https://cdn.mtdcnc.global/cnc/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/06154135/STUDER-Board-Members-2020-scaled.jpg
    Grinding

    Studer makes Diversification an “Art form”

    • By Editor
    • March 18, 2020
    • 8 minute read

    Last month, MTD Magazine attended the Fritz Studer AG ‘Motion Meeting’ at its headquarters in Thun, Switzerland. With 2018 being a record year, it was encouraging to hear the company report another positive set of results in 2019, but this event wasn’t a stakeholders meeting to discuss numbers, it was an introduction to a new brand design, new product enhancements and an overview of the company’s evolution. By Rhys Williams

    Reporting that 2019’s results were positive is somewhat of an understatement. It was the third highest turnover in the cylindrical grinding company’s history. With 34% of new machine sales being ‘new business’ Studer was quick to emphasise its growing market share and successful deviation across a host of industry sectors; but before we go into the finer details on Studer’s Industry 4.0 journey and integrated manufacturing strategy, increased service offering, the maintenance and overhaul business, lets first take a look at the new technology.

    Like many innovation leaders, Studer has invested in additive manufacturing technology to enhance its product offering and at the event, this was presented in the guise of the Generation 2 version of the company’s WireDress® solution. The enhanced WireDress® GEN 2 system is reported to incorporate 15 additively manufactured components that have been developed, designed and manufactured in-house.

    By incorporating additive manufacturing into its product development and production, the new WireDress® GEN 2 has components that could not previously be machined. For the end user, the benefits have already proven evident. Thanks to the new WireDress® GEN2 the company has reduced cycle times for a hip-joint application in the medical sector by 70%. This life cycle solution project was conducted with a customer in Biel, where ceramic components for use in mass spectrometers were form-ground to high precision levels in several grinding trials with the customer. It is claimed the new WireDress® GEN2 can improve productivity by 30%, reduce dressing times by 20% and eliminate wear on the dressing tool. Furthermore, with an 8 degree left to right orientation, the WireDress® GEN2 can allows customers to create any profile with a single tool.

     

    Looking to other innovations, Daniel Huber, CTO at Fritz Studer AG promised: “You can expect a new product from Studer in a few months.” Venturing into more detail on the new hydraulic synchronous tailstock, Mr Huber continues: “The hydraulics of the redesigned synchronous tailstock have been replaced by a servo drive with an electrical clamping function. The repeatability and accuracy of the clamping force have been increased to the exact gram. An even lower contact pressure can now also be selected.”

    The synchronous tailstock will provide 30mm more travel (from 90 to 120mm), allow automated fine adjustment, provide centre pressure and spring tension through the NC axis and it will include a pneumatic clamping chuck.

    For customers that are planning to visit the GrindTec exhibition in Augsburg at the end of March, Studer engineers will be on hand to discuss both the synchronous tailstock, the new Generation 2 WireDress® and the arrival of a new ‘non-contact’ laser measurement system. The new ‘non-contact’ laser measurement system will be on the S41 machine at GrindTec demonstrating how it can reduce measurement and checking times by more than 60%.

    In a modern era where automation is a critical factor to success, Studer also discussed its easyLoad entry-level automation model. Pr†berholung Schleifmaschine S40

    oviding a low-cost option for feeding and removing parts to and from the grinding machine, the easyLoad is compatible with the S33, S31, S22 and S41 machines. Incorporating a portal loader system with V-gripper, the Studer easyLoad system is suitable for shaft components up to a length of 300mm and a gripper diameter of 4 to 30mm; it therefore covers the majority of parts produced on the machines. The parts are supplied via a standardised, adjustable synchronised conveyor. Studer also offers suitable solutions in collaboration with external suppliers with additional functions such as deburring, brushing or the re-measuring ground parts that can be offered for automation systems in the mid-range.

    Studer claims there are no upper limits to automation solutions; and the company has implemented many different combinations of machines and technologies to deliver optimal solutions. The company is now looking at additional functional solutions such as reading and marking codes on ground parts as well as sorting, measurement and match grinding. In the USA, parent company United Grinding Group has developed the flexLoad loading system, a six-axis robot that can move into the machine on a seventh axis for workpiece changeover. Currently available for the Studer S33, S31 and S41 in the USA, expect to see similar offerings in Europe in the near future.

