A worker checks on an i5 series model at the factory of Shenyang Machine Tool Company in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province, Jan 11, 2016. [Photo by Dai Tian/chinadaily.com.cn]
The company had everything an employee could wish for: A generous pay package, job security, excellent perks and a brand name that made it easy to get girlfriends.
The life at Shenyang Machine Tool Company (SMTCL), the country's biggest manufacturer of numerical controlled machine tools and machinery equipment, is a bit different now.
The Shenyang-based company in Northeast China's Liaoning province has gone through many twists and turns: From the first company in the nation to produce machine tool to becoming the number one machine-tool maker by sales in the world by 2011 to drop in sales.
Whereonce SMTCL, just like rest of the Northeast,grew at an astonishing pace, its bottom line took a hit with the development of market economy and China opening itself up to foreign investment and technologies.
A study by Lu Feng, professor at the School of Government, Peking University, said the number of employees dropped from 27,000 to 11,000 without any new workers joining between 1993 and 2002, according to a report carried earlier by China Daily.The labor force now stands at 14,000.
After the central government launched a major push to revitalize the Northeast, SMTC's sales revenue reached 18 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) in 2011. It topped the global industry in revenue for three straight years.
This fast-paced expansion, however, came at a price. SMTCL, famous for producing precision tools, began making mid- and low-end products that generated little revenue.
It knew it had to chart a new course to maintain its dominant position – and so it got down to work. It carried out massive restructuring in all areas – organizational, operational and technological, brought in experts from abroad, turned focus on innovation and started thinking out of the box.
The world's first integrated smart machine toolmaker, i5M8, manufactured by the company is a good example of its innovative approach. First launched in 2007, the i5 series broke the dominance of foreign companies and showed that Chinese firms were also capable of producing numerical controlled machine tools.
That was just a first step. In a move that was a complete break from its past practice, SMTCL decided to rent out the tool instead of just selling it. Any firm that wanted to use it could simply rent it. This step proved an ideal match for the country's entrepreneurship drive, as the company saw 17,000 lease orders by the end of last year.
With this decision, the decades-old company successfully transitioned from manufacturing to becoming a service provider. To complete the cycle, SMTCL then launched its own leasing unit to provide intelligent machine tools for use by other entities.
Only time will tell how successful the company will be in turning around its fortune, but it's a good start.
Cutting tool and tooling systems specialist Sandvik Coromant has signed an agreement to become a Premium Partner of leading machine tool manufacturer DMG MORI. The deal, which makes Sandvik Coromant the only tooling manufacturer to be named as a DMG MORI Premium Partner, will further strengthen the relationship between the companies on a global scale. Machine shops around the world will benefit from the combined knowledge and experience of the two market leaders.
As a DMG MORI Premium Partner, Sandvik Coromant will work with the machine tool builder on a wide-range of initiatives, including R&D and engineering, open house events, trade show appearances, technical seminars, website collaboration, and the DMG MORI Journal. Specifically, the agreement will give users of DMG MORI machines access to the turning, parting and grooving, threading, milling, drilling, boring, and reaming tools from Sandvik Coromant, as well as tooling systems and the company’s extensive range of knowledge, industry solutions, and services.
“This agreement confirms our position as one of our industry’s true premium and forward-looking companies,” said Klas Forsström, Global President of Sandvik Coromant. “As we join forces with a leading machine tool builder, for example, on turnkey projects, we take an active role in advancing technology for the industry.”
Sandvik Coromant will equip DMG MORI machines with a wide range of products, services, and know-how. For example, a customized start-up tool kit and service will be supplied with each NLX series universal lathe and NT turn-mill center in selected markets. On the CLX/CMX (previously Ecoline) entry-level machines and DMC V vertical machining centers, users will receive a defined tool kit and global service provision.
Evidence of the successful collaboration between Sandvik Coromant and DMG MORI was seen recently when the two companies partnered with Rota Metal, a distributor in Turkey, and its customer Polat Makina.
Polat, a food technology company, was ready to make the switch from individual machining to multi-tasking machines. Sandvik Coromant recommended a complete new tooling package based on the company’s Coromant Capto® modular quick-change tooling concept. The DMG MORI machines included an NTX 2000 with Capto C6 spindle, an NT 5400 with Capto C8 spindle, and an NT 6600 with Capto C8 spindle. Sandvik Coromant tools specified to help complete the switch included Silent Tools®, CoroTurn® HP, CoroCut® SL, CoroDrill® 860, CoroTap® 300, CoroChuck® 970, and CoroChuck 930. The changes resulted in a reduced machining time, from 2500 to 500 minutes, for a finished end product. The 500% savings is helping ensure rapid return on the company’s investment.
