Feb 22, 2017

Lights, Camera, Action! Grinding professionals STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA present their stars at the recently held annual Motion Meeting in Switzerland. Only the best of the best can play in the world stars’ league. And yet - do the cylindrical grinders have a place on the Walk of Fame?

“We make our customers more successful, by responding to their requirements,” states Fred Gaegauf, CEO of STUDER and SCHAUDT MIKROSA, at the recently held annual press conference in Switzerland. To do this, you first have to understand the customer’s individuality. Easier said than done, in a time when the complexity of processes is steadily increasing and customer requirements are also growing significantly. And yet the three companies achieve this, also thanks to their flexibility in production and constant pursuit of innovation. It is for good reason that STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA are global leaders in the industry with their products. “We are well on track, even if we have not met all our targets,” confirms Gaegauf. To this end the cylindrical grinders have invested heavily in their production technology and hugely reduced processing times, which ultimately also benefits the customer.

Incoming orders

2016 started very positively for STUDER after a successful Grindtec trade fair, but this trend could not be maintained throughout the year and Fritz Studer AG finished the year below target. What are the reasons for this? “The VW diesel scandal, the weak economy in China and the continuing effects of the euro exchange rate as well as political uncertainties in many countries caused us problems,” explains Jens Bleher, Managing Director of STUDER and CSO of the Cylindrical Grinding Technology Group. STUDER’s most important sales markets are Western Europe, followed by Germany, China and North America.

SCHAUDT MIKROSA was unable to continue the success of 2015. After a strong spring, incoming orders remained clearly below the set targets. Orders in Germany, with a percentage of 25%, primarily come from automotive manufacturers and their suppliers. Another big market is China, with a percentage of 26%.

Customer Care achieves a star on the Walk of Fame.

Thanks to process improvements both efficiency and adherence to deadlines have been increased. In the long term STUDER’s Customer Care department expects a clear increase in sales in the double-digit percentage range. SCHAUDT MIKROSA also plans to better utilize the potential in after-sales in the next few years and further expand the service segment. 

Efficient value creation in the operation segment

STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA focus on strengthening core competencies along the entire value chain and have invested around 40 million CHF in their plants during the last few years. New buildings have been added and new machine tools have been installed and networked based on optimized logistical criteria. The cylindrical grinders have integrated central manufacturing processes into their own value creation chain in order to guarantee a high process stability.

At the same time they have founded their own PuLs Six Sigma Academy with the internal PuLs philosophy, based on the Lean Six Sigma method. This enables the employees to shape their own working culture and to constantly examine and improve processes and systems. Customer requirements are central for STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA. The focus is on the avoidance of losses and waste in all divisions of the company. They identify negative developments at the point of origin and eliminate them. Transparency and an open problem-solving culture are therefore important concepts for the companies.

An impressive example: The introduction of flow-line assembly at STUDER. Thanks to the implementation of flow-line assembly in 2015 processing times in final assembly have been reduced by up to 50%, process stability has been significantly increased and quality risks have been significantly reduced. “We strive to achieve perfect processes, so that we can provide excellent products and services. We want to impress our customers with our effectiveness,” says GerdKönig, COO of the Cylindrical Grinding Technology Group.

Standing still is not an option! During the next few years the companies will continue to focus on expanding the existing locations and will continue to invest heavily.

The future starts now

In order to maintain the innovation leadership of STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA in the future, the focus will be on the following projects:

  • Industry 4.0: The fourth industrial revolution concerns the digitalization and networking of machines with their environment. Here the cylindrical grinders are focusing on the acquisition of machine and process data. The goal is predictive maintenance. The aim is to avoid unexpected downtimes for customers and to make production more efficient.
     
  • Smart Sensors: Here STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA develop active, autonomous sensors to fully measure and also actively support the grinding process.
  • Universal Series: Following the successful market launch of the completely revised internal grinding machine series, STUDER is continuing to work on issues that make the customer more successful, as is the norm for a trendsetter.
     
  • Cooling Lubricant: In cooperation with IRPD AG, which operates in 3D printing, STUDER is developing coolant nozzles for laminar flow conditions. These allow the lubricant to be accurately directed into the grinding slot, so that the optimal cooling effect is achieved at the desired location.

Stars and starlets

An application which only STUDER can offer worldwide is the STUDER-WireDress. This enables incredibly complex geometries to be produced efficiently and with very high cutting ability. It helps to reduce process times and make the customer more successful. “We were able to reduce grinding wheel wear by 75%,” confirms one enthusiastic customer.

So do STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA have a place on the Walk of Fame? “Yes!” Gaegauf puts it in a nutshell. If you consider the difficult circumstances in which Switzerland finds itself, it is astonishing how impressively the grinding professionals have been able to assert themselves and still remain the global leader in cylindrical grinding.

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