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FZU42 V1R0

Dynamically accelerating large workpieces for efficient processing

With the FZU/FZP42 machine line, Zimmermann Inc. offers users efficient 5-axis portal milling machines for heavy workpiece machining.  The specific aspect of these improved machines is a thermo-symmetrical design, incorporating a centrally-guided Z-slide. This particular construction, as well as the guide layout, increases machine stability, while also saving weight – resulting in a more dynamic, productive and energy-efficient machine.

“We have developed suitable machine designs for light processing, such as composite materials or aluminum used in aerospace, as well as for highly dynamic heavy machining,” reports Cornelius Kiesel, president at Zimmermann Inc. in Detroit, the U.S. operation of F. Zimmermann in Germany. While further developing its machine portfolio in the last several months, heavy machining for automotive, other transportation and off-highway are gaining an even higher priority in the company’s market targets. At the same time, Zimmermann is on the cutting-edge in its traditional segments, explains Frieder Gaenzle, CEO of F. Zimmermann.  “We are focusing less on classic heavy machining, using large tools and high material removal rates per cut. Instead, the FZU/FZP42 model range provides tool and mold makers with a 5-axis system for highly complex components, which enables more dynamic milling of free-form surfaces.”

Dynamic heavy machining is precisely the challenge in this new market segment. Because the more difficult it is to process the materials, the higher the requirements for rigidity in the machine, Kiesel further notes. Weighting in at several tons on average, the machines are quite massive. How can this massive design deliver great dynamics, so that users can work even more productively?

“Our machines mill out contours with a maximum speed of 60 m/min and may accelerate with 3 m/s2, if needed. “This resembles a motorcyclist, accelerating in a curve to run it more dynamically,” says Kiesel. Despite the acceleration, the machines must be able achieve very high accuracy as well as high-quality surfaces. “This connection of dynamics and heavy machining may be compared to a truck, loaded with stones, performing in a Formula 1 race,” Kiesel muses. 

Thermo-symmetry for more precision

In order to achieve this result, Zimmermann is setting up its complete machine portfolio thermo(load)-symmetrically. This occurs because changing ambient temperatures, as well as processing temperatures, inevitably influence machine geometry featuring a portal design. The idea behind a thermo-symmetrical design is based on the ability to substantially absorb incurring thermal influences, achieved by the design of the machine structure itself. Considering this factor, Zimmermann engineering has appropriately designed and intelligently arranged the machine structure and drive unit components and guides, as well as other components responsible for accuracy, for all machines in this newly developed portfolio.  In this way, the machine structure may expand in directions that are non-critical.

The centrally guided Z-slide of the portal in double-bridge construction has a large cross-section which makes it especially stable. Using this design, Zimmermann achieves a very high degree of rigidity. Since there is no possible one-sided temperature rise, accuracy is greatly increased, as well. With this structural design, the machine manufacturer constructively reduces the effects of error-inducing variables to a minimum. Due to the fact that less leverage forces apply in comparison to a serial design with a classic guide layout, Zimmermann has increased rigidity of the FZU/FZP, without having to increase the cross- sections of the components. Because less mass needs to be moved, the machine works faster and more dynamically. “Moving less mass also requires less energy.  This results in clear cost benefits”, states Kiesel. Additionally, the thermo-symmetrical design makes it possible to omit complex cooling circuits, which also has a positive impact on cost reduction.

By offering the new FZU/FZP42 machine lines, Zimmermann seeks to gain a better foothold in heavy machining. For a long time, the machine manufacturer only occasionally sold systems in this market segment. This has changed following these new developments.  “We are already seeing the first successes in the market, says Kiesel. “We were able to sell three ‘heavy’ machines in the first quarter alone.” The company’s customers are equally convinced about the technical data and the price-performance ratio. “A particular customer only wanted to purchase one of our machines for post-processing, since they were already using a heavy machining system provided by a competitor. During the discussions, they then spontaneously decided on a second machine from Zimmermann,” notes Kiesel.

