As the company approaches its 40th anniversary, some 2.6 billion Playmobil figures currently populate the earth. Many new figures are released every year, placing high demands on the in-house mould shop. To achieve maximum efficiency in unmanned, automated operation, Playmobil's numerous machining centres have been using LaserControl measuring systems of Blum-Novotest already for 15 years.
“For Playmobil figures, hundredths of a millimetre count,” says Attila Britting, head of Playmobil’s in-house mould shop in Zirndorf near Nuremberg. “The aim in building the injection moulds is to produce finished plastic items that require virtually no rework – which is vital in view of a daily production of approximately 10 million individual parts and over 100 million figures a year. Consequently, the mould separation must also be a high-precision operation, so that there are not any burrs on the individual parts or the finished figure.”
And not least, the moulds are specified for extremely high volumes, production runs of 200,000 to 300,000 pieces from one mould are no rarity. The required productivity can only be achieved by partially automated production alongside the normal two-shift operation. So an array of machines works overnight on prepared jobs. To execute these jobs, several of the machining centres are equipped with pallet changers and tool magazines with the capacity to hold as many as 120 tools. The machines even keep running unmanned over the weekend. The Blum-Novotest systems are installed in the machining area of the automated DMG five-axis machining centres.