Jochen Nahl, Member of the Board & CSO, GROB Group
We will endeavor to strengthen our global leadership in customized manufacturing system solutions boosted with latest automation solutions, with both international auto makers and Indian auto companies.
– Jochen Nahl, Member of the Board & CSO, GROB Group
The GROB Group headquartered in Mindelheim, Germany, is a formidable name in machine tools and manufacturing systems. The company, with a standing and reputation of nine decades in the engineering world, has a turnover of over 1.5 billion euros and a workforce of 6,600 employees worldwide. GROB’s present portfolio ranges from universal machining centers to highly complex manufacturing systems with own automation function through to manual assembly stations to fully automated assembly lines. It also sets up production plants for electric motors and assembly lines for battery and fuel cell technology. GROB is also taking a giant leap into the digital future, finds out P.K. Balasubbramaniian in an interview with Mr. Jochen Nahl, Member of the Board & CSO, GROB Group. Excerpts:
As a globally operating, family-owned company, we have been developing manufacturing systems and machine tools for more than 90 years. The success story of GROB-WERKE began way back in 1926 when the company was founded by Ernst Grob, who was producing folding boats, weaving machines and stationary combustion engines at that time.
In 1952, Burkhart Grob, the son of the founder, assumed responsibility for the company almost completely destroyed during the war and was able to forge the link to the emerging automotive industry with high-quality and technologically-convincing production machines. In 1968, the Mindelheim plant was built and the company’s headquarters was relocated from Munich to Mindelheim due to expansion requirements and future growth vision. The Munich site was closed.
Besides the parent plant in Mindelheim, the plants in Bluffton (USA), São Paulo (Brazil), Dalian (People’s Republic of China) and Turin (Italy) are part of the production network of GROB Group. This production network is expanded through twelve sales and service branches in South Korea, China, India, Russia, Great Britain, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the USA to guarantee the best service quality.
Even after Dr. Burkhart Grob passed away in May 2016, the future of the family company has been strictly set out. Christian Grob takes the company into the third generation as the new Supervisory Board Chairman. Even at this early stage, the next generation is being prepared for future tasks.
By purchasing DMG meccanica in January 2017, GROB has acquired a strong partner in the field of electromobility. GROB now also acts as a developer of system concepts for electromobility, which is a future-facing step for expanding the existing product range of highly-efficient manufacturing and assembly plants. In January 2018, DMG meccanica was renamed GROB Italy S.r.l.
The GROB Group generates worldwide revenue of over 1.5 billion euros with a workforce of about 6,600 employees. Our portfolio ranges from universal machining centers to highly-complex manufacturing systems with own automation function through to manual assembly stations and to fully-automated assembly lines. Furthermore, production plants for electric motors and assembly lines for battery and fuel cell technology are part of our product range. GROB engineers are delivering solutions for the technology involved in plasma coating of cylinder bores at engine components, in cutting high-strength turbine housings and machining structural and chassis components. By developing GROB-NET4Industry, our proprietary industrial software for the digitalization and networking of production systems, GROB is taking a giant leap into the digital future.
Meanwhile GROB is in a transformation phase as a supplier in all aspects of mass production within electromobility.
The product range of GROB-WERKE GmbH & Co. KG can be divided into the following areas:
System solutions and special-purpose machines: Machining centers or flexible manufacturing systems are designed specifically for the customer’s part. Offering so-called turn-key solutions, GROB provides the required planning, engineering, manufacturing and commissioning on site at customers’ facilities – everything from a single source. In most cases, these systems consist of modular machining centers and special-purpose machines that are interlinked with the latest automation solutions. Typical parts are for example cylinder heads, crankcases, transmission case and housings for auxiliary units of the engine.
Universal machining centers: The machining centers are mainly operated as stand-alone machines but are also available with automation solutions. They are typically used in the aerospace, automotive and medical industries, in tool and mold industries and in case of flexible contract manufacturers.
GROB’s futuristic products. The company’s system machines, universal machining centers & assembly lines are among the best in the world.
