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How A Lift Is Born

It smells like metal. Sparks are flying. The ceiling of the production’s hall is lit up by the work of welding robots. We are in Bodersweier, a village of 2,000-inhabitants near Kehl. Whoever passes by, has no idea that the headquarters of a global player is located here.

NUSSBUAM stands for Automotive Lifts. The blue of RAL color 5001 can be found all over the world, wherever cars are lifted. Not only in independent workshops, but also BMW, Mercedes, PSA and Toyota rely on the know-how from Bodersweier. Vertical integration is over 90%, which means that the share of our production in the manufacturing process is extremely high. Only a few parts are purchased from outside vendors. Completed NUSSBAUM lifts are packed in a wooden crate and arrive in the shipping department having already undergone a 100% performance check.

Lift design, is steel construction and teamwork. More than 200 employees are involved in the whole process; from picking up coils to packing a complete lift in the wooden box; every step has to be perfect. The hydraulic lift JUMBO 7000, for example, consists of over 100 items and 30 modules. Each screw, seal and piston must be tested and exactly matched to each other. If not, it can provide serious consequences.

 

A LOT OF HANDWORK

NUSSBAUM uses more than 10,000 tons of steel for all processes per year. Of course, not everything is handwork – but most of it is. The lift production begins with the blank metal. The machine cuts 3cm thick steel in strips, which later are used for columns, lifting arms, base frames, carriages or required for mounting parts. The metal is bent, drilled, laser welded, nipped and welded.

Many of these processes are now performed by welding robots or cutting machines, by every step needs to be handled by an expert, whether it is for loading the machine, welding base frames or trimming the welded lines. The components then go through a process of cleaning the columns and other steel parts ready for sand blasting. Thin metal sheets are degreased in a bath; thereafter they are ready for powder coating. Well trained staff with protective clothing and face masks is also present and it is their task to ensure every last corner is covered with the powder coating. Next, the so-called branding begins with the melting of the powder coating in an over at 250˚C. The basic structure is now ready.

metal-coil

An employee puts the coil in position in front of a cutting machine.

bending

With large amounts of pressure, employees turn a flat piece of metal into a hydraulic reservior.

welding

NUSSBAUM can no longer work without it’s welding robots or its people, so all work on the lifts is a process going through many hands.

powder-coating

The powder coating is electrically charged and therefore adheres to the metal parts. The dryer is set at a temperature of 250˚C which provides for an optimal result.

 

KEEP IT SEALED

One floor higher in the NUSSBAUM production’s plant in Bodersweier, staff prepare the inner components of the lift: hydraulic and control unit. The cylinder, pistons, piston pipes, piston rods and plugs are all made by NUSSBAUM. And all parts are tested in an assembled state. The cylinders are pressurized up to 300 bars and moved-in and out 10 times. They then have 2 minutes to resist the pressure. Whatever does not keep fully sealed will be removed. All electrics and electronics for the control unit have been developed in-house but the oil-sumberged motor is delivered by an external supplier. They hydraulic tank, where motor and pumps are placed, are nevertheless made in-house. Each hydraulic unit gets thoroughly tested after assembly.

 

100% FINAL CONTROL

During the assembly, each lift component is assembled by skilled technicians. The columns are fitted with their inner life, such as cylinders, hydraulic hoses and lifting carriages. The lifting arms are finally assembled onto the columns. It should now be proven, whether the many machines and hands involved, have provided the proper quality. Each lift, without exception, is completely assembled and tested directly before shipping. With 60 lifts, leaving the factory everyday, this bottleneck in the manufacturing process must go smoothly.

The 200 involved employees (a total of 1,200 employees in the NUSSBAUM Group) create 100 individual parts and 30 modules in up to 390 operations in 2 or 3 working days, a new hydraulic lift made by NUSSBAUM.

 
This article is from the February 2013 issue of Blicklicht.