Among the new customers for this line is an automotive manufacturer, who required a new machine for their tool making, in order to process large sheet-metal forming tools and to replace older systems. In the end, Zimmermann was able to successfully assert itself against the competition with its FZU42 machine. The customer realized that this innovative machine concept will enable them to meet their requirements to a high machining accuracy with excellent surfaces on their tools. The high tool weights of up to 40 tons do not pose a problem for the FZU42 system, because the components are not being moved. The movement system, consisting of the portal, Z-slide and milling head, can operate with consistently high dynamics, regardless of the tool weight.

Flexible setup

“We were able to successfully impress the customer with our concept and our price-performance ratio,” says Kiesel. Another important aspect adds to this scenario. The FZU system does not require a solid machine foundation and can therefore be placed flexibly on the factory floor. Extensive construction, which creates high costs and disrupts manufacturing, are completely eliminated. 

“We continue to develop and are able to find the right answers for many applications, concludes Frieder Gaenzle.  “We have the right overall package. We offer these improved machine concepts in all market segments. Besides the machine structural upsides, these improvements include fitting mounts for the spindles, milling heads for the tools and an extensive service package for our customers.”

FZU42 V1R0
Picture 1: The 5-axis portal milling machine FZU42 is very accurate, due to its thermo-symmetrical design. It offers high productivity and stability in process, while minimizing installation and commissioning time. 

About the company

F. Zimmermann GmbH in Germany is a leading global high-tech builder of portal milling machines. These machines are characterized by large workspaces, substantial machine dynamics and cutting performance. The company, founded in 1933 by Friedrich Zimmermann, now has over 250 employees worldwide. With its product range, this innovative company has one goal above all: to offer the right solution for its customers and to be able to guarantee high economic efficiency. “Quality made in Germany” is its motto. Zimmermann special machines are used worldwide in the automotive, aerospace, off-highway, moldmaking and transportation sectors.  The company has its North America headquarters in Wixom, Michigan, near Detroit, where it operates a full tech center, offering engineering assistance, commissioning, parts and retrofit services, as well as multiple machines for demonstration purposes. 

For more information, please contact:

30587 Century Drive
Wixom, MI 48393
Phone:  248-956-8511
Ms. Lena Kiesel, Marketing Manager

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Suhner Releases the new ROTOmax 2.2 – All in One

Suhner recently introduced the ROTOmax 2.2, a powerful and universal system unit in which the drive and the tool are run separately using a flexible shaft.

ROTOmax 2.2, a powerful and universal system unit in which the drive and the tool are run separately using a flexible shaftThe illustration of the grinding process or work cycles is made possible by saving up to 6 different speeds. The speeds are individually programmable and electronically controlled, ensuring a perfect grinding pattern. The ROTOmax 2.2 is characterized by its simple intuitive handling.

Since the ROTOmax 2.2 can be used almost anywhere, it is put to work in foundries, tool production, the pharmaceutical industry, food tech processing plants, aviation technology, boiler making and in mechanical workshops.

The Suhner ROTOmax 2.2 offers applications in cutting machining, grinding, rust removal, brushing or polishing.

For more information, please contact:

Zach Mann, Sales Manager, Abrasives Division
Suhner USA, Inc.

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Suhner to Unveil New Robotic Electric Force Compliance System at AUTOMATE

The new EFC-02 combines a century of Suhner’s abrasives and material removal expertise with smart automation for the highest surface quality results.

Rome, GA – Recognizing the role robotics plays in adding efficiency and lowering production costs for manufacturers of all types and sizes, Suhner continues to expand its robotics offering. The fully electric EFC-02 delivers precise, constant force throughout robotic grinding, sanding and deburring processes – resulting in superior, consistent surface quality.

EFC-02 device with belt sander for robotic material removal

Introducing EFC-02 – Suhner’s Electric Force Compliance System
Active compliance for robotic material removal

With today’s supply chain and labor challenges, manufacturers of all types and sizes are looking for solutions to help them do more with fewer resources. That’s what smart manufacturing is all about – and why Suhner is expanding its suite of robotic grinding accessories and tools with the fully electric EFC-02 active compliance system.

