Investing in three different cutting systems paid off well

The German family business MFP – Maschinen-Förder-Produkte GmbH + Co. was founded in 1989. At the Finnentrop plant in North Rhine-Westphalia that covers a 5 000 m² production area, the company's 50 employees design, develop and assemble specialized conveyor systems.
MFP, a German specialist in conveyor technology has increased its production capacity with three flexible cutting solutions: a compact plasma cutter, a multifunctional plasma cutting center and a versatile waterjet cutting machine.

Higher material thicknesses, different material types, more flexibility, more production capacities: the reasons for MFP to invest in three cutting technologies within three years were of a diverse nature. The specialist for conveyor technology serves a wide variety of customers from different industries. Whenever parts have to be moved and conveyed, the family business is in demand. When it comes to cutting, the company relies on MicroStep: two plasma cutting machines and one waterjet cutting system put an end to subcontractor delays and increased speed and flexibility of MFP's production.

MFP – Maschinen-Förder-Produkte GmbH + Co. have been developing and manufacturing automation systems, various conveyor belts, granule mixers or weighing stations for more than 30 years. What started as a small company is now a family business employing around 50 skilled workers at their 5000 m² large production facility in Finnetrop, Germany. MFP was founded by Andreas Melchers and his wife Marion. At present, they run the company together with their daughter Janina. The company became a sought-after partner for a wide range of customers in the automotive, food, plastics or die-casting industries, especially for those looking for durable, ultra-modern and tailor-made solutions with a high degree of automation.

"We are a family company that stands behind their products. We don't produce any low-end outputs and don't compromise on quality. We invest a lot of time in innovation and do all this with the passion for the product and for our customers," says managing director Janina Melchers, explaining the strengths of the steadily growing company based in a local industrial park with a wonderful view of the Ahaus reservoir.

Long-term good experience with MicroStep

In the field of cutting, the company has gone through significant modernization and capacity expansion in recent years, parting ways with steel service suppliers and becoming more flexible in-house. MFP's first MicroStep 2D plasma cutting system performed its job reliably for many years, but when it came to processing higher material thicknesses and drilling applications, an investment in a new cutting machine was necessary. “Our old cutting system was unbreakable, but at some point we couldn't keep up with the orders anymore,” says Janina Melchers. A trade fair visit and a live demonstration at MicroStep's North German branch office (CompetenceCenter Nord) convinced MFP to acquire a versatile plasma cutting machine MG – with a higher performance and an additional option for drilling, tapping and countersinking. Thicker parts, which were previously manufactured externally by waterjet, could now be cut in-house with the required accuracy of ± 0.5 mm. "And then the workload grew so quickly that we needed another small machine."

Thanks to good experience with their previous MicroStep machine over many years, MFP opted for a MicroStep compact 2D plasma cutter. While thicker sheets up to 35 mm are processed on the MG, which is a versatile system with 2D plasma and a drilling unit, the MasterCut Compact is mainly used for sheet cutting in the range between 2 and 3 mm. "With plasma, there is almost no dross and very little rework," says Melchers.

No more dependency on subcontractors

However, some parts still had to be purchased from suppliers, which was a burden for MFP even though the suppliers were located nearby. These parts required high cutting accuracy within tenths of a millimeter and also couldn't be affected by heat caused by plasma cutting, which could damage some types of materials. Sufficient reasons for MFP to look for a solution, which was a waterjet cutting technology. "We looked at two other suppliers of waterjet cutting systems," reveals Ms. Melchers. "All required tolerances and requirements were met by the solution from MicroStep, that's why we decided to stay with them, we knew that we are in good hands," says the managing director. Since its installation in June 2020, various materials have been precisely and reliably cut on the machine, such as aluminum, plastics, insulation material and stainless steel. WaterCut is also used over the weekend. "I can turn the machines on and off via my phone or tablet, which is very practical," added Janina.

Within three years, the family business invested in three MicroStep solutions with different cutting technologies and processing options. “All the machines met the required expectations and are also achieving the expected results. The investment has paid off for us because it is an enormous cost saving. I am very satisfied with the service and sales from MicroStep,” explains Janina. "A very big advantage is flexibility, which wasn't available before. Now, we are much more flexible with our own technology,” says the managing director.

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