Founded in 1969 by Günther Werner, Werner + Plank were initially a three man business in the advertising systems industry. The company has continued to grow since its foundation and in 2015 was taken over by Roland Plank, with the company becoming Werner + Plank Licht & Metalltechnik GmbH. Now with 145 employees, the core competence of the company is the development, planning and production of high-quality illuminated advertising systems and metal components of all kinds. As the market leader in the field of large-area illuminated advertising systems, the Upper Palatinate company serves B2B customers from all over Germany (approx. 60%) and the rest of the EU (approx. 40%).
The core products of Werner + Plank are predominantly made with acrylics and metals. Many light fixtures consist of a basic framework of metal and a backlit cover of acrylic glass, often with inlays. In the beginning, the inlays were mainly produced using a milling machine, although later a Chinese laser cutter was also integrated into production. The milling cutter proved to be problematic for the team, as it was not accurate enough to produce the inlays, with the mechanics of the laser also not being satisfactory. This lead to Roland looking for an alternative which would allow the team to work in a more accurate and economical way.
Our customer inquiries became more and more specific and we were therefore looking for a partner who could serve us here on a long-term basis. With the Trotec SP3000, all applications that are required in lighting technology can be covered. Acrylic inlays can be cut very sharply with the laser cutter. In addition, we can nest geometries very material-efficiently with the SP3000 and thus save 25% of the material.
Through extensive online research, Roland became aware of Trotec Laser, specifically their large format laser cutting machines. Immediately impressed with the scope of the machine, as well as how it would enable the team to produce many small components on the large working area, Roland knew that the machine could be a huge benefit to the business. The decision was made to purchase a 400 watt SP3000 laser cutting machine, which was integrated into the production environment in 2018. The laser cutter is now used to create a wide range of acrylic applications, including letters and inlays. However, thanks to the diversity of the laser cutter, Roland and the team can also make use of it for a number of different applications including sign engraving. The laser cutter is now used to full capacity every day in 1.5 shifts, and the team not only appreciate the technical capabilities of the laser, but also the reliability of the machine and the technical support that they have received.
"With the SP3000, Werner + Plank can produce full acrylic letters, profile letters, and transparencies from Plexiglas® in only one pass. Tool changes for different work steps and fixing of the material are eliminated. Milling, on the other hand, requires frequent tool changes and the polishing of the cut edges is an additional work effort in a downstream process. With their Trotec SP3000, they were able to reduce the machining time by 50% compared to milling. Constant machining quality, low maintenance costs, minimized waste and elimination of tool costs are further advantages of the laser system."