Smart Automation for High Surface Quality Results

Exact contact force with the surface is the single most crucial factor in robotic grinding, sanding and deburring processes. It’s also one of the biggest challenges, especially for hard-to-reach areas. Thoughtfully designed based on Suhner’s decades of material removal process know-how – the EFC-02 helps overcome that challenge.

As with any end-of-arm tooling, the EFC-02 connects a grinding machine – angle grinders, orbital sanders, angle polishers, straight grinders and others – to the robot. What makes Suhner’s system unique, however, is its compact design and fully electric operation.

The lightest and smallest in its category, the EFC-02 can be used for material removal or surface finishing even in tight or narrow spaces often found when processing stainless tanks and vessels for the food and pharma industries or fiberglass bathtubs and sinks. The all-electric technology also allows high-frequency measurements to monitor force and acceleration throughout the process. An advanced control algorithm then dynamically adjusts force and automates grinding processes based on pre-programmed parameters.

The result? Constant contact force with each movement from start to finish for a consistent surface quality – regardless of the surface type, shape, size or orientation.

In Line with Industry 4.0 Standards to Support Digital Transformation

Robotic processes are no longer just for mass production. As the technology has evolved, robotics have become easier to use and more flexible – making them ideal for both small- and medium-sized manufacturers looking to add efficiency, lower production costs or both.

Suhner engineered the EFC-02 with this in mind, giving users:

  • Simple robot programming for setting up even complex processes using an intuitive web-based interface or Fieldbus communication. This includes defining target force, payload and stroke values.
  • Advanced functionality that is in line with the vision behind Industry 4.0. For instance, a visual LED indicator on the EFC-02 tells users whether the grinding wheel is in contact with the surface or not and when the stroke is at 50% to ensure maximum compensation, among other critical operational information. The EFC-02 even lets users know when maintenance is needed.

One stop for a custom, end-to-end solution

The end-of-arm EFC-02 active compliance system is fully compatible with Suhner’s end effectors, including angle grinders, orbital sanders, angle polishers and straight grinders. Optional automatic changers for abrasives or belts, which integrate easily with the EFC-02, are also available. By storing and dispensing new abrasives for pickup by a sander – these automatic changers effectively help speed processes and increase productivity.

Suhner also gives its customers access to one of the most comprehensive ranges of abrasives in the market from all the industry’s leading manufacturers. Plus, Suhner’s ABRACare customized, volume-based pay-as-you-go inventory management program ensures you always have the abrasives you need.

Working with Suhner means more than having access to industry-leading tools and abrasives – manufacturers also have access to a global network of seasoned abrasives and material removal experts ready to help you solve virtually any challenge.

Put Suhner to Work for You Today

The EFC-02 combines over a century of Suhner’s abrasives and material removal expertise with smart automation for the highest surface quality results. Its compact size, all-electric technology and simple programming make it possible to replicate and automate most grinding, polishing, sanding and deburring on a variety of surfaces. This gives manufacturers a cost-effective, low-maintenance solution for replacing many time-consuming and tedious manual processes – saving time and money.

Get in touch with your local Suhner representative to take control and let the robots grind.

The company will showcase the EFC-02 at Booth #1850 at the upcoming AUTOMATE 2023, May 22-25, in Detroit, MI.

For more information, contact:

Suhner USA, Inc.
43 Anderson Road S.W.
Rome, GA 30161

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Beaumont Machine Reacquired by Founders

Global EDM supplier also moves to new location to enhance production and service capabilities

FH Series, the standard line of Beaumont EDM drilling machines

Batavia, Ohio- Beaumont Machine is a world-class builder of Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM) for the aerospace, power gen and electronics production industries.  Founded by Ed and Tanya Beaumont over 30 years ago, the company was recently repurchased, after the owners had sold the business in early 2013. As Ed Beaumont explains, “We had a great relationship with the new owner but we believed the company needed a revitalization to benefit our customers, employees and the evolving EDM industry. In addition to repurchasing Beaumont Machine, we have reassumed the day-to-day operation of the company.  In addition, we have moved the operation into a larger location to increase production and expand our service capabilities.”  That new location is 2010 Glenn Parkway in Batavia, Ohio, just outside Cincinnati.   

