about FLM

Werner Bürklin, the inventor:

At the beginning there was the idea to build ball heads that meet the requirements of professional photography (F). In order to achieve optimum image quality, additional light (L) is required in many situations, which must be set exactly. Ball joints are also used in metrology (M) to keep sensors, light sources, deflection mirrors and measuring optics wobble-free and immovable. This demanding and variable field of application places high demands on the products and requires comprehensive knowledge in precision mechanics. In 1993 the family-run company FLM was founded and with the help of our customers - the photographers - a first ball joint series was developed. Through close contact with photographers, many years of continuous product development has resulted in the unique features and functions of the latest "Series II" generation.

True to this principle, we develop products with innovative functionality and manufacture them in in top quality with the highest precision. Our high-

strength aluminum is free of lead and is brought into shape with state-of-the-art CNC technology. Due to the very complex and high-precision, computer-controlled material processing of the parts in one piece, we achieve a hundredfold higher accuracy and strength compared to the cost-effective casting process. The willingness to do something better every day, the attention to detail and the high commitment of our employees have contributed to the fact that FLM has established itself in Germany and is well on the way to successfully selling its products "Made in Germany" worldwide.

The change 2017

At the end of October 2018, the production of the popular FLM ball heads, tripods and quick-change systems Werner Bürklin has invented, are changed his place of production. Werner retired and handed over the production to Dr. Ing. Martin Kull, founder and owner of mk-messtechnik GmbH in Notzingen. The production of FLM are be layed thus in

capable hands. The economic potential in combination of knowledge and Swabian inventiveness of the employees of mk-mestechnik, ensures the continuation of the production of the individual parts and the manufacture of ball heads, tripods, quick-change bases and plates as well as most accessories.

The difficulties

After the machines, fixtures, shelves and other inventory had been dismantled and moved, it was thought that after commissioning the lathes, a normal supply of the market could soon resume. Unfortunately, the production of the FLM products has proved to be somewhat more extensive than was anticipated. The commissioning of the machines alone was a challenge across the ranks of the bureaucracy. Months passed until the approval for re-commissioning took place after the relocation and mk-messtechnik was finally able to produce new parts. The old suppliers had to be approached and the corresponding materials procured. Here, the team of mk-messtechnik GmbH was slowed down once again. Much materials were available only after weeks. Time passed, and the dedicated production staff could not do much while waiting for the arrival of raw materials. Even when it finally started, there

were always new problems. From defective supplied tool holders for lathes to standstill because a defective sensor was having detected a change in position of the machine and thus locked the machine again. A technician had to come to unlock the lathe. Again valuable time was lost, because only after days an employee of the manufacturer's company was available. As a result, the production of the parts dragged further and further into the length. Many customers, the brand ambassadors, dealers and above all the partner companies in North America and Asia are urgently waiting for new ball heads.

Time pressure was also created by the construction of our new production building, in which we will be moved to the turn of the year 2018/19. At 2000 square meters, the production will finally find the necessary space there.

The solutions

Hermle 5-axis machining center
Hermle 5-axis machining center

One approach to solving the bottlenecks was that mk-messtechnik manufactures as many articles as it can by it self and thus no longer relies on external suppliers in some areas. But that also meant that a lot of investment was needed. For example, a 5-axis machining center of the Hermle brand was procured without further ado. In a "mammoth project", this machine was delivered within only 3 weeks and was soon available for the production of the QRP, SRB and QRB series. More products from the delivery program will be manufactured there in the near future. Another approach is that the parts we can not make ourselves are supplied by nearby companies. For some time, many neighboring companies have been happy for an order increase by us. That has shorten the ways. Likewise, delivery times are shortened because direct contact can eliminate

confusions quickly. Sometimes a prototype for a new part can be made within a few hours, now.

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