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PRODUCTION OPTIMISATION Grinding technology—Accelerating towards precision

Jun 6, 2019

Globally, grinding machines and tools are driven by automotives. With a strong demand for technologies, which can provide customer-oriented solutions, grinding technologies have been unremittingly evolving to suit market needs. The Fritz Studer AG Press Conference, recently held in Switzerland, highlighted the prolific changes in its recent developments to aid its user-base, following its unmatched success of the previous years. A post event report…

Specialising in grinding technologies, Fritz Studer AG has witnessed the most remarkable year in 2018 since its inception. The company established a new milestone for itself as it recorded the highest turnover and order intake in global history. With record sales in all its market sectors, Studer catered to precision cylindrical grinding machines to over 40 countries.

With this triumphant marker, the Fritz Studer AG Press Conference 2019 was recently held in Arosa, Switzerland. The grinding company is well-known for following the main USPs of having the broadest cylindrical grinding portfolio, having a unique and close to the customer service setup, worldwide short delivery times and sustainable grinding competency. In addition, Studer follows lean policies throughout and boasts of over a hundred Studer ambassadors globally. The conference discussed the developments in cylindrical grinding from this eminent Swiss industry and showcased the new Studer machines to the world.

A diversified portfolio

Studer’s topmost industry supplies are in the sectors of precision engineering, automotive industry, machine manufacturers, tool and die making, and aerospace. Additionally, the company is the trusted name for manufacturers of implants and medical tools, and thus, is also a veritable supplier in the medical sector. According to Sandro Bottazzo, CSO, Fritz Studer AG, the company is a worldwide player with specialised representatives. He cites, “We speak our customers' language—with over 150 sales partners, we have the densest international network of consultants in grinding."

The conference revealed the tremendous growth in the job shopper segment, which continues to be an extremely important segment for Studer as it seeks the high level of loyalty and long-term commitment that the company is known for providing. While the automotive industry had a decline in its growth rate compared to its success from 2017, the tool and die making sector reported a high share for the second year running. With the aerospace industry booming, the sector continues to thrive at a high level at Studer.

The company’s cap has acquired multiple feathers with its reach all over the globe. With a strong diverse portfolio highlighting clients based in Latin Europe, Central Europe, North Europe, North America as well as overseas, Studer has completed the herculean task of balancing the augmenting demands for grinding machines with the decrease in procurement markets. With increasing orders from all over Europe and a high growth rate in China, the company put in valiant efforts to develop and consequently launch newer technologies. In its wake, the newly modified S33 and the S31 machines have been recently launched by Fritz Studer AG this year.

The technical highlights

The conference explained STUDER S33 as the productive machine for individual requirements. It was brought to attention that the S33 has a new wheel-head, which comes with the option of being equipped with a motor spindle for external grinding and a high frequency spindle for internal grinding in different configurations. The inclusion of three grinding wheels in the model will ensure that the work piece is machined even more individually and quickly, to be of unparalleled quality. Additionally, the machine has a B-axis with an automatic 1° Hirth coupling and will weigh 150 kg. The advantages of S33 are that it is suitable for all customer segments and offers ease of operation, high process stability, high productivity, fast service and change cover.

On the other hand, the STUDER S31 was called the versatile solution for large tasks. With features from the StuderGuide® guide, which discusses ways with damping component in the direction of movement, the machine’s B-axis can optionally be equipped with a direct drive with a resolution of 0.00005°. The wheel-head can take up to three grinding wheels—a combination of external/internal, up to a maximum of two external or internal grinding spindles. For high-precision form grinding with the Fanuc 31i-B control system, the S31 features a work-head with direct measuring system and the StuderFormHSM software program.

The advantages of the models were named at a glance to include the distances between centres (400, 650, 1000, 1600 mm), StuderGuide® guide way systems (S31), thermal stability due to innovative column temperature control (distances between centers 400 to 1600 mm), double T-slot for dressing systems, numerous grinding head variants, STUDERWIN programming software with StuderTechnology, amongst others. Subsequently, the highlight was that both machines can be fully automated without any manual interference.

With the highest market sales, which Studer achieved with the S33, and the S41, the company was growing faster than the markets. Most of this market share was won from Asia and Europe. The cylindrical grinders, S31 were supplied a thousand times while the small S11 production cylindrical grinding machine also reported a new sales record. “This shows that the machine has been providing top quality in reliability and precision for years,” Bottazzo explicated. Consequently, the conference highlighted that the new sales record for parts, overhauls and service, and maintenance were made. With unmatched productivity and flexibility, Studer caters by manufacturing customer-specific production lines.

Making customers successful

Customers are of paramount importance at Studer. Customers are considered assets and thus, customer care carries great value. With 200 employees in customer care, of which 130 local service technicians operate worldwide, the company aids its customers through help-lines in ten different languages. It has always been the target to be close to the customers and provide fast solutions, which is clear from the company's language diversity to support propinquity.

In order to provide even better support, solution support was introduced to counteract any shortages in skilled employees and further improve the inter-company dissemination of knowledge. With genuine efforts, Studer achieved a new record for all customer care services. It was assured that the company aims at taking immense efforts for strengthening its solution support in 2019. The primary goal at Studer is to make its customers even more successful. The company intends to achieve this with consistent further development and improvement.

New productivity standards

The efficiency and precision of Studer was addressed by Jens Bleher, CEO, Studer. He propounded that with over 600 machines, the efficiency was scaling higher records while precision was achieved with superior performance. He cited, “Precise grinding machines require precise components.” Thus, with the multi-million investment project of 2018, Studer is further expanding its core competence in machining with investments in three large 5-axis milling machine centres, with integrated rotational functionality.

Along with higher efficiency, these new machines will enable even better precision through complete machining and reduced clampings. The system offers ideal prerequisites for digitalising manufacturing in accordance with state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 standards. In all VDA and ISO certifications, Studer has been audited and successfully re-certified as per all the latest standards.

At the heart of production is the continuous “Fliessmontage+” flow assembly. With its unprecedented record production levels in 2017, this revolutionary system for machine manufacturers enabled an additional increase in 2018 and thereby, established new productivity standards in efficient machine manufacturing. With this achievement under its belt, the company was able to continue to maintain the shortest delivery periods in the grinding industry, an excellent selling point for customers of Fritz Studer AG.

Global expectations

Although the key indicators are taking a negative graph across the world markets, Bleher explained, “We expect demand to ease in the course of the year.” Thus, the conference saw the Swiss cylindrical grinding specialist being ambitious and continuing to aim for growth. The conference also envisaged the current challenges to the world economy and propounded that globally, the future of the automotive industry is reliant on energy, be it combustion or electrical, which has proven to be a recurring impediment.

Image Gallery

  • Engine room of S31

  • Jens Bleher,

    CEO,

    Studer

  • Sandro Bottazzo,

    CSO,

    Fritz Studer AG

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