    The delegation at the event were also introduced to the progress that Studer is making with its digitalization strategy. The company has four fundamental priorities that include Connectivity, Usability, Monitoring and Productivity. Forming the digital pillars of the United Grinding Digital Solutions strategy, Stephan Stoll, COO of Fritz Studer AG explains: “Digitalization is finding its way into production. As a user of our own machines, we are also the internal customer, so to speak. We can support our developers with practical tests and suggestions for product improvements, from the user’s point of view.”

    Taking this integration further, Studer has just made significant investments at its Steffisburg location with a major cubic production project successfully completed last year. “Technically harmonised milling centres allows automated, high-precision manufacturing of our key components”, says Stephan Stoll. A further investment was also made in component production and this concerns the complete production of spindle shafts. “We also want to maintain and develop our expertise and efficiency and increase our internal value added,” explains Stoll.

    †berholung Schleifmaschine S40

     

    The company has also incorporated smart manufacturing into its cutting tool management processes. The entire life cycle of a tool is now digitally controlled and monitored. Each tool has digital marking by means of a chip or smart code and can be allocated to a preparation process, an order or a machine. The control cabinet design and assembly process chain also holds potential, which can be optimised with digital support.

    “Finally, digitalization is also finding its way into assembly”, says Stoll. Instead of using outdated drawings, the assembler drags the most r

    ecent data as a 3D representation directly onto the screen at the workstation and has optimal working documents. Through a chat function, the employee can easily send questions and ideas for improvement to the relevant engineering department and create a short and direct feedback loop. Whilst these are fascinating insights into how the company is increasingly integrating Industry 4.0 technologies into daily business functions, the downstream benefits to end-users are also increasingly evident.

    With more automation solutions, more technology enhancements and now greater flexibility and production controls and efficiency on an internal basis, Studer is putting the customer at the forefront of every facet of its business. Demonstrating this, in 2019, the company’s ‘Customer Care’ department was further developed with organisational changes. From a business perspective, this clearly yielded results with machine overhauls and maintenance departments achieving a record turnover with double-digit growth. Sandro Bottazzo, the CSO at Studer adds: “Machine overhauls are an important business area for us and ideally complement our new machine business. This means that our customers can have the complete range, from a new machine through to a machine overhaul, from a single source.”

    Fritz Studer AG – bemalte Maschine S31

    The growth in ‘Customer Care’ department turnover has arrived from employing more service engineers, streamlining internal processes with Industry 4.0 processes, and nowhere is this more evident than the overhaul department. The popularity, longevity and quality of a Studer machine is a given, but when the machine eventually gets tired, the Studer overhaul service has become a viable and popular option. A machine overhaul turns an old machine into one that is as good as new. Studer has been carrying out machine overhauls for 20 years and more than 25 employees are involved in giving machines and assemblies a new lease of life. Over 400 machines have been completely overhauled to date, as have countless assemblies. Irrespective of whether a machine or an assembly such as a spindle or tailstock, they all have one thing in common – an overhaul turns an ageing product to a quality and precision level that is comparable to that of a new machine.

     

     

     

     

    The Industrial Challanges

    We can all sit and discuss the ‘state-of-the-industry’ and form an opinion, but companies like Studer have a knack of adapting to market conditions, adopting new processes, technology and strategies to continually evolve with considerable success.

    The company acknowledged that customer segments developed very differently in 2019 compared to previous years. In the automotive sector, in particular; market conditions were much more challenging than in 2018. However, thanks to its broad diversification strategy, Studer was able to offset weaker market segments with stronger ones. For example, the aviation industry was one of the segments that flourished in 2019.

    “Our company has been well positioned in the aerospace customer segment for many years and we are a preferred supplier of many component manufacturers”, continues Bottazzo, when reviewing the past year. Studer sees one key to its success in its global customer-focused sales and service organisation. This is also one of the reasons why the proportion of new customers was almost 40% last year. Smaller markets for Studer, such as the UK, achieved a very good order intake in 2019 and this is largely due to the size of the UK’s aerospace industry. The market share was also increased in the company’s home market of Switzerland.

