While more than 50 per cent of the toys available in Germany come from the Far East, geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG, better known as the manufacturer of PLAYMOBIL, has its own production sites in Germany and Europe. The first toy Indians, builders and knights marched their way into children‘s bedrooms all over the world in 1974. There have been over 3,700 different toy figures produced since then and the PLAYMOBIL figurine population has reached 2.5 billion. Joined together hand-in-hand they would stretch around the Earth 3.1 times.
The beating heart of the company‘s production is in the Franconian village of Dietenhofen in the district of Ansbach. 1,200 employees work here. Every day, 443 injection moulding machines spray up to 10 million individual components, 250,000 pieces are pressed and an average of 65,000 PLAYMOBIL sets are packaged. In 2011, geobra dispatched a record number of 55 million finished items. To achieve these impressive production figures, shift workers operate the moulding machines around the clock. The seven spraying halls are equipped with first-class machines from Arburg, Babyplast, Battenfeld, Boy, Ferromatik, Sumitomo Demag, Engel and Krauss Maffei. Even the smallest pieces of equipment have a clamping force of six tons; the biggest have a force of between 250 and 2,000 tons. Soon even larger machines used by Brandstätter to make high-quality planters bearing the brand name LECHUZA will become operational.
The hydraulics systems in the modern injection moulding machines are compact and particularly high-performance. Reduced gap tolerances and improved quality of surfaces enable extremely high working pressures with high clamping force and incredibly precise working system components. In Dietenhofen, a specialist hydraulics department maintains the hydraulic systems of the 443 injection moulding machines. Eight engineers and five electricians carry out routine checks based on the guidelines provided by the individual manufacturers at 500-hour intervals. Additionally, extensive annual maintenance work is carried out after 5,000 operating hours, sometimes more frequently. Depending on their make, the hydraulic systems operate with between 12 and 3,000 litres of hydraulic oils, type HLP 46, in accordance with DIN 51524 T-2. These are predominantly conventional mineral-oil based hydraulic oils with ZnDTP-based additives. Zinc-free HLP 46 is only used if specified by the machine manufacturer. On the whole, geobra keeps the range of lubricants and hydraulic oils it uses to an absolute minimum to avoid mixing up oils, e.g. during additional bypass filtration.