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ANCA to showcase the technology range cutting tool manufacturers need to remain agile, improve quality and grow capacity at GrindingHub 2022

Transforming through innovation with ANCA’s AIMS: The future factory is efficient, automated and runs round the clock. It uses modular programs scripts, remote access, and cutting-edge machines to operate at maximum efficiency.

The world of CNC machining thrives on innovation. Grinding machines, cutting tools and software are constantly evolving to be more efficient, flexible, accurate and automated. ANCA chases customer requirements to identify the next challenge to solve — constantly iterating and refining its technology. Over its 40 plus years of operations, developments that were once considered cutting-edge are now business as usual — even at ANCA, we reflect on how revolutionary our early products felt.

Pat Boland, ANCA Co-Founder and Joint Managing Director, said: “We can recall a time when it was almost impossible to resharpen cutting tools on a CNC machine. That was until 1986, when ANCA launched our TG4, the first machine in the world to automate the measurement of tool geometry and regrinding through probing.”

“Or when we introduced the System 32 which, for the first time, applied advanced robotic software to tool grinding which enabled significant opportunities, for example, the soft axis or soft machine kinematics which simplified the grinding of cutting tools. We’ve come a long way, from probing for cutting tools, leading the competition in five-axis grinding or from simulating grinding processes before grinding with the CIM3D.”

“Designing the best technology requires a multi-pronged approach. We immerse ourselves in the market; are continually inventing; keep a keen eye on new developments and bring them into our applications. We seek out intelligent, talented people, and interact with customers daily to understand their specific needs. This is how we design and manufacture our market-leading solutions.”

At GrindingHub ANCA will showcase its technology range at a newly designed stand that enables customers to grow capacity, improve profit margins and gain efficiencies.  Deciding what technology to invest in should be driven by business goals, working with existing objectives, processes, data and ideas.

LAUNCHING THE CPX IN-PROCESS OD MEASUREMENT SYSTEM

The CPX in-process OD measurement system is a quality control system that monitors and controls the OD of ground blanks within a batch production.

 Batch grinding on a CPX with high material removal rates and to tight tolerances is a basic function of the machine, the OD measurement system takes it further by utilizing the Statistical Process Control (SPC) feature that comes standard with the OD measurement software. SPC is user defined, the tolerances along with the Cp and CpK values are constantly monitored, controlled, and reported to the user.

 The OD measurement system is permanently mounted inside the machine and only called upon when required, based on the set tolerances and the frequency of measurement, an accurate in-process measurement and compensation is applied to maintain the blank OD to the nominal diameter.

The system is flexible with the ability to handle multiple diameters in one setup, making it perfect for complex blank geometries/shapes and longer batch runs.

AIMS

ANCA’s Integrated Manufacturing System (AIMS) is the future of optimized cutting tool production through streamlined manufacturing and connectivity. With ANCA and AIMS, customers can achieve continuous, unattended production that dramatically reduces non-productive machine time, with smart automation that connects sequential tool production processes and offers connectivity across the whole factory.

This is Industry 4.0 — factory-wide integration. The technology considers a factory as a single machine, rather than separating it into many different elements of design, blank preparation, grinding, laser marking, washing, packing and shipment. This is a powerful concept that brings together one ecosystem and builds it to be as efficient as possible. AIMS, being a modular solution, could be deployed in stages, allowing for easy, gradual and smooth transition from traditional to automated and integrated manufacturing.

An AIMS manufacturing cell will be displayed at GrindingHub, demonstrating a fully automatic process of tool manufacturing starting from the pallet with blanks and finishing with pallets with ground tools. 

The GrindingHub demo consists of the following components:

  • AutoSet – preparation station, it is a main operator interface. Jobs scheduled for production are downloaded through the AIMS Server to the AutoSet station and are prepared for production here, pallets are being loaded with blanks for further automatic process
  • AutoFetch – AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot) responsible for material transfer between processes replacing operators carrying pallets or individual tools between machines/processes. The AutoFetch robot will transfer full pallets with blanks to the respective grinder, will pick up an individual tool from a grinder for out-of-process measurement and compensation and then will pick up a pallet of finished tools and transfer it to the Finished Goods area
  • MX7 Linear grinder equipped with AutoLine Advanced loader (Robomate 2 loader with AIMS kit installed), allowing for accepting pallets presented by the AutoFetch
  • Zoller Genius with Zoller AutoLine Advanced responsible for out-of-process measurement of individual tools from a batch being manufactured. Measurement values are transferred to the respective grinder and compensation of grinding parameters is taking place based on individual customers tolerance settings.

AUTOMARKX: ANCA’S AUTOMATIC LASER MARKING STATION

AutoMarkX is an automatic stand-alone laser marking station replacing manual and labor-intensive processes. It is AIMS Ready, which means it can be used as a standalone machine but could be easily integrated to your lights out, unmanned AIMS manufacturing cell with automatic pallet transfer using AutoFetch robot.

The AutoMarkX eliminates the need for manual laser marking which is a repetitive and labor-intensive job which could be automated and therefore saving you money. By avoiding manual handling, tool quality is protected by eliminating risk of chipping.

AutoMarkX accepts up to two full pallets of tools, which means you can mark a large batch of tools unmanned. Flexible marking means the message could be etched on a single side of the shank or on opposite sides of the shank as well as at the end of tool. The last option is particularly useful for applications where a unique tool identification code (e.g. Datamatrix) needs to be etched on the tool. Codes like Datamatrix are usually etched on the shank where they risk the exposure to excessive surface wear, rendering them unreadable. The end of tool is the best location to etch this type of code to overcome this issue.

