Within just 20 years, PREMEX GmbH in Remchingen, Germany, has developed into a globally recognised supplier of ground carbide blanks. Co-manager Marc Huser sees the reasons for this success primarily in the company’s enthusiasm for innovation and quality. For example, the cylindrical and profile grinding experts in Remchingen are among the first industrial users to employ wire erosion for the dressing of their profile grinding wheels.
PREMEX GmbH in Remchingen now serves a very wide range of clients all over the world. The company supplies carbide blanks to regional tool grinders, who mostly use them to grind customised tools, such as milling cutters and step drills, for the machining of wood, plastics and metal. At the same time, the Remchingen-based cylindrical grinding specialists also work for internationally active tool manufacturers. The products concerned are mainly carbide blanks with prepared geometries and contours for tools for specialised manufacturing processes, such as for tap drills or for multi-bladed tools for the deburring and edging of fibre-reinforced plastics.
PREMEX is highly interested in innovation, Marc Huser, co-manager at PREMEX GmbH in Remchingen, tells us. The specialist company wishes to benefit from the advantages of the latest technologies. At a demonstration and information event in 2018 at the Institute of Precision Machining in Tuttlingen run by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bahman Azarhoushang, Huser and his technicians witnessed the profiling of grinding wheels on wire cutting machines for the first time. Huser elucidates: “The benefits were immediately obvious. Wire erosion exposes the individual bonded abrasive grains, which makes grinding wheel action more aggressive. In addition, it takes a long time for the abrasive grains to become clogged, thus significantly increasing the intervals between re-dressing and re-sharpening operations.”
So the specialists in ground carbide blanks decided to invest in this innovative technology. There was only one right decision, Huser continues, when it came to choosing the right wire-cut EDM machines: “We based our decision on the equipment at the institute in Tuttlingen. The equipment there ran smoothly, with the appropriate technology parameters already established. So when we made the investment, it was clear that we would choose the technology and the wire EDM systems from Mitsubishi Electric,” he explains. That is why PREMEX invested in an MV1200R Connect wire EDM system in spring 2020, which is additionally equipped with a rotary axis from ITS, similar to the headstock of a lathe. In a continuous process, it is capable of dressing and profiling the circumference of grinding wheels with diameters of up to 250 mm.
After about a year, Huser sees the investment as absolutely vindicated. “In view of all the many positive features, we’re happy with the investment,” he says. Above all, grinding wheels dressed with wire EDM prove to keep their cutting edge for significantly longer periods of use. This now enables the cylindrical grinding specialists to also grind medium and large series of carbide blanks cost-effectively, flexibly and at short notice. “Cylindrical grinding wheels with a longer service life mean that we can also allow our automated precision grinding machines to operate unattended,” Huser continues. “This makes trouble-free multi-machine operation possible. With the same number of skilled workers, we can therefore produce blanks in larger quantities for standard tools for international tool manufacturers, for example. This alone was decisive in our successful bid for a lucrative contract from a tool manufacturer. We now have access to a market segment that would be neither attractive nor at all profitable for us without dressing performed on our wire-cut EDM machines.” Because of the longer service life of the grinding wheels dressed by wire erosion, Huser is now considering running the machines in unsupervised shifts, at night or at weekends, in the near future. This will enable PREMEX to operate even more efficiently and attract more orders, he continues. Furthermore, dressing on the wire eroding machine ensures that the cylindrical grinders in Remchingen can also profile grinding wheels with difficult, complex contours. This means that they can now also pre-machine carbide blanks for highly intricate customised tools at short notice. Huser explains: “Since the turn of the millennium, 5-axis tool grinding machines have become increasingly affordable for smaller tool grinders to the lower cost of investment. These companies now use them to produce a large number of highly complex customised tools. And for these we can now machine the circular pre-ground blanks with high precision. This often eliminates the need for time-consuming cylindrical grinding on tool grinding machines. Thus, thanks to our carbide blanks, tool grinders now operate more efficiently while also being able to serve additional user industries – by grinding micro-tools for medical technology, for example.”
The skilled technicians in Remchingen were soon familiar with wire EDM, a technology normally totally foreign to grinding specialists. “The four days of instruction and training provided by Mitsubishi Electric in Ratingen were quite sufficient for our staff. This meant that, after commissioning the MV1200R Connect , they were able to get straight down to productive work,” says Huser. Thanks to the intuitive guidance, the functions of the wire-cut EDM machine are readily grasped and quickly and reliably programmed. The profiles are entered on the large-format screen on the basis of 2D drawings. Supplemented with a few parameters, the control automatically generates from the data the NC program for dressing the grinding wheels.
He is also completely satisfied with the after-sales service – should it ever be needed in emergencies. “The specialists at Mitsubishi Electric are always available. In addition, you are always put straight through to skilled professionals who give sound advice and instructions on how to swiftly remedy any difficulties that crop up,” says a delighted Huser.
Investment in innovative technology.
PREMEX GmbH founded in Remchingen in 2000 has grown rapidly in a relatively unspectacular field of business and is now even very successful internationally.
Huser sees the reasons for this in the company’s corporate culture. Initially, the company relied on the good business contacts of its four founders. Along the way, the Remchingen-based company has impressed its customers above all with the high quality and precision of its ground carbide blanks. Their services are always flexibly geared to the requirements and needs of their customers.
To this end, the cylindrical grinding specialists are constantly investing in innovative equipment in order to stay at the forefront of technology themselves. The company also minimises its entrepreneurial risk by serving a large number of companies of different sizes from a broad range of user sectors.
The highly motivated workforce in Remchingen consists mainly of young, skilled workers with a regional background, who receive from the company special attention and benefits that go far beyond the usual range. This creates a special sense of belonging and community, says Huser. As a result, his employees show above-average commitment in contributing to the company’s ongoing success.
The specialists at Mitsubishi Electric are always available. In addition, you are always put straight through to skilled professionals who give sound advice and instructions on how to swiftly remedy any difficulties that crop up.
Name and place of company:
Andreas Hummel, Daniel Hummel, Marc Huser, Viktor Wagner
70, 5 of them trainees
Automotive, aerospace, medical technology, watches and precision engineering
Cylindrical grinding and profile grinding of carbide blanks for cutting tools for wood, plastic and metalworking; trade in carbide rods
Im Holderle 28
Tel +49 (0) 7232 – 31990 – 0
Fax +49 (0) 7232 – 3199-50
Perhaps without knowing details of how things would pan out, we purchased large quantity of raw materials in the form of tungsten carbide rods and bars a few months ago and stocked them in our warehouse. This is how we work anyway, as we want to be flexible in handling a wide variety of orders at very short notice. We have access to a wide range of dimensions and types of carbide in our own warehouse at all times. This stockpiling, usually considered commercially undesirable, is very beneficial to us in the current situation. While other suppliers are sometimes unable to deliver at short notice, we hardly have any bottlenecks. Our warehousing is also paying off in terms of costs and profitability.
We’ve signed long-term contracts on purchase quantities and prices with our raw material suppliers. This is in line with our principle of being here to stay. We strive to do sound business on a long-term basis and to survive as a company.
We are constantly looking for innovations relating to our main business, that of the precision grinding of carbides. I’m sure that there are a multitude of industrial applications for high-precision round-ground, cylindrical and profiled carbides. On the technological basis of our existing core skills, we intend to expand our portfolio of services in this way in a controlled and success-oriented manner.
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