Beaumont Machine’s contributions to the aerospace and power generation industries are many and, with this buyback, the company is ready to meet the needs of the changing EDM industry. “We pride ourselves on not only understanding the applications in the various industries we serve but also on building the best machines for the applications we encounter, from small hole to large workpieces,” adds Tanya Beaumont.   

New facility for Beaumont Machine, located in Batavia, Ohio near Cincinnati

From the standard mill style EDM to machining cells with complete robotic operation for large aircraft engine and launch vehicle sections, Beaumont has built machines with an 8’ part rotation, a robotic arm with 10’ reach, and machines as small as 36” in width. A new 7-axis EDM drill has just been developed. All Beaumont machines feature the most advanced CNC technology and user interface.   

With customers worldwide, as Ed Beaumont observes, “We are committed to innovation and customer partnerships in various industries, in countries around the globe.  It’s a testimony to the fact that the world is still hungry for American technology and ingenuity.  We’re very proud of that.” 

Ed and Tanya Beaumont founded the company, Beaumont Machine, 30 years ago. Beaumont Machine focuses on building a line of standard EDM’s as well as custom machines plus repairing and retrofitting machine tools of all types. The company started building Fast Hole EDM in 1997 and has been specializing in EDM technology since that time. In 2013, they turned over the ownership of the company to a new owner.  With this reacquisition of the company, Ed and Tanya Beaumont are again actively involved in day-to-day operations.   

Among its recent successes is a custom robotic EDM work cell for SpaceX, as shown in the below photo.   

SpaceX custom EDM robotic work cell, entirely designed, engineered, built and commissioned by Beaumont Machine

For more information on these developments, please contact:  

Ed Beaumont, President 
2010 Glenn Parkway 
Batavia, OH 45103 
Phone: 513-701-0421 

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Zimmermann Displays Three New Machines at IMTS 2022

Zimmermann Milling Solutions, a leading global high-tech supplier of portal milling machines, will virtually show three new gantry machines at their booth. IMTS will be held September 12-17, 2022, in Chicago. 

When discussing rigidity, nothing beats mass. Our biggest double bridged gantry sets new standards for dynamic roughing while maintaining high precision. The FZ42 CNC gantry milling machine represents power at its best, combining work areas of different sizes, travels, milling heads and CNC controls. Regardless of weight and size, the milling process is exact. Furthermore, the gantry design is particularly suitable for the entire range of component machining. The structurally rigid center-guiding gantry, cross and Z-Ram, and dynamic milling head enable a consistent, efficient milling process. This combination of high thermal stability and rigidity meets industry-specific requirements in tool and die making, aerospace and automotive industries.  

Just as strength and agility make an athlete perform at his/her best, the same is true for the newest high-performance gantry FZ37. Due to its modular system concept, the FZ37 is available in various sizes, custom configuration and CNC controls. The newly designed gantry with center guided Z-Ram in combination with Zimmermann’s dynamic milling heads ensure an efficient and consistent milling process. The high thermal stability and rigidity meet industry-specific requirements in model, tool and die making as well as in the aerospace and automotive industries.  

The FZ32 is the high-performance athlete for dynamic machining of aluminum, fiber composites, plastics and tooling board. Its thermosymmetrical design results in high surface quality and accuracy. The rigid center-guiding gantry allows the company to meet the increasing demands in model and mold making as well as aerospace. Additionally, the flexible design of the FZP machine line offers various sizes and configurations through its modular system as well as extensive equipment options and a fully enclosed work area, including effective dust extraction systems and more.  

Visit Zimmermann at IMTS 2022 in the South building, Level 3, booth 339336. 

For more information, please contact:  

30587 Century Drive  
Wixom, MI 48393 
Phone:  248-956-8511 
Mr. Cornelius Kiesel, President  

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Peter Li Named President of Hunter

Peter Li President Hunter Foundry Equipment Corporation

Recently Peter J. Li became the third President in the history of Hunter Foundry Machinery Corporation, a world leader in matchplate molding and sand casting technology.  The announcement was made by Chairman of Board Bill Hunter at the company headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois, near Chicago.   

