Please tell me a little about your background and how your company got started.
The company was founded in Germany in 1945 by Friedrich Schunk as a mechanical workshop and has developed under the leadership of Heinz-Dieter Schunk into a competent and world market leader for clamping technology and gripping systems. Today, the company is run by third-generation siblings Henrik A. Schunk and Kristina I. Schunk.
I have spent 15 years in the cutting industry as well as eight years designing and selling special tools for CNC machining. I have been employed at Schunk for over seven years and have held the position of tooling group manager since 2013.
Can you give us a brief description of Schunk?
Schunk is a family owned company with 2,700 employees, spread across 32 subsidiaries in over 50 countries with eight manufacturing facilities located in Europe and the U.S. With a focused growth goal through both innovation and acquisition, we have a continual development of new products and are looking for synergistic technologies and partnerships.
What are the primary industries that the company serves?
We work from the machine spindle to the table to the automation system. We serve the industries that are commonly served by the machine tools and automation, which includes automotive, aerospace, medical, and job shops — companies and industries with a drive to better their manufacturing systems.
Describe Schunk’s capabilities and products for the gear manufacturing industry.
We serve our customers from concept to solution. In particular for gear manufacturing, we hold and move the parts. The demand for high-quality gears is growing — as quieter, more efficient power transmission drives tighter tolerances. This is where we step forward. We provide clamping technology that meets the demands of today’s gear specifications. Further, we have the components to load and move the workpieces, assuring that the machine investment is maximized.
What are your biggest challenges related to workholding in the gear industry?
The biggest challenge is that the entire chain is moving forward at the same time. The specifications are getting tighter, the machines are advancing very fast, and automation keeps the assets running lights-out. Our workholding is meeting the challenge, but not all areas of the supply chain are keeping up.
What is it about Schunk that sets it apart from others in the same industry?
As an agile family-owned company, we are able to make quick decisions for our customers and our investments to match the speed and dynamics of the industry.
What advantages do you offer your customers?
There are many good companies out there working very hard. Our focus is first on the customer. This may sound fundamental, but our customers are dealing with the process from A to Z. We want to provide the best support from the component side. If we can help compensate for other challenges with our products, we become far more than a workholding and automation component supplier.
What is in the future for Schunk?
We are committed to innovation for our customers and our industry. We completed major facility expansions in two plants last year. This investment will continue. Two more expansions are in the works right now in Europe and the U.S.
What’s your opinion on the health of the industry?
Our industry is healthy — manufacturing is returning to the U.S. and high technology processes will stay close to consumption. We have to invest and assure that our investments are utilized. Industry 4.0 is coming, and it will support connectivity from the material receipt to the customer delivery. Technology and investment in technology will level the playing field.
FOR MORE INFORMATION www.us.schunk.com.