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Guhring’s PCD Tooling Division Relies on Vollmer Technology


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SubjectGuhring’s PCD Tooling Division Relies on Vollmer Technology
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Guhring’s PCD Tooling Division Relies on Vollmer Technology
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In June last year, Guhring officially opened its new 60,000sq/ft £12m manufacturing facility on Birmingham's Advanced Manufacturing Hub. The new UK headquarters of the German owned cutting tool manufacturer was a necessity for the company to fulfil its future UK growth ambitions.

For the previous three years, growth had been constrained by the company being located on two separate sites that were crammed to capacity with manufacturing equipment. Despite the space constraints, it was two Vollmer PCD erosion machines that had proven integral to the success of the PCD tooling department; running efficiently and productively to keep Guhring ahead of its increasing order book.

In the 12 months since moving to the new facility, Guhring has increased staff numbers by 15% - taking on apprentices in the process. What is more pertinent is that Guhring UK previously manufactured 35% of its solid carbide and PCD product lines in the UK with the remaining 65% imported from Germany. Since the factory move, this ratio has increased to 50% UK manufactured. Standard product lines and a small quantity of application specific tooling are imported from Germany; however January 2018 proved a landmark month with UK manufactured special tooling sales outstripping standard product sales for the first time in Guhring UK’s 40 year history.

The UK manufacturing and re-grinding divisions of the business have seen sales soar since the move to the new factory. Additionally, the installation of a second coating plant has further underpinned the company’s strong sales performance. Integral to the success of the PCD tooling division at Guhring is its Vollmer QWD750 and QWD750H wire erosion machines.

As Guhring UK’s National Sales Manager, Mr Dave Hudson says: “The Guhring manufacturing plant runs 3-shifts for 5 ½ days a week whilst the automation level of the Vollmer machines in the PCD department only requires 2-shifts per day. This labour saving is credit to the Vollmer machines and our lean manufacturing processes and workflow scheduling.”

Vollmer Automation Reduces Manual Intervention

“For example, our QWD750H has a 12 tool station facility that is robot loaded and this allows us to set-up simple short-run tools during manned shifts whilst more time consuming and complex tools run overnight. In parallel to this, our manually loaded Vollmer QWD750 wire erosion machine will be loaded with standard PCD tools during manned shifts and then complex 5-6 fluted or stepped tools overnight. Some of these special tools may require 18+ hours of wire erosion, permitting long periods of automated lights-out or weekend working.”

Upstream from the two Vollmer machines, the Birmingham manufacturer has a department producing carbide and steel tool bodies, a PCD brazing department and a FANUC erosion machine that profiles some of the PCD blanks prior to brazing. However, it is the Vollmer QWD machines that are central to the output, precision and quality of the Guhring tools.

As Mr Hudson says: “Manufacturers increasingly require multi-function and often multi-stepped cutting tools to reduce processes, cycle times and also improve quality and process stability. This is particularly true of OEMs and companies in high-volume environments. To serve these customers, some special tools will have more than 18 to 30 PCD segments that are stepped along the tool shank. The Vollmer QWD machines are extremely precise and will hold a 5 micron tolerance in our temperature controlled building with no problems. This tight-tolerance capability eliminates tool grinding processes in many instances. By eliminating secondary tool grinding, we can reduce production times; secondary set-up times and improve the workflow and throughput of the PCD department.”

Vollmer Supports Flexible Production

The manually loaded Vollmer QWD750 has the flexibility and work envelope to accommodate HSK and ISO tooling interfaces with 30, 40, 50, and 63 taper tools. The CNC control system is extremely easy to use and program tools. Furthermore, transferring files from CAD formats into the Vollmer software is a straight-forward process. From a production perspective, the manually loaded QWD750 was the first of the two delivered to Guhring with the 12 tool automated QWD750H following shortly after. This combination works in perfect harmony for the Birmingham cutting tool manufacturer.

“Internationally, Guhring is a brand that has long relied upon Vollmer erosion technology for producing our cutting tools. Globally, Guhring has committed to the Vollmer brand as it is the technology leader. This global stance ensures our product lines are manufactured to identical specifications, methods and quality control processes regardless of whether the tools are produced in the UK, Germany, the USA or Asia for the respective local markets. Down the years, our staff has found the Vollmer QWD750 machines very flexible, easy-to-use, productive and above all, they have demonstrated impeccable quality with unparalleled reliability. With our strong UK market growth, we fully expect to be expanding our PCD division in the near future and Vollmer will be central to that growth,” concludes Mr Hudson.


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