Special dual-component products from Saxony-Anhalt vary the black
The company dGW Gummiwerke AG is an expert for the manufacturing of dual-component parts
Cuffs, hoses, seals, buffers and diaphragms – at the Saxony-Anhalt-based company dGw Gummiwerke AG, approximately 2.5 million rubber parts of this type are produced each year. With his 17 employees, Claus Gernert primarily manufactures moulded rubber parts for the European automotive industry and the mechanical engineering market. Most of the parts are black, and to the untrained eye they differ only in terms of their shape. For Claus Gernert and his team though, each component has special attributes – due to the different rubber compounds and their characteristics.
Rubber compounds for all material requirements
One of his co-workers is Tino Lemme. When Lemme, a shift manager, tends to one of the nine machines in the production hall, it quickly becomes clear: he is an absolute expert in his field. He knows the machines right down to their smallest detail. “I can already tell whether the products will be perfect or not from the noise of the machine during the production process,” explains Lemme. He oversees the production of around 1,200 parts in a single shift, during which a variety of different parts are produced by a machine. “Even though most of the parts are black, that doesn’t mean they are the same. We can offer everything from temperature-resistant, to highly flexible, to very hard materials – according to the customer needs.” In the air-conditioned storage area for the compounds, a variety of rubber compounds with different properties await use. “The rubber compounds are purchased according to the delivery schedules,” says Claus Gernert.
All production stages under one roof
The city of Tangermünde in the north of the German state Saxony-Anhalt is an across-the-board manufacturer. In addition to the production hall is a 200-square-metre air-conditioned storage facility for the rubber compounds, allowing for consistent processing characteristics of the raw material and ensuring high-quality finished products. “That amounts to a big advantage over competitors,” explains the Managing Director. The facility also includes a tool making department, which means that the tools can also be manufactured and repaired in-house. This gives the company a considerable time advantage over its competitors. The rubber works in Tangermünde have now been selling their products on the market for some ten years. One speciality of the medium-sized company is the production of dual-component components. In this respect, a variety of materials are combined with each other. These might be two different rubber mixtures or a combination of rubber and metal. Ensuring an almost seamless transition without creating a point of fracture is one of the key challenges in the manufacturing of these components. “This is something that very few companies can do, and it is an area in which we work on an exceptionally cost-effective basis,” says Gernert.
Innovations with and for the customer
Being able to better understand both machines and processes is one of Gernert’s current objectives. “We have a variety of research projects which are currently in the start-up phase that have the goal of enabling us to understand the manufacturing processes in greater depth. We are doing this in cooperation with the Institute for Rubber in Rudolstadt.” The company’s research and development largely takes place in cooperation with its contractors. “Our customers need our know-how so that they are able to implement new ideas. Noise emissions in electric cars, for example, are a major topic right now. Our experience is in the configuration of the components, so the actual innovation doesn’t take place at our company, but at our customers. We contribute our knowledge and our experience, however.” Almost all of the necessary work takes place before the actual production of the rubber parts – in series runs of up to 500,000 units, in advance. “Only when the concept has been developed and the prototype has been tested can the production begin,” explains Gernert. From 17 to 21 October, Claus Gernert will be attending the Fakuma trade fair for plastics with his innovative rubber parts, in the interests of acquiring new customers and being able to overcome new challenges.