Added Ibrahim Polat, owner of Polat Makina, “Sandvik Coromant did not just supply the tools, they supplied the solution.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield has developed what is believed to be the world’s first carbon composite reconfigurable machine-tool.
Lightweight and made using a modular design, the tool can be easily moved around by two people and, according to the AMRC, could reduce tooling costs in aerospace and other industries.
The tool was developed in collaboration with system manufacturer Exechon, which specialises in a type of machine tool using a system known as parallel kinematics. Rather than mounting all of the axes of the machine in a row, with the ‘end effector’ that holds the actual cutting or milling tool on the end, parallel kinematics mounts the end effector between two movable arms that hold the workpiece and move it through the X, Y and Z dimensions. Proponents of this system say that it can move as flexibly within the same volume as the conventional serial linkage type of machine tool, but with greater accuracy and stiffness.
“Making the structure modular and from composites means the robot can be dismantled and moved easily by two people,” said Ben Morgan, head of the AMRC’s integrated manufacture unit. Moreover, because composites are less susceptible to thermally induced expansion and contraction than metals, the conditions inside the factory will have less effect on the robot’s accuracy, he added.
The machine tool was made as part of the AMRC’s contribution to the Factory of the Aircraft Future project, a UK government-backed initiative to help protect the country’s status and expertise in the aerospace manufacturing industry. It was also a collaboration within the AMRC itself, with most of its parts made by the Composites Centre and its metal components made by the Machining Group and apprentices from the Training Centre.
“Potential applications include drilling and milling holes in wings faster and without having to make major investments in purpose-built machine tools, which cannot be moved easily,” Morgan said. The integrated manufacturing group is now running tests on the machine tool to fully validate it.
Pilz Australia launched its new website which incorporates a new E-Shop for its customers in Australasia.
E-Shop will allow customers to not only browse the company’s vast portfolio of products, it enables them to access the latest technical information, view product images, and download the most up-to- date technical data sheets.
The new E-Shop covers the full portfolio of products that is Pilz, with all the technologies and application areas along with a quick and easy way to view associated accessories or add on features for its products.
John Lim, Managing Director for Sandvik South East Asia, cuts the ribbon and delivered a speech at the opening of Sandvik’s new distribution center in Singapore (photo: Sandvik)
Sandvik has opened a new distribution centre in Singapore to meet increasing demand for its advanced stainless steel and special alloy products, particularly in South East Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
The new Sandvik distribution centre, which is strategically located adjacent to Changi Airport, East Singapore, is key to the company’s customer service commitment as well as its expansion plans in the region.
“To improve our customer service in the Asia region, we are establishing a distribution center in Singapore offering significantly shorter lead-times to the market. Opening the new facility means we are able to bring our products closer to our customers, cutting response times significantly and enabling quicker deliveries,” explains Pär Burefjord, Logistics Manager for Sandvik in APAC.
“Our aim is to be able to offer 24 hour delivery to all APAC markets including India, China and Australia by air and three-to-ten days by vessel.”
Sandvik already operates two distribution centers in Singapore for its mining and machining products, but will now open a third for tube, strip, wire, welding products and heating systems.
“With an expanded and consolidated stock profile and automated stock replenishment, we can provide customers with an even greater service,” said Pär Burefjord. “By taking full advantage of our local material stocks and more efficient logistics, customers could actually reduce their own stock profiles, freeing up valuable manufacturing space.”
The new distribution centre boasts an impressive capacity and will accommodate tube products such as seamless high temperature tubes and furnace tubes, as well as stainless steel hollow bar for component manufacturers. The center will also stock an extensive program of welding consumables, precision wire and Kanthal® resistance wire and furnace products.
Magnus Brodin, Regional Sales Director for Sandvik in APAC, Tube Core & Standard Products, adds, “Inauguration of our new distribution centre in Singapore demonstrates our commitment to our customers in South East Asia and the wider APAC market. It expands our presence in the market, increasing competitiveness and facilitating Sandvik’s growth in the region.”
