But Hagerbach, with its staggering 90km labyrinth of tunnels is not just an attraction for scientists and engineers – it also hosts around 10,000 visitors each year for tours and events such as classical music concerts, fashion shows and as Studer will testify, the launch of new grinding machines.
Before the grand unveiling, Studer CSO (chief strategy officer), Sandro Bottazzo provided an overview of the company’s recent business performance. As he explained, 2018 was a record year for the grinding specialist: “It has always been our objective to inspire our customers and make them more successful,” he begins, “because at the end of the day, our success depends on their success.
“So I’m delighted to announce that in terms of turnover and order intake, 2018 was a record year for Studer,” he reveals. “We sold record numbers of favorit, S11, S33 and S31 cylindrical grinding machines and delivered products to more than 40 countries globally. A particular milestone was the sale of the 1,000th S31 which clearly demonstrates its popularity, longevity and quality.
“A really encouraging statistic is that new business is up 35%; I believe our real USP is our strong and diverse product portfolio coupled with the knowledge and expertise of our people across all regions of the world.”
He also commented on Studer having its biggest ever market share – mainly due to significant penetration into Asia and Europe as well as North America.
Customer care is evidently high on the agenda at Studer; it employs 200 members of staff in this particular area and of that figure, 130 are local service technicians operating worldwide. Customer care helplines are offered in ten different languages.
"At our customers' side quickly and competently – that’s the Studer aim," Mr Bottazzo affirms. “In order to provide even better support, Solution Support has been introduced – a measure that helps the company to counteract any shortages in skilled employees and further improve the intercompany dissemination of knowledge.”
“As well as higher efficiency, these new machines will enable even better precision through one-hit machining and reduced clamping of components. The system offers an ideal platform for advancing our digital manufacturing strategies and Industry 4.0 operations.”
At the heart of Studer’s production is the continuous ‘Fliessmontage+’ flow assembly system. Having generated record production levels in 2017, it went one stage better in 2018 – setting new productivity standards in efficient machine manufacturing.
“Through our investments, we were able to maintain the shortest delivery times in the grinding industry,” Mr Bleher declares.
One of the major upgrades with both machines is the expanded distance between centre options. Now, customers can select from 400mm, 650mm, 1,000mm or 1,600mm – a significant improvement over the 650mm or 1,000mm options previously available, offering the ability to process a wider range of workpiece lengths.
The S33 has been equipped with a new fixed wheelhead with swivel positions of 0/15/30° which offers the flexibility to undertake straight and angular grinding from a single machine. For jobshops in particular, this effectively means two machines in one with changeover times being less than 30 minutes.
The wheelhead can be equipped with a motor spindle for external grinding and a high frequency spindle for internal grinding in different configurations. Three grinding wheels ensure that the workpiece is machined uniformly and rapidly. The machine has a B-axis with an automatic 1° Hirth coupling. Maximum workpiece weight is 150 kg and control is via Fanuc Oi-TF with StuderWIN operating software.
“This means the temperature in the machine remains constant despite potential fluctuations in ambient temperature. Part of the new temperature control concept is integrated coolant tray flushing; this helps keep the machine clean and the temperature stable.”
Not only has a newly developed Z-axis slide on the S31 and S33 been equipped with a double T-slot for dressing grinding wheels; it also features specially designed left and right bellows to prevent the accumulation of grinding chips. An extended X-axis stroke of 370mm enables additional wheelhead variants.
With the new machines, Studer reports that the cost and complexity of machine set-ups and resetting has been significantly reduced – made possible by the fixing of the dressing device on the double T-slot dresser of the longitudinal slide and by Quick-Set, Studer’s grinding wheel alignment software.
On the subject of software, StuderTechnology automatically calculates optimal grinding parameters in a matter of seconds. Both machines can be easily automated for series production through the standardised loader interface.
Features specific to the S31 include StuderGuide guideways with a damping component in the direction of movement. The B-axis can optionally be equipped with a 0.00005° resolution direct drive and the wheelhead can take up to three grinding wheels – a combination of external/internal, up to a maximum of two external or internal grinding spindles.
For high-precision form grinding with the Fanuc 31i-B control system, the S31 features a workhead with direct measuring system and the StuderFormHSM software program.