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Mindelheim alone reflect GROB's outstan- ding progress .... turbine parts, basic machine tool com- ponents .... bined electronics and gauging technol- ogy affects  ...

I N T E R N AT I O N A L Christmas Edition


CONTENTS Christmas Greetings......................................................... 01 The Grob family and management team

GROB Occupational Health............................................ 12 Get fit for new challenges with Drums Alive®

GROB Technology............................................................... 03 Leading role in technological innovation extended

The production systems business............................. 13 Supplier to the new VW plant in Siláo

GROB motor spindle build............................................. 04 Talking torque and rpm – the GROB motor spindle

Awards...................................................................................... 14 Two top awards mark a successful year for GROB

GROB Production ............................................................... 05 Major production shake-up in Mindelheim

GROB branches...................................................................... 15 Worldwide investment in sales pays off

GROB Service........................................................................... 07 Strong connections to the customer

Universal machines........................................................... 16 Five years after their launch – a specialized technology center in the new Hall 9

Workplace safety at GROB............................................ 08 Workplace safety implemented through training and education GROB ANNIVERSARIES............................................................ 09 Honoring the company‘s top ambassadors GROB Training........................................................................ 11 GROB vocational training gets top ratings

GROB Bluffton....................................................................... 17 Booming auto industry lifts GROB Systems B. GROB do Brasil................................................................. 18 Record sales translates into excellent prospects






DEAR COLLEAGUES, dear business partners, friends of GROB, nary level of investment in our plants in São Paulo and Bluffton and, not least, the new Hall 9 in Mindelheim and the construction of the H10 logistics hall and the B5 office building. The total investment drive was worth well over 170 million US$.

(Right to left) Dr. h.c. Burkhart Grob, Margret Grob, Christian Grob

2012 was one of the most successful years in the company‘s history and for now the high point of a five-year upswing. In the five years since 2007,

our company has undergone fundamental change. Key elements in our successful investment campaign have included the new plant in China, the extraordi-

It is thanks to your support that in a short period of time, the investments made in recent years have transformed a medium-sized business into an industrial complex with a global presence and branches worldwide functioning as one. With your overwhelming commitment, you have once again proved your loyalty to our company, thereby securing the basis for further success shared in the future. You all deserve our heartfelt thanks. Without you we would not have been able to overcome quite so superbly the challenges of the relocation and restructuring in the production

plants. Your commitment has not only enabled us to complete the investment project on time, but has also made a significant contribution to the company in true GROB family tradition.

ble without the systematic development of new machines and component groups. In addition to the G module, the modular special machine, complete automation and lastly the assembly technology have progressed in several stages to near perfection.

Our company is now well placed and also well able to hold its own amid all the international competition over the long term. All of this is underpinned by the current strong order book and the sound prospects for projects in the years ahead. With this positive outlook, we would like to wish all of our employees, our business partners and friends of GROB a relaxing Christmas season with your loved ones, enjoyable New Year festivities and a contented, healthy and prosperous 2013. The Grob family

LOOKING BACK That was 2012

(Left to right) Dr. Klaus Mäusl, Alfred Höbel, German Wankmiller, Ira Hensel, Peter Vogl, Wolfram Weber, Jochen Nahl, Uli Gneiting

In the past financial year we have turned out more machines than ever before, but the backlog at year-end is still heading towards a historic high mark. The numbers from the company‘s headquarter in Mindelheim alone reflect GROB‘s outstanding progress. It is worth noting that the output in the 2007/08 financial year was somewhat over 430 million US$, and in the 2012/13 financial year, the company produced machines worth around US$ 980 million. That is more than double. With the completion of the H10 logistics hall mid-2013, floor space at the Mindel-

heim plant will have grown from 580,000 sq.ft to more than 1 million sq.ft, just short of doubling in size. As well as all the building construction work, the investment has largely been made in updating machinery and capital equipment with the aim being to achieve an output of 20 machines per week, i.e. about 900 machines per year. The crucial element here is the production. The sequencing of standardized and automated production processes governs working procedures in all areas. A development that separated labor and processes affecting specialized departments all the way down to the individual employee. The ever-growing involvement of our company in international competition means we must be constantly looking across borders. The decisive action taken at our Mindelheim headquarter is the key factor in maintaining

GROB Dalian - Start of production in March

GROB Mindelheim operations


- Hall 9 starts

our leading position. In addition, we are strengthening our activities in the highdemand regions of North and South America, plus of course Asia/China. The largest overseas investment was in Dalian/ China with the establishment of our fourth production plant. A manufacturing plant which not only makes an additional contribution to the group‘s production volumes, but also from the sales strategy point of view plays an important role in the broader context of our Asian sales campaign. For us, it opens up a new sales opportunities in the highly competitive Chinese market, opportunities that we can only get from a local plant in the country. At our Bluffton site, the production area has been increased by a hall expansion of just under 100,000 sq.ft to 375,000 sq.ft and in São Paulo considerable investment was made in new, more efficient production machinery and facilities. This ensures that all of our subsidiary plants abroad contribute to the expansion of GROB‘s market position worldwide. The positive development of our company since 2007 would not have been possi-

Over the last year, the upheaval, the new direction and the huge restructuring work demanded a lot from everyone. Frequent operations changes required a high degree of flexibility. Weekend and holiday work was just as much part of the routine as was flexibility with vacation plans. All those involved coped with this particular situation and the challenges that arose in an exemplary manner and in the true GROB tradition. Overall, you can be proud of what has been achieved at GROB. Proud of your personal contribution for the good of our company and the excellent prospects that lie ahead. Based on the strong current order book and the new projects available in the market, we expect rising order volumes in the coming years, as we progress towards the billion euro mark in sales. International markets, mainly in Asia and America, but also in India and Russia, will play a major part in this respect. Given our worldwide presence and the investments made on a global scale, we are fully prepared to meet the needs and desires of our customers throughout the world. We would like to thank you for your outstanding commitment and dedication. We wish you all a merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy 2013. The GROB management team

GROB Dalian - First machine is shipped in November

GROB Mindelheim - Work new B5 office block starts on

ization of GROB Mindelheim Modern ll 5 production facilities in Ha

GROB Sao Paulo - Investment in new production facilities

GROB Sao Paulo - Stand at th e Feimafe trade fair

ds from GROB Mindelheim Awar Daimler AG and SGM





GROB Technology Leading role in technological innovation extended At the International Exhibition for Metalworking (AMB) event in Stuttgart in September of this year, GROB showcased not just its newly-developed G550T mill-and-turn machine but also, for the first time, its intelligent spindle nose, both of which provided impressive proof of the company‘s claim to be in the vanguard of technological innovation. The response from the trade and the media was very positive.

G550 + intelligent innovation = G550T The basis for the G550T is the tried-andtested G550 universal machine. To mill and turn on one machine at the same time required the development of two new component groups: A rapidly rotating B axis and a motor spindle with ultra-precise radial tool positioning. Although the B-rotary table was designed for 800 rpm and a maximum interference diameter of 900 mm, the GROB developers still faced a major challenge: how were they to do

bearing with automatic post-lubrication, to keep GROB‘s reputation for a long service life intact. Furthermore, to eliminate wobble, an automatic unbalance detection system has been integrated – with an accuracy normally only seen on grinding machinery. A high dynamic range with high rigidity – squaring the circle When it came to the development of the motor spindle, the challenge for the GROB engineers was just as tough. The demands on a spindle for milling and turning could not be more different. When milling, the spindle must be designed to cope with dynamic loads at different speeds and also with very frequent stops and starts for tool changes. Turning requires a precisely positioned tool with high rigidity, so that the cutting edge can be fixed in the zero degree position with zero movement. And here too the result was impressive: a motor spindle with 340 Nm torque and a maximum speed of 10,000 rpm. And – it goes without saying with GROB – there is the option of a fully hydraulic-free version. This combines maximum dynamic range with optimum energy efficiency.

the same kinematics – and, of course, also with a turning function. The chip-free tool change – a hot topic in machine tool engineering Ensuring a chip-free tool change has been a hot topic in the world of automotive mass production for many years. That is why the tool change points in the spindle and the tool magazine are thoroughly cleared with compressed air, sometimes even rinsed off. Tool holders are brushed off before loading into the spindle. Nevertheless, it is estimated that about one in 5,000 workpieces do not achieve the required quality because of a chip in spindle tool change. With a cylinder head, for example, that can mean that the bore for the valve guide could be several hundredths of a millimeter too wide. An error that at subsequent production and assembly stages has to be identified and repaired at considerable cost. Not without reason, the watchword in the machine tool industry has to be: the only good tool changes are no tool changes.

When cutting internally on conventional machines, e.g. on rims, with a vertical spindle and an upright B-axis, the removed chips can remain inside of the part and may interfere with the machining process. Second, on the G550T it is possible to work on parts with maximum interference diameter and maximum tool length. This is an option that only a few machines can offer. All of the above advantages are attributable to the G550T‘s unique axis alignment.


