EUROTRIP 2019: A Dream Come True
First off, apologies for the missing podcast last week but it wasn't because they didn't try! With Laurens Wijnschenk-Mauritsz in tow, it was the prime opportunity to record. The problem? A sleepy cell phone!
Although Grimsmo's returned to Canada, Saunders is adamant, "There are more factories and I'm not leaving until I see them ALL!"
"Screw it, let's do it!" - Grimsmo
With only 6 days notice, a gentle nudge from Saunders, and help from Marv Gro, Grimsmo is able to arrange his flight and score incredible tours of TORNOS and KERN.
Before embarking on his trip, Grimsmo makes a pit-stop at Elliot-Matsurra to sign Swiss paperwork for the Tornos GT13!
For now, he's prepping for its arrival with coolant, tooling, and the 6' LNS bar feeder. He's also plans to use TISIS, a software that will aid in the programming process.
Oddly enough, when Saunders crosses the border from Austria to Switzerland, the appearance of a Mercedes station-wagon is almost prophetic. To Grimsmo's surprise, his hunks of metal for machining Norseman parts at Kern Microtechnik make it through security!
Factories and Machine Shops, BIG AND SMALL.
This trip isn't only about visiting the biggest names in the industry, it's also about seeing what's cookin' in the impressive home shops of Stefan Gotteswinter and TACrafted with Theo Assfalg.
After visiting 3DTechDraw in Amsterdam with Laurens, Saunders heads to Hermle in Stuttgart, Germany. Meanwhile, in Moutier, Switzerland, the birthplace of Swiss lathes, Marv and Grimsmo meet with Michael Hauser, CEO for an insiders view of Tornos; a company that holds customer support in high regard. They still make replacement parts for lathes that are over 100 years old! Now THAT's customer service!
Heidenhain: More than a great control for your machine.
We take for granted that we live in a world where measurements
are standardized. Back then, these guys were the ones making
copies of THE meter. In addition to manufacturing every single linear scale, Heidenhain might just be the definition of climate control.
Grimsmo and Marv machine a Norseman handle AND do some blade surfacing at Kern Microtechnik. 14+ hours later, it's time for the Johns to finally meet up. A late night with burgers, beers, and friends still reeling from the days' excitement turns into slap happy machinists making CAM jokes before getting some shut-eye.
KERN - The Best in the Land
The guys share their experiences at the uncontested BEST micro precision machine tool company in the world. Hitting sub-micron tolerances ADED means special care must be taken to thermally stabilize the machine tool. When cutting tools MUST be hand loaded because the resistance from the ATC motion could break the flutes...holy moly.
Finally, for Marv and Grimsmo, their trip ends with scenic views and gnarly ski slopes. On the last run, Marv challenges Grimsmo to a race.
Saunders moves onto the NTMA leg of his trip with Big Kaiser America, where he will soon visit Big Kaiser, Blaser, and Speroni.
Trips abroad certainly broaden the mind and bring a fresh new perspective and energy that is sometimes lost in the day-to-day minutiae. The more you know, the better 'cause the times they are A-changin'.