AUTOMATED SMALL BATCH AND REGRINDING SOLUTION AND INSERT GRINDING DEMONSTRATIONS

ANCA understands the requirement to continuously reduce cost within the production processes which is a particular challenge in smaller production batches of complex tools and in regrinding process. To address this challenge ANCA has developed a flexible solution utilizing RFID technology, our LaserUltra closed loop measurement and barcode reader interfaced into our iGrind and end-customer’s ERP system. This system will be demonstrated on the FX7 Linear platform. The demonstration will highlight how to set up a tool for regrind utilizing a barcode reader and QR code, how to easily make adjustments within our ANCA software, what inputs are possible in an ERP system, setting up the RFID to allow mixed diameter automation and the actual grinding process itself. The FX7 Linear machine will also be fitted with the Pop-Up Steady, AutoStick, Auto Wheel Qualification and iView.   

The standalone MX7 Linear with RoboMate loader will be demonstrating ANCA’s solution for grinding and auto loading of indexable inserts. The machine and loader will be installed with workholding, grippers, pallets and interchange station specifically for the manufacture of special inserts. Accessories fitted on the machine include the 4-station Auto Stick, Auto Wheel Qualification and LaserUltra.

GCX LINEAR: GEAR UP FOR SKIVING

Driven by the automotive industry’s electrification and the general rise of e-mobility, the demand for skiving cutters has seen 30% year on year growth. The GCX Linear provides a complete solution for customers to tap into this rapidly developing market, including the ability to produce skiving cutters, shaper cutters and regrinding of hobs. It offers advanced stand-alone software to design and optimize the tool, neatly interfaced with the gear tool package inside ANCA’s renowned ToolRoom software. The machine is designed for accuracy with features including all axes with LinX linear motors and an enhanced headstock. GCX Linear also added a series of technologies: AEMS dressing, MTC on grinding spindle and dresser spindle, integrated gear tool measurement and direct compensation – setting the new standard for producing skiving tools that achieve the highest DIN AA quality class.

Due to the skiving tool’s novelty, many gear measurement machines still don’t have the correct mathematical model for evaluating the quality of the cutter. Leading the world in solving the quality control issue, ANCA developed the world-first integrated gear tool measurement system, which enables the grinding-measuring-compensation all done in the machine, as the only practical closed-loop solution.

At GrindingHub, the GCX Linear will demonstrate the skiving cutter production process assisted with the industry-first integrated gear tool measurement system.

NEW TOOLROOM RN35

Besides demonstrations on ANCA’s industry-leading ToolRoom and CIM3D software, visitors will have a special preview of the upcoming RN35 release.

ToolRoom RN35 focuses on productivity and cycle time improvements especially machine running costs. New process optimization features help to enable reduction in cycle time which in return provides better quality tools and wheel life. This includes automated reduction in air grinding time and gaps calculated based on tool simulation models. Some of the major enhancements include:

  • Feedrate optimization – Integration of Q-Prime feature in ToolRoom software to achieve constant Material Removal Rate (MRR) based on wheel manufacturers specifications. This is done by calculating and controlling non-constant feedrate where applicable to achieve better cycle time and extended wheel life. 
  • Airtime Reduction – Automated reduction in airtime by optimizing gaps based on tool simulation models and wheel shapes.  
  • Statistical Process Control (SPC) – Gives control of your production process during high volume manufacturing by monitoring the variations due to wheel wear and other process controlled activities. Process capability data can be graphically displayed or stored for future QC purposes or further evaluation. It also helps customers to control critical tool dimensions like diameter by updating wheels at regular intervals.
  • Profile Fluting – Gives the ability to control and maintain hook/rake angle along the trajectory of the cutting edge on a given profile. Increases cutting performance and life of the tool due to uniform hook/rake angle along the edge.

For further information, please contact:

Johanna Boland
Group Strategy and Communications Manager
Tel.: +61 407 799 779
E-Mail: Johanna.Boland@anca.com

ABOUT ANCA

ANCA is an advanced manufacturing company of CNC grinding machines, automation, motion control solutions and sheet metal fabrication. Founded in 1974 in Melbourne, where its global headquarters remain, it has grown to a thriving team with over 1000 talented people who work together to shape the future of technology.

As a global leader in its field, ANCA designs and manufactures highly complex and accurate machinery that requires lasers, automation and robotics to achieve accuracies in microns. It has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA and a comprehensive network of representatives worldwide. Its CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including aerospace, medical cutting tools, automotive (including electric vehicles) and electronics.

ANCA partners with its customers to create bespoke solutions and invests almost 10% of annual turnover on research and development. 

Or for ANCA Europe –

Joachim Jäckl
Marketing & Communications Manager
Tel.: 49 620 184 669 14
E-Mail: joachim.jaeckl@anca.com

About ANCA Europe

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA Europe has its main technology centre in Weinheim, Germany and a smaller facility in Coventry, UK with expert teams covering service and sales, applications, customer training, operations, engineering, finance and administration. Regular customer demonstrations and events are conducted at the Weinheim technology centre. To offer customers a local experience ANCA has sales and service teams in Poland, France, Italy and Turkey as well as sales partners in Spain, Russia, Switzerland, Israel and other key European locations. See all our locations here: https://machines.anca.com/Contact

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacturers, power generation, woodworking, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

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ANCA’s FX Linear medical drill application supports tool loading for delicate dental drills

The global dental drills and burrs market is expected to display annual growth rate of approximately 6.5%. While the market is fragmented experts say that oral disease is increasing and is affecting half of the world’s population. A growing number of dental schools and dentists in developed countries is a key driver for accelerating growth in this segment.

