When Martin Krämer looks out the window of his office, he sees green meadows and dark fir forests. Krämer lives and works where others go on vacation. On a Black Forest farm, surrounded by beautiful countryside, in the middle of the Kinzig Valley. However, there is no sign of tranquility in the production area adjacent to his office. There is a hustle and bustle. "With the first laser, manufacturing really took off for us," says Martin Krämer, laughing. Krämer is the owner and managing director of Krämer Brennteile, a contract manufacturer for sheet metal processing. He adds, "The laser has changed everything for us. Laser cutting is very fast and you can do an incredible amount if you get the processes around it right. We've managed to do that successfully so far, and that also means that everything is moving a little faster." And that is almost an understatement, as a look at the rapid development of his company shows.
In 1996, Martin Krämer took over his father's agricultural and forestry farm and converted it: Instead of cattle, since 2002 there is a flame-cutting machine in the former barn. This was the start of his self-employment. Word spreads quickly and more and more orders came in. In 2009, four full-time and seven part-time employees are already working on the Krämerhof. And Martin Krämer realizes that if he wants to continue to serve his customers in the best possible way, he can no longer avoid lasers. At the Blechexpo trade show, he saw the TruLaser 1030 from TRUMPF and bought it right off the booth. The easy-to-operate machine enabled him to get started in laser processing and accelerated the rapid development of the family business. Today, a TruLaser 5030 fiber stands in the production hall which was built in 2019 and 41 permanent and part-time employees ensure fast and reliable order processing.
Sustainability is a real concern for company owner Martin Krämer (left). The new Eco Cooler laser generation from TRUMPF fits the concept. TRUMPF Product Manager Fabian Staib (right) didn't have to do much convincing.
The Eco Cooler cools the TruLaser 5030 fiber at Krämer exclusively with water. F-gases that are harmful to the climate are no longer used as refrigerants.
Even water-cooled, everything is tip-top: Martin Krämer and his production manager Pius Brucker are still satisfied with the cutting quality and reliability of the TruLaser 5030 fiber.
Despite all the growth, Krämer remains firmly rooted in the region and primarily supplies local customers within a radius of around 70 kilometers with small batches of one to 25 parts. This regional connection goes hand in hand with a keen awareness of sustainability: "We live and work here in the middle of nature and strive to do our part to preserve it as best we can," he says. When TRUMPF asked if Martin Krämer would be interested in testing the new Eco Cooler on his laser machine, he was immediately hooked. This is because the laser cooling system does not use any harmful chemical refrigerants. Instead of using fluorinated greenhouse gases, known as F-gases, it works with distilled water. F-gases are commonly used as refrigerants but are extremely harmful to the climate. And the Eco Cooler has another advantage: it uses 50 to 80 percent less energy than conventional cooling systems. It works like a heat pump. In a closed circuit, the water cools the heat-generating components of the laser system, such as laser diodes, optics, drives and control cabinets. The heated water flows back into the Eco Cooler, where it is cooled again by means of evaporation, compression and condensation. Fabian Staib, Product Manager at TRUMPF, summarizes: "The Eco Cooler represents a sustainable alternative for companies. It works exclusively with water - the most environmentally friendly, safest and most natural refrigerant of all." That's becoming increasingly important as governments around the world gradually reduce the amount of F-gases that refrigerant manufacturers put on the market leading up to 2048. Hence refrigerants are becoming scarcer and therefore more expensive.
Sustainable = economical
At the Krämerhof, the Eco Cooler with the Free Cooling option is in use. Here, an additional water-air heat exchanger is installed outside the building. This uses the ambient temperature for cooling. If it is below 17 degrees Celsius, it cools the water completely without the evaporator inside. If the outside temperatures are higher, the evaporator starts automatically. This allows additional energy savings of up to 30 percent. Commissioning of the unit went smoothly. After minimal installation time, the new chiller went into operation - and has been impressing with maximum savings ever since: It consumes 14,000 kilowatt hours less electricity annually. "Especially with current electricity prices, the plus in sustainability is also an economic advantage," says Krämer. The CO2 savings add up to 5.1 tons per year. "And since we no longer use F-gas-based refrigerant, the risk to the environment is also much lower. If a hose ever leaks, it's just water that leaks out."
The Free Cooling option has proved particularly successful for Martin Krämer. For one very simple reason: "The outdoor cooler is highly effective for us because it is located in a corner where it is always shady, even in summer. That's why we have an extremely high free-cooling percentage of over 60 percent of the usage time," says Krämer happily.
Martin Krämer also has the Free Cooling option in use. The water-air heat exchanger is located outside the building and uses the ambient temperature for cooling. This saves up to an additional 30 percent of energy.
Local and flexible: From the Krämerhof, the team delivers to customers within a 70-kilometer radius with its own trucks.
Krämer specializes in the production of small quantities of one to 25 parts.
The cooler replacement had no effect on the cutting results: "The cutting quality is still top and the machine runs as stably as ever," says Production Manager Pius Brucker. Martin Krämer adds, "The Eco Cooler works flawlessly, it brings a reduction in energy costs, has less impact on the environment. It's simply an optimal solution."
In the meantime, evening quiet has returned to the production area. Martin Krämer is still sitting at his desk, organizing final details for an appointment with TRUMPF. The next machine exchange is already scheduled at the Krämerhof: Soon, a TruLaser 5030 fiber with 24 kilowatts of power will replace the existing 10-kilowatt machine. "Of course, we'll order the Eco Cooler for the new machine at the same time," he says, looking contentedly through the window outside, where the trees now cast long shadows on the meadow behind the Krämerhof.