Bosch goes with MicroStep: "A leap in quality, a different world"

For over 150 years, Bosch Industriekessel has been developing and manufacturing customized system solutions for heating and process heat. When they were looking for modern cutting solutions to replace existing CNC systems, they opted for two 3D plasma cutting machines from MicroStep, convinced by prior experience and MicroStep’s ability to meet the required tight tolerances.
When heat is needed at home or at a production site, Bosch Industriekessel GmbH, a Bosch Thermotechnik GmbH company, has been a sought-after partner for decades. To date, more than 120 000 steam, hot water and heating boiler systems have gone into operation in over 140 countries. Industrial and commercial companies in particular, but also energy suppliers and operators of large buildings and public facilities, count on Bosch’s steam and hot-water boilers from Germany and Austria. The boilers improve energy efficiency in production, buildings, and district heating networks, with the help of sustainable energy and seamless Industry 4.0 integration.

When it comes to cutting, the production site based in Gunzenhausen, south of Nuremberg, has been relying on MicroStep technology since 2015. After an intensive search, the company has bought two 3D plasma cutting machines for their two plants at the site. These now mostly run in a two-shift, sometimes three-shift, operation. One of them is an MG series machine with a double gantry capable of processing both sheet metal and dished ends. The other is a CombiCut used purely for sheet metal processing. It cuts steels 8 to 45 mm thick, making unique or small series parts.

Convincing tests and development

"Before that, we had a plasma cutting system in Plant 1 and an oxyfuel cutting system in Plant 2. The main focus was on the cutting speed, and the oxyfuel system was too small and not what we wanted in terms of precision and heat input. We intended to add dished end processing as an additional process," says Christian Loschmidt, head of technical planning, looking back. In order to create redundancies and to simplify the work in the work preparation department and at the plant, the decision was made to exchange both systems and to purchase the two new systems from one manufacturer.

Mr. Loschmidt was there when, two years earlier, Bosch Heating Systems LLC, responsible for the Russian market, chose MicroStep's MG series 3D plasma cutting machine. "There we gained experience and broad knowledge of the market." Now a new set of specifications was set with a focus on meeting the tightest tolerances for hole and bevel cutting. "We cut a lot of special parts, we have many ignitions and special geometries, too," explains Mr. Loschmidt. Many cutting tests were performed and MicroStep did additional development work to meet the required accuracies. The technological component coupled with the good experience gained from Russia ultimately made the decision.

Automated dished end processing

Since then, both machines have been in continuous operation. "This was a profitable investment. It's clear that this is not a cordless screwdriver that you get ready out of the box, but a highly complex technology. We have always found a good solution and cooperated in a constructive manner. The service has always worked great, we've always had someone on site quickly who has helped us competently," says Mr. Loschmidt. An additional advantage came with the decision to combine sheet metal and dished end cutting on one machine. Dished ends were previously supplied semi-finished and then finished by hand, an enormously time-consuming process that made achieving the required accuracies difficult. These problems are now in the past. Holes and bevels are applied automatically. "It's a great thing, a leap in quality, a different world."

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