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NewsDesk: United Grinding Gets Aggressive: Five New Machines

THUN, SWITZERLAND – Nearly 2000 manufacturing professionals from more than 40 countries gathered in this scenic lake city, with commanding views of the Bernese Alps, for the third Grinding Symposium of the United Grinding Group, the world leader in advanced grinding technologies.

Previously known as Körber Schleifring, the company recently rebranded itself as United Grinding Group, with the tagline “Körber Solutions,” in the fall of 2013, part of a strategy to reorient the global marketing of its eight brands, which includes Mägerle, Blohm and Jung for surface and profile grinding; Studer, Schaudt and Mikrosa for cylindrical grinding; and Walter and Ewag for tool grinding.

During a packed press conference in an auditorium at the Thun Expo, Stephan Nell, CEO of United Grinding Group, painted a glowing picture of the company’s financial performance and laid out an exciting vision for the Group’s future –celebrating the launch of five all-new or updated advanced machines at the symposium.
United Grinding
What’s more, Nell said the company will expand on its leadership in grinding by strategically adding other non-grinding processes to its machines and portfolio in the future, part of its focus to offer more efficient, smart production solutions to its customers. Nell said the company was open to adding these technologies through acquisition in addition to its own development. 

“In the past, the main priority was optimal design of the grinding process,” he said. But given the extreme precision of today’s machines, innovation is now coming in other areas. For example, the company now offers a Mägerle machine that Nell said “is in principle no longer a grinding machine, but a grinding-machining center, which can also mill, turn and drill. … This results in real leaps in productivity.”

This approach toward smart multifunction machines should help keep the United Grinding Group on a path toward continued success.

Studer S141

Nell said 2013 was the second most successful in the Group’s history, with a turnover of more than 500 million euros. That success was driven by the company’s business, which is diversified globally and by industry. While 24% of the Group’s orders are from Germany, 23% are from the US, 18% are from Western Europe and 17% are from China, with the balance coming from other regions. Automotive and tooling business makes up nearly half of those orders, with the rest split among the aerospace, energy, tool and die making, precision mechanics and other industries.

The company is also putting a renewed focus on its customer service and is doing a customer service satisfaction survey for its eight brands in an effort to improve. United Grinding already provides support with more than 50 expert help lines and more than 250 service technicians worldwide. In all, the company has 2200 employees, 450 of which are employed in its customer care operations.

New Machine Details

Still, technical prowess is the core ingredient in United Grinding’s success and the company showed off five new machines at the event:

  • Blohm Prokos XT, a multiaxis grinding center for fast stroke grinding of complex workpieces that expands on its predecessor, the Prokos. This new machine also does drilling and milling and offers a toolchanger with 24 positions that offers shorter changeover times.
  • Studer S141, a new universal internal cylindrical grinding machine that offers the ability to internally grind longer workpieces, such as spindle or rotor shafts or other workpieces common to the machine tool and aerospace industry, among others. The maximum internal grinding length is 250 mm while the external length is 150 mm.
  • Ewag Laser Line Ultra, a multiaxis ultra short-pulse laser machine that is aimed at encompassing the tool machining market as more companies move to super hard diamond tools where conventional grinding and eroding have limitations. The use of diamond tools is growing as more industries move toward lightweight materials such as carbon fiber (CFRP) as well as special aluminum alloys. The Laser Line Ultra features a 50-W high-power picosecond laser fully integrated into the machine and software. The entire system only requires a mounting area of 5 m2, making it the most compact high-end laser production center for super-hard tools.
  • SCHAUDT CrankGrind, a crankshaft grinding machine for high-speed grinding of crankshaft main and pin bearings. It is equipped with a dual cross slide that enables synchronous machining of adjacent main and pin bearings with two wheels with a minimum grinding wheel distance of 15 mm. The machining time is said to be significantly reduced, while the grinding quality is improved.
  • JUNG JE600, a modern surface and profile grinding machine for the highest precision and surface quality. This first machine in a new J generation offers a host of potential applications—from individual component production through to small-batch production in all industries. Designed for a grinding range of 300 × 600 mm, the JE600 is especially useful when grinding demanding applications in tool and die making. ME

Heller Looks to Pump Up the Energy

Motorized vehicles were frequently mentioned during Heller WerkTage (literally Working Days) 2014 held at the company’s headquarters in Nürtingen, Germany, May 14–16. That’s not surprising for a number of reasons. For one Nürtingen is not far from Stuttgart, where Karl Benz invented what is considered to be the first automobile. Benz was granted a patent for his invention in 1886. Eight years later the company now known as Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH was founded in Nürtingen.
James D. Sawyer
In the intervening 120 years both companies have grown and most often prospered. That’s illustrated by a little-known fact: since 2004 about 80% of the machining for heavy truck engines has been done on Heller machines. (You probably already know about Benz, his colleague Daimler and the Mercedes vehicles that wear the three-pointed star.)

While automotive and aerospace are the key industries served by Heller, the company is beginning to increase its focus on the energy industry. WerkTage 2014 saw 15 energy customers from the US in attendance, according to Vince Trampus, vice president Sales & Proposals of Heller Machine Tools LP (Troy, MI). Given that Heller has added larger machines to its C Series, the large workpieces often required by the oil & gas industry are well within its reach. In addition, Heller sells a good number of machines to the power generation industry where the drives and generators are similar to equipment found in autos and airplanes.

Among these larger machines is the CP 8000, which was on display in Nürtingen. It is a combined mill/turn five-axis machine that has a work envelope of 1250 × 1200 × 1400 mm. It can accommodate workpiece diameters of as much as 1250 mm with pallet loads up to 2000 kg. This is topped by the new CP 10000, with a work area of 1600 × 1400 × 1600 mm that can accommodate workpiece diameters of 1400 mm and pallet loads of 4000 kg.

To read more about Executive Editor James D. Sawyer’s visit to Heller’s WerkTage 2014, visit

Manufacturing Growth Continues

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in May for the 12th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 60th consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business released on June 2.

The May PMI, which was initially reported incorrectly by ISM and later corrected, actually registered 55.4%, an increase of 0.5 percentage point from April’s reading of 54.9%. All 18 manufacturing industries in the survey reported growth in May.

The ISM report is based on a survey of purchasing and supply executives, and readings below 50 indicate contraction, while those above 50 indicate expansion.

Source: Institute for Supply Management  

Among the responses from those surveyed:

“Aviation is recovering and outlook is optimistic.”

“Steel bars required for automotive applications are in high demand. Supply is very tight and prices are increasing.”

“The improving gas prices are positively impacting our short-term drilling plans.”

For more information, visit ME

Openings & Expansions

Methods Machine Tools Inc. (Sudbury, MA), a leading supplier of innovative precision machine tools, automation and accessories, held a Grand Opening at its new state-of-the-art Technology Center in San Leandro, CA on May 14th and 15th, 2014 with approximately 300 manufacturing professionals. To further celebrate the occasion, Methods held a sake-barrel smashing, a traditional Japanese custom.


Motus Integrated Technologies (Holland, MI), a Tier 1 supplier recently formed by experienced automotive industry executives and Atlas Holdings LLC, has completed its acquisition of the headliner and sun visor business of Johnson Controls Inc. in North America and Europe. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Motus Integrated Technologies is focused on establishing itself as a premier, global interiors supplier providing best-in-class quality, service and innovation to global OEMs.

NewsDesk is edited by Editor-in-Chief Sarah A. Webster. Please email NewsDesk submissions to


This article was first published in the July 2014 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.

Published Date : 7/1/2014

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