A Goal of Consistency Ensures HAIMER USA’s Customers Thrive
Tool holding technology leader HAIMER remains in constant contact with customers to ensure its solutions move manufacturing facilities to the next level in their operations.
Posted: January 19, 2023
Since founding HAIMER USA LLC 20 years ago in Villa Park, Ill., Brendt Holden said one of the most important things he has seen, as it relates to HAIMER’s product line, is the need for simple and consistent solutions for holding tools and/or providing a consistent tooling assembly in a machine tool due to the lack of skilled workers and/or available workers.
“People in the industry are looking for ways to make sure the method in which they are machining their parts are consistent, accurate, and simple as they can be because they need to get to the point of using the resources they have for other things,” said Holden, HAIMER’s president. “They do not need to be worried about little things, let’s say, when they can use their time and resources to address other issues.”
Holden also pointed out the advances in the machine tool itself, such as higher spindle speeds, the increases in capacity to machine parts faster, and cutting tool advances in coatings and geometries that increase metal removal rates, all provide numerous advantages to machinists. Holden also added: “The software and all the surrounding machine tool control advancements has allowed machining strategies to change so dramatically, in a good way, again in the mission of trying to get people’s parts machined faster.”
HAIMER makes products that surround the machine tool with the most consistent tooling assembly each and every time, Holden said. “And we make it all ourselves, so everything that is sold by HAIMER is made by HAIMER —a true product that is a full system solution for the customer,” he said.
HAIMER is predominately a tool holder manufacturer, producing tool holders for CNC milling machines as the core focus of its products. “And in an effort to do that we have expanded basically everything around setting up a tool holder with the ultimate mission of having the most consistent tool assembly delivered to the machine tool each and every time,” Holden said. This includes making tool holders in the various categories of tapers, such as HSK, SK, CAT, BT, and so on.
HAIMER also makes cutting tools that go into the tool holders that can cut multiple different materials and multiple different applications, based on the industry.
The company also manufactures balancing machines to balance assemblies. “So, once you put the cutting tool in the tool holder we can balance the assembly to help give you the best opportunity to get the maximum performance out of your machine tool,” Holden said. “You can run it to the speeds its meant to be run at, which ultimately gets your parts machined faster, and more consistent.”
The company also makes inductive shrink fit machines, which are a method of shrinking a tool holder, and which is the most accurate method of holding a cutting tool in a tool holder, Holden said. HAIMER also manufactures tool presetters that allow users to preset the tool assembly before inserting it in the machine tool. “In other words, you get your dimensions all lined up and aligned with the Z dimension and the X dimension before the tooling assembly goes to the machine tool itself,” Holden noted.
Holden also noted that HAIMER makes cabinetry to support tool management. What’s more, HAIMER makes three-dimensional edge finders, which they call 3D sensors, to help setup workpieces on machines prior to tools being used.
Precision Engineering Meets Digitization
One of HAIMER’s goals is to stay in touch with its customers and research the marketplace to learn the challenges of end users in order to develop solutions that solve their problems, and even revolutionize the industry, such as HAIMER did with its Safe-Lock product and other developments.
“At HAIMER, we are an engineering company,” Holden said. “Mr. [Franz] Haimer is an engineer, and we really focus on the needs of our market.” HAIMER GmbH was founded in Igenhausen, Bavaria, Germany, by Claudia and Franz Haimer, who are co-CEOs.
The company’s developments are related to what the market demands, and from that “we get a lot of good ideas,” Holden said. “And the Automation Cube was one of those good ideas.” The HAIMER Automation Cube was demonstrated at recent industry trade shows. This modular shrink fit automation cube was created to address the challenge of the hidden costs involved in setting up tools in the tool room. The cost analysis of a project typically includes machine time but doesn’t consider how long it takes to setup tools, or if there are too many people setting up the tools. These scenarios end up being a hidden cost that eats away at profits.
“So, we saw that problem of hidden costs, and saw the problem of resources that people are having,” Holden said. “We also saw people just starting to get into automation. We truly believe there is no reason to over complicate it.”
A cube can be comprised of a shrink machine, or a shrink machine and a presetter, or a shrink machine, presetter and balancer. The product enables shops to get things done faster with existing resources. “We are logical,” Holden noted, “and we understand if you add a shrink fit automation cube in your shop it is not going to replace the person in the tool room because not every tool that is used is a shrink fit holder.” Shops will still need to set up boring heads, face mill arbors and different presetting and tool setups.
“But for the activities that can be automated like shrink fitting a cutting tool into a tool holder, why not do that and have that as part of the tool room, while you still have your good tool room employees working on other things at the same time the automation process is going through,” Holden said.
The response to the Automation Cube has been positive with a high level of interest. People could see how they could save costs with a setup like the Automation Cube. “It helped shine a light on what I call the hidden cost of setting up tools,” Holden pointed out.
Holden noted that HAIMER’s solutions also solve the company’s internal issues as well. In Germany, the company makes more than 4,000 tool holders a day, so it is important to be as productive as possible. “We have the same struggles when it comes to staffing, resources and time,” Holden said. He said reaction to the Automation Cube was of interest to shops of all sizes and HAIMER is encouraged as to how this product will work in the market.
In other product developments, and following the consistency theme at HAIMER, the company has done quite a bit of work in the space of digitalization related to keeping track and streamlining the process of setting up tools with some presetter functions, and some integration of technology in the Industry 4.0 arena. Once the data about the tooling is gathered shops have the best solutions to maximize production. “The bottom line is you have to have a consistent tooling assembly each and every time, so you do not have to regather data,” Holden said.
HAIMER’s products show how, in conjunction with its computer systems for digitalization, connecting the shrink machine to the presetter, to the balancer, to the tool management software, results in a complete solution. Or creates the capability for a complete solution.