Peter joined Hunter in May, 1996 as a sales engineer. He was promoted to Regional Sales Manager Asia Pacific in 1998. In the year 2000, he became General Manager of Hunter Shanghai; in 2016 he was promoted to Managing Director, International.  This history totals 25 years at Hunter, mainly in executive level positions.

Peter graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University with a B.S. in Foundry Engineering. He then obtained an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Oklahoma State University; spent three years in the PhD Metallurgical Program at the University of Alabama, where, by coincidence, the very first Hunter molding machine was donated for that institution’s foundry education programs.

Before joining Hunter, Peter worked for Presto Castings as a metallurgist in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Peter comments, “When I first encountered a Hunter machine, I quickly realized it had a unique and very practical labor-saving aspect and this fact was a big reason for its success in the global foundry market.”  Li knew the reputation of the company’s founder, Al Hunter, as well as Bill Hunter, the two men who preceded him as President of the company. 

Li further observes, “Our challenge for the future is to keep an open mind and remove restrictions on our thinking about the foundry business.  The most successful companies in our industry have automated and that bodes well for Hunter matchplate molding machinery, automated mold handling equipment and the advanced software we bring to our customers worldwide.”  He also commented that his combination of sales, technical experience and corporate management at Hunter, both in America and at the Shanghai plant the company operates, have given him a perspective on the company and the market that will serve him well in his new role as President of Hunter.  “I do consider myself a people person and I believe that remains an important element in our relationship with the foundry business, Li added.” 

Hunter is a global force in the foundry business, with an installed base in nearly every industrialized country in the world.  In addition to the manufacturing locations in Chicago and Shanghai, Hunter has a worldwide network of sales agents.

The company was founded in 1964 by Al Hunter, who pioneered the automated matchplate molding machine concept and held dozens of patents in the industry.  His son Bill, the current Chairman of Board, likewise developed numerous innovations in sand molding machine and mold handling equipment for the global foundry market. 

In naming Peter Li the new President of Hunter, Bill commented, “Peter is exceptionally qualified for this position and we know he will lead Hunter into a bright and prosperous future.  We have a great team of people at Hunter and, under Peter’s leadership, I am certain the company will move forward in a positive direction.”    

For further information on this announcement, interested parties may contact:

2222 Hammond Drive
Schaumburg, Illinois 60196-1094
Phone:  +1 847 397 5110
Email:  info@hunterfoundry.com
Web: www.hunterfoundry.com
Attention:  Bill Hunter  

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J.D. Bouwman and Cornelius Kiesel

Zimmermann Designs Custom Milling Machines for Large Moldmaker

For a short video on this collaboration between Zimmermann and Commercial Tool & Die, please see:

Zimmermann Milling Solutions, a leading global high-tech supplier of portal milling machines recently designed three custom milling machines for Commercial Tool & Die (CTD).

CTD is a family-owned and operated business with a long-standing reputation of building exceptional and extremely large plastic injection molds. Markets served include automotive, truck cab bodies, construction equipment and others. They have been successfully using Zimmermann machinery since 2018, so when a need arose for new milling machinery, they went directly to Zimmermann. “We reached out to Zimmermann that we needed a world-class milling machine, because that is what they have,” said Darin Hall, Plant Manager, Commercial Tool & Die.

Machining plastic injection molds has specific requirements and Zimmermann worked with CTD for over three years to design and build machines that met those needs.  “We went the extra mile because we knew that this was what Commercial Tool was looking for and we wanted to be the right partner,” said Cornelius Kiesel, President, Zimmermann. The final result was machines with the unique Zimmermann head design with multiple cutting axis to enable CTD to complete projects by speeding up production and improving accuracy without an excessive number of setups.

When J.D. Bouwman, President, Commercial Tool Group, was asked about the collaboration between the two companies and his favorite thing about the new machines, he replied, “We’ve challenged Zimmermann and they’ve really done a great job of responding to those challenges. Our Zimmermann’s have really helped us bring our machining to the next level. We’re able to achieve unattended numbers that we’ve never had before in the shop and that’s really a testament to our relationship with and the quality of the machines and just the overall build quality of the Zimmermann. It’s just a super, super solid machine.” He added, “I know that if we’re looking for a big machine in the future, we’re definitely going to be turning to Zimmermann.”