The reading is taken when the spindle is at a standstill immediately after tool clamping. When the reading is taking

place, the feed axes move to the new machining position. The accuracy of the system is impressive. Chips are reliably detected, which at a distance of 150 mm from the face contact on the HSK A63 toolholder can cause a change in concentricity at the tool of only 0.01 mm. It is immaterial whether the chips are in the tool taper or in the face contact area. Further test runs despite overcoming a baptism of fire Intensive tests are currently being carried out to establish the limits to the system‘s vibration and shock resistance. The system with five spindles has already passed a baptism of fire in large-scale production. Elaborate gauging technology and regular calibration are no longer necessary. Its main area of application lies in production where ultra-precise drilling is required in aluminum or in safety-related valve units in automotive braking systems. Over thirty orders within two months of its launch are proof of the intelligent spindle nose‘s positive reception. It is expected that after further experience in the field and test runs, the

Final assembly of universal machines in Hall 9

system will find even wider applications. With the intelligent spindle nose, GROB is putting its leadership in technology to the test in the area of tool changing. After intensive development in recent years

has speeded up tool changing on GROB machining centers and reduced chip-tochip times, now with the introduction of intelligent spindle nose the reliability of automatic tool changing is set to improve significantly.

Several different approaches have been tried to solve the stray chip problem that

GROB motor spindle build Talking torque and rpm – the GROB motor spindle

The G550T – the new mill and turn machining center

The launch of serial production for GROB‘s new G550T mill-and-turn machine was an impressive occasion. There was huge demand for information on possible applications, technical data and details. GROB engineers at the AMB machine tool trade fair in Stuttgart were once again able to prove that they are leaders in their sector. Compared to the competition the new GROB milland-turn machine offers two significant advantages: first, when machining on the G550T, a workpiece can be fixed horizontally or at a slightly oblique angle facing down, so that the chips drop out of the part.

spindle nose. With this GROB innovation, after an automatic tool change, the tool interface checks with ultra-precision for the presence of chips. Because this chip-in-spindle check is also cycle-time neutral and no alterations are required in the machine‘s working area, for many machining centers this development is an excellent way for improving reliability during an automatic tool change. What happens is that sensors in the spindle nose detect any asymmetric deformation caused by chips at the tool fixing point and assess it. The information is transmitted via high frequency radio signals to the machine control, which then flags up the faulty tool change. The energy for the sensors in the spindle nose is supplied through one stationary and one rotating induction coil. The combined electronics and gauging technology affects only the design of the spindle face.

justice to the completely different requirements of the two machining processes in one single mounting? Milling requires a high degree of rigidity, stability and high positioning accuracy. For turning, a high rpm and a good dynamic range are required, but without any negative temperature load on the rotary table. The problem was solved by the use a special

Classic mill and turn machining on an aluminum part

Chip in spindle

The G550T is the perfect tool for machining components such as pump housings, turbine parts, basic machine tool components and also large components for the commercial vehicle industry can be machined in a single clamping without reclamping. Components that require high precision milling and drilling as well as a dynamic turning. Set-up times can be reduced and reclamping errors avoided.

can arise when changing tools. Regardless of whether the chips were detected via unbalance meters, by means of external sensors for measuring concentricity or by special sensitive tool clamping systems with a linear motor, these solutions always extended the so-called chip-tochip time for the tool change or else they interfered far too much in the design of the motor spindle.

With this innovation GROB reaches not only a large proportion of existing customers, but also completely new target groups and markets with completely new workpieces. New target groups, which may well widen in the foreseeable future, when GROB can offer, not just the G350 and G550, but also a larger machine with

An intelligent spindle nose for an ultra-precise tool change After several years of collaboration with two industrial associates from the Allgäu region of Germany, GROB engineers have finally found a solution for dealing with chips during a tool change: the GROB motor spindle with an intelligent

Five years after restarting the production of motor spindles at GROB, this department has found a new home in Hall 9. The whole process, i.e. machining, assembly, measurement, commissioning, testing, service and repairs, now takes place on one area covering approx. 21,500 sq.ft. Some 35 GROB specialists are hard at work here on the precision production of various spindle types. Motor spindle building at GROB has a tradition stretching back over 20 years. In the mid-1990s, the company produced spindles in small batches using asynchronous motors, with HSK A63 at 15,000 rpm. In 2007, following a strategic pause, during which reliable suppliers produced synchronous motor spindles for the G-series, GROB once again resumed development and production. Now, in the R & D department in our engineering group, a group of three designers are busy working on optimizing and developing GROB motor spindle technology. Spindles in many variations GROB motor spindles are considered to

be extremely reliable, robust when used continuously and of high quality. And they have gained for GROB considerable recognition and praise from its international customers. For some years now the company has been making motor spindles in series production with torques of 35 Nm and 64 Nm. These spindles have rpms of 10,000, 12,000 and 18,000. In total, more than 1,400 spindles of this type have been produced and sold. The range of GROB motor spindles is being continuously expanded by more new developments. A few weeks ago

Motor spindle assembly in Hall 9

the third spindle type in the GROB series successfully passed all tests and endurance trials with flying colors. This spindle type, with a torque of 160 Nm and a maximum speed of 16,000 rpm, can be used on automotive industry machinery and also on our G350 and G550 universal machines. A completely new development for the G550T Due to the launch of the new GROB G550T mill and turn machine, a motor spindle, which brings together the properties

of a mill and turn spindle, has had to be designed from scratch (see also technical article). When used as a milling spindle, there must be very rapid acceleration times to maximum speed (16,000 rpm) and short deceleration times to standstill for tool changes. To achieve this, the asynchronous motor was designed to very compact dimensions. One astonishing characteristic of GROB motor spindles is their acceleration. They can go from zero to 16,000 rpm or 18,000 rpm in only 0.45 or 1.0 second respectively. For this, the balls in the ultra-precise hybrid bearings must accelerate to a speed of about 90,000 rpm in the shortest possible time. What is currently the 4th and final spindle type in the GROB motor spindle range has a torque of 340 Nm and, with its special design, is only used in universal machines. This spindle has already successfully passed all tests and field trials too. GROB motor spindles are a key component of the G-modules in the automotive industry and on universal machines. They are absolutely essential if GROB machines are going to perform reliably.






GROB Production Major production shake-up in Mindelheim Order and shipping volumes doubling; a re-organization of almost all production areas in the shortest time possible, no interruptions to an expanding output and a 20 per cent increase in personnel. This was the challenging situation that the entire Mindelheim workforce faced at the end of last year. More than a Herculean task, which – it has to be said – was accomplished without a hitch.

A new plant structure needs detailed planning In mid-2011, that was the position and those were the key facts and the main considerations behind GROB‘s new strategic direction. But actually it was about much more, more than just higher, faster and further. It was about much more than just increasing production to keep pace with the market. If it was about producing more, then it would have

Component group assembly on tool magazines in Hall 6

The GROB Group is going through a period of change. Not just because of new products, new customers or new markets. Change happens all the time – GROB has been around for nearly 90 years now. The changes to the production processes really are new and they affect all GROB plants, but especially the company headquarters in Mindelheim. Five years ago, factory processes were driven by dates and customer projects. Today, production at GROB follows streamlined schedules. The entire company is geared to the production cycle in assembly (similar to the automotive industry) – a transformation bringing huge changes to the specialized departments, plus new divisions of labor and processes. Material handling volumes have multiplied disproportionately and this has resulted in huge changes to productivity figures, but at the same time we cannot allow inventory to grow unnecessarily. The only way to manage this was, and still is, with the use of SAP. In the end GROB had no choice but to follow this course of action, if it was to claim to be a leader amid stiff international competition, while at the same time growing the business.


been enough to increase production capacity. The aim was actually something much greater: not just how could the GROB Group generate more sales, but also what would be the best way to safeguard these sales? How can processes be streamlined to further improve the company‘s profitability? And how can these objectives be met, while at the same time retaining maximum customer satisfaction, i.e. meeting all delivery times with products of GROB‘s usual quality. All-in-all, the task ahead would be an extremely tough logistical and organizational challenge requiring some very complex maneuvers. All change One particular challenge at the planning stage lay in the fact that the production department would have to be changed. Virtually all production halls were to be fully, or at least partially, included in the re-organization. Not only was new production capacity to be created, but in fact all production areas were to come under close scrutiny and, where necessary, re-structured. As a result, in the production department, for example, the entire organizational structure was to move away from classic shop floor pro-

duction methods; the focus was instead to be on the process or the product. So, for example, large parts are to be produced in Hall 5, small parts in Hall 3. Also, during the relocation phase, all areas in assembly were streamlined with improved productivity and throughput time the priority. Some of the individual measures are up and running, such as the pre-assembly of the console during primary processing time. The latter is then “married up“ to the main mechanical assembly groups on the pre-assembled guide bed, saving just under a week of throughput time. The basic idea behind the plan was to create the pre-conditions for further streamlining. One good example of this is the expansion of the motorspindle department into a standalone production unit, where manufacturing, assembly, inspection, repair and testing all take place under one roof. An extremely tight schedule Due to a massive increase in incoming orders (a doubling within one year), it was clear very early on at the planning stage that there would be pressure on completion dates. The slightest delay to a single stage could have triggered an unstoppable chain reaction. So the plan was under enormous time pressure. No sooner were the plans finalized that all the sub-contractors involved, such as construction companies, removal firms, etc. were asked at short notice to increase their capacity, so that the schedule could be maintained and ongoing production losses kept to a minimum. No delays or losses in quality were acceptable. To ensure that this happened, there was close collaboration between the var-

truly mammoth task for the GROB‘s personnel team to recruit the new workers and then to prepare them for their new roles in double quick time. Regardless of their latest job, all employees undergo a 4-day introduction program. They are then skilled up for their specific task in the specialized departments, with each department responsible for organizing the detailed training.

