Under the guiding principle „automation by turners for turners“, Stecher Automation offers high-quality automation technology and services up to complete manufacturing and measuring cells. In 2019, it formed from the parent company Stecher GmbH, a medium-sized family business for metalworking. For many years, ZEISS has supplied the measuring machines that the Stecher Group uses to ensure quality in its production. These include several ZEISS Originals, i.e., used equipment that is bought back by ZEISS or taken back from trade fairs and ZEISS Quality Excellence Centers, refurbished, brought up to the latest technological standards and certified.
The Stecher Group has never regretted its decision to invest in ZEISS Originals, emphasizes Carsten Einhart, Head of Quality Assurance at Stecher GmbH: “While calibrating or using those machines, we can‘t see any difference compared to our new equipment, so we can absolutely see us using ZEISS Originals in the future without any restrictions.”
Of the total of ten ZEISS DuraMax machines used for in-series inspection, more than half are devices from the ZEISS Originals program. These are ZEISS measuring devices that are refurbished according to a standardized process: ZEISS experts inspect each device and replace any components that have functional or optical defects and do not meet the strict standards with original ZEISS parts. These include, for example, drive motors, scales, and wear parts. In addition to the hardware, the software is also updated so that, for example, the control system or sensors meet the current manufacturer standard. At the end of the process, the measuring system is tested according to ZEISS new equipment specifications. After these tests have been performed, the system is certified and offered with a 12-month manufacturer‘s warranty and spare parts availability of up to ten years, depending on the machine type.
I couldn‘t tell you right away which devices are used or new at our company, I think that says it all.
At the Stecher Group, the decision in favor of the used systems from ZEISS was made primarily for timing reasons: „We are on a massive growth course, at the beginning of the year, our order book was already full until the end of the year. Therefore, we needed additional measuring equipment quickly. Because we did not want to do without ZEISS quality due to the high demands of our customers, we opted for ZEISS Originals, which could be delivered more quickly,“ explains Simon Stecher, Deputy Operative Managing Director of Stecher Automation. For Carsten Einhart, the used systems were the optimal choice: „I couldn‘t tell you right away which devices are used or new at our company, I think that says it all. All the measuring devices in our company meet their accuracy requirements during the annual inspections by the service department, regardless of whether they are new devices or ZEISS Originals.“
The Stecher Group has been using various ZEISS measuring devices since 2014. „We originally had devices from different suppliers in use, but decided to equip our measuring ecosystem in the measuring room as well as in production completely with ZEISS products,“ explains Carsten Einhart. „Firstly, as the market leader, ZEISS simply has generally the highest accuracy, which we actually often need with our products, and secondly, the use of measuring devices from one manufacturer only reduces the internal training effort for us enormously.“ Simon Stecher adds, „The ZEISS software also helps us with our automation projects, avoiding rejects and answering concerned customer inquiries. It‘s simply a well-rounded overall system.“
Also convincing is the fact that ZEISS is always there as a partner with advice on both new and refurbished equipment. „If you need something, you get competent help from ZEISS,“ says Simon Stecher. „At the same time, we got to a point quite quickly where we don‘t need any help at all and everything just works – that‘s the best way, of course.“ Therefore, ZEISS continues to be set as a partner for the Stecher Group‘s industrial metrology, including ZEISS Originals: „After our excellent experience with them, I wouldn‘t hesitate to purchase further second life systems from ZEISS,“ emphasizes Simon Stecher.