Assembly technology: All assembly stations and assembly lines for the automotive industry are individually planned, designed and custom-built according to specific customer requirements. The systems are used for semi-automatic or fully automatic assembly of assemblies equipped with a variety of robot cells and measuring and test stations. They are typically used for example for the assembly of engines or manual transmissions for passenger cars and trucks.
Assembly systems for electromobility: As a general contractor, GROB offers machines, automation systems and purchase components for electromobility as well as the required management expertise. From stator and rotor assembly through to final assembly, we deliver a modular and reliable plant concept for high-output electric motor manufacture but as well battery assembly systems for battery modules and packs.
New technologies: At GROB, the development of new technologies has been a key element of the company’s success since the very beginning. New technologies that set benchmarks in the mechanical engineering sector are continuously emerging. The G550TS thermal spraying system developed by GROB thus expands the production chain for cylinder crankcases. GROB has also developed a motorized spindle with cross-feed – an outstanding concept for the complete machining of turbine housings on the machining center. We are taking a giant leap into the digital future with the proprietary software GROB-NET4Industry, developed for the digitalization and networking of production processes.
G550 with GROB4 Pilot and Rotary Pallet Storage System
Machining centers for frame structure and chassis parts: GROB presents its latest developments in the form of its G500F, G520F and G600F machines. These versions are designed specifically for single- or two-spindle machining of frame structure and chassis parts, as well as battery housings. The optimized chip transport facility and high machine dynamic make these space-saving machining centers the ideal solution for dry, MQL and wet machining of parts for the automotive industry. No matter whether stand-alone or linked to other machines, GROB machining centers offer a convincing and perfect basis for the automated production of your frame structure and chassis parts.
GROB develops, manufactures and builds all machines and components in-house. It is an enormous advantage for GROB that all the links of the process chain are close together. Possibilities for improvements and optimization which arise during the whole process can be implemented immediately without wasting time. Any deficiencies are thus quickly eliminated and we receive products of highest quality. The core components are in the focus of the development process and stand for quality, performance and availability of the machines. For example, spindles from GROB are characterized by their stiffness and superior milling suitability. An optimally adjusted overall concept results from the combination of excellent stiffness and dynamic characteristics of the machines. In addition to mechanical engineering, GROB is also a pioneer in innovative technologies for large-scale productions. This strategy is an important part in all production plants of GROB and enables GROB to build machines with the same quality at all sites worldwide.
Decades of experience combined with innovative technologies – highly flexible and efficient systems, universal machining centers and assembly lines make GROB the ideal partner for the automotive industry.
Profound know-how and use of the latest technologies make GROB a recognized expert in the system business. To precisely meet its customers’ requirements, GROB produces complete system solutions in the form of top-quality customizable manufacturing lines. These lines consist primarily of modular machining centers and special-purpose machines that are interlinked with the latest automation solutions.
From planning to engineering through to operationally ready delivery and commissioning, GROB offers all core competencies from a single source. This deep vertical integration allows dynamic and customer-specific adjustments to capacities and guarantees an outstanding degree of reliability.
Looking to the future, GROB leads the way in the electromobility sector too: GROB develops new drive and system concepts to realize powerful solutions for the manufacture of electric motors and energy storage systems, responding to technological change with individually adapted processes.
GROB has years of experience in the conceptual design of systems for the assembly technology sector. All of our assembly stations and lines are custom-built according to customer-specific requirements.
Reliable, efficient and incredibly precise – the innovative GROB 5-axis universal machining center cuts to perfection complex and extremely stable components for customers from the aerospace industry.
GROB universal machining centers are set apart by their compact design, high productivity and optimized accessibility. As milling or mill-turn machining centers, they are the preferred choice for aerospace companies that demand the best when it comes to the stability and machining volume of their parts.
The universal machining centers are perfect for machining parts like turbine blades, structural components, titanium bearing blocks, aluminum parts, structural housings and frames.
GROB is one of the few mechanical engineering manufacturers in the world that is fully geared to the issue of ‘electromobility’, and it has once again demonstrated its value as a competent service provider and partner for the automotive industry.
GROB Service portfolio for E-Mobility:
With machine variants G500F, G520F and G600F, the design engineers at GROB have developed a series with specific features such as large work areas and high dynamics. The name of this new development sets the tone. The “F” in the product designation stands for “frame”. Our G500F, G520F and G600F are designed specifically for machining lightweight components such as frame structure and chassis parts, and can produce battery trays as well.