ious relocation projects and every stage of increased output. Maximum co-operation from the workforce In order to minimize losses to production time, almost all re-location work was carried out in weeks with “bridge days“ (i.e. when there is a mid-week public holiday) or during plant and Christmas holidays. Without exception all the employees who were directly affected showed a high degree of commitment and flexibility. Work continued even at weekends and on public holidays; vacation plans had to be adapted to fit in with relocation plans. So a large part of the removal work into Hall 9a took place at Easter 2012. Personnel in facility management, IT and logistics also had to be particularly flexible. On many weekends, production machinery had to be back up and running for Monday, the Kanban blue boxes for the assembly departments returned or the IT infrastructure for production installed. Everyone was willing to co-operate with any emergency measures, such as extra shifts or new shift patterns. Planning – the key to the re-organization Right from the start of the project, it was made clear to all involved that achieving the targets depended to a large extent on the quality of both outline and detailed planning. Just how complex the planning task was, was clearly evident from the specifications manual which detailed the targets in universal machines. As the true nature of the Herculean task emerged, several planning strategies were devised, discussed, rejected and

Flexible production system for machining large parts in Hall 5

Production cell for machining guide beds in Hall 8

restored. Until finally it was decided to adopt the plan, which was eventually implemented: universal machines would be separated from production system machines “by hall“ and Hall 6 would be set aside exclusively as a pre-assembly area for production system machines (Hall 8). Furthermore, small parts and sheet metal production would be sited in Hall 3 with large part production housed in Hall 5. The new hall arrangement has many advantages Now the new hall arrangement is complete, production in Mindelheim is much more efficient and cost-effective. In the production systems business, Hall 8 (systems final assembly/G-modules) and Hall 6 (pre-assembly of their mechanical component groups) are physically and organizationally closer together. The resulting shorter distances dramatically improve communications and co-ordination. The plan supports a “pull system“, in which final assembly, working in close coordination with pre-assembly, draws component groups from Hall 6, thus streamlining material flow. The individual parts from the logistics area (Hall 1) now take the shortest path to final assembly via pre-assembly (Hall 6). The universal machines area in Hall 9 forms a new, stand-alone business unit, with sales, the Technology and Applications Center (TAC), service, logistics, pre-assembly, final assembly and shipping all under one roof. Physical proximity ensures optimum material flow and communication channels. Because of the high Kanban content, proximity to the warehouse and to final assembly, pre-as-

sembly, for example, means greater flexibility and efficiency. Another advantage of this self-contained business unit is that employees on job enrichment and job rotation can work increasingly across the various component groups as well as in pre- and final assembly. This makes their working environment more interesting and increases flexibility in staff deployment. Major investment in the manufacturing area in Halls 5, 4 and 3 Under the restructuring plans for Mindelheim, a new manufacturing strategy with investment in new production facilities for the machining of large parts was developed (Hall 5). The aim here is to carry out the entire machining process for part families (= ready-to-install parts from a single source). Using a process-oriented production structure, the throughput time for all components is significantly reduced and in sheet metal production increased vertical integration can be achieved. With the addition of the powder coating plant (Hall 4), for the first time, GROB now has at its disposal a totally new technology and it forms the basis for far-reaching streamlining measures in sheet metal fabrication. In addition to the new Trumpf laser cutting machine (Hall 3) with integrated sheet metal storage, all welding workstations were also modernized taking ergonomic factors into consideration. Personnel recruitment and training One of the hardest tasks was increasing the workforce size and providing the new employees with the required skills. In the current calendar year, no fewer than 412 new co-workers were hired. It was a

From plan to implementation Right from the outset, the practical implementation of the new arrangements in Mindelheim provided for the creation of the space needed for a turnaround of the entire production operation. This involved the clearing of Halls 3 and 6, storage and then their renovation. Running in parallel to the relocation and renovation work, a planning team was preparing a new assembly structure in the main component group section for G-modules. The aim here was to ensure no slippage with the current order book. Plans included new measures for streamlining assembly, thereby enabling higher output in pre-assembly. The production lines were re-synchronized and prepared for a doubling of output. Equipment for machining small production parts could now be moved into the first section of Hall 3. A total of 62 metal cutting machines were moved out of Hall 5 into Hall 3. The task of facility management, maintenance and the IT department was to bring the machines on stream, so that the scheduling for customer projects was not adversely affected. Generally speaking, every machine was ready to start production again after three days. To create additional space in

Hall 3, the electrical and fluid warehouse was moved to Hall 7. With the relocation of the component group pre-assembly work for universal machines and the motor spindle section into the nearly completed Hall 9a in March 2012, this part of Hall 3 could now undergo a major overhaul (floor coating, painting, installation of doors, etc.). With the addition of the new Trumpf laser cutting machine, the welding workstations and the transfer of sheet metal production (Hall 2), it was possible to complete Hall 3 in April/May. Finally Hall 2 was set up for fluid pre-assembly and then integrated into the production process. While these removals were taking place, the second section of Hall 9b was finished and made ready in record time. Now the remaining departments from universal machine, fixture and spindle build were able to make the move to their ultimate home in Hall 9. Looking forward – streamlining logistics and the construction of a new logistics hall And the final stage, at least for now, in the re-organization in Mindelheim is the construction of a new logistics hall. It has an important place in securing growth at GROB and, when complete, it will provide the urgently-needed, additional space for logistics and ensure that materials are available to meet the growing demands of the GROB production in Mindelheim. In addition, further measures are needed to streamline the entire logistics toolkit. Only then can GROB Mindelheim claim to have squared the circle. With this new plant structure in place, we are entering a phase in which Mindelheim‘s potential can be maximized with the capacity for further growth.

Latest Trumpf laser cutting machine in Hall 3






I N T E R N AT I O N A L Edition

Dec12 GROB Service Strong connections to the customer From field installations to after-sales marathons – service at GROB means much more than just the maintenance and repair of the sophisticated production lines and the state-of-theart universal machines worth more than 4 million euros that leave the four GROB plants every day. It‘s a task which demands a high level of technical knowledge on the part of our service staff, plus streamlined logistics and above all a high level of commitment. Even though the service department is considered to be the final link in the production chain and few people are fully informed about the functions it performs, there is no dispute about its importance. Hardly any other area in the company communicates so intensively on a dayto-day basis with all the other specialized departments as our service colleagues

Field installation project team


have to. A look behind the scenes makes that clear very quickly. Field installation project coordination – the final lap before production launch at the customer‘s premises Our service staff track GROB machines from about six weeks before shipping from Mindelheim until the expiration of the warranty – a period which can last for up to 36 months. There is a whole manual of logistical issues to sort out, particularly when installing at new locations … starting with the facilities available, flight connections, and where to stay when on site. In parallel and working together with the various specialized departments, the field installation team must be assembled and the number of members and their skills agreed to. Everything – especially in the delivery phase – must move rapidly, but at the same time maximum care must be observed. In short: everything must be right!

Global staffing logistics ensures optimum operating times An experienced team takes care of the 280 GROB staff engaged in field installation work across the globe. The integrated “fleet“ group manages 150 vehicles for assembly operations, books more than 1,500 flights and every year applies for more than 150 visas. When site planning, service staff from the various branches and service locations have to be scheduled in as and when they are available. Additional contract personnel may have to be provided subject to the state of the local economy. So that the GROB technicians at over 50 installations sites worldwide can enjoy optimum working conditions, the required tools must be available on site when assembly begins. To be sure everything that might be needed is there, the contents of GROB standard tool cabinets needs careful planning. In the last 18 months alone, twenty of these tool cabinets worth over a million euros have been sent to their destination. Work on site not always predictable Once the assembly work or sometimes a machine conversion is in progress, GROB service staff has to be ready. They will monitor, in collaboration with the project management team, how things are progressing. Any emerging problems have to be resolved in good time with the aid of specialized departments in Mindelheim. But not everything always goes to plan. Often, the situation at the customer‘s premises is not quite as expected: coolants have not been filtered as required, tools can drift during drilling, suddenly there is a pillar in the hall that did not appear on the paperwork in Mindelheim, etc ... Now, what is required are technical knowledge, problem solving skills and flexibility.

After sales service project team

Practically every solution to a problem and any deviation from the plan require some consignment from Mindelheim … and some considerable logistical effort. A newly created “AV site“ group manages requirements internally, supplies on a daily basis on average 12 orders or 50 items worldwide to our sites and provides information on the current status. All with the aim of ensuring fast and efficient machine re-assembly at the customer‘s premises. For a year, field installations have been supported by newly-established service support bases in Stuttgart, Salzgitter (both Germany) and the new GROB service branch in Györ (Hungary). A total of 30 specialists are based precisely where GROB customers operate their machines. Each base has a small office with the appropriate facilities and storage area in order to keep response and travel times to a minimum. After-sales takes over customer care Once the final inspection has taken place, after-sales takes over customer service duties. But that does not mean that the issues go away or that we absolve ourselves of any responsibility. From this point on, all customer inquiries are channeled through the newly-established call center (24 hours, 360 days a year) to a technician on our Complaints and Support Management hotline. If necessary, specialists from our Teleservice can make contact with the customer‘s machine at any time via a data cable and provide immediate assistance. If rapid assistance by phone or data cable is not feasible, one of GROB‘s 15 emergency call-out technicians will travel to the customer. Often, even at weekends. Last year alone, they covered over 150,000 miles on call-outs. The GROB service support centers worldwide stock important spare parts for the universal machine and project

Teleservice project team

Spare parts service project team

business and these are available on short notice. If necessary, they can be shipped at any time. Every day spare parts worth more than US$ 130,000 are forwarded to all four corners of the world. Last year their total value was US$ 32 million. A wide range of services Continuous Improvement (CI) specialists

throughout the world can be put to work on fault analysis and, working in conjunction with our development department, carry out any remedial work that may be necessary. Reliability and Maintainability (R&M) specialists are expert partners in matters related to equipment reliability and machine service life costs, but also in “cost per part“ considerations. Our expe-

rienced staff can assist customers with instrumentation in the far-from simple field of motor spindles. In a newly established repair center, service staff can overhaul sophisticated component groups such as circular tables and slides. Increasingly, GROB service technicians are being asked to repair or answer

enquiries about machinery, which was supplied over 25 years ago. GROB specialists in after-sales services annually provide services worth over US$ 6.5 million. The customer is at the heart of our everyday routine – GROB‘s guiding principle applies every day and none more so than in the service department, 360 days a year.

