Studer unveils new grinding machines in middle of a Swiss mountain

Grinding specialist Studer unveils two latest grinding machines at press conference in the Swiss Alps
Grinding specialist Studer unveils two latest grinding machines at press conference in the Swiss Alps

Swiss grinding specialist Studer is renowned for its somewhat ‘unusual’ press conference venues and this year the company certainly didn’t disappoint with an event targeted towards bringing the press up to speed with company performance and unveiling its latest S31 and S33 grinding machines. Dave Tudor reports from the middle of a mountain in Switzerland.

Double take

Swiss grinding specialist Studer is renowned for its somewhat ‘unusual’ press conference venues and this year the company certainly didn’t disappoint with an event targeted towards bringing the press up to speed with company performance and unveiling its latest S31 and S33 grinding machines. Dave Tudor reports from the middle of a mountain in Switzerland.


The Hagerbach Test Gallery, located in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland is a unique facility where engineers and scientists have been developing and testing tunnel construction techniques for almost 50 years. Founded 1970, it attracts specialists from all over the world who use the subterranean facility as a research laboratory and training camp.

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.”

Market penetration


Equally diverse is Studer’s market presence by sector. Whilst Mr Bottazzo acknowledges a slight slowing of activity in the automotive market – which is somewhat predictable because of ‘dieselgate’ and ongoing combustion engine vs electric motor developments, this has been offset by healthy growth in other areas such as small precision manufacturers and jobshops, machine producers and the mould and die sector. Aerospace and medical also remain strong.

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.”

Press and Studer staff in front of the S33 universal grinding machine
Press and Studer staff in front of the S33 universal grinding machine

Technology and operations


"Precise grinding machines require precise components,” reinforces Jens Bleher, CEO at Studer, “and that’s why we’re further expanding our core competence in machining. We’ve invested heavily in three large 5-axis milling machine centres with integrated rotational functionality.

“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.

New products in the spotlight


Onto the new developments unveiled in Switzerland. The brand new, totally redesigned S31 and S33 universal cylindrical grinding machines will be officially launched at the CIMT exhibition in Beijing, China taking place from 15-20 April 2019.

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.

Better by design


Another significant development is the Granitan bases used on the new S31 and S31 machines. Jens Bleher explains: “The best machine bases are becoming Smart – the machine base and coolant tray are now totally integrated and a new temperature control concept improves machine stability and accuracy.

“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.

Studer www.studer.com

Company

Studer

Related Articles

More than meets the eye  

While the humble rumbler is often consigned to a dark corner in a factory and is one of the least likely machines to be replaced until it collapses, there is much more to vibratory finishing than meets the eye, as PDJ Vibro will explain to visitors attending MACH this year.
6 years ago Features
Most recent Articles

TIMTOS 2023 set to return in March

The Taipei International Machine Tool Show, also known as TIMTOS, will return in 2023 from March 6 to 11 at Nangang Exhibition Centre, Hall 1 and 2 and TWTC Hall 1.
2 days ago News

Login / Sign up