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Award Ceremony Harting Applied Technologies Became Toolmaker of the Year 2020

Editor: Isabell Page

Even in this special COVID-19 year, the international toolmaking industry does not give in and proves to be resilient to the crisis: Harting Applied Technologies GmbH, Germany, won the “Excellence in Production” award this year and is thus awarded the title “Toolmaker of the Year 2020”.

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Harting Applied Technologies GmbH was elected Toolmaker of the Year 2020.
Harting Applied Technologies GmbH was elected Toolmaker of the Year 2020.
(Source: Fraunhofer IPT)

After it was clear to the organizers early on this year that the International Colloquium “Tool and Die Making for the Future” in Aachen would have to be cancelled as a face-to-face event due to corona and be replaced by a Digital Toolmaking Day, new solutions were also required for the annual “Excellence in Production” award. It was uncertain whether there would even be enough companies in the crisis year of 2020 that were willing to invest the time and capacity in order to participate in the well-known industry competition.

But in the end more than 200 companies took up the challenge and in a field of top-class participants, Harting Applied Technologies GmbH was able win the competition and thus earn the title “Toolmaker of the Year 2020”. After several years in which the company has convinced the jury in the category “Internal toolmaking company with less than 50 employees“ multiple times, the overall success in these turbulent times has a very special meaning for all those involved.

The award ceremony also did not take place in front of its usual large audience in the Coronation Hall of Aachen Town Hall, but digitally as a live stream. The finalists were connected online, and the laudatory speech for the overall winner was held by Michael Stepper, Managing Director of last year’s winner Fritz Stepper GmbH & Co. KG.

Hartings Competence Center for Die Casting Tools

The jury was impressed by Harting's clearly defined strategy for each division, which included roadmaps with defined fields of action and goals, as well as the particularly high level of awareness of vision and strategy within the employees. Furthermore, the high machine utilization in all manufacturing technologies through extensive automation, powerful machines and innovative solutions was also positively noted. Having a complete system landscape with high data consistency, the company relies on a color system that provides information on tolerances, technologies and surface characteristics.

Harting Applied Technologies GmbH is an independent company within the Harting Technology Group based in Espelkamp, Germany. It develops, designs and manufactures injection and die casting tools for aluminum and zinc as well as assembly systems and special machines in two independent divisions .

In the toolmaking division, the company with its 49 employees manufactures high-precision tools in single and multi-component technology. The range of products extends from relatively large-volume housing components for plastic and aluminum connectors to micro injection molded parts with shot weights of less than one gram and structural sizes of less than 100 micrometers with the highest demands on surface quality. In addition to the production of injection molds, the development of associated injection molding processes for the manufacturing of metal-plastic composite components is a key focus of the company.

The process chain in the internal tool shop at Harting includes in-house engineering for new manufacturing processes and concepts as well as comprehensive and early consultation with customers. The manufacturing of tools includes engineering, design, production and assembly in an extensively equipped technical lab.

In addition to the overall winner, Harting also received the award in the category “Internal toolmaking company with less than 50 employees”.

Category “Internal toolmaking company with more than 50 employees"

This year's victory in the category “Internal toolmaking company with more than 50 employees” goes to Fischer Werkzeug- und Formenbau GmbH from Horb am Neckar, Germany. Among the particular strengths of the internal toolmaking department at Fischer Werkzeug- und Formenbau GmbH, the jury counted the systematic use of methods to derive strategic goals and measures, as well as the good segmentation of the machine pool with consistent installation of shop floor boards for key figures, goals and general information for employees. The extensive use of automation solutions and the well equipped machinery with high technological performance also impressed the judges.

Fischer Werkzeug- und Formenbau, based in Horb am Neckar (Germany), is an integral part of the Fischer group, which manufactures world-famous fastening systems. Fischer Werkzeug- und Formenbau is manufacturing high-precision multi-cavity and multi-component tools for internal and external customers. In cooperation with its own automation technology team, Fischer Werkzeug- und Formenbau also offers complete tool solutions and services such as maintenance, repair and production support for the tools.

Category “External toolmaking company with more than 50 employees”

The winner in the category “External toolmaking company with more than 50 employees” is Fischer GmbH from Geringswalde in Saxony, Germany.

The jury was particularly impressed by Fischer's cooperation with universities, which is not only used for the continuous development of tool technology but also helps the company to open up new business areas and achieve a high degree of industry diversity. The company uses a self-developed, requirements-oriented calculation system with an analytical and highly standardized methodology. In addition, the high degree of tool standardization, which is achieved through the use of parametric designs and standard templates, also had a positive impact.

Fischer GmbH manufactures tools for punching and injection molding processes with more than 70 employees in three work shifts. The company develops and manufactures follow-on composite and transfer tools, injection molding tools for single or multi-component injection molding, zinc die casting tools, special equipment and fixtures for the automotive, electrical and metal industries. The focus is on follow-on composite tools of medium size.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT and the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering WZL of the RWTH Aachen University together with an expert jury determined the best toolmaking companies in four categories on the basis of a detailed benchmark and visited them on site during the summer months: The ten jurors from industry, politics, industry associations and science then selected the ten finalists, the category winners and the overall winner. A total of 278 toolmaking companies took part in the competition, 203 of them completed the entire questionnaire and 50 were shortlisted. The “Excellence in Production” competition took place for the 17th time this year. The day after the award ceremony, selected finalists and partners of the Aachen institutes presented their success strategies during the Digital Toolmaking Day, which was broadcast live from Aachen this year instead of the International Colloquium “Tool and Die making for the Future”.

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