Excellence in Production: GEALAN's toolmaking among the finalists of the Germany-wide competition


Great success already for GEALAN: The PVC system provider's internal toolmaking department has made it to the finals and top 3 of its category in the renowned "Excellence in Production" competition. There, they now compete on an equal footing with BMW.

At the end of 2022, more than 300 toolmaking companies had applied for the coveted "Excellence in Production" award. This is awarded once a year by the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering of the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen. After two pre-selection phases, which were completed by questionnaire for all participating companies, GEALAN's internal toolmaking department was already one of the top 50 toolmaking companies from all over Germany. This was followed by a further detailed analysis as well as an on-site visit by a team of scientists until the great news could be conveyed: GEALAN has been confirmed as a finalist with its toolmaking and thus ranks among the top 3 in its category "Internal toolmaking with 50 or more employees". RWTH Aachen University will present the overall winners and the winners of the four categories of "Excellence in Production" in a festive ceremony on November 15 in the Coronation Hall of Aachen City Hall. 

"Top 3 is already an incredible success!" 

"We took part in the competition for the first time in 2017. At that time, we immediately jumped out of 4th place among "Germany's internal tool shops with more than 50 employees". After this award, we had the ambition to become even better. The fact that we are now among the top 3 in our category is already an incredible success!", reveals Norbert Gruner, Head of Toolmaking at GEALAN, delighted to have made it to the finals. The other two finalists in the category are toolmakers from BMW. "The jury put our in-house toolmaking on a par with the toolmaking department of one of the world's largest automobile manufacturers. Such a classification confirms our innovative approaches and the excellent work that is being done in GEALAN's toolmaking department."

What makes GEALAN toolmaking special? 

After GEALAN's participation in "Excellence in Production" in 2017, the experts at RWTH Aachen University criticised the lack of a continuous flow of data at the time. Norbert Gruner's team had made this topic their homework immediately afterwards, not only digitizing the toolmaking department and equipping it with new software solutions, but also setting it up completely paper-free: Read more about GEALAN Seamless tools

Since then, GEALAN's toolmaking has tackled other future topics in the industry. Norbert Gruner explains: "In recent years, we have tackled two major focal points: on the one hand, the topic of simulation, and on the other hand, the topic of the sustainability of our products. Where we can simulate digitally and use artificial intelligence, we will be able to design and build tools much more efficiently and quickly." The first series solutions of such simulations have already been developed, and the use of AI is currently being prepared. GEALAN tools are also designed to enable the production of products that are as sustainable as possible: so-called tri-extrusion tools make it possible not only to extrude PVC profiles from fresh and as high a proportion of recycled material as possible, but also to extrude the profiles in the same work step using the outstanding GEALAN-acrylcolor® surface technology to refine. Norbert Gruner: "In addition to the classic calculation of shear rate, pressure and temperature of the mass, it is also possible for us to simulate the tri-extrusion tools and to predict very precisely how the different layers will behave in terms of layer thickness and coverage. This is essential for further maximizing the proportion of recycled material while at the same time increasing the extraction speed. If we advance our simulation capabilities, we will also be able to increase the recycled content in the profiles even further." 

In recent years, GEALAN toolmaking has managed to compete with the best toolmakers in Germany with these and similar innovations. Now the focus is on November 15, 2023 in Aachen City Hall. The first milestone has already been reached with the renewed participation in the finals, thus confirming GEALAN's great expertise in toolmaking. 


Marc Schenk


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