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Tapping the full potential of the booming machine tool market


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AFM DEFUM’s A-to-Z service covers design, technological advisory, production and after-sales. In manufacturing, AFM DEFUM specialises in metal-cutting CNC lathes, vertical CNC lathes, Vertical Machining Centres and centring machines. For those interested in its comprehensive design-andproduction service, AFM DEFUM readily manufactures made-to-measure machines which are fully integrable with end users’ own production lines and compliant with any functional requirements.

AFM DEFUM is more than happy to share its expertise in technological process automation, hence its offer would not be complete without farreaching advisory service. In Andrychów, the southern Polish city from which AFM DEFUM takes its name, the company operates a well-equipped machine park of CNC-controlled machine tools like milling machines, horizontal/vertical centres and grinders.

Apart from supplying ready machine tools, AFM DEFUM also uses its spare capacity to process such customer-provided material as large steel, cast-iron and steel casted workpieces. The services on offer are turning, boring, milling, cylindrical grinding, grinding of holes and planes, machining on CNC horizontal and vertical machining centres, and balancing.

“Machine tool construction is our core business. We make the complete product,” says Artur Bartkowiak, President of AFM’s Management Board. “We also construct highly specialised machines, for example intended for the automotive or even the aviation industry. Here, we need to create a machine which performs a single operation or a set of operations much more efficiently than a standard machine. Both the highly specialised and the standard machines contain the exact same components. The trick is to skilfully put these elements and options together. Our machines are furnished with a wide array of options and their pricing is in line with precise customer expectations. About 90% of our customers approach us with a well-thought-out set of requirements. Though the initial discussion-and- design phase may turn out to be time-consuming, at the end of the day it translates into profit for both the customer and AFM DEFUM.”

Living by the waste-not principle, AFM DEFUM offers additional services to its customers. “To manufacture these tools, we need to have our own machines in our mechanical department,” Mr. Bartkowiak explains. “This means our machine park is always on the go, and there’s always some spare capacity we can use to process customer-entrusted materials.”

AFM DEFUM also provides a fast and efficient machine repair service. Two years ago, AFM embarked on a new project: an innovative tilting rotary table. “Most manufacturers use worm gear transmission to tilt, but we decided to use torque motors. This concept is the outcome of our partnership with the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin,” Artur Bartkowiak reveals. “The production phase has only been launched, and April will see the first manufactured model.”

This ambitious endeavour did not avert AFM DEFUM’s focus from existing ranges: the CNC slant bed lathe line now has a new Y-axis model, 20 of which have already been sold to date. Building on its well-established Polish customer base, AFM DEFUM ships its products to Germany, France, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.

Exports account for 15% of AFM DEFUM’s annual turnover, which corresponds to 32 million PLN. Why do customers turn to AFM for their machine tools? “One of our key strengths is our highly experienced staff, many of whom have been with us for many years,” Mr. Bartkowiak underlines. “Customers greatly appreciate our advice, it’s one of the things that makes us stand out. Our competent team always picks the right efficiency-boosting machine options. We earned a very good reputation here, and our customers are very satisfied.”

The company was established before World War II and adopted its current name ‘AFM DEFUM’ in 1946, after this turbulent period. From the very outset, AFM DEFUM specialised in lathe production. Key milestones in its track record include a 1976 AFM DEFUM-Boehringer contract on slant bed lathe provision and Gildemeister’s ordering of mechanical components for vertical machining centres.

The latter encouraged AFM to produce vertical centres of its own design. As concerns ownership: Glimag S.A., a Gliwice-based Polish manufacturer of precise gears and gear transmission boxes, is AFM DEFUM’s mother company.

Finding it crucial to reach out to both existing and potential customers, AFM DEFUM ensures its strong and regular presence at trade fairs. Its portfolio and latest innovations were on display at the Metav Trade Fair in Düsseldorf (February 2018) and will be exhibited at the Stom-Tool Trade Fair in Kielce (April 2018), the Innoform Trade Fair in Bydgoszcz (April 2018), the Mach-Tool International Fair in Poznan (June 2018) and the Toolex Trade Fair in Sosnowiec (October 2018).

After a recent overhaul, AFM DEFUM’s website has all the details of its product ranges and services. Demand for machine tools continues to increase. “I am astonished at the boom in the industry,” says Mr. Bartkowiak.”Last year, we reorganized our production to increase capacity. It was challenging, but the decision was validated by the figures. In 2017, production increased by 62% compared with 2016. Still, we could have sold many more machines than we were able to manufacture. We geared up just in time for the boom. Now we’re ready for fulfilling or, to use a more industry-related word, tapping our full potential.”

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