Complete machining: Through turning and milling operations, and a final grinding process, Ingold Tools carries out the complete production of bearing covers for motor spindles used in high-speed machining.
Contract manufacturers must be able to have complete trust in the technologies, machines, and processes they use. Only then can they manufacture one-off and small-batch components with extreme precision and process reliability. That’s why Ingold Tools AG, a well-known precision manufacturer, relies on CNC cylindrical grinding machines from STUDER.
Christoph Jenzer, managing director at Ingold Tools in Inkwil, proudly states that his production specialists have had excellent experiences with STUDER cylindrical grinding machines for many years. “Even on an old grinding machine that has a belt drive and is close to being an antique itself, our experts were able to achieve exceptional roundness accuracy and superior surface quality on the machined workpieces. The outstanding quality of STUDER’s grinding machines has continuously impressed me for many years.” As Christoph Jenzer puts a high premium on reliable technology, he consistently invests in tried-and-tested grinding machines. “As in the past, the quality of a grinding machine continues to be determined by whether it has a stable and fully settled platform. That’s why, up to now, we have exclusively procured grinding machines that have already proven themselves over several years. Naturally, this is very advantageous from an economic perspective,” he explains. After annual investments starting in 2014, the manufacturing facility in Inkwil now boasts eight STUDER CNC cylindrical grinding machines.
Comprehensive Range Clinched the Deal
Christoph Jenzer’s preference for cylindrical grinding machines from Thun-based STUDER is also rooted in the large variety offered by this manufacturer. “At STUDER, we always find the machine needed for our comprehensive range of components,” he says. For example, the contract manufacturer now machine workpieces ranging from around 10 mm to 450 mm (0.4 to 17.7 inch) in diameter and 1,600 mm (63 inches) in length on STUDER machines like the S21, S31, S33, S40, and S41. The contract manufacturer first had all the machines overhauled by the overhauling department of STUDER. On some of them, additional machining capabilities were added. This was the case, for example, with an S21 cylindrical grinding machine on which internal and thread grinding as well as in-process gauging for adaptive grinding have been added. As Christoph Jenzer emphasizes, the manufacturer always provided comprehensive support for the overhauls, with qualified service and readily available spare parts. Claudio Delmenico, area sales manager at STUDER, adds: “Even with grinding machines tried and tested over many years, we ensure that manufacturing companies can benefit from the advantages of our technology. This includes consulting, service, technical information, and spare parts, not only for the mechanical systems and drive technology we developed but also for the control technology and software.” Christoph Jenzer confirms that the service personnel at STUDER are highly responsive and dependable. One always has prompt access to competent contact persons and qualified information, enabling reliable grinding even on tried-and-tested machines.
Accurate to the Micron
The manufacturing engineers at Ingold Tools achieve exceptional precision by combining their know-how, acquired over many years, with the tried-and-trusted CNC grinding machines. As an example, Christoph Jenzer cites bearing covers for motor spindles used in high-speed machining. At Ingold Tools, they first undergo turning and milling operations, followed by cylindrical grinding on the external and internal diameters, with a precision of up to 2 μm (0.000,080 inch) in the position form, and dimensional accuracy. Christoph Jenzer explains: “In grinding, the pre-machining also determines whether the desired and required accuracy can be achieved. Therefore, we prefer to machine difficult and complex components in-house, from the blank to the high recission finished workpiece. With this, we of course position ourselves as competent partners for precision manufacturing for our customers.” On select components, the specialists in Inkwil are even able to achieve a high polish finish through a process called lap grinding. Thanks to this outstanding performance, Ingold Tools AG has established a strong presence in multiple industries, including drive technology, machinery and special-purpose machines, hydraulics, and clamping technology. For the latter mentioned, Ingold Tools, for example, produces standardised and customised jaws for a wide range of mechanically and hydraulically actuated chucks from numerous manufacturers. As an example of a particularly demanding machining process that he and his skilled staff were easily able to execute, Christoph Jenzer presents a control piston coated with hard plastic. “To achieve a diameter and form accuracy of approximately 2 μm (0.000,080 inch), we first milled and drilled the pre-turned blank, had it coated with hard plastic at a partner company, and subsequently ground the external and internal diameters on our tried-and-tested CNC grinding machines.”
To strengthen his good reputation in the industry and expand his precision machining capacities, Christoph Jenzer invested further in a CNC cylindrical grinding machine from STUDER. A tried-and-tested, overhauled S41 universal cylindrical grinding machine with a swivelling wheelhead and four usable grinding spindle ends. “This machine enables us to reduce our lead times and increase our flexibility. On it, we can grind components to completion in a single clamping operation,” explains Christoph Jenzer regarding his investment. He now almost considers it a matter of course that he can count on the support of the service technicians at STUDER in the future, just as he has done seven times in the past. “So far, our experience has been very good. Therefore, we will continue to cooperate with STUDER. For a contract manufacturer who needs to always operate productively and economically and cannot tolerate machine downtime, the machines from STUDER have proven to be ideal,” adds Christoph Jenzer. Furthermore, the specialists at Ingold Tools are thoroughly familiar with the programming and operating interfaces of these CNC grinding machines. This has proven to be another advantage. The machine operators can effortlessly alternate between several machines. “Why would I bring in another manufacturer with an unfamiliar concept?” Christoph Jenzer asks rhetorically. For these reasons, he is already planning to purchase a ninth machine.
Known for Precision
Founded in 1946 as a supplier to the machine tool industry, Ingold Tools AG initially produced mainly punching tools, gauges, jigs, injection nozzles, and special bearings and machine components. In 1974, Osterwalder AG in Lyss acquired the company, transformed it into a stock corporation, and operated it as an independent subsidiary until 1992. Then Ingold Tools AG became an independent company again and currently has around 30 experienced and highly qualified employees. The range of services includes turning, milling, drilling, internal and external cylindrical grinding, surface grinding, honing lapping, assembly of components, sandblasting, and polishing, as well as laser engraving. On state-of-the-art machines, such as fully automated multi-axis turning and milling centers, the company manufactures complex custom components from steel, non-ferrous and light metals, as well as plastics. All components are produced with high precision, flexibility, and short lead times, based on individual drawings and 3D data. The company is certified in accordance to ISO 9001 and 14001. Upon request, components can be reconstructed from samples by creating 3D data for manufacturing them. Subcontractors handle heat treatments and surface coatings as partners.