Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Leading the World

When, in 1986, mechanical engineer Josef Meissner decided that he wouldn’t be outsourcing or relocating the Schlenker business overseas, he was going against the popular trend. Josef was simply unimpressed, convinced his firm should stay in Germany. While countless other German precision engineering businesses went abroad, Schlenker invested and expanded their manufacturing facility and stayed at home.

Sadly, Josef passed away in 1999 but his wife Inge took over the management of the company, continuing Josef's legacy. Inge expanded the business further, and in 2006 their daughter Britta, a graduate engineer, joined the company. Today, thanks to the mother and daughter leadership, Schlenker is leading the world in precision work-holding technology.

"This is to inform you that 3.17 guide bush for your lathe will be supplied by Schlenker spannwerkzeuge."
This brief message was received yesterday from another German company who is building our lathe and who will soon provide training to Josh and Tyler. I didn't ask how much the bush is going to cost, or how many pieces are to be custom manufactured, or what the guide bush is made of. I am simply following instructions, blindly. What an exciting journey!

For those technically-minded subscribers: the guide bush is custom made and will accept a 316L steel bar of 3.17mm diameter. In other words, our lathe will handle 'raw' material which is already prefabricated to a tolerance of 10 microns and consequently, the guide bush has to be precisely of that size. If this bar is any thinner or thicker, or if the guide bush is out of tolerance, then the bar would either jam or will be too loose to turn.

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