From one to another!
Meopta – optika s. r. o. is a benchmark technology service provider whose entire output of high-precision parts made on Hermle machining centres is exported
Meopta – optika s. r. o. was founded under the name of Optikotechna in 1933 in the Czech town of Přerov, to develop and manufacture optical and opto-mechanical products. The product range initially covered enlarger lenses and glasses, binoculars and cameras, and subsequently expanded to include periscopes and optical systems for military applications. After the Second World War, the business returned to its origins, and has been operating since 1946 under the name Meopta. Development and production of the established portfolio was resumed, and over the years was expanded to include opto-electronic components and systems. Today Meopta is a global player in the binoculars, telescopic sight and spotting scope sector for private use, performance sports (biathlon), strategic optical and opto-electronic subassemblies for the semiconductor industry, digital projection, medical applications and optical systems for armed specialist units. Since its founding, the company has been focused on technologies for the machining of optical glasses, applying thin optical metal layers, precision assembly and adjustment of devices, as well as the precision machining and surface treatment of mechanical components. Based on the company's extensive production engineering expertise and know-how in the manufacture and precision processing of optical, opto-mechanical and opto-electronic components, the current proprietors, the Rausnitz family, saw the opportunity to turn it into a global business. The company uses the latest mechanical and optical manufacturing technologies, has its own in-house R&D department, as well as operating mechanical, optical and assembly facilities with dedicated test labs. Meopta currently has more than 2600 employees at its two locations in Přerov in the Czech Republic (2500) and Hauppauge, New York, USA (130).
Precision mechanics for internal applications and for customers
Around 25% of the company's sales are generated by binoculars for private and sports use; 8% are generated in the military market; and over 60% in the contract manufacture of components and subassemblies for the electronics/semiconductor industry, measurement technology, medical applications and measuring devices, as well as high-precision parts for machinery and apparatus manufacture. Meopta – optika's Mechanical Division, headed by director and engineer Milan Ryšavy, makes components for in-house production operations as well as handling contract production of components and subassemblies on behalf of customers. "Our Mechanical Division employs over 500 skilled staff, who operate more than 120 CNC-controlled machine tools for precision milling/drilling, turning, engraving, eroding and grinding in a tolerance range of +/- 0.005 mm." The company processes materials including aluminium, stainless steel, copper, brass and magnesium. Turning operations are handled by almost 70 CNC lathes, with three- to five-axis milling handled by almost 50 CNC machining centres. Milan Ryšavy explains the thinking behind the Mechanical Division's machinery portfolio: "For five-axis/five-side complete and simultaneous machining we rely on high-performance five-axis CNC machining centres from Hermle. We use them because they are state-of-the-art in five-axis machining, because we are able to cover a broad range of parts with the available machine sizes, and because the automation of Hermle machining centres is customisable." The first high-performance five-axis CNC machining centre from Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG in Gosheim, Germany – a C 40 U model – was acquired in 2009. A further six Hermle five-axis machining centres have since been added: a C 20 U, a C 42 U, and four C 22 U units. Including a Hermle C 600 U machining centre acquired back in 1999, and still in use today, the competence centre has eight Hermle high-precision five-axis machining centres, of which one – the C 22 U model – is equipped with the pallet changer PW 150 (C 22 UP).
The right machine for every machining job!
Hermle Ceska Republika field sales executive Martin Skukalek comments on the Hermle success story with Meopta – optika: "The rapidly available, high-performance C 40 U machine, backed by the renowned Hermle service quality, enabled us to install another machining centre with them: the C 20 U. The C 40 U machine has been used from the beginning to mill high-quality base plates for measurement and semiconductor systems with schematics of maximum accuracy and in supreme precision." The C 20 U as well as the C 22 U and the UP variant handle most of the industrial component production. In fact, the C 22 UP is sometimes run for weeks at a time producing entire component families comprising 160 medical technology workpieces, each entailing running times of an hour and more. By contrast, the C 42 U is used mainly for the flexible machining of single parts and prototypes. "Owing to the complexity and value of the high-end workpieces both for in-house use and for customers, all machines are run under operator control in all shifts. In view of that, 18 specialists are currently being trained on the Hermle machining centres in order to safeguard production capacity." Word-of-mouth is attracting more customers to Meopta – optika as the sustained and steadily growing success of the machining specialists in Přerov becomes ever more widely appreciated. In order to serve that customer base even more efficiently, an air-conditioned factory complex is currently under construction which will likewise be fitted out with high-performance five-axis CNC machining centres from Hermle. Milan Ryšavy sums up: "We see the Hermle machines as the basis of our high-precision machining operations. Apart from the components we make for in-house use, almost all our output is exported – meaning we are in a constant struggle against global competitors. In view of that, it is certainly good to know that we are running high-end, high-precision, reliable machining centres capable of precise workpiece reproduction which are really user-friendly and easy to operate."