Customer application December 4, 2018
Savings with Spring Clamp Terminals

When the automotive company wants to reduce costs, the suppliers must also react. F.EE builds control cabinets for a number of OEMs, and the compact WAGO spring pressure connection technology facilitates the work. The company, located in the Upper Palatinate, has relied on the innovative clamping technology since the 80s.

The WAGO Spring Clamp Remains

Hubert Fischer has experienced it all, starting with the days of pen and ink in the office The native of the Upper Palatinate has designed control cabinets since 1988: first with pen and ink, then with EPLAN using DOS, and now with modern software solutions. In 1988, Fischer was hired as worker number five at what is now F.EE GmbH in Neunburg vorm Wald. Hans Fleischmann had founded the company six years previously: By the fall of 2015, it employed more than 900 people. One of them is still Hubert Fischer, whose manufacturing team builds more than 4000 running meters of control cabinets in a year.

The company is growing. The customers include mechanical engineering firms, automotive manufacturers, suppliers, and energy production companies. The ink belongs in the past. Software makes everything much easier. Yet the modules remain – the WAGO spring clamp modules, as manufacturing manager Fischer emphasizes. “We were among the first customers back then,” recalls the master electrician, who has made his career in one company. “Previously, our control cabinet electricians screwed everything in. Today, that is, with a few exceptions, ‘out’.”

Hubert Fischer has worked with WAGO modules since 1988, and now he is responsible for manufacturing in Neunburg vorm Wald, Bavaria.

“The terminal blocks from WAGO are our standard equipment.”

“The WAGO patent for spring pressure connection technology led us, and many of our customers, to rethink things,” claims Fischer. At F.EE, they were excited by the maintenance-free module, which is easy to install, and does not even need ferrules. The most important argument for the products from Minden came from the control cabinet designers, who were convinced because the components did not come loose in the control cabinets. “We always had to re-tighten screw connections,” states Fischer, who clearly remembers the day when WAGO’s patent for spring pressure connection technology expired. “From that day forward, all of their competitors suddenly added springs to their terminal blocks,” he says with a laugh.

However, F.EE remained loyal to WAGO, despite the competition. “WAGO terminal blocks are standard equipment for us,” explains Rainer Walbrun, F.EE Purchasing Manager. “Wherever possible, we rely on TOPJOB ® S from WAGO.” In practice, the customers suggest several terminal block manufacturers, and the F.EE team then selects the best solution from their point of view. “We do not buy cheap goods. We want the best product at the best price, for us and for our customers. This is the only way to collaborate,” opines the purchasing manager. “Also, one product is not enough to be decisive,” assures Walbrun, “the entire package has to pass muster.”

“WAGO terminal blocks are standard equipment for us,” explains Rainer Walbrun, F.EE Purchasing Manager.

Is this the end for rail-mount terminal blocks?

For Hubert Fischer in manufacturing, price is important; however, at the moment, it is the dimensions of the terminal blocks that are driving him and his team. “The customer wants a 15% reduction in the control cabinet, so we need more compact systems. This will increase the wiring density,” he reports. “Which means that we need a small terminal block with tremendous characteristics.” WAGO's terminal block is the smallest unit on the market, and will thus gain market share,” predicts the department head. And other advantages like commoning systems or marking? “The contacting is well done, but we go our own way with marking,” admits Fischer. This is not a problem for WAGO field sales employee, Thomas Baum. He has been the contact person for F.EE for several years. “The customers decide what makes sense for them.” Many companies dream about decentralized automation. Does the compact design herald the end of control cabinets and terminal blocks? Fischer grins. “There will always be control cabinets and terminal blocks. However, everything will become simpler and smaller, and the terminal block suppliers will also have to react to this.”

Modern production: F.EE produces more than 4,000 meters of control cabinets per year.

The Organization must carry out small and large projects.

WAGO now supplies F.EE with more than just terminal blocks. Baum also sells intelligent automation solutions to Walbrun. F.EE values them so much, according to purchasing manager Walbrun, that the company has been able to carry out smaller and also larger jobs. For us, no job is too small, and we don’t know what too big means. Of the 900 employees, 130 are engaged in control cabinet manufacturing. The others are divided into highly specialized teams to carry out automation, control technology, and power engineering projects around the world. Their supplier, WAGO, has responded to this. For a company like F.EE, who has made tailored project work their business, the product portfolio is received positively, which is easily explained by the corporate business strategy. It extends from “fe.screen-view”, HIM/SCADA software, to the company software, called “FactWork”. Robotics and industrial computing round out the range of services offered by the largest employer in Palatinate town of Neunburg vorm Wald.

Author: Robert Weber

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