Positive features such as the axis arrangement combined with high machine dynamics and large work areas, made possible by the horizontal spindle position, speak for themselves. The enormous dynamic is down to the newly developed axis drives. In addition, the machines are designed for MQL, dry or wet machining and can be configured either as stand-alone solutions or linked to other machines as part of the automated line. The machining accuracy is optimally matched to the part requirements of the sector concerned. The customer can choose between two part loading methods: Either top loading via a GROB linear gantry or front loading by a GROB pallet changer, a part changer, a part pusher, a robot or manually by an operator.
Within GROB-NET4Industry, we have been developing applications and solutions for a networked production within the Grob Group for several years now – and we are also using the applications in our factory association to increase the efficiency. In addition, GROB gives substantial support to the initiative for standardized connectivity of the German Association of Machine Tool Factories (VDW). Industry 4.0 offers great opportunities for machine and plant engineering and thus creates the basis to run the machines and systems resource-friendly, flexibly and productively.
Using web technology, the GROB-NET4Industry Manufacturing Execution System creates cross-plant transparency throughout the entire production process. GROB-NET4Industry features various modular components that can be combined in a highly customizable manner, ensuring the ideal solution for each specific application case. These applications form the basis for meeting the requirements of Industry 4.0 in a manner that is flexible, productive, and conserves resources.
Modules within GROB-NET4Industry allow you to manage direct and indirect areas around the machining process – the aim being to achieve the most efficient utilization of your high-precision, premium-quality machines. From production planning, monitoring, and analysis to the visualization of workpiece machining processes, proactive servicing, and maintenance, all areas of production are integrated.
The GROB system machines, universal machining centers and assembly lines are among the best in the world – our matching automation solutions make them even more efficient. To maintain the highest quality standard, all components are produced in-house and are optimally matched to our customers’ specific requirements.
No matter whether tried and proven loading systems and transport components or solutions developed in-house for our customers: GROB’s semi-automated to fully-automated technology guarantees optimized part handling and efficient production. This means no discussion about interfaces due to different suppliers for machines and automation.
For example the extensive GROB universal machine portfolio has been expanded with the rotary pallet storage system for small and medium palletizations. This in-house development, with its compact construction, can be flexibly employed and is attractive due to its high practicality and functionality. Our customer’s progressively expanding product variations and the related challenges for machine manufacturers have continuously led to a more sophisticated design of automation applications with high-performance storage systems. True to its decades long systems-business philosophy to be more than just a vendor of machinery but to be a total system supplier, GROB has expanded its universal machine portfolio by yet another family member. Following the development of an extensive modular system in the area of tool management (additional tool magazine), GROB will present its automation solution for universal machines: The PSS-R rotary pallet storage system, currently available in three standard sizes for attaching to a G350 and G550 universal machine.
Indian Industry is in a matured transition stage. When I go through the vision statements of some of the CEOs of successful Indian manufacturing enterprises, it gets very clear that many of them are convinced that there is a need to shift the perception from using low technology to ‘state-of-the-art’. Customers all over the world are becoming very demanding in terms of reliability, productivity and precision apart from a sustainable competitive advantage and India is no exception.
Our focus will remain on the proven 5-axes simultaneous technology with horizontal spindle machining in highly sophisticated industrial segments of Automotive, Aerospace, Die & mold, Medical and Precision Mechanical Engineering.
We will endeavour to strengthen our global leadership in customized manufacturing system solutions boosted with latest automation solutions, with both international auto makers and Indian auto companies.
As India is on the verge of embarking on an exciting journey towards electric cars, GROB will introduce electromobility expertise in building hybrid and electric drives.
With an outstanding service team and our sales team being well experienced in supporting several large scale international manufacturers operating in India, we will try to create new standards of round-the-clock service competence.
To augment our facilities and customer support for the future and to offer competitive turnkey solutions to customers in India and neighbouring countries, GROB has decided to enlarge their subsidiary for better localization in 25 acres of land near Bangalore in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
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