For more information, please contact:

30587 Century Drive
Wixom, MI 48393
Phone:  248-956-8511
Ms. Lena Kiesel, Marketing Manager

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Zimmermann FZ40c is cutting and spraying away extra metal shavings

Zimmermann partners with two moldmakers to help them go “big”

Four large FZ40c portal millings machines providing significant changes to business strategy at Commercial Tool & Die and Franchino Mold & Engineering in Michigan

Zimmermann FZ40c milling machines enabled both moldmakers to grow their business in their home markets of automotive injection molds and die cast diework, in a unique partnership for each moldmaker

It began in 2017, when Commercial Tool & Die (CTD), a division of Commercial Tool Group in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, contacted Zimmermann at a mold show and IMTS.  This 68-year-old company, founded by the grandfather of the current president, JD Bouwman, was heavily leveraged in automotive and off-highway injection moldmaking, but was seeking to grow into new markets with larger machining capacity.  Meanwhile, over in Lansing, Michigan, Franchino Tool & Engineering was prospering in automotive molds and die cast diework but was seeking to increase their 5-axis machining capability, travel and speed.  The short version of this story is that CTD ended up with three new Zimmermann machines, while Franchino bought the first CTD stock machine from Zimmermann, as it fit their needs quite well, according to Franchino President Mike Heatherington.  

Commercial Tool & Die Looking To Grow

As Plant Manager Darin Hall explains, “We had reached out to Cornelius Kiesel, president of Zimmermann Inc. in Wixom, Michigan, at a mold show and then again at IMTS.  We were impressed with their large CNC 5-axis machines.  CTD had four goals we were seeking to accomplish with our new machine capability.  Namely, we wanted reliability, efficiency to run unattended, rigidity to hold accuracies across a long travel and surface quality to meet our very high standards for automotive products.”  He notes the FZ compact line of Zimmermann appeared to have the essentials they sought at CTD, though some modifications would be needed. 

Company President JD Bouwman elaborates.  “We found in Zimmermann the combination of a great machine with a flexible team who was willing to expand their horizons and ours.  Although the basic version of the FZ40c is an excellent machine, in the end, we made 31 changes that were specific to CTG’s needs, including increased ram, with a goal to purchase three machines for our increased production.”  Bouwman further comments how this enhanced capability would allow CTD to move into new markets and increase share in their home market of automotive.  Today, that process has already yielded positive results, as the company is producing injection molds of much larger size than in the past, thereby opening new segment of automotive, off-highway and commercial building products. 

After the initial investigation, the decision was made to lease an FZ40c to trial the machine.  This portal mill has a work envelope of 197” W x 118” D x 59” H with a feed rate to 2362 ipm.  As the trials proceeded over the one-year lease agreement, according to Darin Hall, “We quickly saw that the machine was very solid and would allow us to strategize differently in our approach to production.”  Concurrently, CTD was realizing their market and manufacturing needs would require some significant changes to the machine, especially the ram height, for use on molds in the off-highway, construction equipment and building products market segments CTD was seeking to penetrate. 

He continues, “We also realized we had a great partner in Cornelius and the team at Zimmermann, both in Wixom and in Germany, where we visited a number of times, as they did here.  These folks were open to our suggestions and worked diligently to affect them.”  Hall notes this lease arrangement was the first in the 68-year history of the company.  “I guess you could say we knew where we wanted to go but weren’t quite sure of the machine design that would get us there.”  The CTD and Zimmermann teams thus began a collaboration that would run nearly three years, culminating in today with three FZ40c gantry mills on the floor at CTD, each with an enhanced rigidity and cast mono-block fork head with unique process cooling for high precision machining, especially on models and molds.  The FZ40c has a base x-axis of 236”, giving CTD the additional size they needed.  Among the changes made to the machine design was an increased ram.