A dental drill is popularly known as a dentist’s drill. While a source of anxiety for many, dental drills are used routinely to perform common dental procedures, like removing decay and are usually fitted to a hand-held mechanical instrument. The hand-held device works at high speeds using dental drills or burrs.

International Standards are defined for all dental rotary instruments, and each instrument is assigned a distinct ISO number code. Most common are HP Shank (ISO104) and RA Shank (ISO204 & 209) with a shank size of Ø 2.35mm.

Due to an increasing demand to grind Ø2.35mm shank medical drills, ANCA has created a special tool loading solution for FX Linear machines to address this need. Many medical drills have a short shank length with a head larger than 2.35mm.

ANCA has designed a special dental drill loading kit including tailored RoboMate pallets for FX machines using a Fanuc 200iD robot loader. The pallet top allows a reduction of the insertion depth of the shank with an 8mm pocket depth, so that drills with only 10mm of available shank length can be loaded. The robot grippers have also been modified for the reduced thickness of medical tools. The medical gripper can accommodate Ø2-10mm x 100mm with a maximum head diameter of 14mm.

Medical instruments are typically manufactured from stainless medical grade alloy, so handling can be sensitive. The small medical drill kit also includes adjustable pressure setting from 1.5bar to 5bar for tool clamping to prevent damage from tool loading, with the pressure adjustable via the RoboMate program.

The medical drill package for FX Linear machines is growing in popularity with orders steadily increasing since 2018.  

ANCA CNC tool grinders are well suited to grind a vast array of medical instruments. ToolRoom software includes tool design applications for a diverse range of round tools and burrs. Available technologies like white-sticking, in-machine wheel balancing and micro adjustable tool steadies, add to ANCA’s solutions for supporting diverse applications.


For further information, please contact:

Johanna Boland
Group PR and Communications Manager, ANCA
M: +61 407799779
Johanna.Boland@anca.com

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacture, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

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Your Technical Guide to Grinding a High Performance Endmill (Part One)

By Thomson Mathew, Software Product Manager, ANCA

Thomson Mathew
Thomson Mathew

Thomson Mathew, ANCA’s software product manager has a huge wealth of knowledge and expertise, having worked in the cutting tool industry for almost 25 years.

The architect of many of ANCA’s market renowned software products – Thomson has written a technical guide on creating the perfect Endmill running through a five-part instructional series.

In this issue, we look at the factors which will impact the overall performance of an Endmill and “weird” Endmills that have higher geometrical levels of complexity.

PART ONE: GEOMETRY DESIGN AND PARAMETER VERIFICATION

Every Endmill begins with design and a well-designed geometry can make a high performance Endmill.

There are many factors which will impact the overall performance of an Endmill. Four major ones that get cited are the grade or quality of carbide material, the cutting tool geometry design, the precision manufacturing process or quality control and the type of coating.

The hardness of an Endmill’s material, usually carbide, will depend on the grade of carbide in the matrix. Smaller grains mean more substance versus binder, and therefore a harder tool. Exotic coatings will improve lifespan and cutting performance. Quality control means a workshop can get a consistent result.

The various type cutting tools of CNC machine on the stock shelf in the store room. The set of CNC cutting tool, solid ball, bull or radius, flat or square, tapping endmill tools.

But geometry has an outsized role, one that highlights the blend of art and engineering – and for a long time, trial and error – involved in creating the ideal Endmill. This begins with design. Some of the important factors in Endmill design include the combination of both variable helix and index flute geometry design, core geometry design, the OD clearance angles eccentric versus facet reliefs design, endface design with wiper flats and pad grinding or end dubbing etc. each time from a set of Endmills.

As I have written elsewhere, the progress of the industry has seen Endmills grow increasingly “weird” as toolmakers have sought high material removal rates while avoiding “chatter”.

Regenerative chatter happens when the harmonics between a tool and workpiece are at different frequencies. The two self-excited objects will hit against each other, which is a negative for surface finish and dimensional accuracy, as well as the lifespan of the tool and machinery. It is a drain on productivity and profits.

High helix tools (over 35 degrees) have long been popular for their strength and fast feed and swarf removal rates. While they have these advantages over low helix Endmills for hard materials, they are also the more prone of the two to chatter. Some of the trial and error to combat this has been around variable helixes and pitches and trying to better balance tools. This has led to “weird” Endmills, with higher geometrical levels of complexity.

Low Helix (15 degrees) to High Helix (60 Degrees)
Low Helix (15 degrees) to High Helix (60 Degrees)

In high helix tools the cutting forces are directed more vertically and less horizontally, which reduces tool deflection and results in quick and efficient chip evacuation.

More positive axial rake lowers cutting forces which helps to increase feedrates. The core of the tool is thicker due to the shape of the helix and the tool is stronger. High helix Endmills are typically used in tougher harder materials because they wear better, although they can also be used in softer materials like aluminium. One disadvantage of high helix Endmills is the tendency to chatter more, and they really bite into the material.

On the contrary, low helix tools are less likely to chatter and typically perform better in soft materials. Their disadvantage is the lower feedrates and hence lower material removal rates. Our understanding of how to mitigate chatter has come a long way and involves no guesswork nowadays. The geometry and design are purely based on material to be cut whether it is soft or hard.

