Issue Nov Dec 16
UNITED GRINDING is the culmination of decades of precision machining experience from some of the most accomplished European manufacturers, adding up to the largest provider of grinding solutions in North America as well as the rest of the world. Its heritage is rooted in top German manufacturer, the Körber Group, which in the early 1990s was looking to diversify into machine tools, particularly grinding.
It started to acquire numerous other top manufacturers in Europe, many of which also had established operations in the United States. In 1994, Körber consolidated these North American subsidiaries into a single entity, creating UNITED GRINDING.
UNITED GRINDING’s CEO and Vice Chairman of its Board of Directors, Rodger Pinney, says the success of United Grinding over the last two decades has been due in no small part to the diversity of technologies, expertise and technical skills brought together under one roof in 1994. As evidence of UNITED GRINDIING’s broad range of manufacturing solutions, one needs look no further than the company’s customer base. It ranges from some of the world’s biggest manufacturing OEMs operating in key industries to thousands of small job shops tirelessly doing their part every day to ensure North America manufacturing stays globally competitive. Industries using the company’s precision grinding and quality measuring solutions include aerospace, automotive, energy generation and exploration, medical, bearings, tool and die, mold, hydraulics, and many more.
In everything the company does, Pinney says, UNITED GRINDING pays just as much attention to the business of listening to its customers’ needs as it does filling their orders. Working closely with its customers drives UNITED GRINDING to make changes to provide them with the most accessible, cost effect service in the industry. By taking this voice of the customer approach, UNITED GRINDING’s intention is to strategically position itself to take full advantage of the significant manufacturing growth expected to take place in North America over the next decade.
Total Lifecycle Solutions
Perhaps the strongest advantage UNITED GRINDING offers over its numerous competitors is the ability to provide a complete LifeCycle solution no matter what its customers require. Pinney says the company holds a significant market share in virtually all facets of precision machining including cylindrical, profile, surface and tool grinding.
Not only can United Grinding provide customers with the equipment needed to meet their grinding requirements, but Pinney says the company also has the capability to supply full applications engineering, automation, production support and training services as well. This is just a segment of the customer service element that distinguishes UNITED GRINDING in the marketplace, as the company’s Customer Care Team totals more than 70 full-time employees dedicated to helping customers with aftersales services. Pinney says this level of Customer Care is virtually unmatched in the grinding industry, and is another way in which UNITED GRINDING positions itself as the industry leader.
UNITED GRINDING may have an exceptionally strong position in the marketplace right now, but Pinney says that doesn’t mean the company isn’t striving to make continuous improvements to better serve its customers. In addition to increasing its investments into the business of refurbishing and rebuilding machines for customers, the company is in the process of consolidating all of its North American operations into a single 100,000-square-foot facility. Pinney says the move is a strategic one aimed at increasing the company’s North American footprint in anticipation of an increase in manufacturing activity. He says many of the company’s North American customers have pivoted away from offshoring as associated costs and quality concerns increase which translates to even more growth potential opportunity for UNITED GRINDING.
As manufacturing begins to ramp up again in the United States, Mexico and Canada, Pinney says customers are looking to UNITED GRINDING to become more deeply involved in improving their efficiencies and productivity. “Our customers are asking us to be a highly engaged strategic partner as far as working with them to increase their manufacturing processes’ productivity and efficiency.” Pinney says.
One of the most significant ways in which UNITED GRINDING is accomplishing this is by transitioning from a reactive maintenance model to proactively implementing more of a predictive LifeCycle maintenance strategy. Thanks to advancements in IIoT and AI related technologies, UNITED GRINDING foresees providing its customers with predictive maintenance products and services in the near future. Pinney says this will significantly reduce unplanned downtime for its customers.
Expanding for Growth
The anticipated manufacturing growth expected for North America bodes well for UNITED GRINDING, and Pinney says the company is in the midst of implementing a comprehensive five-year strategic plan designed to take advantage of that trend. One of the most significant recent developments has been the company establishing a subsidiary in Mexico. Pinney says he expects the same qualities that have made UNITED GRINDING a success in the United States to serve it just as well there over the next five years.
“Our plan is for significant, profitable growth in our North America marketplace over that period of time. These are really exciting times at UNITED GRINDING and for North America manufacturing” he says.