NTMA Tech Tour

BIG KAISER was among four sponsors of a recent International Technology Tour to Germany and Switzerland. The 20 guests were from manufacturing companies across the U.S., and represented diverse industries. They shared an interest in seeing world-class manufacturing facilities, learning about new technology and gathering ideas to improve their U.S. operations.

Southern Germany and northern Switzerland are well-known regions of the world for precision manufacturing of machine tools and related equipment. During one week, the group visited machine tool builders DMG MORI and GROB Systems, precision tooling companies BIG KAISER and Sphinx Tools, and cutting fluid producer Blaser Swisslube.

At BIG KAISER, near Zurich, visitors learned about the Swiss obsession with precision manufacturing. A hands-on demonstration in the Tech Center showed the ease-of use, and many benefits, of digitally-adjusted tools for boring applications. The company’s new “Smart Factory” cell was the highlight of the tour, showing the full integration of material storage, robot loading and job scheduling in the production of BIG KAISER products.

On the same day, guests visited BIG KAISER partner Sphinx Tools to learn about the manufacturing process for micro-drills and end mills used for medical/surgical, aerospace and electronics applications. It was amazing to see the production of tools actually thinner than a human hair, to a single drill 30 times longer than its diameter, and special-purpose tools, tested and packed in a medical-grade cleanroom environment.

In between the factory visits, the group enjoyed Bavarian and Swiss hospitality, a walking tour of Zurich, and networking with new industry friends from across the U.S.

Tech Tour participation is open to NTMA-member companies, and to non-member companies by invitation from any one of the sponsoring partners. Guests only need to book their own airfare. The sponsors take care of the rest of the trip – including accommodations and most meals. This means a productive, enjoyable, and worry-free excursion. One that past guests have labeled “an altogether First-Class experience”!