Variable helix end mills with variable index are considered state of the art these days. The idea is to vary the helix along the flute length or from flute-to-flute. The aim of the variable helix is to fight chatter. Since chatter is a resonance effect, anything we can do to break up the resonance of the flutes beating against the workpiece will reduce chatter. The tool balancing capabilities in the RN34 release of ANCA’s ToolRoom software is the perfect solution to combat chatter.


For further information, please contact:

Johanna Boland
Group PR and Communications Manager, ANCA
M: +61 407799779
Johanna.Boland@anca.com

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacture, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

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Cutting Tool manufacturer F.O. Select competes successfully in Switzerland by investing in ANCA technology to achieve ‘lights out manufacturing’

New technology has enabled F.O. Select to easily achieve greater quality, efficiency and durability of their cutting tools

Loïc Jacot, 5th Generation family member of F.O. Select

Loïc Jacot, 5th Generation family member of F.O. Select said, “Our business was founded in 1886 by my Great Great Grandfather when he started manufacturing razor blades. At the beginning of the 20th century, the multinational company “Gillette” entered the European market and Arnold Schumacher decided to diversify the production with different cutting tools.”

“Our customers like the fact that we are still a family business. We have 130 years of experience in the production of tools. In general, we can say that we work with all main key cutting machine producers on the market. Since all people in the world use keys you need to cut millions and millions of keys every day. The market is niche but worldwide.”

F.O. Select has the utmost respect for legendary Swiss quality. They specialize in the manufacture of key cutters, cutter wheels and fine tooth cutters. Their dynamism and expertise has led the business to strive constantly for innovative performance and quality assurance. Production wise, the company has leading-edge technology that combines traditional craftsmanship with today’s modern manufacturing methods.

Loïc continues “We produce all our products in-house so we have a control over the whole production process. We produce about 100,000 pieces a year and export our products in 75 different countries with a very short lead time of 48 hours. Keys are becoming more complex because people want more security. Since the market is shifting towards precision we needed more precise machines to manufacture the keys.”

“In Switzerland, if we want to be competitive, we have to be automated, because in Switzerland everything is very expensive. We looked for the best solution for our production needs, understanding that cost reductions could be achieved with better efficiency and productivity. Investing in capital equipment is expensive and we needed to calculate if we should buy a new machinery. We looked at how the ANCA FX5 grinding machine would help us in the production process in terms of productivity through automated solutions. Quality is also very important to our business.”

“We have achieved these savings by investing in equipment that can run without human intervention, or ‘lights out’. This means they can run, producing tools, after office hours – during the night and weekends unattended.”

“In fact, since we installed our FX5 ANCA grinding machine we have been working 24 hours seven days a week.”

“New technology is very important because they bring efficiency, reliability, and precision. Our new ANCA machine is very precise, automated; and thanks to the laser we can measure the pieces on the machine and the machine will, by itself, change the software to make the measurement correct. This is crucial when working unmanned during the night or weekend.”

“The ANCA machine is easy to set up because the software is user friendly. We had no experience how to set up grinding machine producing endmills before our first ANCA machine. And now we have two and in the future maybe more.”

“We received training from ANCA to help set up the machine correctly. The robot is very easy to set up, so in a few minutes, you can change the diameter or you can change the table and the machine will be ready for production. And the good thing also is, I mean, the machine is more compact. I mean in comparison — if we compare our old ANCA machine and the new one, the new one is maybe 30% smaller.”  

“We have a bright future because we have modern machines, precise ones, automated. And since we control the whole production process we developed our know-how and we produce more precise and more durable tools,”  Loïc Jacot, F.O. Select.


For further information, please contact:

Johanna Boland
Group PR and Communications Manager, ANCA
M: +61 407799779
Johanna.Boland@anca.com

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacture, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

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Cybersecurity and Digital Data Protection Concept. Icon graphic interface showing secure firewall technology for online data access defense against hacker, virus and insecure information for privacy.

Cybersecurity

Six ways to make sure your manufacturing business is cyber-secure

By Thomson Mathew—ANCA Software Product Manager

Cybersecurity, man looking at computer

While smart factories are revolutionizing the manufacturing industry through innovation, being connected comes with new risk factors that must be addressed. A Deloitte study revealed that 48% of manufacturers identified operational risks—including cybersecurity—as the greatest danger to their factories.

Manufacturing can be a lucrative ‘get’ for cyberattackers, targeting your intellectual property or blocking production. Businesses risk financial, time and productivity losses if they don’t get the balance right. So, how can you make sure your business is safe?

The cloud offers manufacturers an unprecedented level of flexibility, from lights-out manufacturing to remote real-time data. But this level of connection can expose your business to attack.

While it may be your first concern, the risk isn’t limited to connected machines. Manufacturers can also be vulnerable to phishing attacks, ransomware and internal breaches, among others. This means company phones, email addresses and laptops should all be protected. Relying on supply chains also means manufacturing can be disrupted by attacks on suppliers and distributors. Having a clear picture of risk areas is the first step to creating a secure network.

A false sense of security can be devastating to a manufacturing business if a cyberattack eventuates. Even if you’re on top of what needs to be done, you must ensure everyone in the business understands the risks—human behavior is a significant factor in compromised systems!

Operational technology, including tooling machines, creates endless opportunities for manufacturers. In the past, these machines had no external links to networks and so weren’t vulnerable to digital attacks.

Running machines 24/7 means relying on the network to remain secure even when you’re not there. Because of these risks, ANCA machines have been designed to use whitelisting to ascertain networks can only be accessed by predetermined parties. That means new software and devices must be authorized before they can be added, massively reducing the risk of introducing viruses, malware or weak points. Each piece of software has been thoroughly assessed for vulnerabilities before being whitelisted, so manufacturers can be assured of their machines’ security.

