Tour of Sunnen Emphasizes the Importance of Honing

A tour of Sunnen reinforces a long and fruitful one relationship with the company and emphasizes the importance of honing.


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On the same trip that took us to Hyodromat’s Oktoberfest event, with Production Machining’s Editor-in-Chief Chris Koepfer I took a tour of Sunnen Products Company’s headquarters the morning of Oct. 24. 

Honing is a combination of machine, tool, abrasive, coolant and gaging, as these are all crucial to production. Honing is, of course, an abrasive machining process that produces a precision surface on a metal workpiece by scrubbing an abrasive stone against it along a controlled path. This is primarily used to improve the geometric form and the surface texture. In Sunnen’s case their focus is on hydraulics, energy production, aviation, automotive, and even musical instruments such as trumpet parts.

“The business is still pretty much family owned,” says Bob Davis, global communications manager for Sunnen. They’ve been a manufacturer for over 93 years, starting when founder Joseph Sunnen converted a 1916 Hupmobile into a camper and set out on the road to sell 500 valve lifter tools, a “hand tool for compressing valve springs.” The initial focus was on automotive parts, with an eventual move into industrial, and over the years the two were differentiated with the former machines being red and the latter being green. “Now they’re all the same color,” says Mr. Davis.   

PM’s relationship with the shop is a long and fruitful one, and seeing the work up-close emphasizes the importance of honing.