Speed is what matters here
No matter whether we are talking about a new development, a short run or a batch size of one, there is only one thing that counts for Ceratizit when manufacturing blanks for carbide tools: the customer’s wishes.
A world of unlimited options – consumers are already familiar with this: A configurator allows them to customize their trainers, at the cost of a small surcharge. And muesli-lovers have a free choice as well and can mix their product however they choose, in endless variants. And this trend is increasingly taking hold in industry. A B2B customer puts their product together with a few clicks, and the supplier delivers. “The whole point is to give the customer a tailored and efficient service,” says Peter Fink, managing director of Ceratizit Austria GmbH. The aim: To be able to manufacture short runs and even batch sizes of one automatically. In this way, Ceratizit is offering its customers far more than just a choice between two extremes, namely inexpensive mass-produced goods or expensive custom-made products.
The technical prerequisite for being able to offer an ever wider selection and produce small batches efficiently is Ceratizit’s modular production structure for carbide blanks, which are then further processed in a whole range of different tools. “No matter whether it is a milling cutter, a drill or a reamer, no matter whether it is long or short, thick or thin, or with or without a cooling duct, the input product is always a carbide rod blank,” says Peter Fink.
The preformed carbide blanks, whose complexity demands that they are manufactured precisely according to the customer’s drawings, are needed as blanks or semifinished products for solid-carbide tools, replaceable head systems and tool shafts: Preformed carbide blanks reduce to a minimum the effort involved in grinding and erosion on the part of the customer.
When the Ceratizit service center receives an inquiry during working hours, the customer can usually expect to have an offer on their desk within a few hours.
The more information the customer provides, the quicker the response will be: What grade of carbide is to be used? Where are grinding allowances to be provided? Is there a digital drawing? If the customer accepts the offer, the electronic drawing is sent directly to the machining center. Logistics and work preparation ensure that the appropriate tool is provided and that the correct input material is used. Ceratizit’s many years of experience in processing unsintered carbides (green compacts) and state-of-the-art manufacturing systems make it possible to produce even the most complex geometries in near-net shape with the shortest possible delivery times. For the customer, this means that the preformed blank will be delivered punctually within 15 days, no matter whether it is a one-off part or a short run.
Rods: From standard …
The product range for standard carbide rods is huge, covering three product lines, many different lengths and diameters and other features. This becomes clear in the world’s largest warehouse for carbide rods in Kempten, Germany. There, many tonnes of carbide rods are waiting to be ordered by customers, either through the carbide Webshop “E-Techstore” or via the internal sales team. All standard products, from order quantities of 1 upwards, are shipped from there to destinations throughout the world within one day. In many parts of Europe, the product will reach the customer the next morning. Within three days, the carbide rods from Ceratizit reach all corners of the globe.
In order to guarantee high levels of product availability from stock, attractive prices and fast delivery times, Ceratizit has fully aligned its production with its customers’ ordering behavior. An intelligent production system constantly ensures that the right product is always in stock at the right time and that production capacity is utilized as evenly as possible. Ceratizit’s objective in using this production system is to ensure short reorder lead times through very short runs that can be produced extremely quickly.
… to development project
Alongside its range of standard products, Ceratizit has invested heavily in developing custom carbide rods over the past years, establishing a development team made up of materials researchers, chemists, mechanical engineers, design engineers, production engineers and environmental and process engineers. The job of the development team is to develop new carbides, products and technologies in close collaboration with customers, project partners and universities. The team provides support throughout all phases of a project, including modeling, basic research, metallurgical development and efficient manufacturing techniques for highquality products. In particular for premium products that are used for highperformance drilling and milling tools in all sectors. Which takes us full circle: From an automatically manufactured milling cutter with a batch size of one up to custom-developed drills for a customer, Ceratizit has fully aligned its workflows and service offering with the needs of its customers.