If you’re using a tooling machine, you’re exposing your systems to external third parties. The potential consequences are that you could lose data, you could lose productivity time, or you’ll have ongoing maintenance. You’re putting your machine at risk.

Cybersecurity and Digital Data Protection Concept. Icon graphic interface showing secure firewall technology for online data access defense against hacker, virus and insecure information for privacy.

Your manufacturing business isn’t just the machines in your factory. It includes other businesses— like material suppliers, logistics companies and even accountants—and all of their extended networks. Any vulnerability they have can affect your business outcomes.

Speak to each of your stakeholders about what they do to protect their networks. You may not be able to change their approach, but it’ll help you to mitigate the risk at your end, for example, by choosing a more secure supplier or looking into vertical integration.

Even the most secure cloud and digital systems can fail. To ensure your IP is as robust as possible, and to limit the impact on your productivity, you should be performing regular offline backups away from your network.

It’s best to be overcautious. Store multiple backups in different places to better distribute the risk of further data loss—and make sure those locations are secure, too.

Automating this process eliminates the need to remember to do it (often until it’s too late) but performing periodic manual backups will give you the best coverage.

Cybercrime is big business—some reports suggest it’s the equivalent of the world’s third-largest economy, inflicting damages in the trillions of dollars every year. Globally, spending on cybersecurity is expected to grow to almost U.S. $350 billion by 2026.[1], [2]

With so much at stake, the goalposts are constantly changing. New viruses appear in the market every day, with rapid patching and greater security a constant feature. To guarantee your business’s ongoing safety, be ready to respond to new threats by frequently updating all software—not just your antivirus—and deferring to machine experts as situations change.


For further information, please contact:

Johanna Boland
Group PR and Communications Manager, ANCA
M: +61 407799779
Johanna.Boland@anca.com

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacture, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.


[1] https://cybersecurityventures.com/hackerpocalypse-cybercrime-report-2016/

[2] https://cybersecurityventures.com/cybersecurity-market-report/

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Marketing for Manufacturers: Let Your Customers be your Marketers

By Johanna Boland, Group Strategy and Communications Manager at ANCA CNC Machines

Johanna Boland
Johanna Boland

When I moved into the Communications role at ANCA, an Australian manufacturing company, I anticipated our marketing activity would be straightforward, and, if anything, a little bit dull. 

I knew I would be working in the technology sector, and that was interesting, but I wasn’t sure how much creativity would be encouraged or needed in a B2B organization. 

And to be honest that is what I found. We are a fully privately-owned Australian manufacturer running for over 45 years from Melbourne and export 99 per cent of our product overseas. ANCA is thriving with around 1,000 employees and is a world leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines, motion controls, sheet metal solutions and components. 

We have customers in over 45 countries and facilities in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a network of representatives and agents worldwide. So as a business ANCA was doing well.

My first job was to benchmark against our competitors, and we were easily meeting the same standards. We had a strong brand, advanced product management process, advertised, participated in the right exhibitions, produced good, printed sales materials and had a passable website. All respectable, solid traditional marketing activities. 

But it wasn’t just traditional marketing that enabled us to take the top position in our market. We make a really great product with extraordinary technology backed up by a global sales and service infrastructure. It was a positive customer experience that saw us dominate our market.

We were successful and our customers loved us – so why break what wasn’t broken? Finding my feet, I realized the potential of this opportunity. 

With a more progressive marketing strategy we could offer greater customer value and stand out in our market. We wanted to be progressive in channels but also in our approach and content.

Firstly, we considered the customer experience and from reviewing social media, I got a very strong sense of the people behind the machines. These cutting tool manufacturers considered themselves as craftspeople who made objects just as beautiful and refined as a guitar. 

Tapping into this passion and profiling the person as well as the technology has differentiated us compared to our competitors. Telling our users’ stories has helped us better engage and inform customers.

We also looked at our channels and digital was the one to tackle first. Our website was old and clunky – but again, against our sector we were not doing badly. 

The business wasn’t shouting for a new website, but with dated architecture and visuals the site wasn’t the perfect match for our brand. We boasted technology that could grind to an accuracy of <0.002 millimeters, yet our website was over ten years old, and looked it. 

In our new website we have a careers section to highlight how cool ANCA was to work for, video integration for highlighting new products, a news and media section to add value for our customers and it is integrated to our customer relationship management system (CRM) for lead generation and visibility. 

Our next step will be to launch an e-commerce platform in a few months – something I am sure our competitors are not ready for and which will further help position us as a progressive business and grow revenue. 

Our content marketing not only adds value to the customer but it also profiles our experienced technical experts and reinforces ANCA’s brand as the leader in its field. Social media has also provided important access to the voice of customer and our Product managers regularly use the global Cutting Tool Facebook Forum to seek customer insights and understand what the market is thinking.

We were the first in our industry to really have a go at social media and are now streaks ahead of our competition in both followers and engagement. In fact, our competitors are copying our campaigns in their own social feeds. Thankfully it is much easier to start in front than to catch up.

Posting regular content and engaging with customers’ posts has built a thriving community. We see tons of fantastic user generated content with customers sharing photos of the tools they have produced on our machines every day. Using the hashtag #MadeonANCA, we now have hundreds of mini customer testimonials that give meaningful credibility to our brand.

Going back to the people behind the machine, we prioritized activity to improve the customer experience, rather than selling the product. Our #ToolTipTuesday series has been a hit. 