Workplace safety at GROB Workplace safety implemented through training and education Workplace safety at GROB does not just mean compliance with legal regulations. Issues around health and safety are addressed every day across the whole company right up to senior management level. Extensive training sessions and seminars are used to explain to staff not only any obligations as required under employment law, but the courses also provide guidance on the implementation of those obligations on the workshop floor. When it comes to integrating Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) into the organization and processes at GROB, it‘s not just about the formation of an isolated OSH system involving a few specialists, but also about the development of skills at every level. And so to do justice to this policy, the training of GROB employees in OSH matters has become an essential requirement. For a long time now all management levels – and especially in the production depart-

ment – have been involved in this “further education system“ – and have been learning, at multi-day trade association seminars for example, valuable skills for effectively incorporating good OSH practice into everyday operations. Theory with good practical relevance At these training sessions, participants are taught the organizational tools, such as how to successfully manage, by using a wide variety of internal intervention techniques for example, – and in co-operation with other agencies – the necessary OHS measures. Providing guidance on the legal regulations and statutory provisions, as well as raising awareness of any special responsibilities within the company and how they can be co-ordinated effectively are also on the agenda at such training seminars. Participants can expect an educationally-balanced mix – specially tailored to the needs of management – of theoretical debates, round table discussions and case studies.

At management level these seminars play a major part in ensuring compliance with our corporate policies in relation to OSH. Thematic seminars for management The seminars have varying objectives, depending on the needs of the different levels of management. So, in the seminars run for senior managers, key topics can include background legal information, how to effectively incorporate OSH into operational procedures and management-relevant expertise of human and commercial factors in OSH. In the supervisors‘ seminars the emphasis is primarily on the roles and responsibilities of line managers in OSH, about the internal organization of OSH, about the company-wide OSH system and its rules and regulations. The prevention of accidents at work and work-related health and safety risks, the preparation of risk assessments and information about certain risk and stress factors also play a key role in the training here.

Specialist seminars for employees in production At the specialist seminars for employees in production, it is primarily about the safety-related design of working procedures. Here topics can include those risk factors, which may exist in specific activities within the company and also the measures that need to be taken to eliminate or, at least minimize, any resulting risks. Although these seminars are concerned mainly with technical issues, the focus is actually not solely on the technology. Safety at work crucially depends on methodical procedures and on the social skills of the individual and is therefore also an important part of these seminars. The implementation of any findings gained in further training can contribute, particularly in production, to better design at the workplace and improvements to procedures, which then play an important part in the prevention of accidents at work.






GROB ANNIVERSARIES Honoring the company‘s top ambassadors Anniversary celebrations

10th anniversary

25th anniversary Josef Stefan Manfred Michael Stefan Hubert Sabine Michael Norbert Karl Christian Hubert Anton Christian Frank Thomas Thomas Markus Jürgen Karl-Heinz Martin Norbert Thomas Sabine Georg Walter Erwin Georg Albert Armin Herbert Franz Christian Andreas Robert-Michael Alexander Armin Edwin Bodo Alfred Manfred Michaela Franz Robert Georg Carmen Elmar Karl Reinhold Bernd Helmut Jürgen Hubert


Adam Albrecht Bauer Baur Bleyer Blöchl Böck Burianski Dimpfl Donderer Dzalbs Eisenschmid Endreß Frey Gaugler Gleich Graf Hartmannsperger Hecht Hehn Herz Hiller Hofmann Holzmann Jousma Keim Kleiber König Lochbrunner Lutzenberger Mähle Maier Mann Maurus Miler Möbus Müller Nägele Nittel Pfandzelter Rau Rausch Reisch Renz Riedenauer Rösch Rößle Schmid Schmid Schmidt Schneider Schneider Scholze

Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Fertigung Führungsbett/Ständer Vormontage Elektro Inbetriebnahme Mechanik Elektrokonstruktion Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Inbetriebnahme Mechanik Fluidinstallation Mechanik Entwurfskonstruktion GROB Dalian After Sales Service Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Produktionslogistik Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Fertigung Schleifen NC-Programmierung Inbetriebnahme Mechanik Fluidkonstruktion Fluidkonstruktion Fluidinstallation Vormontage Universalmaschinen Elektrokonstruktion Technische Dokumentation BL Elektrokonstruktion/Elektro IBN Konstruktion Entwicklung Elektrokonstruktion Vormontage Fluid Vormontage Fluid Blechmontage Projektmanagement Prozessinbetriebnahme Werkzeug Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Informations-Technologie Vertrieb Universalmaschinen Fluidkonstruktion Mechanik Entwurfskonstruktion Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Fertigung Komplettbearbeitung Elektrokonstruktion Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Projektierung Elektrokonstruktion Betriebsrat Fertigung Komplettbearbeitung Service Ersatzteile Elektrokonstruktion Elektrokonstruktion Elektrokonstruktion Elektrokonstruktion Vormontage Mechanik

Thomas Marco Verena Christian Turgay Robert Michael Florian Markus Stephan Martin Sebastian Michael Rainer Markus Markus Hans-Detlef Maximilian Sergej Andreas Jörg Martin Johannes Martin Viktor Andreas Maximilian Reinhard Christoph Tobias Stefan Robert Christian Thomas Christian Jürgen Ingo Florian Judith Lars Waldemar Thomas Jürgen Andre Marian Christian Sabrina Steffen

Adler Bärwolf Bihlmaier Böck Cankaya Degenhart Denk Dorn Dreimann Freiding Gedler Glöckler Gräfe Hämmerle Hartl Heinzelmann Hora Huber Ivanov Jodeit Juskowiak Kallweit Kaufmann Kirsch Klett Kluch Kolb Lippert Lutzenberger Maier Maucher Mayer Mayr Merk Mückenheim Nawratil-Selzer Nitsche Oberhoffner Rögele Rosenbaum Rott Ruf Samberger Scheibenbogen Schlögel Schropp Schweiger Setz

Stefan Manfred Christina Jürgen

Spöcker Spöttl Stegmann Strang

Fertigung Kleinteile Technische Dokumentation Service Projektkoord. Außenmontage Elektrokonstruktion Montage Transportsysteme Mechanik Entwurfskonstruktion Leitung Vormontage Motorspindel Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Mechanik Entwurfskonstruktion Prozessinbetriebnahme Konstruktion Werkzeugtechnologie Elektrokonstruktion Service Projektkoord. Außenmontage Fertigung Instandhaltung Mechanik Entwurfskonstruktion Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Mechanik Entwurfskonstruktion Informations-Technologie Fertigung Drehen Fertigung Komplettbearbeitung Mechanik Entwurfskonstruktion Konstruktion Werkzeugtechnologie Inbetriebnahme Mechanik Vormontage Elektro Fertigung Kleinteile Montageleitung Universalmaschinen Inbetriebnahme Elektrik After Sales Service Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Operativer Einkauf Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Informations-Technologie Konstruktion Werkzeugtechnologie Fluidkonstruktion Vormontage Schaltschrank Elektrokonstruktion Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Fertigung Motorspindel Projektierung Mechanik Entwurfskonstruktion Inbetriebnahme Mechanik Vormontage Fluid Inbetriebnahme Mechanik Personalmanagement Leiter Produktionseinheit Konstruktionsmechanik Zeichnungsdokumentation Inbetriebnahme Mechanik Informations-Technologie Vormontage Elektro

Jochen Gerhard Christoph Claudia

Tietz Weihrather Wissigkeit Zillober

Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Informations-Technologie Konstruktion Werkzeugtechnologie Verwaltung Produktion

Markus Peter Alexander

Zingerle Zollitsch Zucktriegel

Inbetriebnahme Mechanik Elektroinstallation Inbetriebnahme Elektrik

40th anniversary Anton Georg Ernst Wolfgang Hermann Heribert Günther Franz Anton Peter Max Josef Emil Alois Anton Anton

Rudolf Kurt Anton Wilhelm Georg Mark Eckhard

Schön Seitel Sirch Stingl Vollmar Wachendorf Weigele

Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Fertigung Automation Vormontage Motorspindel Baugruppenfertigung G-Module Elektroinstallation Vormontage Elektro Mechanik Entwurfskonstruktion

Herbert Martin Herbert Helmut Alois Maximilian Alois

Wieser Wild Wind Wissigkeit Wittmann Wörz Zimmermann

Elektrokonstruktion Elektrokonstruktion Fertigungsleitung Fertigung Großteile Blechmontage AL Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Informations-Technologie

Bäurle Brüchle Drexel Fleschutz Frommel Loock Ludwig Lutzenberger Mayer Miller Müller Pfleghaar Proksch Sedelmaier Senner Waigel

Montage Universalmaschinen Fertigung Drehen/Fräsen Fertigung Support Fertigung Support Logistik Produktionssteuerung Inbetriebnahme Elektrik Fertigung Werkzeug Fertigung Sonderbaugruppen Fertigung Werkzeug Fluidkonstruktion NC-Programmierung Blechmontage Mechanik Detailkonstruktion Inbetriebnahme Mechanik Fluidinstallation Geometrie

Retired employees with links to the company of between 30 and 40 years Werner Kaplan Bernd Hermann Paul

Groitl Mustafoski Perzewski Ruf Schweiger

38 Jahre 33 Jahre 32 Jahre 36 Jahre 35 Jahre

Our pre-retirement part-timers and retired employees who have worked for the company for between 30 and 40 years and those celebrating 40 years with the company






GROB Training GROB vocational training gets top ratings school), a multi-pronged recruitment campaign using all the latest media channels, through to the GROB Training Information Week just before the application stage – so all-in-all a varied combination of information sources.