     

     

    https://cdn.mtdcnc.global/cnc/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/06154135/STUDER-Board-Members-2020-scaled.jpg

    Studer makes Diversification an “Art form”

    Last month, MTD Magazine attended the Fritz Studer AG ‘Motion Meeting’ at its headquarters in Thun, Switzerland. With 2018 being a record year, it was encouraging to hear the company report another positive set of results in 2019, but this event wasn’t a stakeholders meeting to discuss numbers, it was an introduction to a new brand design, new product enhancements and an overview of the company’s evolution. By Rhys Williams

    Reporting that 2019’s results were positive is somewhat of an understatement. It was the third highest turnover in the cylindrical grinding company’s history. With 34% of new machine sales being ‘new business’ Studer was quick to emphasise its growing market share and successful deviation across a host of industry sectors; but before we go into the finer details on Studer’s Industry 4.0 journey and integrated manufacturing strategy, increased service offering, the maintenance and overhaul business, lets first take a look at the new technology.

    Like many innovation leaders, Studer has invested in additive manufacturing technology to enhance its product offering and at the event, this was presented in the guise of the Generation 2 version of the company’s WireDress® solution. The enhanced WireDress® GEN 2 system is reported to incorporate 15 additively manufactured components that have been developed, designed and manufactured in-house.

    By incorporating additive manufacturing into its product development and production, the new WireDress® GEN 2 has components that could not previously be machined. For the end user, the benefits have already proven evident. Thanks to the new WireDress® GEN2 the company has reduced cycle times for a hip-joint application in the medical sector by 70%. This life cycle solution project was conducted with a customer in Biel, where ceramic components for use in mass spectrometers were form-ground to high precision levels in several grinding trials with the customer. It is claimed the new WireDress® GEN2 can improve productivity by 30%, reduce dressing times by 20% and eliminate wear on the dressing tool. Furthermore, with an 8 degree left to right orientation, the WireDress® GEN2 can allows customers to create any profile with a single tool.

     

    Looking to other innovations, Daniel Huber, CTO at Fritz Studer AG promised: “You can expect a new product from Studer in a few months.” Venturing into more detail on the new hydraulic synchronous tailstock, Mr Huber continues: “The hydraulics of the redesigned synchronous tailstock have been replaced by a servo drive with an electrical clamping function. The repeatability and accuracy of the clamping force have been increased to the exact gram. An even lower contact pressure can now also be selected.”

    The synchronous tailstock will provide 30mm more travel (from 90 to 120mm), allow automated fine adjustment, provide centre pressure and spring tension through the NC axis and it will include a pneumatic clamping chuck.

    For customers that are planning to visit the GrindTec exhibition in Augsburg at the end of March, Studer engineers will be on hand to discuss both the synchronous tailstock, the new Generation 2 WireDress® and the arrival of a new ‘non-contact’ laser measurement system. The new ‘non-contact’ laser measurement system will be on the S41 machine at GrindTec demonstrating how it can reduce measurement and checking times by more than 60%.

    In a modern era where automation is a critical factor to success, Studer also discussed its easyLoad entry-level automation model. Pr†berholung Schleifmaschine S40

    oviding a low-cost option for feeding and removing parts to and from the grinding machine, the easyLoad is compatible with the S33, S31, S22 and S41 machines. Incorporating a portal loader system with V-gripper, the Studer easyLoad system is suitable for shaft components up to a length of 300mm and a gripper diameter of 4 to 30mm; it therefore covers the majority of parts produced on the machines. The parts are supplied via a standardised, adjustable synchronised conveyor. Studer also offers suitable solutions in collaboration with external suppliers with additional functions such as deburring, brushing or the re-measuring ground parts that can be offered for automation systems in the mid-range.

    Studer claims there are no upper limits to automation solutions; and the company has implemented many different combinations of machines and technologies to deliver optimal solutions. The company is now looking at additional functional solutions such as reading and marking codes on ground parts as well as sorting, measurement and match grinding. In the USA, parent company United Grinding Group has developed the flexLoad loading system, a six-axis robot that can move into the machine on a seventh axis for workpiece changeover. Currently available for the Studer S33, S31 and S41 in the USA, expect to see similar offerings in Europe in the near future.

