GF Machining Solutions is taking a meticulous approach to supporting North American manufacturing
For two centuries, the Georg Fischer company has been on the leading edge of precision. Based in Switzerland, the multinational enterprise is preparing for a rapidly evolving future in which North America has a more significant role in global manufacturing. With revenues in the $4 billion range, GF employs 15,000 employees worldwide and is the world’s leading provider of precision machine tool solutions.
GF Machining Solutions LLC (GFMS) operates seven facilities and employs 275 workers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. GFMS serves fast-growing and demanding industries, including medical, aerospace, electronic components and ICT devices, packaging, and automotive. Their intelligent, high-performance, resource efficient, and fully predictive manufacturing solutions help their customers maintain manufacturing productivity, quality, integrity, and accuracy while optimizing costs and increasing flexibility and traceability in uncertain market conditions.
Swiss quality culture permeates the organization. In addition to creating the highest quality products, GFMS cultivates a peerless customer experience, meeting service level expectations as precisely as they craft their tools. “Our customers expect our follow up to be as precise as a Swiss train that always arrives right on time,” said Mark Sanhamel, the company’s director of North American operations.
As a gold-standard innovator, GFMS wholly embraces digital technology and the IIoT. As they expand into the North American market they are investing heavily in predictive and prescriptive technologies to keep their sophisticated machinery performing at peak. “Our high technology machine tools reach precision levels that are mind-blowing,” he said. Their precision manufacturing equipment can have tolerances less than a human hair, and issues such as calibration and wear and tear must be scrupulously monitored.
“Predictive models help us prevent failure, and we offer preventive maintenance to maximize uptime,” he noted. A fleet of expert service technicians supports the division’s tools and services. Their central distribution facility in Woodridge, Ill., is connected to a central ERP system that keeps everything in line. Additional central parts distribution hubs in Switzerland, China, and Woodridge enable GFMS to deliver parts overnight to anywhere in North America.
In addition to making several facility upgrades, the company recently opened a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico, and will open another outside of Toronto this September. A facility upgrade at the North American headquarters is planned for 2024. “We have multiple machine tool lines and are releasing new products as well as strengthening our service team and our systems in North America,” he said.
Sanhamel oversees the division’s supply chain and procurement operations, ensuring the availability of the products and materials needed to meet customer requirements. In the past five years a pair of significant issues have plagued supply chain specialists: delivery delays and rising costs.
“Dealing with those issues has forced us to find new solutions and change the mindset that we've operated from in the past,” he said. Increased use of analytics gives better visibility into the future. “The earlier we get information and discover trends that might be a leading indicator that a change is coming, the sooner we have more time to adapt and find robust alternatives or solutions to meet those challenges.”
Careful cost validation is helping to ease the pressure caused by rising raw materials costs and inflation. “The team works very hard to make sure that a rise in cost isn’t just a margin increase that is being passed along. That way we can continue to keep our costs in check and ensure that they don't grow outside of the normal bands of inflation delivery,” he stressed.
Optimizing multimodal logistics also helps GFMS keep commerce moving. Ocean-going shipments are routed to reliable ports that have capacity and secure unloading, and ground transportation delays are scrupulously sidestepped. As Sanhamel put it, “We've been innovating new logistics concepts in leveraging our global volume so we can provide lower costs and improved products to our customers.”
Nurturing vendor relationships and transforming them into best-fit partnerships maximizes efficiency and profitability on both sides of the equation. “When we get vendors to that partnership status it increases transparency,” he said. “You can see what's on their cost side and tie that into what we deliver to our customers.” When faced with outside challenges like port congestion, they work together to develop cost sharing solutions.
GFMS has a deep dedication to sustainability, and continually looks for ways to use less power to operate machinery while increasing efficiency. “Sustainability not only reduces costs, but it's also a positive for the overall environment,” Sanhamel affirmed.
“North America is going to continue to play an increasing role in manufacturing. When looking at the global climate and future, we're positioned very well to innovate and support North American manufacturers into the future,” he said. “We are here to be their reliable partner today and tomorrow.”
GF Machining Solutions is one of the world’s leading providers of complete solutions for precision components and tools manufacturers and the mold-making industry. The portfolio includes milling, EDM, laser texturing, laser micromachining, and additive manufacturing machines. Additionally, the division offers spindles, automation, tooling, and digitalized solutions backed by unrivaled customer services and support. With its solutions, the division advances energy-efficient and clean manufacturing.
560 Bond St.
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Phone Number: 800.282.1336
Homepage Link: https://www.gfms.com