It definitely is true in manufacturing that if you snooze you will lose. The competition is fierce, fast, formidable, and persistent. This is just as true for machine toolmakers as it is for contract manufacturers and OEMs. And since this issue contains an article on grinding, let’s take a look at one incident in that segment of the industry that illustrates the speed with which change is being driven.
In February 2014 United Grinding introduced its smallest production grinding machine, the Studer S11. Fast forward three years and a new and improved version of the compact S11 was introduced at the company’s annual Motion Meeting in Switzerland. The machine now includes the Studer standard grinding cycles and grinding software for offline programming. In conjunction with a FANUC control, the S11 has become more flexible and agile. In addition, two different cabinet designs are offered, one that works best with manual loading and the other that is optimized for vertical loading by means of a portal crane.
These are major changes to the design of a three-year-old machine—the smallest in Studer’s cylindrical grinding lineup. But it’s what is needed to not just keep up with the Joneses, but to try to get—and stay—ahead of them.
To help educate readers on the advances being made in machine tools we are presenting a series of articles throughout the summer that details the evolution and revolution that is taking place.
In this issue beginning on page 41 Jim Lorincz details the technological advances being made in vertical machining centers. On page 51 Alan Rooks examines the innovations being applied to centerless grinders.
Our examination of the improvements in machine tool technology continues in the July issue with a look at multitasking machines, then in August the focus will turn to horizontal machining centers.
The technology is just part of the story of course. Shops wanting to stay ahead of the competition also need to learn about and even innovate cutting edge ways to use the advanced machine tools that are available. Remember, if you don’t do it the other guys will.
Count on it.