We post a short informative video with tips on how to use our software. These videos have attracted almost 85,000 views on YouTube since launch. A sales person recently had a call from Boeing asking about a machine after seeing a tool tip which piqued their interest. 

Given our machines can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, this was a cost-effective sales lead. Our #ANCAFlashBackFriday posts spark conversations about past achievements and memories to help reinforce our heritage and brand loyalty. We are also about to launch our own TV show — ANCA Academy — to host on our YouTube channel. What I am most proud of is our Tool of the Year competition, which is now in its fourth year. 

The team built a campaign that has attracted over 100 entries from Turkey, India, Italy, France, Thailand, USA, Germany, Poland, China, Russia, Japan, Korea and Malaysia. We livestream the results at the major trade fair of the year and gain significant media coverage to boost our customers’ brands. 

Last year there were almost 30 entries received from across the world, achieving 70 media appearances seen by over 80,000 fans and generating over 200,000 engagements on social media.

Awards are not a new concept, but this format was for our industry, especially using social media as part of the campaign. We use our Facebook channel for the community to like the entries and select the finalists, helping grow our own Facebook page and reach a broader audience. 

We found an influencer, Alfred Lyon, and asked him to be a judge. Alfred is a customer in the USA who has over 45 thousand followers on Instagram – and I don’t imagine that many people would bother to follow if they weren’t interested in content featuring cutting tools. 

At a trade show in Germany when we announced the winner on the stand a customer came up to me and thanked me for giving their industry a platform to be recognized.

Four years into working for ANCA I have seen the value of thinking creatively and bringing new and different ways of building your brand to a business. Traditional marketing remains fundamental, but building a personality around our product, telling a story and considering the person behind the machine has helped us gain a more vibrant and open reputation. 


Johanna Boland is Group Strategy and Communications Manager at ANCA CNC Machines.


For further information, please contact:
Johanna Boland
Group PR and Communications Manager, ANCA
M: +61 407799779
Johanna.Boland@anca.com

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacture, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

Continue reading

Gorilla Mill Grows Up with ANCA

Carbide Grinding Company, Inc, was established in 1974, and developed a reputation as a small, specialist maker of tools, supplying Milwaukee-area manufacturers like Snap-on and Harley-Davidson.

After purchasing the company in 2003 and giving it a new image as Gorilla Mill two years after — its branding is simian-themed, aggressive, fun, and comes with the tagline “Weapons of Mass Production” — Kevin Cranker has set the company on a solid growth path.  

They are now up to 48 employees, with 300 distributors worldwide, and a diverse spread of customers.

These include automotive and defense suppliers, aerospace customers including Boeing, and space clients like SpaceX and Blue Origin.

But it’s the support of “mom and pop” shops that Cranker seems happiest about.

“They’re the guys who keep our work up,” he explains.

“When one of the big guys goes away it stings a bit. But then we have a number of small mom and pop job shops that we love doing business with because they’re always there and just always buying.”

Cranker says ANCA CNC Machines has played a large role in Gorilla’s Mills’ progress.

After investing in and being disappointed by a European-made tool and cutter grinding machine early in the millennium, he decided to try an RGX, suitable for re-grinding and low-volume production.

The machine is still part of GM’s collection of ANCA machines, and has been joined by 17 others.

“I’ve been buying a couple a year pretty steady here for the last five or six years. Probably going to need some more here before 2022.”

“We have several RX7s. Several MX7s. A couple of TX7s. We’ve got now a bunch of FX7s. It’s a mix of all different older ones and newer ones. I really, really like the new ones with the linear motors, which work really well.”

Cranker says linear motors made by ANCA Motion offer a “night and day” difference versus ballscrew motion, with greater precision and speeds, and much greater durability in a workshop where a lot of carbide sludge is generated.

ANCA’s pioneering simulation software was another enabler, and took the “heartache and headache” out of designing the geometries of Gorilla’s patented four-and five-flute mills, which Cranker designed with Mark Greenwood.

The firm adopted simulation with the purchase of its second ANCA machine, and it has proved invaluable ever since.

“The GM Team quickly identified the value in ANCA 3D CIMulation in its assistance to design and develop new tool geometries without actually grinding a physical tool,” says ANCA Inc General Manager, Russell Riddiford.

“Then they take that design to the ANCA machine and get the first tool off the machine perfectly as designed in the 3D CIMulation.”

Cranker adds of tool development that there would be “just no way we could do it” without the 3D CIMulation.

“We were able to mess around with geometries in a virtual space and not waste materials and machine time and everything else,” he says.

“But nowadays the simulator has just gotten so much better with all these new additions and the fact that now you can make blueprint drawings from it and you can just do a whole lot more.”

One software feature that gets regular use is tool balancing, introduced in ToolRoom RN34. This has proven “a huge help,” mainly for single-flute routers, enabling design of tools for high-speed machining that won’t produce noise and chatter and damage workpieces.  

Levels of user friendliness and automation options available on ANCA machines have also grown up with Gorilla Mill.  

“Cross training” required among the fast-growing workforce is minimal, and most of the workshop’s machines have the same ANCA software.

“Plus, we have all of our machines tapped into a network,” says Cranker.

“We can just manipulate toolpaths and tool programs right in our simulator and then shoot that over to whatever machine they’re needed at.”

Every machine is equipped with a robotic loader — either a pallet-style or a newer AR300 unit — helping make lights out work possible. Daytime is for custom and short-run production. The third shift is unmanned.

As the company grows its staff and revenues — which have risen nearly 900 per cent since the beginning of the Gorilla Mill era — Cranker estimates it will continue to invest in FX and MX machines, as well as robotic options to go with these.

