the worst case the product quality may even be degraded if, for instance, a machine operator makes the wrong setting due to a lack of specialist knowledge. This situation is now to be a thing of the past. The new generation of Dreistern tools only have those adjustment features that are actually necessary in day-to-day production. Experience from other sectors shows that with this step the amount of scrap can be reduced by at least 30 %.

In the past roller shutter boxes only differed, apart from their colour, in their round or rectangular shape. A completely new bending process now makes it possible to manufacture an impressive variety of box shapes. In the case of the rectangular shapes the edge lengths can be changed steplessly as required, in the case of round shapes the same applies to the radii. As standard the box sizes can be selected in the range from 80 or 137 up to 310 mm depending on the basic shape of the box. As an option, larger boxes up to 410 mm are even possible. The box length can be up to 7 metres.

Painted aluminium surfaces are susceptible to damage. Damage to unprotected surfaces cannot always be prevented on the way from the manufacturer to the end customer. A solution is provided by raw material that is coated with a protective film. The protective film passes through the entire manufacturing process and is only removed on site. This aspect prevents expensive complaints and annoyed customers.

The great versatility of the new system concept is not at the expense of productivity. The setup time in case of product change is in the area of a few minutes. Every 40 seconds a complete roller shutter box leaves the machine. So impatient customers do not need to wait long for their new "designer roller shutter box". The roller shutter manufacturer also has reason to be pleased. Thanks to the extraordinary productivity of the complete system, there is no need to fear a loss of cost-effectiveness even with extreme product variety.

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