In the end, JD Bouwman concludes, “We had a big machine concept in mind to get us to our goal and the three modified FZU machines were the answer.  Day to day, the machines give us much higher unattended machining numbers, a real testimony to the quality.  Zimmermann has allowed CTD to quote new projects, bigger workpieces and enter new markets, exactly where we wanted to go.”  He expressed a “big thank-you” to Cornelius Kiesel and the Zimmermann team, citing the dedication on both sides over a three-year period resulted in machines “…that simply allowed us to go to a new level as a company and that’s very exciting.”  A future goal between the companies is to build an even bigger machine with increased capacities to reach even higher levels of market participation. 

“Our relationship with Zimmermann is based on true collaboration and we’re mutually assisting the other to accomplish our goals.  That’s as good as a business partnership can be,” concludes Bouwman. 

One additional change to the FZ40c as requested, according to Cornelius Kiesel, and it presented a unique challenge to Zimmermann, he jokes.  “The CTD company color is gold and they requested we paint the machine heads that color for them.  We are machine tool engineers and builders but we took up the challenge and found the right paint for this challenging application.  Looks nice, doesn’t it?” 

Franchino — right place at the right time

That’s an old expression but it’s true in this case.  About an hour east of CTD sits Franchino Mold & Engineering in Lansing, Michigan.  According to company President Mike Hetherington, “Our business is currently about half in automotive injection molds and half in die cast diework for a variety of industries, including construction, stormwater and septic management.  During this recent period in business, with all its challenges, we’ve been flexible in seeking new jobs in various industries and it’s paid off, resulting in a sizable increase in our sales volume.” 

The connection between Franchino and CTD requires a bit of explanation, as Hetherington notes.  “We were on a business trip to Germany, seeking new machine concepts.  We had occasion to tour the Zimmermann factory and, while there, we saw the FZ40C portal milling machine being built for Commercial.  We were looking for that type of machine and had our checklist.  The FZ40C began to check off the boxes and we knew it was the machine for us.  As it happened, we learned the machine was being leased to Commercial down the road from us in the Grand Rapids area and we’d known them for years.  We don’t often directly compete, so we made some contacts and decided to wait for their lease to expire, then we purchased their machine and it was shipped to our facility in Lansing.”  He also mentions several particulars.  The machine needed to work both steel and aluminum molds, be a true 5-axis mill, be able to efficiently rough, semi and finish all in one setup, have an HSK spindle, run 1400 ipm and be up for two shifts reliably.  The FZ40c was found suitable on all these points, according to Hetherington. 

On one job, he notes with a smile, the shop took a roughing cycle from 16 hours to 3 hours, due to the machine’s rigidity, speed and accuracy.  As a bonus, the Heidenhain CNC onboard the Zimmermann machine provided a monitoring capability that enabled the Franchino Machining Supervisor, Chris Cook, to learn the status of the machine remotely. 

Cook cites another example of the company’s use of the Zimmermann FZ40c.  “We run molds for huge septic tanks and the Zimmermann is currently at 3000 hours of run time at 2000 ipm with no issues.”

Hetherington adds the machine purchased from CTD recently ran for two months solid at 90% capacity.  “Looking back, I’d say we were definitely in the right place at the right time, discovering this machine on our trip to Germany.  It’s been a very valuable investment for Franchino, providing reliable production on big workpieces.  It will open up more opportunities for our company in various existing and new markets.”  Hetherington has been president at the company since December, 2020, having gone, as he says, “…from mowing the lawn as a school kid to coming to work here with my engineering degree to engineering manager to VP of operations and now president.”

Franchino Mold & Engineering was founded in Lansing in 1955 by Richard Franchino, whose son and recently retired president Bob began as the first employee, sweeping the floor for $0.25 an hour.  Mike Hetherington is currently working on the construction of an additional 60,000-square foot facility with an 80-ton overhead crane to handle the massive workpieces produced at this shop, which produces molds & dies plus does considerable repair work for its customers nationwide. 

