UK sales manager appointed at Colchester

Due to continued growth in the UK market, Colchester Machine Tool Solutions is appointing Keith Clowe as UK sales manager. The move is to support ongoing development of the company across the UK with regard to products such as CNC turning centres and lathes, vertical machining centres, and the company’s most recent introduction, TYKMA laser-marking machines.

Joining Colchester Machine Tool Solutions in 2017 as sales manager for the West Midlands and South Wales, Clowe has developed many key accounts across the region that he will continue to support on an ongoing basis. His background in engineering and project management allows Clowe to provide technical support and expertise to customers across a variety of applications.

For further information

Trailer factory

Schmitz Cargobull, a European manufacturer of semi-trailers, is opening a new factory in Manchester to build customised vehicles for UK and Irish operators. CEO Andreas Schmitz says: “The UK is a key transport and logistics market for us, as well as an important semi-trailer and rigid truck market. With the new plant we are moving closer to our customers and ensuring that we can address their needs by offering the most reliable chassis and a proven locally-produced body.” Manufacturing at the 7,500 sq m facility in Wythenshawe will start this summer with a capacity of 50 units per week.

For further information

125 years of Krebs & Riedel

The cornerstone of the Krebs & Riedel grinding wheel factory in Bad Karlshafen was laid some 125 years ago. Today the family-owned company operates worldwide as a manufacturer of individually manufactured precision grinding wheels and impresses with innovation and solution-oriented application technology advice.

Above all, customers from the automotive, aerospace, mechanical engineering, medical and wind power sectors rely upon the high-precision products manufactured by Krebs & Riedel. In addition to conventional grinding wheels, cutting wheels, cup grinding wheels and grinding segments with ceramic and synthetic resin bonds, Krebs & Riedel also manufactures CBN and diamond tools with ceramic bonds, as well as honing rings.
The medium-sized family business with over 250 committed employees has an annual turnover of €31m. Krebs & Riedel has subsidiaries in China and India, and a distribution network in more than 30 countries worldwide. The company emphasises the importance of research and development, and works closely with several research institutions.

In the history of Krebs & Riedel there have been many crises in which the management team has withstood external influences. For instance, the company survived two world wars and the Great Depression of 1929. In 1965, Bad Karlshafen was hit by the Heinrich flood after which various buildings were demolished. In 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehmann Brothers plunged the world into a severe economic crisis and many thousands of people lost their jobs. In 2020, Covid-19 prompted another global economic collapse but, despite the pandemic, the company is positioned for the future. Important investments in sustainability management and the expansion of the Bad Karlshafen plant are ongoing.

For further information

Mass finishing of garden shears

Improved productivity, increased manufacturing capacity, better quality and lower costs. These were the demands of a leading garden tool manufacturer, Gardena, when it invested in a new mass finishing system for the deburring and polishing of garden shear blades. Rösler met this challenge with a bespoke Keramo-Finish process that runs in a double batch centrifugal disk finishing machine (FKS 35.1 A2-So) featuring fully automatic workpiece handling.

In a two-stage process, the stamped and laser-cut blades are deburred and polished in the FKS finishing machine. Subsequently, the machine dries the blades in an energy-efficient rotary dryer in preparation for the next manufacturing step.

Previously, the lower blades required two separate finishing operations, one in a rotary vibrator and one in a centrifugal disk finishing machine. To combine these two operations into one and adapt them to the latest manufacturing requirements, Gardena replaced its existing mass finishing equipment. The company chose a finishing solution from Rösler, which supplied the previous solution many years ago.

Based on the surface finish of the steel blades that is required for the next manufacturing steps, process engineers ran a series of processing trials in the Rösler test lab with various processing media and different parameters. The best results came from a Keramo-Finish process in a centrifugal disk finishing machine. This process includes the use of a ceramic media with minimal abrasive characteristics in combination with a grinding and polishing paste and a cleaning compound that offers a distinct brightening effect.

The new process allows the deburring and polishing of all blades in a single machine. Moreover, depending on the workpiece, the Keramo-Finish process reduces processing times by 25% and allows bigger workpiece batches. This has reduced operational costs by around 10%, with greatly improved finishing results.

For further information

Ex-apprentice appointed to COO

A former Sheffield Forgemasters apprentice now sits on the company’s board of directors as chief operating officer (COO). Gareth Barker joined in 1996 as an apprentice engineer and since progressed through the company, working across all production divisions in various managerial roles. He now takes overall responsibility for: all site operations; technical and quality output; health, safety and the environment; and the implementation of specific new plant investments. Barker will work with the company’s CEO, CFO and non-executive directors to shape and develop the future of the business.

For further information