“We currently have the ability to make 3,500 endmills a night if need be, and that’s huge for us, says Cranker, who recalls the company getting started with automation on the old RGX machine.

“It can be tricky if you don’t know how to set things up right, and ANCA’s done a pretty good job of trying to keep complications to a minimum. But we honed our skills, and every time we moved up we bought another loader, because I really want to be able to make tools lights out.”


For further information, please contact:

Johanna Boland
Group PR and Communications Manager, ANCA
M: +61 407799779
Johanna.Boland@anca.com

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacture, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

Continue reading

ANCA launches its own television show – the ANCA Academy

Learn how to set up a collet adaptor, a fundamental skill that all operators need to grind accurate tools and maintain stability of batch grinding

Each month, the ANCA Academy show will cover a different technical topic – from set up through to grinding. The educational videos will help ANCA machine users understand new applications and features.

Hugh Ingham, ANCA Mechanical Engineer hosts the new show and said: “I love working at ANCA because we design and apply really interesting and effective technology. It is important that we make sure we are helping our customers and those interested in getting into cutting tool grinding produce the best possible product faster, more accurately and at the lowest possible cost. The first episode will explain a PCA adaptor, how they work and how you can set your machine up for long and stable batch runs.”

“ANCA already has our Tool Tip Tuesdays, monthly newsletter, The ANCA Club, face to face training, social media and YouTube channel but we think there is so much to learn about our technology that we decided to start our own dedicated TV show. Make sure you send in any ideas or topic suggestions because this show is entirely dedicated to help our customers get even more out of their investment in ANCA. That way we both succeed.”

“The first episode covers the fundamentals of these types of collet adaptors, what makes them unique and how with some simple tricks, you can reduce your setup time and increase your productivity. After watching this episode, you will be able to confidently set up your ANCA PCA for reduced radial and axial runout and enjoy the benefits of long and stable batches.”

“If you have a brand new or an older ANCA machine and want to get right into accurate and repeatable grinding, then you definitely don’t want to miss this.”

Topics covered will include:

  • Learn about clamping force
  • PCA adaptors
  • Mounting the collet
  • Adjusting radial runout

Sign up to our customer dedicated newsletter and don’t miss an episode: https://machines.anca.com/E-Sharp-News/Sign-up


For further information, please contact:

Johanna Boland
Group PR and Communications Manager, ANCA
M: +61 407799779
Johanna.Boland@anca.com
https://machines.anca.com/

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacture, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

Continue reading

Power Up

How simultaneous high-current and high-frequency have positioned the ANCA EDG as the benchmark for PCD manufacture.

Poly Crystalline Diamond (PCD) products are widely used in industry for their superior abrasion resistance and longevity when machining non-ferrous materials. By virtue of their uniform carbon lattice structures, diamond is the hardest material available and therefore lends itself well to manufacturing processes requiring high speeds, feed rates and extended wear behaviors. PCD is not typically used to machine ferrous materials such as iron or steel due to a chemical reaction that occurs between the diamond and the iron molecules. The Carbon atoms in the diamond react with the Iron (Ferrous) atoms of the iron or steel to produce Iron Carbide (Fe3C), causing the tool edges to collapse.  However, it can tackle bimetal applications involving aluminium and cast iron.

The areas that PCD tooling excels in is the machining of non-ferrous materials, composites, electronic components, timbers and precious metals.

Non-ferrous MetalsPolymers and Other MaterialsPrecious Metals
AluminumCompositesPlatinum
CarbideCarbon FibersGold
TitaniumGlass FibersSilver
NickelCeramicsBronze
LeadPolyether (PEEK) 
CopperTimber and wood 
BrassPCB 
Figure 1: Materials suited to manufacture with PCD tooling.

When machining these materials, PCD tooling exhibits superior wear resistance, heat tolerance and tool longevity.

Using PCD in tooling is not new, however, the explosion of lightweight materials used in all industries as manufacturers race to create lightweight and durable products highlights how versatile PCD tooling is becoming. Aluminium and composite products continue to grow quickly with the rapid expansion of consumer electronics, light-weight transportation and more efficient power generation. 

Linked to the growth in non-ferrous componentry and PCD tooling is the downward pressure being applied to machine tool builders. Lowering cycle times and increasing surface finishes enables a profitable business proposition for PCD tooling manufacturers by reducing manufacturing costs per tool and increasing quality and durability for the end user. 

To enable ANCA’s customers to create high-quality, low-cost tooling the new ANCA Motion SparX Generator has been designed and built using the latest power electronics. Power Electronics allows the creation of a wide band-gap generator to achieve high current and high frequency simultaneously. This enables higher mega-amp per second Nano and Pico-pulses and far greater control of the erosion process. These combine for a much faster and controllable erosion process than conventional electronics and allow for the complete manufacture of PCD tooling using nano grade PCDs (example: Element Six CMX850 with 0.85µm diamond grains and CTX002 with 2µm grains) through to very large diamond grades (example: CTH025 with average grain size of 25µm and CTM302 a multi-modal PCD with grain sizes of 2µm to 30µm)

Additionally, by virtue of the 5-axis kinematics of the ANCA EDG machines utilizing a rotary copper electrode, almost infinite tool geometries can be created including complex end-face and fluting geometries. This linked to very aggressive pricing and performance with supreme flexibility enables tooling manufacturers to create high quality PCD tools competitively.  Additionally, with the increase in performance, decrease in cycle time and increase in surface finish specification, users are able to purchase arguably the most technologically advanced erosion machine available. ANCA is the only supplier of EDG erosion machines in the market that has a synchronized, adaptable, intelligent and controllable erosion process suited perfectly to the vast array of non-ferrous materials.

