Every year, United Grinding hosts a conference with its sales partners and international press to highlight the latest developments, machine sales trends, investment in production and roadmap for the upcoming years. This year, with the motto “Flame of passion”, the conference was organised to showcase its latest technology advancements at the United Grinding headquarters at Thun, Switzerland. The show witnessed the launch of three new machines—S121, S131 and S141 radius grinding machines to replace the ongoing CT700 and CT900 models.
Hosted by United Grinding’s Studer, Schaudt and Mikrosa brands, this year’s edition had a friendly Olympic-style competition theme between the brands. Addressing the conference, Michael Horn, COO, United Grinding, shared that there was a positive contribution in the cost side during the last quarter for the company.
“The foreign purchase part has helped us. In fact, there was a 5% increase in terms of delivered machines in 2015. We are working towards best-in-class in every respect,” he added. Highlighting the roadmap for this year, he shared, “The sales procedure and production process will be the focus areas in 2016.”
The Group positioning
With its eight strong corporate brands—STUDER, SCHAUDT, MIKROSA, WALTER, EWAG, MÄGERLE, BLOHM, JUNG, the group has the most extensive application knowledge, product portfolio and range of services in the market. As per Fred Gaegauf, CEO, Fritz Studer AG, “Germany is the largest market for Studer’s incoming orders, followed by Western Europe & China, with North America faltering due to the low oil price. The regional overview for SCHAUDT, MIKROSA, with approximately 30% orders from Germany, shows a strong dependence on German automotive manufacturers and their suppliers. Over 30% of orders are delivered to China.”
With 75% of Studer universal external cylindrical grinding machines equipped with at least one internal grinding spindle, the company has now become an absolute specialist in pure internal grinding.
As far as incoming orders are concerned, Studer and Schaudt Mikrosa have shown very different business development in incoming orders, last year. While Studer lagged behind the very highly set budget figures relatively early on, Schaudt Mikrosa achieved 55% over the value of 2014, with Asia & Germany being the main buyer markets.
The conference witnessed an array of technology projects, which are being implemented by Studer. The projects are listed below:
Energy efficiency: Studer recognised this necessity early on and is now able to reappraise any machine with the respective production process and to define appropriate saving measures. The most important factor in the BluePlus approach is that a complete assessment is made. Sustainability is a vital consideration here and customer trials have shown optimisations of up to 20% of the current energy consumption.
Cooling lubricants: Studer is also implementing studies on innovative new cooling lubricant methods in the area of liquid tools. Today, thanks to UGG’s in-house 3D print facility at IRPD, new processes can be developed even more efficiently.
Studer-WireDress®: This has made a name for itself during the past year. Here, unimagined geometries can be produced incredibly efficiently and with very high cutting ability. Customers are enthusiastic and are already seeing new applications.
Coordinate grinding: Coordinate grinding is a technical challenge on cylindrical grinding machines. Studer offers highly efficient solutions for machining eccentric bores.
Speaking on the new radius internal cylindrical grinding machines launched, Gaegauf announced that they will replace the CT700 and CT900 models. “The new S121, S131 and S141 radius grinding machines are majorly into the manufacture of dies. In the past, this range of parts was successfully covered by Studer’s universal internal cylindrical grinding machines CT750 & CT960. With its market entry, the new S121 radius grinding machine will now take over the range of applications of the CT750, while S131 has been designed for the previous component range of the CT960. Replacing the CT models has generated customer benefits—a higher level of technology has been achieved with the new radius grinding machines. This is evident in the machine bed, which now comprises of Granitan® and, thus, offers higher dampening levels, thermal stability and guidance accuracy,” he explained.
To showcase the comparison of the new S131 with CT960, the company executives organised a fun-presentation to display how, in a similar fashion, they preserved the important parts of CT960 in developing S131, which presents a higher level of technology.
Applications in the field of transmissions
As a partner to the automotive industry and its suppliers, SCHAUDT MIKROSA offers efficient machining solutions for many applications in the field of transmissions. The SCHAUDT ShaftGrind series, which is based on the proven camshaft grinding platform CamGrind, is perfectly designed for grinding input, output or intermediate shafts. From concepts with one grinding wheel to fully flexible solutions with up to four grinding wheels, any machine configuration is possible with the ShaftGrind series.
Also, the multiwheel transmission shaft technology has been developed specifically for highly productive gear shaft applications. It allows synchronous machining of all bearing positions and spline diameters in a single plunge. A grinding tool with several wheels has been developed, which isolates spline machining from diameter machining in terms of vibrations. “Combined with our technology & experience, machining times of just 15 seconds can be achieved. If plane surfaces and flat shoulders are also machined, the machines’ wheelhead can be extended by a swivel-in spindle in accordance with the performance criteria. The concept is, thus, perfectly designed for maximising productivity in gear shaft machining,” added Gerd König, Managing Director, Fritz Studer AG.
Centerless machining for precision parts
In addition to the various gear shafts, there are many other precision workpieces in the transmission which are ideal for centerless machining. Planetary gear pins, which are found in large quantities and different sizes in every automatic transmission, and needles for needle bearings are ideally suited for through grinding, for example. However, these parts must not only be produced precisely, but also quickly and cost-effectively. Needles with an allowance of 0.1 mm, a workpiece diameter of 5 and a length of 16 mm, are ground on a KRONOS M 400, for instance, at a speed of up to 16 meters per minute. This gives roughly 1000 finished parts per minute. The machines are real endurance runners.
Facility with Flow-Assembly+
A highlight of the event was the tour of the new moving assembly line, which went into operation on October 15, 2015 at Thun. Flow-Assembly+ has been designed for Studer’s entire product portfolio. Design modifications such as special in-process gauging systems or customer-specific clamping systems are integrated in the lineflow. “Today, we do everything in one line, everything in flow”, is how König explained it.
While explaining the whereabouts of the assembly line, Ted Neckel, United Grinding, North America, shared, “The USP of the line is that the laser measurement & grinding are done in a single motion. Automation concepts like Kanban, six sigma and lean management are practiced here. As far as latest technologies are concerned, wire dress, a real dressing system that uses latest technology is practiced.” With a workforce of around of 800, the factory performs laser machining and grinding at the assembly line. On an average, with a lead time of 8 days, a standard machine is ready with the customer,” he concluded.