Vp plc, the equipment rental specialist, today announces the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of TechRentals NZ Ltd ("TRNZ") for a cash consideration of NZ$2.592 million (New Zealand dollars).
TRNZ is engaged in the specialist rental of test & measurement equipment and calibration services in New Zealand.� The business, which has been established for over 30 years, currently operates from a single location in Auckland, New Zealand.
In April 2016, Vp plc announced the acquisition of TR Pty Ltd ("TR"), also engaged in the specialist rental of test & measurement equipment and provider of calibration services in Australia and Malaysia.
TRNZ used to be part of the TR group of companies but was disposed of under previous ownership in 2009.� The TRNZ business will operate within the wide TR group of businesses which have existing activities in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.
Jeremy Pilkington, Chairman of Vp plc, commented:
"We are delighted to welcome the experienced TRNZ back to the TR Group and also to the wider team at Vp.� The acquisition of TRNZ further increases the TR Group's exposure to the healthy New Zealand market."
Vp plc is a specialist rental business providing products and services to a diverse range of markets including infrastructure, construction, housebuilding and oil and gas, both in the UK and overseas.
The Group comprises a UK and an International division:
Groundforce -Excavation support systems and specialist products for the water, civil engineering and construction industries primarily in the UK, but also in the Republic of Ireland and mainland
Hire Station - Tools and specialist products for industry, construction and home owners.
Torrent Trackside - Infrastructure equipment and services for the railway renewals and maintenance industry.
TPA - Portable roadway access solutions to the transmission, outdoor events, construction and utility sectors in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and mainland Europe.
UK Forks - Rough terrain material handling equipment and tracked access platforms for the housebuilding, general construction and industrial markets.
Airpac Bukom Oilfield Services - Equipment and service providers to the international oil and gas exploration and development markets.
TR Group - Specialist rental of test & measurement, communications and audio visual equipment to a breadth of markets including electrical, telecommunications, manufacturing, construction, defence, oil and gas, mining, and government in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.
Further information is available at www.vpplc.com/investors
Sew-Eurodrive has launched a new website for the Australian and New Zealand market. It offers a wide selection of new and expanded content and functions and can be accessed from a range of devices, from PCs and tablets to smartphones. As well as restructuring the site’s content, the company has also revamped its design.
According to the company, the structure of the site ensures accurate responses to all enquiries, provides good orientation and points of reference, takes users to where they need to go reliably, and makes relevant information quick and easy to find and read.
Main features of the new website:
Easy to access information
Fast navigation, with quick access to contact searches, shopping cart and data and documents
A refined search function
Improved user experience thanks to icons and several help features throughout the website
A step by step product finder that guides users to the right product
Smooth integration of customer portal functions into the new website
Although Simpro has a global supply chain, our highest-volume products are still manufactured in Auckland, New Zealand. In a globalised world, it may seem incongruous to manufacture machinery in an isolated first-world nation whose largest exports are milk and tourism.
But we’ve stayed in New Zealand for good reasons:
Like many companies based ‘Down Under’, our products must often operate in extremely isolated and harsh environments – places like Mount Cook, in the Southern Alps, and Alice Springs, in the heart of the Australian Outback – 1,000 miles from the nearest city. Simpro products need to be uncompromisingly tough, reliable, and simple to repair. And we will not outsource production if we can’t guarantee this quality will be upheld.
Simpro is committed to continuously improving our products, and implementing changes in response to our customers’ feedback. Having manufacturing, design, sales and marketing in a common location allows us to quickly and responsively implement new ideas. As economies move away from mass-production towards a more democratic and individualised model, this helps keep us ahead of the curve.
Our products are used throughout the waste and recycling industry, which today is very aware of its important role in creating a sustainable society. Our customers around the world care that their equipment is made in a clean, green country with high environmental standards. In fact, New Zealand is one of the most sustainable economies on earth, with over 75% of electricity being generated from renewable sources – the fourth highest rate in the OECD.
New Zealand is known for a spirit of innovation and unconventional thinking, which we believe is reflected in our range of ‘smart lifting solutions’. By maintaining a strong base in New Zealand, we sustain and enhance this culture.
Of course, our customers always come first, and global supply chains play a key role for every manufacturing business today. But Simpro will always maintain a core capability in New Zealand – because in a genericised, mass-produced world, we believe it gives us an important competitive edge. You can link through to the Simpro website here