Marcos Sepúlveda
Director General México and Latin America
SCHUNK Intec
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View from the Top

Grasping Technology that Goes Beyond Clamping

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 12:55

Q: How has SCHUNK pushed to improve the quality and technology of its products through innovation?

A: SCHUNK has been innovating across all product lines. The company’s uniqueness is based on mixing mechanics and electronics to create a more advanced solution. Having acquired several leading companies in the market, the SCHUNK conglomerate has integrated each corporation’s specialty into its product lines. Our closest competitor on chucks simply cannot compete electronically with our product, which offers wireless communications regarding pressure, wear and grip of the part. With our technology, a simple magnetic lifter becomes an electromagnetic arm, which communicates with a robot to pick up a specific piece with such precision that it could potentially manufacture a collet chuck. Our technology converts equipment into much more than a clamp machine as it also senses the pressure and the way in which it holds a piece.

The industry has reacted to client needs to make their processes more efficient. Industry 4.0 makes companies work more closely with their clients to sell solutions rather than specific products. SCHUNK’s products must act as part of a precise system that speeds up efficient manufacturing for our clients’ operations.

Q: How has the company responded to increasingly stringent needs in terms of tolerances and manufacturing speed?

A: The advances in software have demanded companies produce better computer systems that can process the latest software. The synergy between the market’s needs, available clamping solutions, machining equipment and the product has had to change drastically in recent years. We had to evolve to offer greater cutting speeds and machining conditions had to become more efficient down to the primary molding of each piece. As speed increases, manufacturing tolerances are narrower. This forces companies to be more demanding when sourcing their tools. SCHUNK ensures our machines meet the torque requirements to comply with new expectations and offers an extended usable life span for each product.

Q: What role does the human element play in your operations?

A: Operators hardly intervene in machine operations but this does not remove the need for human capital, as many believe. Operators have the opportunity to train in a much more advanced area of the industry, to program and manage intricate instruction sequences for machines. We are concerned that this assumption could lead to Mexico losing competitiveness if companies do not banish the fear that increasing technology with lead to jobs cuts. SCHUNK’s products aim to help companies produce more efficiently and become more competitive in the global market, which will consequently create more employment opportunities for the Mexican population. SCHUNK has several machines in its own facilities that can be programmed to produce a piece and be left to work on it until the operator returns to collect it. These processes would be targeted at supporting the industry focused on time-intensive manufacturing rather than mass production.

To extend the life span of our products we ensure our customers are informed of their potential and strength. We stay in contact with end users to advise them accordingly and offer improved products or upgrades when available. This process is often accelerated when a client realizes their equipment’s true potential, leading them to search for higher levels of efficiency. Clients independently contact us to upgrade their machines rather than simply acquiring more, as they recognize the advantages this will afford to their productivity.

Q: What role does Mexico play in SCHUNK’s global strategy in manufacturing industries?

A: SCHUNK is a German family company that covers different product lines, namely tool holding systems and stationary clamping systems, magnetic clamping technology, lathe chucks, chuck jaws and hydraulic expansion technology. The company began operations in Mexico in 2006 to target the local market. We installed facilities here that cover Mexico, Central and South America, with more than 30 employees.