12-10-2011 01:57 AM CET - Industry, Real Estate & Construction

Knuth Machine Tools from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany – successfully deployed all over the world

Press release from: Knuth Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH
PR Agency: KNUTH Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH

Knuth Machine Tools from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany – successfully deployed all over the world

In its 88 year history, Knuth Machine Tools has evolved to a leading metalworking machine manufacturer and distributor with worldwide presence. We visited the company on site to find out more about Knuth's vision for the future.
In 1923, Gerhard Knuth founded a woodworking machine manufacturing business in the small German town of Königsberg.
Today, this business operates under the name Knuth Machine Tools and sells metalworking machines all over the world. It was a long journey, marked by continued development and success.

Knuth Machine Tools grows with increased catalog sales

In 1947, right after WWII, Gerhard Knuth relocated the business to Neumünster in the German state Schleswig-Holstein, which turned out to be a very successful move. Continued growth necessitated an expansion of the facilities. In 1969, new offices were added, followed by another expansion and construction of a new production facility in 1987. Today the company is in its third generation of leadership.
After Karsten Knuth joined the business, he started a new era for Knuth Machine Tools by implementing catalog order sales. The initial catalogs were black & white and based on the design of typical US catalog business models. Soon after, the catalogs were in color and included an extensive portfolio of machine tools and accessories, which could be ordered by telephone.

Today the printed edition of the catalog is complemented by an on-line version that is accessible on the Knuth website homepage.

At first, this concept was met with skepticism, but it soon proved to be very successful. The company continued its growth and in 1995, the company headquarters were relocated to the city of Wasbek where new show rooms and warehouses were added. Step for step, Knuth evolved to a global player in the worldwide machine tool market.
To this date, a new product catalog is issued every year – now already in ten different languages. In addition to the printed version, the complete catalog content is available online on the Knuth homepage. It covers the complete range of machine tool applications, from machining and cutting to forming. We scheduled this visit at the company headquarters in Wasbeck and the Cutting Center in Neumünster to see for ourselves what makes this full-range supplier of machine tools so successful.

Machining und forming are major areas of focus at Knuth Machine Tools.

The Laser-Jet Laser Cutting Machine provides very clean cuts through up to 8 mm thick sheet metal, eliminating any post-machining requirements.

During our walk from the show room for conventional machines through the technology center and various warehouse facilities at Wasbek, Christian Busch, Sales Manager at Knuth, explained that Knuth focusses mainly on two areas: machining centers (turning, milling, drilling, sawing, grinding up to electric discharge machining) and forming technology. Every week, containers arrive at the Hamburg port for delivery to Knuth's facilities.
Not all machines are produced in-house. Knuth has most of the machines manufactured in China. To ensure absolute quality, Knuth sends factory-trained inspectors to monitor the production process on site. Every KNUTH Machine is manufactured according to CE standards and accompanied by an individual test certificate.

Knuth checks all machines again at their facilities

Prior to delivery, every machine undergoes extensive operational testing at Knuth's facilities in Wasbek to ensure and guarantee a trouble-free start-up at the customer's site. Initially Knuth built their own CNC machines, which provided them with in-depth expertise in control technology. Today, all CNC machines are built entirely by one of their affiliates in China. These machines are cleaned and transferred to Knuth's technology center, where electronics, mechanics and CNC controls are tested to ensure the quality of each individual unit. Additionally, any optional equipment will be added per customer requests.
Before these machines get on their way to their final destination at the customer sites, they are carefully packaged at Wasbek. The company headquarters includes large warehouses and there is a constant flow of deliveries, warehousing and transportation. Approximately 3000 machines per year are processed and sold here.

Customer Service is of utmost importance

"For the successful sale of machine tools it is especially important to provide excellent customer service," emphasized Christian Busch. Excellent service starts with expert consultation by phone prior to the sale and is continued all the way to on-site services at the customer's facilities. One prerequisite for reliable service is a complete stock of replacement parts. Machine-specific parts are kept in stock at the company's headquarters to ensure quick delivery when needed. Technical experts at Wasbek also manufacture certain replacement parts on Knuth machines at Wasbek.
With these high standards in quality and service, Knuth aims to set itself apart from competitors, mainly from other online providers. Differentiating the company from these competitors is a very high priority for Karsten Knuth. For this purpose, he wants to set the following strategy for the next few years: "We need to replace even more purchased products with machine tools from our own development and have them manufactured completely or at least in part at our own facilities."

