"We make our customers more successful," confirms Jens Bleher, CEO of STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA, at the annual press conference. The cylindrical grinding professionals are able to do this thanks to their flexibility in production and the constant pursuit of innovation. It is not for nothing that STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA are world leaders in the industry with their products.
Press conference STUDER, SCHAUDT, MIKROSA 2018
"We succeeded in clearly exceeding the plan in 2017," says Jens Bleher, CEO of STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA. The start of the year was a success, the Spring Machine Tool Exhibitions were successful and the positive trend continued until the end of the year. As early as June, STUDER received more orders than planned. More orders were received from almost every sector. The declines following the diesel scandal could be absorbed, and in the automotive industry a substantial normalization of investment activity was noticed. The distribution of orders received by STUDER across geographic regions shows that Western Europe continues to be the largest sales market. The business in Germany was increased again significantly. North America was able to maintain its position. China made the biggest jump due to the rapid development of the market last year. Here, STUDER received several major projects in the automotive industry. The development in the rest of Asia was restrained.
SCHAUDT MIKROSA rose sharply after a weaker 2016. In the spring, the order intake picked up and by the end of the year a significant increase was achieved. Especially in the automotive sector an increase in demand was noted. "The regular customers from Germany reported back impressively," says a delighted Jens Bleher. This is also reflected in the re-gional distribution. SCHAUDT MIKROSA received 50% of the orders from Germany, 25% from China. Further potential can be seen in the rest of Europe and the USA.
With record sales, Customer Care underlined its strong position once again. The ongoing improvements of the organization at STUDER show success, all plan values were exceeded in 2017. The increase in efficiency in service and the further improvement of the adherence to schedules for maintenance form the basis for further expansion of the business.
Last year, SCHAUDT MIKROSA was able to successfully exploit the opportunities for retooling projects at the major automotive suppliers. Customer Care has lived up to its role as an important pillar alongside machine sales. With more than 200 employees in customer care worldwide, the division was further strengthened and expanded. "We invest a great deal in the training and further education of our employees," says Sandro Bottazzo, CSO of STUDER, and have "developed a development and career roadmap for our service technicians, among other things." By means of this, potential fields of development are already shown to young, potential candidates. "With our Service Academy, we have also created the environment to optimally train and certify our employees and representatives in well-equipped facilities," continues Bottazzo. Among other things, STUDER certifies the service technicians according to three main categories: Essential, Advanced and Expert.
Two services were highlighted at the press conference in particular: system maintenance and the overhaul department. With the maintenance contracts specifically tailored to the machine, STUDER has a service that is used by more than 1,500 customers a year. In the overhaul and rebuild department, more than 20 employees annually overhaul 500 assemblies and over 30 machines.
Bleher and Bottazzo also explained that STUDER is committed to inspiring its customers. This only works with STUDER-enthusiastic employees. Here, too, STUDER wants to play a leading role as a modern employer and in the coming months will specifically set up and implement projects relating to employer branding. The aim is to find and retain qualified employees and to become better and better all the time.
"Being good is the worst enemy of becoming better," warns Stephan Stoll, COO of STUDER. To avoid this, Stoll defines three priorities for 2018:
- A solid foundation
- Highest precision
- Benchmark in efficiency
The foundation is the offspring. Ten percent of STUDER SCHAUDT and MIKROSA employees are apprentices. The dual education system in Switzerland and Germany is a guarantor for the positive development of the companies, and indeed of the economy. "Did you know that training as a grinding specialist only exists with STUDER?" Stoll announces with pride.
Precise grinding machines require precise components. That is why the cylindrical grinders are expanding their core competence in mechanical processing. This is achieved with the commissioning of a large 5-axis milling centre; two more 5-axis centres with integrated turning function are planned for 2018. This is one of the biggest investments in this area. This system offers the ideal prerequisite for digitizing the manufacturing according to the 4.0 standards. Additional investments in measuring machines support the claim to highest precision.
Efficiency is being driven forward by a range of projects, for ex-ample with the development of the new universal grinding machine from STUDER. STUDER, SCHAUDT and MIKROSA are also implementing a number of projects within the Industry 4.0 initiative of the United Grinding Group. Like the "digital assembly instructions" which will be started as an App on a tablet. This will be introduced by the cylindrical group on a wide basis in 2018. The assembly becomes paperless. At the same time, this ensures that processes and measured values are completely documented and that, in the event of a ser-vice deployment, data is quickly available.
A look back at the 2017 production figures shows an impressive picture. The increase after the second quarter was handled well, which was not always easy. The worldwide boom in the capital goods industry led to bottlenecks in various components. Procurement times, which were extended from 12 to 50 weeks, posed a particular challenge to production. Nev-ertheless, delivery times have been kept constant, thereby helping to increase market share.
"In Switzerland, we have neither oil nor gold…. but we have the most accurate grinding ma-chines in the world, "says Daniel Huber, CTO. The resources that are tapped for the production include: software, digitization, sensors and coolants.
"Agile Software Development" A smart development method that delivers a usable result every 30 days. The success is based on the close cooperation in the team and follows a well-defined procedure. It is a methodical approach that should not only be used in the field of software development, but will also be introduced in the electromechanical field this year too.
"Digitization" The OPC-UA standard was successfully introduced. With the secure connection to the machine, process information is easily transferred to external systems. The customer can easily access a large selection of signals, integrate this into his application and is always the master of his confidential data.
"Sensors" Intelligent sensors provide insights for the early failure detection of machine components. An important step in the direction of predictable maintenance. Specially developed sensors enable a process-reliable approach of the grinding wheel to the dresser and to the workpiece. Data analysis has posed a challenge for many years. STUDER has accepted this challenge and with the development of the "Studer Sensitron 4.0", takes contact detection into a new dimension. The first stage of this technology is already in use on the S11 and on the new universal grinding machine.
"Coolants" Together with IRPD AG, which is active in 3-D printing technology, STUDER is developing coolant nozzles with laminar flow characteristics. This allows the coolant to be precisely directed into the grinding gap thus achieving the optimum cooling effect at the desired point. This significantly improves the processing quality and process times.
An application that only STUDER can offer worldwide is the STUDER-WireDress®. This process enables hitherto unattainable geometries to be realized efficiently and with enormous 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 an enthusiastic customer. This year STUDER launches the 2nd generation. New is that WireDress® is located behind the workhead and thus the full range of the machine can always be used. This compact design could be developed thanks to the use of additive manufacturing processes.