The new generation of GROB apprentices on their “Onwards and upwards together“ getting to know you field trip at Klosterwald, near Ottobeuren, Germany

Increasing numbers of applicants despite the difficult demographics. The number of apprenticeship places with GROB is at a historically high level. The battle for the next generation is underway, but GROB Mindelheim has done its homework and put together an attractive training package. Rapid expansion at GROB’s Mindelheim plant has given the training department an extra incentive to go in search of suitable new recruits. It’s an almost impossible task: how is the company to satisfy the constantly rising demand for young talent against a backdrop of falling students finishing high school. Before the financial crisis in late 2008 an average of 40 youngsters were being trained in all specialist departments. Next year, the company needs suitable trainees to fill around 60 apprenticeship places, an increase of around 30 per cent. The

competition is tough and the battle for the next generation is getting tougher. The gap between the increasing demand (+12.2%) for suitable recruits and the decreasing number of students finishing high school (-5.4%) is widening. GROB is not the only company looking for talented youngsters. For a long time now, other sectors in the region have been competing for the skilled workers of the future. Recruitment program is having an effect It’s a development identified at GROB some time ago and which includes a whole raft of measures. It’s enjoying some success. The evidence for that is to be seen in the ever-increasing applicant numbers of recent years. This has been achieved primarily as a result of a comprehensive recruitment program – ranging from career guidance in the 7th grade at the Mittelschule (middle

Teamwork – the only way to build a raft is by working together


Info Week with the multi-media truck One highlight of this summer’s recruitment program was the GROB training department’s Info Week, with the M&E Infotruck, sponsored by the Bavarian Metal and Electronics Industry, as the focal point. For four days, the huge vehicle was parked on the GROB site and interested youngsters were invited on board to find out more about vocational training at GROB. Well in advance, all the relevant schools in the region – across all ability ranges – were sent circulars informing them about the Training Info Week at GROB. And the truck proved to be very popular among young people. It was a multi-media truck with something for everyone: from programming a CNC machine and scientific experiments to online careers research – all of the themes were devised to appeal to young people and with plenty of scope for interactive investigation. And GROB was also represented: on the first floor of the truck, in addition to carrying out their own careers research, young people could gain an in-depth picture of GROB. As well as acquiring information on possible apprenticeships, at the same time they got to see how a family-run company with a world-wide reach is set up. All the information events finished with an hour-long tour of the plant. On the production and assembly shop floor, the youngsters were able to

get a personal insight into the machine tool industry and see for themselves for the first time what a job in the production department would be like. The options for jobs at a later stage in the specialized departments were of course of particular interest to them and these were discussed in detail as and when appropriate. A wide range of options in the GROB trainee recruitment program As well as the Infotruck and Training Info Week, colleagues in the training and human resources department made sure GROB was well represented at the numerous careers fairs. Collaboration with Mindelheim’s Marist College and the town’s Mittelschule has always been very successful. One new idea is to offer a student from the Marist College a long-term internship. We call this initiative “Try it”, i.e. applicants are urged to come in and give it a go. At what phase of a project can you imagine your later training taking place? At the design and engineering phase as a technical product designer, at the production phase on a metal cutting machine or in quality control at the end of the process? The number of students on work experience, or taster sessions, has been going up for years too. This year, the training department welcomed over 137 students, a new record, and even then not everyone could be accommodated. On Girls’ Day 2012, a group of interested female students was given an insight into the commercial and technical trades. Escorted by trainees, the girls tried their hand at what would for them be new assignments, such as pneumatic planning, compressed air drives and time controls.

A class from Mindelheim‘s Marist College before boarding the Info Truck

an advanced turn-mill center, which can demonstrate more effectively the different machining processes.

Tied together as a team – rock-climbing as a way of pushing the boundaries

Investment in training The quality of any technical training is largely dependent on the hardware, the machinery available in the training department. And this year too GROB has invested a considerable amount of money in equipment for the training

department. At the end of February, a new conventional milling and turning machine was installed for rudimentary and advanced basic training. Later on in the year the training department took delivery of the second, long-awaited G350 with Heidenhain controls and also

Award for a trainee in the vocational college The high quality of GROB training can be seen from new awards presented to our trainees. On February 17, one of our former trainees, Frank Michael (industrial mechanic), was honored at a ceremony for his outstanding performance in the vocational college. His average grade was 1.28 (1.0 being the best grade). For this he received as a souvenir the traditional Johann Bierwirth clock and a digital picture frame with many pictures of the GROB plants and from his training period. Stefan Wilhelm also put in a fine performance. In his final examination as an electronics technician in automation technology, he scored an average grade of 1.4.

GROB Occupational Health Get fit for new challenges with Drums Alive® Lose weight, improve your health and get fit with Drums Alive®. With a special fitness program developed for GROB employees, the company‘s Occupational Health team is once again setting new standards in preventative care for the workforce. Prevention that not only helps, but is also great fun for the participants. A study by the German Federal Statistical Office revealed that one in every two people is overweight (51% of the adult population – 60% men and 43% women). And the proportion is increasing. Obesity is already widespread among many young adults and with an ageing population, the numbers are increasing. The main cause of obesity in Germany is lifestyle. More and more time is being spent in front of a computer or a television. Exercise only happens rarely. People are more likely to consume junk food than take part in sports. Over the long term, the consequences of obesity are: heart and circulatory diseases (heart attacks), diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, physical weakness, lung and breathing problems, social problems, emotional damage, impaired co-ordination and lots more.

“Lose weight and improve your health“ To combat these diseases, in 2011 for the first time, GROB developed and successfully implemented a special anti-obesity program under the slogan “Lose Weight and Improve Your Health“. For those taking part the aims of this fitness program were primarily reducing weight, improving individual capability and encouraging physical activity, while at the same time boosting motivation and self-esteem. So exercise units lasting between 15 and 60 minutes were held three times a week. After ten weeks, the participants were expected to continue with the program but to work out on their own. At 26 weeks after the start of the program, all those who took part were re-examined. And the results were impressive: in Group 1 four participants had lost a total of 40 pounds already within the first 10 weeks. A result that was so good that in the spring of this year, a follow-up course was started. Fit with Drums Alive® In addition, as part of our occupational health promotion campaign, in early

Get fit in winter with team trainer Rebecca Stimpfle

2012 another course called Drums Alive® started up. Once a week a group of 15 met up to perform this latest sports activity together. Beats, balls and exercise combine in this new and exhilarating sport. It‘s about drumming to get fit. Drums Alive® is fun and reduces stress. It‘s the perfect way you can clear your head and unwind mentally … and it is not just a power program; it also includes quiet phases such as “wellness“ beats, where the aim is relaxation. Through repetition of pene-

trating rhythms, Drums Alive® gets the energy forces flowing, giving a big boost to mind, body and soul in equal measure. It combines elements from physical therapies with themes from music, sound and dance therapy, thereby bestowing in a variety of ways the benefits the body needs. But all that apart, the participants had a lot of fun, while leaving their everyday worries behind. This is why there will be new follow-up courses for this second activity, too.






The production systems business Supplier to the new VW plant in Siláo

AWARDS Two top awards mark a successful year for GROB

EA888 cylinder head line consisting of 2-spindle G-modules

Feeding the cylinder heads into the EA888 machining line incl. SPC space

When the Volkswagen plant in Siláo in the central Mexican state of Guanajuata starts production in early 2013, GROB will have played its part as one of the initial suppliers. The new factory is expected to supply more than 330,000 engines to the VW vehicle plants in Puebla and Chattanooga.

trained service staff from GROB Mexico supported the project and they were always the first point of contact for our project management team from Mindelheim, just as GROB Mexico is always the first point of contact for Volkswagen in Mexico.