Cutting Center presents machines and processes for cutting

In 2009 the company added a Cutting Center in Neumünster, which enables them to demonstrate various cutting processes next to each other. It is not common that a cutting machine manufacturer can offer multiple technologies. Yet, here at the Cutting Center customers will get first-hand demos with ready-to-use Plasma Cutters, Laser Cutters and Water-jet Cutting Systems. It also is possible to cut sample pieces on-site using these various technologies.
For many customers it is a complex task to select the ideal cutting process and machine for their requirements. These customers truly appreciate the unbiased consultation they receive at the Cutting Center and the possibility to see a real-life demo showing all pros and cons of each process.

Comparison of laser cutting and plasma cutting at the Knuth Cutting Center

The Laser Cutting Systems developed and built by Knuth allow quick and precise cutting of extremely thin sheets. This process provides the advantage that non of the cut parts require any post-machining.
Plasma Cutter Systems, however, provide a more cost-effective solution for thicker steel parts. And Water-jet Cutters provide the advantage that they can cut a wide variety of materials. A particular advantage of this latter process is that no heat enters the part, i.e. the part is not exposed to any thermal stress. This example shows how the customer can weigh the pros and cons of every cutting process and select the ideal process and the optimum machine for the respective requirements.

Knuth offers their own control for machine tools

Knuth developed the Gplus Control System for their CNC machine tools. This Windows-based control combines the advantages of existing controls and is customized to perfectly complement Knuth machines. The Gplus provides quick programming plus easy and intuitive operation via a 17“ touch-screen that shows all necessary information in an easy to read format. The control can easily be adapted for use with most CAD/CAM systems.
Knuth Machine Tools is well positioned for the future and will continue to build on quality and service. The company plans to expand its international presence without sacrificing its high quality and standards. This strategy will also be applied to its key sourcing market, China. "Many manufacturers have chosen the path of unconditional cost reduction, which too often results in compromised quality. Recognizing this negative trend, we have increased our on-site inspector team to ensure that we will continue to meet and exceed the standards we have set and achieved," explained Karsten Knuth.
His goal is "to be an internationally present supplier of efficient machine tools with high sales potential, which will be set apart from the masses of Asian machines by their superior quality and innovative design." This is the legacy he wants to leave to the next generation of leaders – his two sons.

KNUTH Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH was founded over 80 years ago and the company‘s success is based on a combination of experience, innovation and top quality. With over 400 employees at German and international offices, we can offer a reliable worldwide presence in emerging markets.

KNUTH Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH is a worldwide leading supplier of machine tools. The company was founded 1923 as a family-operated industrial supplies business in Königsberg, Germany. Today, KNUTH Werkzeugmaschinen has affiliates and representatives in over 40 countries.

The founders quickly recognized the need to expand their product offering and already in the 1960s they started selling simple machine tools. Today, the company offers machine tools for milling, turning, drilling, sawing, eroding, sawing, grinding, sanding and plate machining as well as laser/water-jet/plasma cutters and an extensive selection of accessories. Over 120,000 worldwide customers rely on KNUTH - from small workshops to large industrial corporations.

The great success of our business is based on highest quality standards, technology innovations, decades of experience and unsurpassed price/performance ratios. Our dense network of German and international branches and dealer locations ensures worldwide accessibility for our customers at a local level, market-covering presence, expert consultation and prompt service.

In 2008 KNUTH created a new Center of Competence for Cutting Technology, which offers an unprecedented presentation and consultation platform for our customers. The new Center provides detailed demonstrations and presentations to illustrate the three cutting technologies, including water jet, laser jet, and plasma cutting, with the goal to offer each customer the ideal cutting process for their requirements.

Partnering with international machine tool manufacturers enabled KNUTH to produce CNC Machining Centers, Plate Machining Systems and Cutters for greater influence on quality, manufacturing processes and product development. Feedback from the market can be relayed directly to the manufacturer for consideration in their machine productions. Therefore, KNUTH‘s expertise and capacity are continuously evolving, making the company to the most trusted partner of its customers.

Knuth Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH
Schmalenbrook 14
24647 Wasbek

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