Smaller quantities, a wider range of special solutions, shorter delivery times: customer requirements continue to rise – even at a traditional family company like Bass, a tool manufacturer from Niederstetten, Germany. “Our strength lies in the fact that we are absolutely determined to utilize all our performance potential for our customers,” says Managing Director Martin Zeller, emphasizing the company’s philosophy.
His brother, Franz Zeller, who is responsible for process development at Bass, adds: “If a customer orders five thread taps and needs these the day after tomorrow, here at Bass, we thrive on making the impossible possible. To do so, we continually scrutinize our production processes.”
Successful teamwork towards common goals
Tool specialist Bass aims high: they deliver small series practically “over night” and special designs within just a few days. To take on this challenge, they needed machines, and a machine manufacturer, that could deliver more than the norm. “As we have worked together for over 50 years, we know that JUNKER thinks outside the box and works together with its customers to find new ways of optimizing production processes,” explains Martin Zeller.
Thus, Franz Zeller and his project team provided the grinding machine and grinding experts with a set of specific requirements and clear ideas to aim for: economical production of small batch sizes of thread taps, thread formers or thread milling cutters made of HSS and carbide as well as rapid processing of customer orders. The developers’ main goal was to lower the tooling times. “The tooling times that arise from transferring the workpiece from machine to machine slow down production,” explains Franz Zeller. Following intensive development and collaboration with JUNKER, a solution was found for this challenging task: the machining center JUSTAR.
Exceptionally short delivery times and easy prototype production
The ability to carry out all machining to produce a finished tool in just a single clamping set-up is highly advantageous for Bass. It considerably reduces the tooling times. This makes production planning easier, especially for small orders, as the specialist for tools for machining internal threads uses the JUSTAR mainly in bypass production next to the ongoing line production. “For line production, small batch sizes mean huge expense and delivery times of up to eight weeks. With the JUSTAR, we can process small orders in bypass production in just a few days, allowing us to offer our customers unbeatably fast delivery times,” beams Martin Zeller.
And that’s not the only advantage of being able to fully machine a workpiece in a single clamping set-up: prototypes can be produced considerably faster and more easily. “We produce all our tool samples on the JUSTAR,” reports Franz Zeller. “We only have to set the machine up once, there’s no need for any further retooling time. This allows us to present customers with the required tool as quickly as possible, with optimum grinding quality.”
Maximum precision brings considerable market advantages
In addition to the short delivery time, the machining center impresses with its exceptional precision – and its ability to create unusual tool geometries. As the workpieces are not re-clamped during machining, greater precision can be achieved with grinding. As Franz Zeller explains: “The JUSTAR enables us to manufacture very intricate geometries, which cannot be achieved on the line machines. When it comes to precision, at some point, re-clamping is not possible, because, for example, the clamping element is no longer available.”
With the JUSTAR, JUNKER is offering a grinding center that brings real advantages to manufacturers of grinding and forming tools. The JUSTAR allows producers to handle the tough conditions in the tool industry and huge price pressure, while pleasing existing customers and winning over new ones with high quality tools and extremely short delivery times.
Large grinding wheel changer for unmanned production
However, tool specialist Bass uses the machining center for more than just small batch sizes: “The JUSTAR gives us great flexibility,” says Managing Director Martin Zeller. Throughout the week, various quick orders are processed in small batch sizes. Then on the weekend, the tool specialist processes larger quantities with unmanned production. As process developer, Franz Zeller explains: “Processing a large series entails a high level of wear, depending on the operation. The fully-automatic, large changer for 30 grinding wheels ensures consistent quality, even for medium-sized quantities.”
The high-performance grinding spindle for high cutting capacity, the automatic coolant nozzle tracking and the clever measurement system with automatic dimensional correction are also important for unmanned production.
Well prepared for the future
“We dreamed of producing high-precision cutting tools made of carbide using just a single machine. JUNKER made our bold vision a reality,” Franz Zeller sums up. In 2012, the two initial JUSTAR machines were put into operation in the production hall in Niederstetten. In 2016, Bass ordered two more: “Because the concept worked,” the process developer adds.
The JUSTAR still meets many of the tool specialist's needs today. Yet, like JUNKER, Bass always has an eye on the future: “We monitor the market and technological progress very closely,” says Martin Zeller. One of the company’s next goals is to incorporate modern measuring technology between the individual production steps of the JUSTAR, without having to take the workpiece out. As the Bass Managing Director explains: “We continue to partner with JUNKER – and strive towards new possibilities and solutions.”