The “Second Volkswagen Engine Plant in Mexico“ project was launched as part of the Volkswagen Group‘s growth strategy for North America and in 2010 the foundation stone for the new engine plant was laid in Siláo. From 2013, the Volkswagen vehicle plants, first in Puebla, Mexico, and shortly thereafter in Chattanooga, USA, will receive the latest generation of engines. The plans allow for an annual output of 330,000 units. When peak production is reached, Volkswagen will be employing around 700 new employees in Siláo. Planning the project – a long and arduous job GROB was involved in planning the project even before the location for the new plant had been decided. What was clear though was that this new engine plant would supply North American markets and it was to be known as the NAR (North America Region) project. The GROB team worked on this proposal for over 18 months, until GROB Mindelheim received the tender for the so-called aluminum package, i.e. the ZK EA 888 and the ZK+ZKG EA 211. The tender was for machining a part that was already well known to the VW Group from a number of other GROB orders. The scope of the order included the entire met-


al-cutting process, including automation for the 19 x 2-spindle G-modules and zero point workholding. The opposing machines are connected via swivel changers, with the loading of the swivel changer being done by a total of five GROB linear gantries and intermediate conveyors. Because the planners did such a good job, the building work was completed on time. Therefore, as one of the initial suppliers of machinery, GROB was able to begin work on installation without any problems and finish the job successfully. Before starting on the installation in Mexico, a new young team, consisting of machine operators and maintenance engineers from Volkswagen Siláo, had been trained for their new role in various Audi and VW plants. But the highly-motivated team from GROB in Mindelheim was also well prepared for the upcoming tasks. The young team from Siláo quickly figured out that they would in future be working on extremely flexible, high-precision equipment. As a safeguard, positions such as plant and planning managers, production and maintenance supervisors were filled by experienced VW employees from Germany and Puebla. GROB Mexico – service partner and a vital support Colleagues from GROB Mexico played an important role on site. They were the first contact and gave the team from Mindelheim excellent support when installing and commissioning the equipment. Once production starts, GROB Mexico will take over all service work in Siláo. Right from the outset, four fully

One other significant bonus at the project implementation stage was GROB Mexico‘s new location in Queretaro. Given the much shorter distances to the VW plant, GROB can guarantee prompt response times for service assignments and the delivery of spare parts. Until completion of the production plant, approximately twenty employees from GROB Mexico and GROB Mindelheim were permanently on duty on the construction site.

And the future has only just begun Various follow-up projects for this engine plant are in the pipeline. The order for increasing capacity in the production line is expected later this year. “We believe that through our presence here, we have made an important contribution to the smooth running of the entire construction project,“ said Jörg Wagner, GROB Mexico‘s manager. “Not least because of the outstanding communication between the planners and the site team, not to mention the superbly organized collaboration between our colleagues in Mindelheim and my technicians here in Mexico.“

Supplier award prize-giving ceremony at Daimler AG in Stuttgart (left to right: Wendelin Wolbert, Christian Grob, Wilfried Porth) Source: Daimler AG

In early 2012 GROB was honored with two of the most coveted awards in the automotive supplier industry: the Breakthrough and Innovations Award from the Shanghai General Motors Corporation in China and the Supplier Award from Daimler AG in Stuttgart. Two prestigious awards to mark one of the most eventful years in GROB‘s history. In early February, under the banner “Leading Together for a Brighter Future“, over 500 corporate representatives were invited by Shanghai General Motors (SGM) to the 14th Annual Suppliers Conference in the

city of Sanya on the southern Chinese island of Hainan. Some 37 companies, who had in the previous year put in an outstanding performance in their collaboration with SGM (Best Performance Supplier), were chosen. Their representatives deliberated and then presented, in a special workshop in front of a SGM jury, their ideas on future collaboration and development work with the Chinese Joint Venture Partner (SAIC) of the General Motors Corporation. An award for extraordinary innovations GROB was there among these exclusive

manufacturers representing production system suppliers of metal cutting systems, and were able to report on the innovations implemented in the General Motors transmission project, strategic partnerships and energy efficiency. In the end, a total of thirty companies in various categories won awards as best suppliers for 2011. Alongside four other companies, GROB, the only machine tool construction company, received the special Breakthrough and Innovations Award for its innovative products.

gory as the best supplier to Daimler AG in 2011. Daimler‘s International Procurement Services organization stressed the long and reliable partnership with the family business and also GROB‘s customer orientated focus in the production system and universal machine sector. “Through the continuous development of innovative, cost-effective machines and systems, this family company can deservedly claim to be a leader in technology,“ said Daimler‘s purchasing manager at the award ceremony.

Further proof that, when it comes to leadership in technology, GROB‘s claims are not empty promises, but are actually based on the objective standards of the market place, i.e. on the assessment of its customers. To win an award as a supplier with the Best Performance in an emerging market such as the Peoples‘ Republic of China was for our company, in this of all years, of great significance. This honor was the perfect prelude to the opening of our manufacturing plant in Dalian only two months later.

Every year the Daimler Supplier Award rewards companies for above average performances in matters such as quality, cost, on time delivery, technology and innovation. Also included in the assessment are such values as fairness, reliability and credibility.

GROB wins the 2011 Daimler Supplier Award In Stuttgart, only six weeks after Sanya, GROB was back on the podium. As part of this year‘s Daimler Key Supplier Meetings at the Mercedes-Benz Center in Stuttgart, Daimler AG honored its best suppliers by presenting the Daimler Supplier Award 2011. GROB was acclaimed in the Manufacturing Equipment cate-

Awards – prestigious affirmation of services rendered GROB has received a variety of awards in its long history. Awards that are among the most prestigious compliments any business can receive. They come from the most objective quarter – from the customer. Awards, which at a time when the company is restructuring and with an unprecedented level of investments, are all the more important to us. They confirm a well-worn path, but they are nevertheless an incentive to continue on this successful route with and for GROB customers.

GROB branches Worldwide investment in sales pays off A sales and distribution network that has been growing systematically for years, recovering and growing markets, but more than anything else, an impressive range of products in the production system and universal machine business, and that‘s before including the excellent reputation of the GROB brand. It all makes the perfect backdrop for the rapid growth in exports over recent years. Now almost all markets are making their contribution to the strong growth of the GROB Group.

The new VW plant in Siláo/Mexico

Last year practically all of GROB‘s major markets around the world made their

contribution to GROB‘s very welcome growth, which has been both rapid and challenging. It was not just Europe, China, USA and Brazil, where GROB production plants are sited that played their part. Markets which are home to GROB‘s own sales and service branches performed very successfully last year too. With the focus very firmly on growth, the prospects for next year for all of GROB branches are not at all bad. GROB Mexico – many new projects GROB Mexico has reported a very successful year, having been involved in many of our customers‘ new projects. The high and continuously increasing

production capacity at Volkswagen, John Deere, General Motors, Chrysler, Bocar and Ford have generated a demand for many new projects that are now either awaiting the go-ahead or are about to be negotiated. But even on the existing lines, there has been plenty for GROB Mexico to do, especially for our service team. Commenting on the positive developments, GROB branch manager, Jörg Wagner, said: “The prospects are good, even outside the automotive industry, such as in the aviation and space sector, where there has been high levels of investment, and we traditionally stay ahead of the pace with the production systems business in the auto-

Long-standing business relationship with Bocar – left to right: F. Baur, J. Wagner








GROB branches Worldwide investment in sales pays off

Universal machines Five years after their launch – a specialized technology center in the new Hall 9

Jörg Wagner (7th from left) with his team in Mexico

motive and supplier industry.“ Mexico is once again proving to be an attractive and cost-effective location from which to supply the US market. It is no surprise that in 2012 the Mexican automotive industry once again increased its production numbers and export share from last year. 2013 is expected to be another record year. The growth of the automotive industry in Mexico and other factors has led GROB to move its headquarters from Saltillo to Santiago de Queretaro. It is here, some 125 miles north of Mexico City that a new center for the automotive and aerospace industries has emerged. Not least, the construction of the Volkswagen engine plant in Siláo (see Systems Business article) has meant that many suppliers have – or are about to – relocate to this part of the country. So at Mexico‘s new GROB headquarters, the core workforce has tripled in the last five years and total sales have increased fivefold over the same period. “The order from Volkswagen in Siláo, on which we have given excellent support to our colleagues in Mindelheim, has provided a massive boost for everyone. I am assuming that we can continue to work successfully in the years ahead, even in the universal machine business“, says Jörg Wagner eyeing next year with confidence. Step by step – GROB Russia is making progress The Russian automotive market is, alongside China and India, among the most promising in the automotive industry. Many international manufacturers are building new plants in Russia. Com-


panies such as Volkswagen, Daimler, Ford, PSA, Renault, Hyundai and General Motors have their own plants or joint ventures here. They are extremely active and want to invest either directly or via joint ventures and produce their own vehicles. “We are working closely with all automotive representatives,“ says GROB Russia‘s branch manager, Dr. Dimitry Akulin. “But we maintain particularly close ties with AvtoVAZ, KAMAZ, AvtoDizel and ZMZ.“ Dr. Akulin is currently negotiating with AvtoVAZ on the supply of several production facilities. Moreover, GROB is in talks with AvtoVAZ on the upgrading and renewal of its own transmission production. Other projects with AvtoVAZ/Renault, AvtoDizel/Daimler and KAMAZ are under discussion. In the universal machines field GROB Russia remains in close contact with western Russian engine manufacturers. They are very interested in GROB‘s mill-and-turn technology (G550T) for the new generations of engines. In the Services division, GROB‘s Russian technicians are integrated in the GROB Group and work closely with their colleagues in Mindelheim – even on international projects. Early signs of success for GROB‘s new sales and distribution network in India The strategic decision made last year to move the GROB branch from Chennai to Hyderabad and expand, has proved to be the right one. From the now 3000 sq.ft. GROB India office, the branch manager of GROB Machine Tools India and the service manager, along with their service engineers, have a much better base

