GROB automation achieves savings potential of up to 50 percent

Automation perfectly matched to their own needs, the possibility of deep hole drilling up to 280 mm as well as an intelligent control system were the winning arguments for the measuring instrument manufacturer Blum-Novotest GmbH to choose a GROB universal machine G150 with a GROB robot cell GRC-R60 and GROB control software.

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Anyone who, like Blum-Novotest GmbH, claims to be a global technology and innovation leader in measuring and testing technology and to develop and manufacture solutions for its customers that meet the highest standards of quality.
must rightly be measured against such standards. That such statements are more than just an empty advertising promise at the family-owned company Blum-Novotest quickly became clear to GROB during the first preliminary talks. The first contact between the two companies was about the acquisition of a new machine with a process for the production of system carriers for two different series (NT carriers for LaserControl Micro Compact NT and LC carriers for LC-DIGILOG). The production should be highly efficient and cost-effective and have an autonomy of at least 24 hours.

"Our contacts at Blum were well prepared right from the start," recalls GROB area sales manager Joachim Stock. "They gave us a clear task, a short, concise specification sheet, which we used not only to create a specification for the machine, but also to develop a concept for further discussions. for further discussions." So it was not surprising that only three weeks passed from the first enquiry to the first offer.

"It was really great fun to be able to conduct such competent negotiations with our contacts at Blum-Novotest. With the result that we were able
were able to supply them with a perfect system for their purposes." Joachim Stock, Area Sales Manager (GROB)

Deep hole drilling with tool lengths up to max. 385 mm

The workpiece to be machined, a square blank, is then manufactured into two system carriers (LaserControl Micro Compact NT and LC-DIGILOG). They have a length of 150 to 300 mm and are provided with a cable duct hole almost throughout. "Since the part has to be drilled 270 mm deep on one side, a corresponding tool length is required, which relatively many competitors were unable to meet for this machine size," explains Marcel Kühnle, Blum's deputy Production Manager. Larger machines with corresponding traverse paths do exist on the market, but they are then also insanely large and thus not really suitable for our components." not really suitable for our components." The original idea of purchasing a bar-loading turning-milling machine was also quickly rejected for cost reasons. Due to not really suitable."Due to the requirements from the specifications, the components to be manufactured and the drawings, but above all due to the fact that the GROB machine allows tool lengths of up to 385 mm, GROB was included in the tender award.

"Together we have managed to create a clever concept between machine, automation and technology. I was particularly impressed cooperation with Blum-Novotest was particularly inspiring."
Ralph Birkle, quotation designer (GROB)

Turnkey solution brings breakthrough

In further discussions, it quickly became clear that a machine with automation would offer the ideal technology for Blum's requirements.  Technology for the requirements at Blum. An idea that was then anchored in the specifications, combined with the demand for autonomy of at least 24 hours. Based on these specifications, further information and after exchanging various CAM data, a feasibility study was prepared at GROB, which included cycle times as well as initial proposals for special tools and clamping devices.  After two weeks, the first meeting took place in Mindelheim, where a G150 with a GRC-R60 robot cell was presented at the GROB Technology and Application Centre (TAZ) on the subject of "Demonstration of an aluminium component". was presented. Surprise on the sidelines for the Blum technicians: the demo component corresponded to the acceptance component they had defined. "After this visit, it was finally clear to us that a machine with process was the best solution for our purposes," Kühnle describes the situation at that time. "The arguments of this turnkey solution with automation presented by GROB were too convincing for us."

"Thanks to an ingenious eye-to-eye cooperation with GROB, we managed to realise a GROB G150 with a GRC-R60 robot cell in less than three months from the first quotation to the order. We are very satisfied with the machine and especially with the cooperation with GROB. with GROB. We were also convinced by the pronounced competence of the GROB employees and the high flexibility of the company when it came to special requests." Marcel Kühnle, Deputy Production Manager (Blum)

Cost savings through reduction of work steps

One of the most important arguments for Blum-Novotest GmbH was the intelligent GROB4Automation control software, with which the individual operation steps could be significantly reduced. Where previously four operations per part were necessary, GROB managed it for all eleven different types with two operations and one clamping. Thus, five sides of the blank were to be machined and deep-hole drilled in OP10 and the sixth side was to be machined in OP20. This was achieved by standardising the blank cross-section, which resulted in a jaw design in the clamping device that made it possible to clamp all eleven types in the same way.

An approach that achieved a time-saving potential of up to 50 percent compared to the original method and also significantly reduced non-productive time. GROB automation also made it possible to map the variance of both the smaller and the larger part spectrum on one machine. In the past, the smaller and the larger part spectrum had to be produced on two different machines. Another advantage of the GROB control software GROB 4 Automation is the enormous flexibility in this application, since it is not necessary to run purely by type, but can be loaded mixed with other sizes of a component and individual parts can also be produced without any problems. This makes GROB4 Automation the "boss of everything", so to speak. When an order is created, the blank size is defined and specified, among other things. Ultimately, GROB's own control software is the heart of the automation cell in order to guarantee the required flexibility.

However, the key to the successful implementation of this customised application was not only GROB's intelligent control software, but also the exemplary cooperation between Sales, Application Engineering (AWT) and Project Planning at GROB, as well as the close and intensive exchange with Blum-Novotest GmbH.

Special equipment ultrasonic cleaning

Thanks to the flexibility of the GROB GRC-R60 robot cell, it was possible to take into account special equipment and customer wishes. The flexibility of the GROB GRC-R60 robotic cell allowed special equipment and customer requirements to be taken into account, so that the layout of the system could be adapted to the conditions and ultrasonic cleaning could be integrated at the customer's request. Not least due to GROB's high flexibility, Blum-Novotest received a state-of-the-art system with the perfect application for their purposes.

"The machine runs extremely reliably and we can produce much more than before. Its operation is very simple and everything goes very quickly. I am particularly fascinated by the automation." Luca Madlener, cutting machine operator (Blum)


Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Ravensburg, Germany, Blum-Novotest GmbH is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-quality measuring and testing technology for the international international machine tool, automotive and aerospace industries as well as many other demanding industries all over the world. Today, the family-owned company employs over 650 employees at a total of 18 locations in Europe, America and Asia.


For more than 95 years, GROB has been a globally operating family-owned company in the development and development and manufacture of systems and machine tools. Its customers include the most renowned 
manufacturers, their suppliers and companies from a wide range of industries. With productionplants in Mindelheim (Germany), Bluffton, Ohio (USA), São Paulo (Brazil), Dalian (China), Pianezza (Italy) and Bangalore (India) as well as worldwide service and sales subsidiaries, GROB is internationally positioned. 

The portfolio ranges from universal machining centres to highly complex manufacturing systems with their own automation to manual assembly stations and fully automated assembly lines. Furthermore, production systems for electric motors and assembly systems for battery and fuel cell technology are part of the product range. For the coating technology of engine components, the machining of turbine housings and the processing of structural and chassis components, own solutions are realised. With the GROB-NET4Industry software developed for the digitalisation and networking of production processes, GROB is taking big steps into the digital future.