    The delegation at the event were also introduced to the progress that Studer is making with its digitalization strategy. The company has four fundamental priorities that include Connectivity, Usability, Monitoring and Productivity. Forming the digital pillars of the United Grinding Digital Solutions strategy, Stephan Stoll, COO of Fritz Studer AG explains: “Digitalization is finding its way into production. As a user of our own machines, we are also the internal customer, so to speak. We can support our developers with practical tests and suggestions for product improvements, from the user’s point of view.”

    Taking this integration further, Studer has just made significant investments at its Steffisburg location with a major cubic production project successfully completed last year. “Technically harmonised milling centres allows automated, high-precision manufacturing of our key components”, says Stephan Stoll. A further investment was also made in component production and this concerns the complete production of spindle shafts. “We also want to maintain and develop our expertise and efficiency and increase our internal value added,” explains Stoll.

    †berholung Schleifmaschine S40

     

    The company has also incorporated smart manufacturing into its cutting tool management processes. The entire life cycle of a tool is now digitally controlled and monitored. Each tool has digital marking by means of a chip or smart code and can be allocated to a preparation process, an order or a machine. The control cabinet design and assembly process chain also holds potential, which can be optimised with digital support.

    “Finally, digitalization is also finding its way into assembly”, says Stoll. Instead of using outdated drawings, the assembler drags the most r

    ecent data as a 3D representation directly onto the screen at the workstation and has optimal working documents. Through a chat function, the employee can easily send questions and ideas for improvement to the relevant engineering department and create a short and direct feedback loop. Whilst these are fascinating insights into how the company is increasingly integrating Industry 4.0 technologies into daily business functions, the downstream benefits to end-users are also increasingly evident.

    With more automation solutions, more technology enhancements and now greater flexibility and production controls and efficiency on an internal basis, Studer is putting the customer at the forefront of every facet of its business. Demonstrating this, in 2019, the company’s ‘Customer Care’ department was further developed with organisational changes. From a business perspective, this clearly yielded results with machine overhauls and maintenance departments achieving a record turnover with double-digit growth. Sandro Bottazzo, the CSO at Studer adds: “Machine overhauls are an important business area for us and ideally complement our new machine business. This means that our customers can have the complete range, from a new machine through to a machine overhaul, from a single source.”

    Fritz Studer AG – bemalte Maschine S31

    The growth in ‘Customer Care’ department turnover has arrived from employing more service engineers, streamlining internal processes with Industry 4.0 processes, and nowhere is this more evident than the overhaul department. The popularity, longevity and quality of a Studer machine is a given, but when the machine eventually gets tired, the Studer overhaul service has become a viable and popular option. A machine overhaul turns an old machine into one that is as good as new. Studer has been carrying out machine overhauls for 20 years and more than 25 employees are involved in giving machines and assemblies a new lease of life. Over 400 machines have been completely overhauled to date, as have countless assemblies. Irrespective of whether a machine or an assembly such as a spindle or tailstock, they all have one thing in common – an overhaul turns an ageing product to a quality and precision level that is comparable to that of a new machine.

     

     

     

     

    The Industrial Challanges

    We can all sit and discuss the ‘state-of-the-industry’ and form an opinion, but companies like Studer have a knack of adapting to market conditions, adopting new processes, technology and strategies to continually evolve with considerable success.

    The company acknowledged that customer segments developed very differently in 2019 compared to previous years. In the automotive sector, in particular; market conditions were much more challenging than in 2018. However, thanks to its broad diversification strategy, Studer was able to offset weaker market segments with stronger ones. For example, the aviation industry was one of the segments that flourished in 2019.

    “Our company has been well positioned in the aerospace customer segment for many years and we are a preferred supplier of many component manufacturers”, continues Bottazzo, when reviewing the past year. Studer sees one key to its success in its global customer-focused sales and service organisation. This is also one of the reasons why the proportion of new customers was almost 40% last year. Smaller markets for Studer, such as the UK, achieved a very good order intake in 2019 and this is largely due to the size of the UK’s aerospace industry. The market share was also increased in the company’s home market of Switzerland.