and can now more easily access potential customers in the universal machine business. Going forward, they now are perfectly placed to tap into the enormous potential of the Indian production systems business, i.e. the automotive industry. Also, the nationwide expansion of the Indian sales distribution network, including the division of the Indian subcontinent into four strategic sales areas, is showing the first signs of success. For example, December 2012 saw the delivery of the first G550AB to AZAD Engineering Private Limited in Hyderabad. AZAD Engineering Pvt. Ltd. is one of India‘s leading suppliers in the aerospace industry, producing highly complex parts made of aluminum, hardened steel and titanium. One of their key requirements is precision machining, a demand which the GROB 5-axis universal machining center G550AB meets perfectly. Difficult market situation in Korea GROB Korea continues to struggle with sluggish demand in the domestic market – especially for machine tools. So after a difficult year in 2011, orders for machine tools in 2012 fell by about 30 percent compared to the previous year. Unfortunately no improvement is in sight for 2013. At the moment GROB activities in South Korea are limited to the service and retooling business. However, the team at the GROB branch in Korea is trying everything possible to put down stronger roots. At SIMTOS 2012, GROB Korea showcased a G350 with MMS machining and from 16–17 October GROB Korea, with support from Mindelheim, took part in the VDW symposium. A symposium attended on both days by over 300 trade visitors. “For us

it was important to be there for both events. At the trade fair and at the symposium we were able to showcase our technology and machines to a wide specialist audience,“ said a member of the GROB branch management. Successful year for GROB Machine Tools UK Ltd. GROB UK can also look back at a successful 2012. In a market situation which is not at all easy, our British colleagues have been able to sell their first seven universal machines. Due to the many business activities in the system business, combined with conversion work and the re-equipping of existing plants, the number of service managers was increased from two to eight. In addition, two new office employees were hired for internal sales and the secretarial department. To accommodate a larger team and also to take advantage of better transport links, the GROB branch is moving to a new office in Birmingham in January 2013. As the UK economy is still recovering from recession, no significant increases in universal machine sales are in sight. The team at GROB Machine Tools branch is currently pre-occupied with the installation of the BMW block and cylinder head line for the engine plant at Hams Hall. Although it is difficult to sell in the prevailing market conditions, the branch is working hard with a range of technically-advanced, competitively-priced products to break into new areas, such as the aerospace industry.

New office in Birmingham – right to left: Gerrit Wielhouwer and Carly Onions

Five years after their successful launch, all departments involved in the development of the GROB universal machines will finally come together under one roof in Mindelheim‘s Hall 9. Yet another milestone in the recent history of the important and still growing universal machine product range.

tion system business quickly led in the standard machine business to not only a competitive, but also a technologically-advanced 5-axis machining center with horizontal spindle, a tool suitable for all metal-cutting applications. The G350 machining system quickly became a highly-regarded product in its category. Innovative, market-oriented developments,

The new Technology and Application Center (TAC) in Hall 9

The recent milestones in the development of the universal machine have happened almost at yearly intervals: the 2007 EMO in Hanover witnessed the première of the G350 in front of an international specialized audience; a few months later, in 2008, came the launch of the G350, followed in 2009 by the launch of the larger G550; a year later, we saw the first machining center without hydraulics; then again in Hanover at the 2011 EMO and, subsequently, at the 2012 AMB, came the showcasing of the prototype for mill-and-turn machining, the G550T, the first 5-axis universal mill-and-turn machining center. A huge success story. But such stories must be supported and sustained if success is to continue. With the completion of the Hall 9, the conditions are now perfect for the steady, further development of universal machines. All together now under one roof spells long-term success: trials, applications, sales and distribution, service and training in the new fully-equipped, state-ofthe-art Technical Applications Center (TAC). But what is the secret behind such a highly successful product launch? The idea – in the beginning was the technology The all-round expertise of the GROB engineers that resulted from the produc-


such as big sister G550, the fully hydraulic-free design of both systems, right up to mill-and-turn technology in the form of the G550T, have taken GROB‘s technological reputation to a higher plane. Traditionally GROB developed not just the basic structure of a machine, but of course, all the important components, such as main spindle, A/B rotary tables, disk changer, tool magazine and machine paneling. Also, since the introduction of the G350, the optional package has deliberately been expanded in line with market conditions. First came more spindle options, then attachable, larger tool magazines, plus connectivity to pallet storage or other automated systems. GROB engineers have kept on supplying new ideas to satisfy the varied demands of the market-place. The technical diversity and, with that, the flexibility of GROB universal machines, coupled with the durability and quality of the production system concept, are still the real secret of this success. The strategy – a major marketing challenge GROB is known worldwide as the leading supplier of high technology products for the production systems business. But how in the universal machine business is it possible to convince potential cus-

tomers outside the automotive industry that GROB is also a consistently reliable supplier in the field of 5-axis horizontal machining centers? At the time of the launch of the G350, GROB was hardly represented, if at all, in the so-called stand-alone market. So it took a lot of perseverance, conviction and good strategic marketing to succeed. The first important measures, of course, were the participation in a variety of carefully selected trade fairs and the establishment of our Technology Application Center (TAC), where our claims could be demonstrated. As planned, it rapidly became the beating heart and the main testing and trialing establishment for the innovative applications demanded by potential universal machine customers. Here all of our customers were able to see for themselves in a practical way just how efficient GROB products are. There is hardly a construction material that has not already been processed in the TAC on one of our G350 and G550 5-axis machines. While our ultra-modern TAC was being established a completely, new specialized sales and distribution network was initially being developed in Germany and that led to the creation of the necessary internal structures in Mindelheim. The GROB universal machines section started in 2008 with four employees. Now there are 20. The international sales network has been up and running for two years now and will be further expanded in the coming year. The customers – many industrial sectors, a new customer base, on a worldwide scale There is hardly a target group in the field of machine tools that is more heterogeneous than the users and customers of our universal machine. From medical

technology to tool and mold-making, from the flexible sub-contractor to the aerospace and automotive industry. From SMEs to large corporations. An incredible variety of customers all with special requirements. A market segment with its own laws. Price, quality, sustainable service and a short delivery time are often crucial for an order to come to fruition. The customer is no longer willing to wait. Now, with the new Hall 9, there is the capacity available at GROB Mindelheim to fully meet customer‘s requirements. Currently up to five units leave Hall 9 each week – so a new universal machine gets signed off practically every day. The GROB customer base is getting bigger and more diverse. There is a leading manufacturer of printing machinery, for example, who after extensive testing and detailed trials, adopted GROB as its new supplier. Then there‘s the Swiss company, Liechti, which specializes in the supply of turnkey solutions for the production of aerodynamic surfaces, such as those found in turbine blades and impellers. In overseas markets too the quality and reliability of GROB universal machines, together with good value for money, is now widely recognized. This has enabled the GROB team to sell in China the first universal machines on a purely domestic contract, thereby gaining a foothold in the aviation and space technology sector. The goal – good prospects What began in 2007 with the sale of four G350s has now reached a sales volume of over 200 machines a year. This is a huge success for GROB in the hard-fought universal machines market. The competition is both our strength and an incentive. We have achieved the interim goals set so far and are now nicely poised to gain an even greater market share.

Hall 9 – the new centre for universal machines






B. GROB do Brasil Record sales translates into excellent prospects

GROB Bluffton Booming auto industry lifts GROB Systems

cost savings. Compared to the previous year, B. GROB do Brasil‘s productivity has increased by 5 – 10 per cent, the reason being major projects from the automotive industry and a standardized production program based on the G-module.

Artist‘s impression of administration block after renovation

A stabilizing US economy, a booming automotive industry and the completion of extensive renovation and construction at GROB‘s Bluffton plant are all signs of an extremely satisfactory environment, presaging excellent prospects for growth at our American location. After several years of testing times, the US auto industry is once again prospering. The best indication of this is the fact that it is getting easier to obtain credit from banks for automotive purchases and for purchasing machinery. New vehicle registrations have increased dramatically and production at the main US vehicle manufacturers is running at full speed. Government support for GM and Chrysler has been seen as a huge success. Not surprisingly, Chrysler has shown the strongest growth of the “big three“ in recent months. Sales of 14.4 million vehicles in 2012 and 16 million in 2013 are expected in the North American market. Large orders from the automotive industry This very positive development in the automotive sector has had direct consequences for GROB Systems, where production increased practically every month throughout 2012. The company‘s main customer in the past financial year was General Motors, who have taken receipt of numerous pieces of machining and assembly equipment for their two new engine generations (LGE, 6 modules, and Gen V, 9 modules). For these projects alone, GROB has built over 100 G-modules and way over 100 ancillary assembly machines, which are spread out within the metal cutting lines. All the G-modules were built in Mindelheim, integrated in Bluffton and then linked together into


a system with automatic loading and overhead robots. In addition to a cylinder block line for our second largest customer, Ford, we have also supplied G-modules to Bosch, Caterpillar and John Deere. Massive investment After one of the largest investment programs in the recent history of GROB Bluffton, over the last 12 months production capacity has been able to meet the demands of a booming order backlog. Earlier this year work started on the construction of a new assembly hall and then there are a number of ongoing plant extensions, which will be completed by the end of 2012. This will increase the production area by more than 93,000 sq.ft, an increase of 30 percent, in the process relieving the burden particularly at the final assembly phase. Furthermore, following the Mindelheim model, this new hall will house a Technology and Application Center for universal machines. Plans include a showroom for four machines, plus two meeting and training rooms. There will be a presentation area, where G-modules and their technology can be demonstrated in detail to GROB customers. This center is an important marketing tool, especially in America, where five-axis and mill and turn technology are not as widespread or well-known as in Europe. It‘s a technology with a great future – especially in America. A good example of this is the aircraft industry, as five-axis machining will be an essential requirement on the new generation of engines requiring also specialized skills in the programming technology. So yet another important part of the jigsaw is added in the development of our US sales and distribution network for universal machines.

