MMS Blog

“When people think about indexables, the same eight or nine brands always come to mind,” Brian Norris said as the tour bus wound its way through the mists toward the mountaintop lake. As the recently appointed president of cutting tool supplier Dormer Pramet’s North American division, Mr. Norris seemed eager to put big plans into action. “There’s plenty of room for another brand,” he continued. “Small- and medium-sized job shops, general machining applications, MRO—we see opportunity there.”

The 11-person group on the bus was dwarfed by some of the other international contingents headed toward the summit that day. And yet, these select American, Mexican and Canadian distributors are the vanguard of Dormer Pramet’s advance into a market that, along with China, is considered the best opportunity for expanding the Pramet line of indexables beyond Europe. These particular North Americans had been invited to travel across the Atlantic because the company considers them the best able (and most likely) to cultivate the kinds of on-the-ground relationships that will be critical to expanding the line in their home countries. “Salespeople aren’t enough,” says Dan Murrell, national sales manager, Canada, about expanding the company’s North American offering beyond its longstanding solid round-tool lines. “We need technical people, people who can stand there at the spindle and talk shop. If they don’t believe in Pramet, the customers certainly won’t.”

Traditionally, fixation plates—the implants used to support damaged bone as it heals—are manufactured to standard sizes, most commonly from Ti-6Al-4V. The surgeon chooses the plates closest to the patient's anatomy, and then bends them to fit in the operating room.

While effective, this method has several drawbacks. Working with standard sizes means that implants may not achieve a perfect fit with the patient, and the bending step adds time to reconstructive surgery. In addition, the Ti-6Al-4V material most frequently used is much stiffer than cortical bone, which can cause abnormal stress distribution and ultimately cause implants to fail.

The following case study provided by Blum-Novotest describes how Karlheinz Lehmann GmbH in Oberwolfach, Germany, is able to maintain 2-micron parallelism of slots on a compressed-air coupling component for Parker Hannifin GmbH:

Lehmann employs 17 people and has 20 CNC lathes and milling machines. It focuses on the manufacture of precision, rotationally symmetrical parts. The complex quick-coupling for compressed-air input was a challenging project, especially given the parallelism required for the part’s four slots. “The key components are hardened and coating free cutting steel, threads, bores and four lightly tapered slots,” says Timo Lehmann, CEO of Karlheinz Lehmann GmbH. “The slots were the crucial point of the whole design.” In fact, the quick coupling simply wouldn’t function if the parallelism tolerance for the slots was exceeded. When assembled, the lightly tapered slots contain balls, which must not protrude too far, yet must also never be allowed to fall through the slot. Through this design, the Parker quick-couplers prevent the otherwise common snapping noise when detaching and also allow single-hand operation.

Matt Guse, owner of MRS Machining, was the only leader from among the four “Top Shops” honorees not able to make it to the recent Top Shops Conference to accept an award on behalf of his shop. And the reason he couldn’t make it relates to why his shop was honored. While the conference was taking place, Mr. Guse had football games to officiate.

MRS Machining is a job shop in Augusta, Wisconsin. MMS’s Top Shops benchmarking program honored the shop this year for the efforts it has made in human resources. Augusta is a rural community in which Mr. Guse is challenged to find prospective employees with skills or aptitude for manufacturing and the right personal strengths who might consider a career in CNC machining. He rises to that challenge by being proactive and creative about finding promising talent. He is a supporter of Cardinal Manufacturing and has even helped to advance manufacturing by serving on the school board. More recently, he has seen success with these two quieter measures that he passes along:

Schunk USA has started construction of an expansion at its U.S. headquarters in Morrisville, North Carolina, which will more than double the size of existing facilities. The U.S. headquarters is already the company’s largest facility outside of Germany. This expansion will provide space for a new tech center and training facility, additional manufacturing capabilities and increased office space.

The company will be investing $30 million in infrastructure, equipment and personnel by 2022. More than 80 new jobs will be created over the course of the next four years. The additional personnel will enable Schunk to provide even greater customer care and continue to meet the demands of a rapidly growing and continually evolving manufacturing industry.

RSS RSS  |  Atom Atom