“We will continue to come up with new products that are solution-driven based on what customers, many of them in North America, have expressed needing help with,” Holden said. The products will join HAIMER’s leading products such as Safe-Lock™ cutting tools, and Duo-Lock™ cutting tools.
The Duo-Lock maximizes a carbide tool’s full potential with productivity gains in both roughing and finishing. When combined with high-performance cutting tools, Duo-Lock provides more than double the metal removal rate in common milling applications.
With the Safe-Lock System, special drive keys in the chuck and grooves in the tool shank prevent the milling cutter from spinning during extreme machining or that it is pulled out of the chuck. In addition to the frictional clamping forces of the particular clamping system, the tool is held using positive locking in the tool holder. The combination of pull-out protection and best runout accuracy lead to a low vibration and as a result very efficient machining. In fact, the metal removal rate can be increased by up to 100%.
Keeping Everything in Balance
HAIMER’s products have helped companies reach the next level in their processes. For example, a U.S.-based truck manufacturer that runs a high production was experiencing unplanned machine downtime 57% of the time. The HAIMER sales representative suggested looking at the balance in the machine. The company utilizes an elaborate, typical automotive-style tooling that is convenient in that it can machine a part in one shot, but it is unbalanced by nature, Holden said. The company purchased prebalanced tools to use in their processes.
HAIMER’s team brought in a balancing machine and the manufacturer soon realized that even though the tools were ordered from the factory to be prebalanced, the company had no way of checking if what they received was in fact balanced. By using the Haimer balancing machine, the manufacturer discovered the tools were not balanced. So, just by balancing the tooling, the manufacturer lowered its unplanned machine downtime from 57% to 7%. The change in the process saved $250,000 in the first six months across two production lines.
“That savings alone didn’t take into account the better surface finish, and less damage to the spindle in the machine over time,” Holden said. “There were other side benefits the company received.”
For another manufacturer, Skills Inc. in Auburn, Wash., the adoption of shrink fit tooling and a push button solution assisted in the reduction of tooling, as well as an increase in metal removal rates, cost savings, and decreased scrap rates and job hours.
Sixty percent of Skills Inc.’s employee base has some sort of disability. The aerospace manufacturer was looking for a consistent way of setting up tools. The shrink fit solution from HAIMER offered a push button, which didn’t require torquing or skills sets in order to place a cutting tool into a shrink fit holder. “Everyone puts the tool in the same way,” Holden said. The process is a one-hand operation, so people with certain physical disabilities don’t have to figure out how to tighten a collet or balance a tool while placing it into a holder.
Skills Inc. was able to machine parts faster and benefited from longer tool life and better surface finishes. “They increased the metal removal rate 30% because they had a different variety of gauge lengths available with shrink fit,” Holden said. This step alone created $2,700 in savings for every 20 parts. One of the jobs went from 15 hours down to 2.5 hours, which saved roughly $30,000 annually.”
In a recent anecdotal example, one of Holden’s sales representatives shared that one of his customers that had been making 20 parts can now make 450 parts with the same end mill thanks to the shrink fit holder holding the end mill. “It is constant as far as the benefits end users can find shrinking, balancing or presetting,” Holden said.
Never Standing Still
Consistency is not only important in the development of HAIMER’s solutions but also in the delivery of its customer service functions. To ensure consistency in the delivery of its products, HAIMER is expanding its inventory because the company understands its customers need to react fast when making their parts. HAIMER’s staff keeps products on the shelf ready to go and is ordering additional quantities from HAIMER in Germany, where the products are manufactured, to overcome any delays that may occur in the supply chain.
On the economic front, in uncertain economic times and with concerns regarding inflation and talks of recession, the good news is manufacturing segments are still performing well. Many segments are trending up. “Some quite a bit, 15% in medical, and a little bit up in automotive,” Holden added. “We are preparing ourselves to be ready to supply our products as soon as we can so our customers have the latest and greatest and consistent tool holding in a quick, efficient manner so they can keep going with their production.”
To that end, every year, Mr. Haimer tasks HAIMER’s engineering team to come up with five new products every year. Not all five will make it to market, and in some years, nothing will make it to market because they are not practical to sell or produce, for instance. “I point it out just because it keeps us looking and asking: what does the market need?” Holden said. “If customers have a problem, if there is something that they can’t solve, and if it is related to tool holders or tooling or cutting tools, it is worth their while to engage with us because we can give it some good thought. We can come up with solutions that have revolutionized the industry such as Safe-Lock and other developments we have come out with to move things forward.”
Holden added that HAIMER is always moving, and never standing still. Good things will continue to develop that will definitely help customers grow and move to the next level, Holden said.
Well Situated to Connect and Serve Customers
HAIMER USA, a leader in tool holding technology, is well positioned in the Chicagoland area to provide exemplary customer service functions and host customers for training on its machines. Operating from a 40,000-square-foot building in Villa Park, Ill., the company is conveniently located seven miles from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, with access to the area’s major expressways. The location provides ease of access to customers and visitors who want to train or tour the company.
The HAIMER facility is home to sales, service, technical support, repair work, warehouse space and a full customer center, “where we have all our machinery under power,” said Brendt Holden, president of HAIMER USA. “We also have a training classroom that will hold more than 50 people; 10,000-square-feet of the facility is focused on the customer; the rest is a working operation.”
Call out: “They increased the metal removal rate 30% because they had a different variety of gauge lengths available with shrink fit.” This step alone created $2,700 in savings for every 20 parts. – Brendt Holden, president, HAIMER USA.
Call out: People could see how they could save costs with a setup like the Automation Cube. “It helped shine a light on what I call the hidden cost of setting up tools.” — Brendt Holden, president, HAIMER USA.
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