IMTS continues a positive trend in America The increasing demand for new GROB technologies, especially for the aircraft industry, was confirmed at this year‘s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), which was held in Chicago between September 10 and 15. For GROB Bluffton the IMTS turned out to be a very successful event. Not just because of the huge increase in visitor numbers (up 22 per cent to over 100,000), a fact that was clearly evident on the GROB booth, but more because GROB Bluffton was able to generate more than 250 new initial contacts, with many of them wanting information on GROB‘s new technology for universal machines. Initial contacts that will raise the profile of the GROB brand as a supplier of universal machines in the US and Canada. “We had done our homework for the exhibition,“ said Michael Hutecker, President of GROB Systems in Bluffton. “Our representatives had done an excellent job in advance by inviting many of our customers to the GROB booth. And the best thing about it all: all visitors were impressed by our

machines, by the G550 and the G550T, by our booth and by the quality of advice given by our team.“ 2012 – an excellent basis for 2013 This year GROB has strengthened its position as a major supplier to the US automotive industry. First came the contract with GM, with GROB selected as a main supplier of all cylinder block lines until 2015. Then came the commitment from Chrysler, confirming that for the next three years GROB is set to be the main supplier of G-modules, i.e. at least 200 units during this period. All of the above are developments that make us believe in a positive development in America for the next few years. GROB Bluffton continues to work on new projects in the automotive industry, on projects for tractor engines, and – what is even more important in the long term – on raising awareness of the GROB brand. It will continue to be the case that GROB universal machines leave a favorable impression on everyone who sees our products and our plant.

Final assembly of density testing machine for cylinder heads

B. GROB do Brasil has notched up record sales, the order books are in good shape going forward and so prospects for the years ahead are excellent. And if that‘s not enough, there is another first in the history of B. GROB do Brasil: over 95 per cent of sales in 2012 were supplied to the Brazilian market.

sales in Brazil are booked in Euros, much more in Real. Although the value of the Real against the Euro has in recent months depreciated by about 10 per cent, it is still very strong against the Euro. This makes Brazilian labor costs in Euros more expensive and so Brazil as a location is, at least from a competitive point of view, less attractive.

Never before has B. GROB do Brasil been able to post sales at this level. Last year our Brazilian colleagues reported an increase in sales of 30 per cent, this year they have achieved growth of over 25 per cent and that means they can boast the highest sales figure in the company‘s 56-year history. And, interestingly, there‘s another first: 95 per cent of those sales were for the domestic market. Sales growth that was driven mainly by developments in the automotive industry, including Volkswagen (cylinder head and cylinder block; EA 211 engine) and FORD (cylinder head and cylinder block; FOX and SIGMA engines).

B. GROB do Brasil has done its homework Overall, however, the record results posted by B. GROB do Brasil are not due solely to the country‘s economic development. In fact, GROB has had to make some important internal decisions. As in Europe, the introduction of dry machining with minimal lubrication has proved to be a major sales driver. This is a technology developed by GROB and it has been adopted rapidly on many of the main automotive projects. Measures introduced a year ago are now yielding

Overall, sales in 2012/2013 are expected to amount to US$130 million. This record figure has been achieved with 594 highly motivated employees and 168 contract workers. Traditionally, B. GROB do Brasil has exported about half of its production. But that situation has changed dramatically given the strong (= expensive) Real against the euro and huge domestic demand. But prospects for next year are not at all bad. During the coming year a good mix of domestic projects and export orders to customers in North and South America as well as “intercompany“ work for the parent company in Mindelheim, Germany, will keep order books full. And the positive factor here is that, with this high proportion of domestic orders, fewer GROB

Uninterrupted investment The investment program launched last year at B. GROB do Brasil has created just the right conditions for boosting sales growth. In the 2012/13 financial year, over six million euros were invested in production. This was money invested in vertical integration, as there are virtually no other companies in Brazil that can deliver the same quality as GROB. So generally speaking, 100% of GROB‘s production parts have to be produced in house. And to meet these demands, our colleagues in Brazil have installed a range of new machinery. This includes two portal milling machines for cross slide production (including shuttle), a washing machine and two set-up stations, a BZ800 P, a G350 AB, two G550 ABs, a Donau CNC radial drilling machine, a pipe bending machine, a Trumpf CNC press brake, a Zoller tool setting device and 100 LKE trolleys for transporting materials. Although the emphasis was on investment in machinery, B. GROB do Brasil also spent money on construction and office equipment. So a warehouse for castings and welded parts and an inclined elevator have been added, there are two more high-bay warehouses doubling the existing storage space and work has started on renovating the main block. This work is due to be completed in April 2013. To

improve information flow and communications 45 computers were purchased in engineering and operations. They will streamline SAP-based production control. In addition, new TDM software will standardize information between GROB Mindelheim and GROB Brazil. Difficult economic conditions Unfortunately, despite these extremely positive developments at B. GROB do Brasil, there are other economic factors to consider. Due to the strong Brazilian currency, Brazil‘s industrial sector is contracting, in 2012 the GDP only rose 1.7 per cent (significant drop from previous year), wage increases in the past few years have been running at about 8 per cent and inflation is 5 per cent. The government has also increased the import

New portal milling machine in manufacturing

duty on machine tools from 14 to 25 per cent, in order to protect the domestic market. This is a controversial issue. On the one hand the tax protects Brazilian industry against foreign competition, but on the other hand it does nothing to improve the country‘s international competitiveness. At the moment various tax reduction programs are under discussion. Some are already having an impact and these represent a step in the right direction. Although Brazil is one of the so-called BRIC countries, the standard of living has risen dramatically in recent years – due to the “Lula effect“ (the Workers‘ Party has done much to improve the quality of life for the working class in Brazil). Given this economic environment, GROB do Brasil has been forced to keep improving productivity to “neutralize“ the negative impact of the current legislation and to remain competitive internationally; and the company has always done a good job in this respect.

Final assembly of G-modules





GROB RUSSLAND Moscow, Russia

GROB MACHINE TOOLS Birmingham, Great Britain GROB-WERKE Mindelheim, Germany


GROB SYSTEMS Bluffton, Ohio, USA

GROB MACHINE TOOLS Dalian, China GROB KOREA Seoul, South Korea

GROB MACHINE TOOLS Shanghai, China GROB MEXICO Querétaro, Mexico GROB MACHINE TOOLS Hyderabad, India

B. GROB DO BRASIL São Paulo, Brazil

Mindelheim plant

São Paulo plant

Bluffton plant

Dalian plant

GROB-WERKE GmbH & Co. KG Mindelheim, Germany Tel.: +49 8261 996-0 Fax: +49 8261 996-268 E-mail: [email protected]

B. GROB DO BRASIL S.A. São Paulo, Brazil Tel.: +55 11 436791-00 Fax: +55 11 436791-01 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB SYSTEMS, INC. Bluffton, Ohio, USA Tel.: +1 419 3589015 Fax: +1 419 3693331 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB MACHINE TOOLS (DALIAN) Co. Ltd. Dalian, V.R. CHINA Tel.: +86 411 39266488 Fax: +86 411 39266589 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB KOREA Co. Ltd. Seoul, South Korea Tel.: +82 31 804131-30 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB MACHINE TOOLS (BEIJING) Co. Ltd. Beijing, V.R. CHINA Tel.: +86 10 648037-11 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB MACHINE TOOLS (BEIJING) Co. Ltd. Shanghai, V.R. CHINA Tel.: +86 21 37633018 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB MACHINE TOOLS INDIA Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad, INDIA Tel.: +91 40 42023336 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB RUSSLAND GMBH Moskau, Russia Tel.: +7 495 6240586 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB MACHINE TOOLS U.K. Ltd. Birmingham, Great Britain Tel.: +44 1789 470047 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB MEXICO S.A. de C.V. Querétaro, Mexico Tel.: +52 442 2095241 E-mail: [email protected]

GROB UNGARIA Kft. Györ, Hungary E-mail: [email protected]

Publication details - GROB INTERNATIONAL EDITION 02/12 PUBLISHED BY: GROB-WERKE GmbH & Co. KG, Mindelheim

TEXT: Robert A. Thiem, Agentur T M E,

Responsible for content: Marketing & PR, Tel.: +49 8261 996-9734, Fax: +49 8261 996-441, [email protected]

DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION: inpublic Werbung & PR GmbH, Innsbruck,

PHOTOS: GROB-WERKE GmbH & Co. KG Mindelheim Robert A. Thiem, Agentur T M E Dieter Rebmann, Rebmann Photography Arno Bühler, Kienle & Bühler Fotographie

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