SPAX: Modernisation in next to no time

Have you heard of them? SPAX. Everybody has used them – if not himself, then they are definitely being used somewhere in the living room. Up to 50 million of these essential pieces are produced at SPAX International in Germany per day. Under this permanently continuous operation of the machinery regular maintenance and reconditioning of the plants are necessary. Step by step the conventional contactor is replaced by intelligent control solutions. Here SPAX relies on the long-time experiences and solutions of VIPA.

SPAX International stands for innovation and quality in screw manufacturing for decades. This success story started as early as 1823 – then under the name Altenloh, Brinck & Co., the first company in Germany to risk industrial production of screws.

Since then SPAX is not only a successful trademark, but has become an epitome of the most modern screws for producers and craftsmen. The current highlight of the continuous development is the launch of the new SPAX, which is a leap forward in development in screw production. Innovations like the multi-head, the patented wave profile and the 4CUT tip will ensure the top position of the company in the screw market in the future.

Their own tool construction as competitive advantage

50 million SPAX are produces daily within ABC consortium with 1500 employees. Subsidiaries and distributors in Europe and overseas guarantee trouble free marketing worldwide.
Key points of the company`s philosophy and guarantee of success are the uncompromising quality and general customer orientation. This starts with the fact that the innovative machineries and the complex plants for the screw production are developed by the ABC consortium itself. Due to many years of experience the ABC consortium has a competitive advantage against competitors and imitators.

The latest PLC solutions instead of conventional contactor

Many various machineries have been applied through the last decade. Each of these machineries were state of the art at the time of their construction, but now some of them are due for modernization. After all, today´s safety standards have to be maintained and the production process has to run trouble free.

„We place the highest demands on quality and durability in all production areas”, says Michael Naumann, head of electrical engineering at the location Ennepetal/Germany. “Some of the machineries have been in use for many years. Although they are still mechanically perfect, they are controlled by old conventional conductors and relays.”, Michael Naumann says.    

There are many compact CPUs, but only VIPA offers compact and versatile solutions

All these machineries were converted to modern and innovative control systems step by step, which was not always easy. “Often the control cubicle is in the center of the machine, where there is less space and no possibility for expansion”, explains Michael Naumann about the special challenges of conversion. “Without these small CPUs from VIPA we could not do anything in here”, he explains and proudly holds one of these compact CPUs from VIPA in his hand.  

Naumann saw the compact control of VIPA for the first time at the trade fair in Nuremberg in 2004 and ordered one for test purposes. The clear advantage especially for the application at SPAX is that the controls from VIPA are extremely compact and also robust and the different variants of the 200V series are deployable on a standard DIN rail. Concerning the dimensions they are not larger than standard modules and can therefore easily be replaced in the upgrade.

Programmable with Step 7 – It comes down to the combination

The Step7 programming of the VIPA components was also important: “For us it was crucial, that we never left the Step7 world within all in-house control solutions”, says Naumann. “Here the staff knows all details and is appropriately trained”, he says. “Initially different producers and systems were tested, but we were not satisfied with the solutions and finally the fundamental decision to use VIPA in combination with programming via Step7 was made”.

Direct contact into the factory – Not only helpful in screw production

Meanwhile more than 80 VIPA CPUs are used in Ennepetal and Michael Naumann is very satisfied with his decision – not only about the quality, but also about the service: “Precisely when a product is used for the first time, many questions arise. When I call VIPA, I always get an expert very quickly and easily, who helps me and deals with my requests”, he explains enthusiastically. “After all, I need support right now if I have a problem and not 24 hours afterwards”, he describes experiences which he had with other producers.