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When Swabians sharpen special tools 2016-09-15

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For machining of its ultra-precise special tools in particular, the company depends upon a reliable partner from the region: Biberach-based sharpening specialist VOLLMER's QWD wire erosion machines and VGrind 160 grinding machine for solid carbide tools guarantee round the clock production at GW.

"For over 35 years, we have been developing machining tools from solid carbide and PCD," says Gerhard Bailom, CEO of Günther Wirth Betriebs-GmbH. "Our product range currently comprises around 20,000 different standard tools. We are able to achieve this thanks to our state-of-the-art machine fleet, which we intend to expand further still."

The company Günther Wirth (GW), which was founded in 1981, not only has a main factory in Balzheim, Swabia, but also a production site in France and a branch in India. The business, which has been majority-owned by the Ceratizit Group since 2012, currently has around 450 employees and is one of the leading manufacturers of rotating cutting tools such as drills, milling cutters and reamers and operates its own carbide coating systems. The company also produces special tools and PCD tools. Each day, 12,000 tools leave the production site. Its international customers come from the aerospace, medical technology and turbine/mechanical engineering industries.

Ever since the company was first founded, it has been designing and producing new tools. GW soon realized that this was where the company's future lay. The establishment of a research and development center has ensured continuous new development and further development of products for all aspects of tool making.

Since 1999, Günther Wirth has been using VOLLMER's QWD erosion machines to manufacture PCD tools. Thanks to the contactless eroding process, the PCD can be removed precisely and the tool geometries can be individually adapted to customer requirements. Due to the eroding wire, they are used for the precise sharpening of complex tool geometries with very small internal radii, as is typical of multi-stage tools.

"We see our tools as being clearly positioned in the high-performance segment, and the requirements of our sharpening and machine tools are correspondingly high," says Gerhard Bailom. "VOLLMER is a partner whose solutions represent the same quality and sustainability values as us – both in the machines and in the service it provides. As we both have our headquarters in Upper Swabia, we also value the personal, intensive dialog."

The tool manufacturer has recently added the VGrind 160 grinding machine from VOLLMER to its repertoire, and uses it for the development and production of special solid carbide tools. Equipped with an automation solution, the machine allows round the clock production. New kinematics with two vertically positioned spindles guarantee the precision and dimensional accuracy of the VGrind 160, enabling multi-level machining. The workpieces can be ground at the optimal pivot point of the C-axis on both grinding spindles. This spindle positioning solves the common problems related to fixed and floating bearings, which leads to more precise results when machining solid carbide tools.

Another plus factor, according to GW, is the VGrind 160's control system, which is based on the software NUMROTOplus. The HP 160 pallet magazine also enables automatic tool machining around the clock. The magazine can hold up to 272 workpieces and automatically feed them to the VGrind 160 – during the two day shifts as well as during the night shift. It's no wonder, then, that GW has now purchased two additional VGrind models.

"At all GW sites, production is carried out in accordance with high and, above all, uniform standards," says Dr.-Ing. Stefan Brand, CEO of the VOLLMER Group. "The company's machine fleet allows us to ensure that production in India, for example, is carried out with the same quality and good delivery times as in Germany. And thanks to our sites in Germany and in India, we are always on hand when it comes to the performance of our grinding and eroding machines."

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