Tell us about Schunk and its role in the gear manufacturing industry.
Schunk is the worldwide leader for clamping technology and gripping systems, designing and manufacturing an unmatched selection of products such as toolholders, arbors, gripping systems, and workholding. With over 2,300 employees located in more than 50 countries, we offer global customer service and technical support. The demand for reliable components in the gear industry is a natural fit to Schunk’s strengths.
Schunk is a family-owned operation with over 60 years of experience, living the mission that ‘with a pioneering spirit and perfection, we are setting standards worldwide.’ As a components supplier, we strive to be the go-to partner for superior clamping and gripping.
What products does Schunk specialize in that cater to the needs of gear manufacturers?
If you think of the machine — whether it’s a gear hobbing or grinding machine, milling machine, or a lathe — it has a spindle, which could be the cutting spindle or the workholding spindle. There’s also automated tending. This area, where the part resides, is where we act. We offer workholding, which refers to holding the workpiece itself, and the toolholding, which refers to holding the cutting tool or device that’s doing the cutting. We also offer the automation side, such as the gripper or the motion apparatus that is tending the machine. Those are our products — workholding, toolholding, and gripping systems, which are the closest things to the part.
Can you give us an example of how Schunk was able to satisfy a customer’s specific need?
One customer came to us with a very large gear, and they wanted to use a quick-change device, which is not typically found in this type of processing. They saw these devices and wanted to use them to take their part and set it up offline so that the quick-change device would put it on their machine and have them up and running in minutes. Their idea of keeping the machine running was excellent, but we wanted to take it one step further. We came up with a solution that quickly set the part on center using a hydraulic arbor in the machine, eliminating the need for offline stations and manual centering. With the quick-change device and the hydraulic arbor, the customer benefited from improved part quality and eliminated offline stations, while keeping their machines running.
The customer immediately saw the improvement of what we were proposing. It eliminated the need to translate the tolerances from the previous process into the next process. They are actually setting a new reference in the ID as opposed to just setting it up with an indicator while keeping the machine running. They benefit from improved part quality through a marriage of two Schunk technologies — one they had heard about and seen and one that was new to them.
How can people benefit from doing business with Schunk?
Schunk offers a unique synergy of products. It allows for harmonious interplay between workholding, toolholding, and automation, which wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t the same company holding the cutting tool and the workpiece as well as moving the workpiece. Our product offering is not matched as a whole anywhere else in the industry. Our engineering capabilities and products set us apart. These make us more than just a supplier. We’re also a partner.
How do you feel about the outlook for American manufacturing?
I think that the outlook is very bright. On-shoring is trending, and we’re seeing growth in many markets including the gear industry. Gear manufacturing has been a foundation of early industry in this country, and I believe it will remain that way.
Will Schunk be in Detroit for Gear Expo?
Yes, we’ll be at Gear Expo, Booth #2419, showing workpiece clamping, part changeover, and machine loading working together. Come visit us and see our innovative products like our hydraulic arbors, Vero-S quick-change device, and gripping systems. We can show you how our products work together and bring something different to the process — something that we’re all looking for, which is increased productivity and more machine utilization.
MORE INFORMATION www.us.schunk.com to learn more about Schunk and its workholding, toolholding, and gripping systems.