Posted by: Russ Willcutt 2. May 2016

New Super-Efficient Assembly Line Improves Productivity, Flexibility


I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Motion Meeting at United Grinding Group’s Studer facility in Thun, Switzerland (see the blog post and slideshow). As one of the first trade editors to witness the line in production—it was under construction for more than three years—I was impressed by the flow and efficiency of the process. Here is a list of some details Studer representatives shared with me.

According to the company, the Flow-Assembly+ process incorporates all manufacturing operations for the entire Studer product portfolio into one assembly line, enhancing the company’s ability to quickly meet specific customer demands and delivery requirements. The process divides assembly for Studer internal and external cylindrical grinding machine into 16 stations, which are arranged in a U shape. On the first side of the U, a normal rail system is used. On the second side—where the laser measurement and test grinding of the machine in motion take place—there is a high-precision conveyor system that is approximately 130 feet in length, which corresponds to a large, high-precision machine tool guide.

The 16 stations are divided into four segments, in which as many as four employees per station assemble the complex machines. The line is designed for a single-shift system, with two four-hour sessions and runs continuously for four hours at a speed of 1.375 miles per hour. The line is currently set up to produce two machines a day, with the flexibility to increase output as demand grows.

With the Flow-Assembly+ process, machines are ready for delivery to customers once they have passed the last station in the line. Design modifications such as special, in-process gaging systems or customer-specific clamping systems, as well as laser measurement and test grinding, are integrated into the flow. To further enhance productivity, the required assembly parts are delivered to the line just in time and directly from the warehouse, partly via Kanban. Every four hours, material is delivered for the next four hours, including the provision of all necessary parts and tools.

Prior to implementation of Flow-Assembly+ in October of last year, Studer used fixed-station and non-continuous paced assembly for production. Implementation of the new process is a result of the company’s PuLs continuous development and improvement program.

I found the entire project to be proof of the company’s commitment to continuous improvement and the desire to serve its markets and customers well. 

Assembly parts are delivered to the line just in time and directly from the warehouse, partly via Kanban. Every four hours, material is delivered for the next four hours.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 29. April 2016

One Year to Go


No matter how one slices the calendar—days, weeks or months—it all adds up to the fact that The Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS) is only a single year away. The 2017 edition runs from April 25 to 27, 2017, and will occupy the Columbus Convention Center in the heart of the city’s entertainment district.

Since its inception in 2001, the PMTS has grown and continues to grow. Its target audience is the precision machined parts industry, and after a record setting show in 2015, it is already on target to be even better.

A year goes by fast. Therefore, it's not too soon to begin making plans to attend PMTS 2017. Go to to learn more about the products, services, process innovations and players in our industry segment. Time is ticking.

Posted by: Chris Felix 27. April 2016

NIMS and Gene Haas Foundation Announce Scholarships


NIMS and the Gene Haas Foundation (GHF), which provides scholarships to schools for students entering technical training programs, are partnering to provide scholarship funds directly to the near-future workforce. The scholarships will be given to select SkillsUSA students, who represent some of the nation's top young talent in precision machining and metalworking.

The 2016 GHF-NIMS SkillsUSA Scholarship Program will award more than $200,000 in scholarship funds to students competing in three manufacturing events at the 52nd annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) in Louisville, Kentucky, June 20-24, 2016. Competitors include high school and college students from all 50 states who have won their state-level competitions in CNC Technician, CNC Milling Specialist and CNC Turning Specialist.

Upon their arrival at NLSC, students will be eligible to receive a $1,000 scholarship award recognizing their success. Medalists at each of the three competitions at each level will receive awards in the following amounts: Gold: $4,000; Silver: $3,000; and Bronze: $2,000.

The GHF-NIMS SkillsUSA Scholarship Program is part of a larger partnership led by GHF and NIMS to help more students prepare for success in precision manufacturing careers by gaining industry-recognized credentials at high schools and colleges. GHF and NIMS have provided more than $1.8 million to schools and students since the program launched in 2014. As a result, more education programs are providing high-quality training, and more individuals are gaining the skills and credentials they need for success in the workplace.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 25. April 2016

Video: A Solution for Challenging Chip Removal

Machine shops involved in turning operations are well aware of what a challenging chip removal can be. The chips can often cohere into tangled clumps or “bird’s nests,” which can jam some chip evacuation systems, particularly the conveyor belts. Add coolant to the mix, and you’ve really got a mess.

One Detroit-area supplier of parts to the automotive industry found itself in this situation. Its automated twin-spindle CNC turning machines were producing tangles of chips so dense they were jamming the conveyors meant to remove them, often causing damage and the resulting downtime. The frequency of this occurring demanded a solution.

The company contacted Jorgensen Conveyors, which sent a team of engineers to conduct an evaluation. They took measurements of the part samples, measured the machines for conveyor proper conveyor connections, and assessed the type of material causing all the issues, which was mild steel. They suggested the MunchMan II chip conveyor as the answer to the company’s problem.

According to Jorgensen, the MunchMan II employs two belts through the lower curve, incline and discharge sections of the conveyor. This enables continuous, jam-free removal of the stringy balls of chips that had been jamming the old single belt conveyors on these turning machines. The conveyor also incorporates a UVS-EcoLogic Control, which provides constant load monitoring to protect conveyor motor and drivetrain components from damage in a jam situation where excessive torque on the conveyor may occur. The control also features an automatic jam-clearing sequence to free the conveyor. Jorgensen engineers also worked with the customer to ensure proper electrical interfacing between the conveyor’s UVS Jam Manager functionality the main control of the turning machines.

The result? The manufacturer decided to incorporate MunchMan II with all of its existing machines, and on any new machine tools installed going forward. With 20 units on order, it will soon outfit all 50 of its current machines. Go here for a video demonstration of Jorgensen’s conveyors in operation. 

According to Jorgensen, the MunchMan II employs a two-belt design, enabling continuous removal of stringy balls of chips that can jam single-belt conveyors.


Posted by: Chris Koepfer 22. April 2016

Gene Haas Foundation Steps Up for Vets


During this ceremony, a $250,000 check was donated to the Workshops for Warriors by the Gene Haas Foundation.

Workshops for Warriors recently received a $250,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation to help continue its work. These funds will offset training costs and provide Workshops for Warriors' machining students with stipends while they work to complete their certification programs.

The Gene Haas Foundation was created in 1999 by Gene Haas, founder of machine tool builder Haas Automation.

In addition to its work with Workshops for Warriors, the foundation provides scholarships for students entering technical training programs. It also supports youth programs designed to motivate young people to consider careers in manufacturing and machining.

Workshops for Warriors is a nonprofit school designed to help veterans transition into civilian life through advanced manufacturing training, certification and job placement. 




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