To highlight these benefits, ANCA conducted testing between tools created on an ANCA EDG, tools created on a competitor laser machine and lastly on a competitor erosion machine.  Testing utilized a 12mm 2D shear brazed (neutral rake face) tool due to laser ablation systems being unable to create large fluted tools. The PCD material was Element Six CTM302.

Testing showed definitively that not only did the ANCA EDG match the quality and cycle time of laser created tools, but it was vastly superior to the like-for-like erosion results.

Figure 2: Comparison tooling used for laser and erosion tests
 Laser CompetitorErosion CompetitorANCA EDG
SettingsStandard FinishStandard Finish
Surface Finish (µm Ra)0.2000.4000.200
Cycle Time26m : 24s56m : 00s26m : 20s
Edge Corner Radius (µm)9.456.253.22

Figure 3: Comparison data obtained for multiple tests

Additionally, the cutting edges were 3x keener on the ANCA created tools as opposed to the laser ablated tools. Keen cutting edges are very important in the manufacture of aluminium and composites as they reduce burring while increasing surface finishes. In composites, keen cutting edges also reduce the risk of delamination during machining.

The key take-away from this testing was that not only is the ANCA EDG with the new ANCA Motion SparX Erosion Generator well suited to all types of PCD and the varying associated industries, but that erosion processes utilizing power electronics with high current and high frequency simultaneously positions the ANCA EDG squarely in the sights of both traditional erosion and laser technologies.


For further information, please contact:

Johanna Boland
Group PR and Communications Manager, ANCA
M: +61 407799779
Johanna.Boland@anca.com

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacture, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

Continue reading

ANCA’s newest Smart Factory tool, LaserUltra, is 70% faster measuring tools

Recently launched at Eastec 2021, LaserUltra dramatically increases capacity and reduces waste through highly accurate and fast in-process measurement and compensation

ANCA leads the market in inventing, developing, and offering its customers the latest technology to realize the benefits of automation and lights out manufacturing. LaserUltra is the next generation of the highly popular LaserPlus, an in-process measurement technology only available with ANCA that gave customers the power to operate unmanned overnight with confidence they could retrieve their finished tools the next day within specification. LaserPlus was itself a game changer for the industry and already significantly faster than external tool measurement processes.

The 70% reduction in measurement time compared to Laser Plus is achieved through the new Analog measurement. The Analog measurement is a continuous edge scan instead of number of digital points along the cutting edge. This process also eliminates variations caused by machine standing idle, errors due to manual wheel corrections and the requirement of skilled operators.  In its place LaserUltra has increased accuracy, productivity, and reduction of scrap.

ANCA’s LaserUltra allows the measurement of tool geometries to tolerances of 0.002mm without removing the tool from the grinder, saving time in the manufacturing process, and ensuring maximum accuracy in measurement is maintained over large batch grinding.

Pat Boland, ANCA Co-Founder said: “The intersection of 5 axis milling machines, advanced CAD/CAM software and advanced profile geometry cutting tools is revolutionizing the Die and Mold and Aerospace machining industries. ANCA’s Laser Ultra tool measurement system together with RN34 software gives tool manufacturers all they need to manufacture complex profile endmills productively to outstanding accuracy.”

LaserUltra offers customers:

  • Greater accuracy due to the continuous edge scan rather than a number of points.
  • Several new ToolTypes like Barrel shape cutters and Lens shapes are included with LaserUltra measurement cycles.
  • New operations like runout compensation and enhanced functions.
  • Larger working envelop means larger diameters and length of tools can be measured.
  • The measurement reports have been modified to suit customers’ requirements.
  • Eliminates errors caused by manual compensation process.

Thomson Mathew, ANCA Software Product Manager said: “gone are the days of manual or external measurement and compensation for critical dimensions or profile forms due to wheel wear or other grinding factors as LaserUltra can measure and compensate within a couple of microns. All this is done in process without taking the tools out of the machine with complete control of process stability and capability. These measurements are displayed at various locations to give our customers complete visibility and trust in their grinding process.”

LaserUltra is an automatic OD, profile measurement and compensating system for ANCA’s TX, MX and FX machines. It is ideal for measuring and compensating tools to maintain tight tolerances (0.002mm) in unmanned production grinding. The in-process measurement is available in both digital and analog for fast and accurate measurements to enable productivity and performance improvements.

It is permanently mounted inside the machine and will not interfere with typical grinding processes and accessories. Using the laser, the operator can perform accurate in-process measurement and compensation without removing tools from the machine.

Thomson continues: “It gives customers flexibility to service multiple markets, supporting a large range of cutting tool applications, for example, all types of endmills or step tools — including profile, compression routers and Threadmills and several more. Furthermore, different versions of LaserUltra can cover large diameter ranges and various lengths depending on user cases. And finally, LaserUltra can generate reports which can be configured depending on customers’ requirements.”

LaserUltra Digital versus LaserUltra Analog

For further information, please contact:

Johanna Boland
Group Strategy and Communications Manager, ANCA
M: +61 407799779
Johanna.Boland@anca.com

ANCA is a market leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines. It was founded in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia where the company still has its global headquarters. ANCA has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the USA as well as a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

ANCA CNC grinders are used for manufacturing precision cutting tools and components across a diverse range of competitive industries including cutting tool manufacture, automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

Continue reading