About the company

Zimmermann is based in Swabia (Germany) and is a leading global high-tech supplier of portal milling machines. These are characterized by huge workspaces, substantial machining dynamics and cutting performance. The company, founded in 1933 by Friedrich Zimmermann, now has over 200 employees worldwide. With its product range, our innovative company has one goal above all: to offer the right solution for our customers and thus to be able to guarantee high economic efficiency. “Quality made in Germany and supported locally” is our motto. The company’s special machines are used worldwide in the automotive, aerospace, moldmaking and mechanical engineering sectors.  The company has its North American headquarters in Wixom, Michigan, near Detroit, where it operates a full tech center offering engineering assistance, commissioning, parts and retrofit services, as well as multiple machines for demonstration purposes.  Zimmermann Inc. is headed by President Cornelius Kiesel. 

For more information, please contact:

30587 Century Drive
Wixom, MI 48393
Phone:  248-956-8511
Ms. Lena Kiesel, Marketing Manager

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Suhner Machining Offers New Video Series

Maintenance tips and assembly procedures on automated tools explained by Division Manager Lee Coleman

Suhner Machining recently filmed a series of maintenance tip and unit assembly videos at the company’s North American Service Center, housed on the campus of corporate headquarters in Rome, Georgia.  The presentation of the procedures was done by Division Manager and longtime Suhner team leader, Lee Coleman.  These “hands on” demonstrations would interest any customer or maintenance personnel currently using or planning to employ Suhner automated tools in their shop or production facility.  According to Coleman, “We made these videos as the first in a series.  Our goal is to help customers and trainers impart the proper procedures for maintenance and assembly of our automated drills, taps and other tools, which are used extensively in automotive and other high-volume production facilities, contract job shops and elsewhere.” 

The company is planning a number of videos to assist operators and especially maintenance personnel in the proper care and handling of these high-precision automated tools, many of which typically perform thousands of operations in a single shift on the production line. 

These first four new videos cover the following topics on the SPINDLEmaster Max 100:

Proximity Switch Adjustment

Spring Adjustment

General Maintenance

Flag Nut Adjustment

For more information, please contact:

Lee Coleman, Division Manager-Machining
Suhner Industrial Products Corp.
25 Anderson Road SW
Rome, GA 30161 USA
Phone:  706-235-8046
Fax: 706-235-8045

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Suhner Offers Economaster Drilling Units for Value-Priced Production Use

All the features and reliability of Suhner technology at an affordable price,

For the OEM or end user…MADE IN AMERICA 

Suhner introduces the ECONOmaster® line of drilling units, affordably priced at under $3000 for the basic unit, in stock for immediate delivery or customizable to suit the particular operation. This economical solution is ideal for multiple materials such as light metal, wood, composite, plastic and foam.  Because these units are entirely produced at the Suhner factory in Rome, Georgia, response times for delivery and customized construction are minimal, according to Division Manager Lee Coleman.  “We recognized the need to bring our global technology to a local level, here in America, and the ECONOmaster® is a key step in that process.”   Suhner is based in Brugg, Switzerland, with plants and distribution centers worldwide. 

The ECONOmaster® drilling unit features low power and air consumption, adjustable motor housing, adjustable total stroke up to 4”, hydraulic feed control cylinder, J33 taper spindle end, 0-1/2” drill chuck, electric front & rear position limit switches, belt tensioner and chrome-plated quill.  Basic unit weight is 45 lbs.  

Other key features include adjustable feed stroke of ½-3”, 400 lb. thrust at 85 psi, operating pressures to 110 psi, TEFC/IP56 protection, standard 230V/460V, concentricity of .002” TIR, speed ranges to 9600 RPM and an air connection retract/advance of ¼” to 27 NPT.  

ECONOmaster® drilling units can be supplied with an adjustable stand, inline vertical configuration and multiple spindle heads for medium-duty production drilling, with many other spindle options and toolholders available.  Please consult the factory in Rome, Georgia.  

For more information, please contact:

Lee Coleman, Division Manager-Machining

Suhner Industrial Products Corp.
25 Anderson Road SW
Rome, GA 30161 USA
Direct: 706-314-2927
Mobile: 706-409-1876
Fax: 706-235-8045

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