On July 6, 2023, the time had come: In the presence of numerous national and also international guests from the foundry world, Schaufler Tooling inaugurated the new production hall at the company site in Laichingen. The event was officially opened with a speech by CEO Siegfried Heinrich, in which he explained the milestones in the company's development up to becoming one of the world's few suppliers of gigaforms.
"And by giga molds we mean those used in casting machines with clamping forces of at least 6,000 tons," Heinrich said.
This new casting machine dimension is needed for the production of Giga Castings. The aim of giga castings is to replace the body-in-white of a vehicle, which traditionally consists of hundreds of individual parts, with just a few castings and thus achieve significant cost advantages, particularly in vehicle assembly. In the meantime, it has become clear that such giga castings are not a one-off for Tesla, but have become established at Volvo, Toyota, Hyundai and also at other established and new Chinese vehicle manufacturers.
The new production hall, which covers almost 1,000 m2, enables Schaufler Tooling to produce molds with a total weight of over 200 t for casting machines with up to 10,000 t clamping force. The main equipment in the new production hall includes a crane with a load capacity of 120 t and a press capable of spotting molds weighing 200 t. In addition, the company has invested in a 5-axis machining center with traverse distances of 6 x 4 meters, which is used for repairs and machining of completely assembled gigamolds. In addition, assembly boxes are available which allow the final assembly of three such large molds to be carried out in parallel.
After Heinrich's speech, the companies Handtmann, Bühler and Tvarit presented their strategies on the subject of Giga Casting in exciting technical presentations and welcomed the fact that Schaufler Tooling, as a premium mold maker, is supporting this new segment. The event was rounded off with a company tour and joint dinner.
Schaufler Tooling is part of the moldmaking group SF Tooling, which also includes Fischer Tool & Die in the USA and Schaufler in China. "This makes us the only die casting moldmaking group that maintains its own regional production sites in the three main markets for die cast parts, especially for giga molds." COO Dr. Joachim Schuster proudly reports. Within SF Tooling, the twentieth Gigaform is currently nearing completion. These have been produced for four different Giga Castings at the three locations of the SF Tooling Group, delivered to three different vehicle manufacturers so far and to a total of five foundry locations.
"The biggest challenge with gigaforms lies in the regulation of the thermal balance. With our now diverse experience in this segment, we are continuously learning and now offer tried-and-tested solutions for optimum cooling," says CEO Heinrich. And COO Dr. Joachim Schuster adds finally: "We are also transferring these findings and optimizations at Gigaformen to smaller die casting molds. In this way, we are making a significant contribution to ensuring that the cost-effectiveness of the die casting process remains guaranteed for existing die castings in the future."
About Schaufler Tooling GmbH & Co. KG
The SF Tooling Group is a die casting mold making group that has its own regional production sites in the three main die casting markets. The German company Schaufler Tooling in Laichingen has more than 60 years of experience in die casting mold making and today employs more than 160 people. The North American company Fischer Tool & Die has also been producing die casting molds for decades with currently 50 employees. Schaufler China, which is strongly focused on growth, has been assembling molds for about a year and now already has 12 employees.
The SF Tooling Group covers the entire process chain at all locations and guarantees the high quality "made by Schaufler": starting with the technical optimization of the castings, through the design and construction of the mold, to the final machining and assembly. More than 220 employees are employed worldwide. The annual turnover in 2022 was 46 million euros.