Grinding in Switzerland
- February 23, 2016
Smarter grinding and advanced manufacturing technologies are the only way to secure future growth. That's the message Fritz Studer's management delivered during its 2016 Motion Meeting in Thun, Switzerland.
The annual event brings together the company's worldwide distributors for United Grinding's Studer and Schaudt Mikrosa machine divisions to showcase the latest advances in grinding technologies and manufacturing developments.
Despite the economic uncertainty, Fred Gaegauf, Fritz Studer managing director and chairman, says the three divisions delivered more machines in 2015 than in 2014. Studer achieved close to a 5 per cent increase in machine tool sales in 2015, while sister company Schaudt Mikrosa hit its target reaching a 55 per cent increase above the value of machine sales in 2014.
Machine tool builders face a twofold challenge when it comes to the concept of smarter manufacturing. It must itself become smarter at manufacturing its products but it must also produce more intelligent machines for its customer to help them meet the needs of today's competitive marketplace.
United Grinding's response has been to produce machines with "intelligence and cognitive production" values and to launch its "Flow-Assembly" a continuous flow assembly concept at its Fritz Studer facility in Thun, Switzerland. Machines today are equipped for cloud computing, have mobile device interfaces, loaders with touch screens and other "smart factory" concepts making them Industry 4.0-enabled machines.
For its own manufacturing processes, Fritz Studer launched the multi-million dollar "Flow-Assembly" concept at its Thun facility last October. Designed for the company's entire product portfolio, the in-line full assembly line is a just-in-time system designed for a single shift with two sessions of four hours and runs continuously at a speed of 22.9 mm/min (5.5 m/4 hr).
There are 16 stations divided into four segments with up to four employees per station who assemble the machines. Required assembly parts are provided from the warehouse, partly via Kanban. Every four hours the system delivers all the necessary parts and tools to assemble a machine for the next four hours. To date the new concept has improved machine customer delivery times significantly; in some cases, machines that took on average 30 days from start to final delivery are now being delivered in eight to ten days.
With the introduction of three new radius grinding machines, the S121, S131 and S141, Studer announced the new machines will replace the company's CT models. The company says the new machines reflect the latest in machining technologies: Granitan machine beds for higher dampening, thermal stability and guidance accuracy; simultaneous radius grinding with a stable B axis; the StuderGuide guideway and drive system with linear motors, which the company says are designed with high wear resistance, long working life and high dynamics; and an extended range of parts that can now be machined: maximum length of parts including the clamping device, is 300 mm for all three machines.