Schrode is relying on Swabian sharpening technology from VOLLMER 2020-05-06

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Just 25 kilometres lies between the Ehingen-based tool manufacturer Schrode CNC-Werkzeugschleiftechnik and the Biberach-based sharpening specialists VOLLMER. Both companies have had sharpening in their blood for generations: VOLLMER develops grinding and erosion machines; Schrode manufactures cutting tools for metals, composites or wood. Schrode's list of customers includes companies from the automotive industry, tool manufacturing, mechanical engineering or medical technology. To machine their carbide tools, the toolmaker uses two VOLLMER VGrind 360 grinding machines with automation solutions, making true 24/7 unmanned production possible.

"At the core of our company today is a highly motivated team of ten employees, combined with my father's experience and my youthful enthusiasm," says Christian Schrode, CEO at Schrode CNC-Werkzeugschleiftechnik GmbH & Co. KG. "Sharpening has been in our blood for five generations, and it has made us a reliable and flexible partner in the fiercely competitive tool-sharpening technology market."

165 years of sharpening tradition in Ehingen
The roots of Schrode CNC-Werkzeugschleiftechnik stretch back to 1855. This is when Christian Schrode's great-great-grandfather opened a steel products business in Ehingen, which is located on the banks of the Danube. He was a bladesmith and sharpened knives and scissors in this Swabian hinterland. Building on the tradition of bladesmithing, Lothar Schrode, Christian's father, completed training to become a cutting-tool engineer – the first in the family to do so. Lothar Schrode built up the company's portfolio and, in the 1970s, he introduced the regrinding of circular saw blades. Thirty years ago, he founded the company Schrode CNC-Werkzeugschleiftechnik. For twelve years, the company's registered office has been in the Ehingen industrial estate. 

Schrode's main strength lies in special tool design
Schrode develops carbide-tipped tools such as milling cutters, drills, step drills and special tools with diameters of 0.2 to 100 millimetres. The batch sizes range from 1 to 5000 pieces. Even during the development of prototypes, the company is able to meet customer requirements quickly and in a targeted manner. The customers predominantly come from the following sectors: Automotive industry, plant engineering, tool-making, mechanical engineering, medical technology, as well as the wood and plastics processing industry.

"One of our strengths is the production of individual special tools that we develop in collaboration with our customers," adds Christian Schrode. "We believe that it is important that we cover the entire value-added chain when it comes to CNC tool-grinding, i.e from designing the tools and manufacturing, right through to after-sales services, such as regrinding.“

Extensive portfolio for machining
In addition to manufacturing and regrinding tools, Schrode offers other services, such as coating of the tools. This takes place as a final refining step in order to increase the operating life of drills or milling cutters. Furthermore, Schrode produces semi-finished products, such as carbide blanks or stepped, circular-ground blanks. Schrode's success is not only based on experience and high-quality employees, it is also based on a modern pool of machines, which consists of around 20 machines. Fifty years ago, Schrode was already regrinding circular saw blades on sharpening machines from VOLLMER. The specialist in grinding and erosion machines is based just 25 kilometres away from Ehingen in Biberach an der Riss. 

Two VOLLMER VGrind 360 machines in use
To manufacture their carbide tools, two years ago, Schrode opted to use two VOLLMER VGrind 360 tool-grinding machines. With the HP 160 automation solution, Schrode can produce their tools around the clock in an unmanned operation. Thanks to the two vertically arranged spindles, the VGrind 360 enables efficient machining to be carried out on multiple levels, which can reduce non-productive times. Five perfectly harmonised CNC axes achieve interpolation with short travel distances for the linear and rotary axes, which in turn reduces the time required to machine workpieces. It was also important to Schrode that the VGrind 360 is controlled by the NUMROTO software, since the employees are already familiar with this system. 

"It is also the smaller tool manufacturers, such as Schrode CNC-Werkzeugtechnik, who can operate more flexibly and efficiently in their markets using our sharpening machines and automation solutions," says Dr Stefan Brand, CEO of the VOLLMER Group. "Furthermore, thanks to the close proximity to our customers, we can also offer intensive support. Since not all customers are based as close to Biberach as Schrode, we maintain our own sites in 15 countries across the world."

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