Production Machining in Germany

This week I’m reporting from the Schwabian region of Germany, where metalworking has deep roots and good technology.

 

 

This week I’m reporting from the Schwabian region of Germany, where metalworking has deep roots and good technology. I’m accompanied by Barbara Schulz who is our European correspondent and represents our sister publication, Modern Machine Shop, on this tour. We arrived on Sunday, we rested and started our trek on Monday.

Our first stop was Schwanog, which manufactures custom form cutting tools for the precision machining industry. With production facilities in the U.S., France and Eastern Europe, along with distribution worldwide, this 100-employee company has created a global reach.

Our second visit on Monday was 160-year-old lathe builder, Weisser. This family-owed company is in its 6th generation and supplied sophisticated turning equipment to the automotive industry. We learned about a process the company calls rotational turning, which is a combination of turning and grinding. It eliminates turning lines on the finished workpiece.

On Tuesday, we visited Burkhardt + Weber. The company makes machines the size of houses, and I don’t think many will find their way into your shops. They are bigger than some of your shops! However, I have some background in this technology (life before PM) and enjoyed my conversation with the company’s engaging CEO Olaf Furtmeier. He spent four hours with us, as we discussed the ins and outs of the large machine tool market.  

The last stop on Tuesday was with toolholder manufacturer Goeltenbodt. Long known for its multi-spindle toolholders, the company is moving into quick-change toolholders and have an interesting solution. It’s new and so far applicable to Tsugami and Star. However, Thomas Flache, head of sales and technology, told me many other brands’ holder in development and response has been strong.

The system involves fabricating a machine-specific gang tool plate that allows stick tooling to be quickly exchanged and preset off line. They also offer a simple, yet effective, presetter as well.