Horn expands German cutting tool production

Horn expands German cutting tool production

German cutting tool manufacturer P Horn ended 2016 by moving into two new buildings for production and administration, doubling its manufacturing capacity, in an investment amounting to more than €70 million. Its wholly-owned UK subsidiary is Horn Cutting Tools of Ringwood.

Managing director Lothar Horn says: “We are investing in our future. It will be especially beneficial for our customers as we continue to focus on speed of response to orders, top quality and precision.”

Covering an area of 3,500 m2 across six floors, the new administrative building houses not only offices but also seminar rooms for customer and staff training. A total of 120 employees moved into the building in December 2016.

The new, 20,000 m2 production facility is located next to the existing factory. Completed and occupied in the summer of 2016, the two-storey structure houses tool holder manufacturing, the tool coating department and logistics.

The new production building has 1,100 m2 dedicated to the coating department, twice as much as before. To supplement the nine coating systems it already had in place, Horn has invested in three new stations featuring HiPIMS technology from German PVD coating machine manufacturer CemeCon. They are used to manufacture more complex coatings, to generate coloured layers and top coats and to increase coating productivity.

Horn has 75 machining centres, turning machines and other machinery for in-house production of all its tool holders and additional equipment. Automated guided vehicle systems are to be introduced in spring 2017 to transport materials, production orders and tools around the site, signalling a move towards Industry 4.0.

With its capacity tripled, the new logistics centre is able to process customer orders quickly and deliver tools even faster. The fully automated handling system in the finished goods warehouse enables orders to be picked and despatched quickly. The new warehousing system for high-speed storage and retrieval of products underpins Horn’s need to process approximately 96,000 production orders annually. The standard product catalogue currently includes more than 20,000 different tools. In addition, over 120,000 custom-made tooling solutions are available.

An active supporter of BlueCompetence, the sustainability initiative of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), Horn is integrating modern systems for saving and recovering energy into the new production building. A combined heat and power (CHP) plant has been installed to recycle unused waste heat for cooling in summer and heating in winter.

The company is opening its doors later this year at its biennial Open House event, Technology Days, planned for 10-12 May.