Sharpening shop benefits from automation

The global pandemic has impacted businesses around the world, but for Aiguisatek, the impact was compounded by stringent local regulation in the Quebec province that all but shut down manufacturing in the area. Luckily for the Delson-based company, its investment in a Vollmer CHD 270 eight-axis TCT circular saw blade sharpening machine with Vollmer ND250 automation station enabled Aiguisatek to run unmanned production throughout the pandemic.

In 2015 Aiguisatek expanded into PCD cutting tools, increasing its offering and market share with existing customers, and gaining new clients. Since this diversification, the company has witnessed 25% year-on-year growth, expanding beyond its local customer base to support clients across the Quebec and Ontario areas. Of course, such aggressive growth, not just in PCD tooling but also TCT saw blades, required additional investment. So, in 2019 Aiguisatek acquired a Vollmer CHD270 eight-axis tooth-top and face-grinding machine with ND250 automation solution as part of a $1.5m investment programme.

Alluding to this growth, Aiguisatek president Lisa Goulet says: “PCD tooling has been a game-changer for us and has accelerated our growth. In a short time, the breakdown of our products is now 35% PCD and 65% carbide tooling. Simultaneously, our TCT saw blade department has grown by an average of 15% annually and we’re now servicing over 1000 saw blades a week. We wouldn’t have sustained this growth without our investment in the Vollmer CHD270 and ND250. Almost 90% of our customer base is in the woodworking industry. We now have three staff delivering/collecting saws and tools daily to manufacturers of everything from cabinets and furniture, through to windows, doors and the construction industry.”

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New MD at Trumpf

Trumpf has appointed Marcella Montelatici as its managing director for sales and service. She succeeds Reinhold Groß, who had held the position since 2014. In her new role, Montelatici is responsible for the sale of machines, services, software, digitisation solutions and consulting on all aspects of networked manufacturing. “The success of our customers is a top priority at Trumpf,” she says. “We support and accompany them in their development, and find the right solution – whether it’s a fully automated system, a digital upgrade of production or a classic stand-alone machine.”

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Robot supports sawing operations

The fast, thorough cleaning of sawn parts and their location-appropriate storage: an employee of a different kind now performs this work at Schwilk Automatendrehteile – a robot. The manufacturer of turned parts from the town of Heroldstatt has opted for the MEBArobots solution in the course of further automation, matching its MEBAmat 330 bandsaw.

Managing director Jochen Schwilk says: “The robot offers us significantly more flexibility in the resource planning of employees. It takes care of tedious cleaning operations after sawing, removing chips and stubborn cooling lubricant. The robot also provides the positional storage of parts in a grid box or on special pallets.”

Previously, our employee had three Meba bandsaws under his care. However, thanks to the robot, he can now prepare other orders and has expanded his range of work in the material warehouse and incoming goods facility.

In the past, Schwilk’s cleaning process repeatedly led to production plant stoppages. However, since the robot now performs this task, stoppages are almost a thing of the past. MEBArobots is in use around the clock and delivers the same high level of work. Often overnight, the new ‘colleague’ produces parts unmanned. Should a problem occur at night, such as breaking a bandsaw blade, the robot reliably ensures that the system stops and that no consequential damage occurs to the saw or the robot.

MEBArobots contains know-how specifically geared to sawing applications. Not just any robot is connected to a saw. With the robot manufacturer Nachi and Meba, two professionals co-operate to ensure that robots and saws communicate smoothly with each other. The user receives a customer-specific system from a single source: an integrated solution.

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Produmax achieves Fit 4 Nuclear status

Produmax has achieved Fit 4 Nuclear status (F4N), a prestigious award handed over by the Nuclear AMRC that benchmarks performance against the highest standards stipulated by nuclear top-tier companies. A tailored action plan of business improvements has been agreed and put in place through a series of on-site visits to close gaps in operations and processes. Reviewed practices include safety and continuous improvement, business strategy, and shared communications. An active S5 programme and near-miss reporting also featured high on the list.

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Strong growth in machine tool orders

Orders received by the German machine tool industry in the second quarter of 2021 were 103% up on the previous year’s figure. While orders from Germany rose by 81%, foreign orders were 114% higher than in the previous 12 months. This significant increase in orders has led Oxford Economics, the VDW’s forecasting partner, to put production growth at 8%, two points higher than in the spring. This figure would bring the volume for the current year to €13.2bn. Nevertheless, there is still some way to go before reaching the peak of 2018-19. At that time, the industry achieved a result of €17bn.

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