Evolutions in the Workholding Process with Alvin Goellner

Episode 178 | Challenges: Growth Process Technology

Evolutions in the Workholding Process with Alvin Goellner

Having a robust workholding system is just as important as utilizing the best cutting tools.  Jim Carr and Jason Zenger know the importance of keeping up with the times.  Alvin Goellner, the Business Development Leader for Amrok Workholding in North America, shares the latest trends in workholding to improve the performance in your manufacturing business.

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Optimizing your workholding process is vital to overall success

The workholding process is all about how rigid you can make your setup - creating a solid foundation that will hold your material for optimal performance. Without a steady and rigid workholding system, your process will be riddled with chatter, less tolerance, and damaging vibration. While it is less of an investment to just keep upgrading your cutting and milling tools, it is still key to keep your workholding system up-to-date. The way your tool and materials are being held is vital to the outcome of the end-product. The workholding system must be rigid, robust, and competent at holding your material and efficient at resizing and holding different projects. Alvin explains that you can own the best cutting tools in the world, but without a competent workholding system, your product will not be the best on the market.

The grid system evolution

Alvin explains that over the years, he visited different manufacturing shops and studied the varying methods and machining solutions to the workholding process. He then went back to his own company - Amrok - and built the workholding systems that solved the problems he had found in his travels. The result was the 2-inch grid system, which has become an industry standard. While there used to be odd-sized grid systems with varying sized plates, Alvin found that most products can fit into the 2-inch grid plate. An incredibly efficient system, the hardened bushing, lock-tightened, slip fitted grid retains center distance tolerance because of its minimal clearance. 2-inch sub-plates are the common sub-plate, which allows for efficient adjustment of the numbers for varying projects. To learn more about the efficient and customizable applications of the 2-inch grid system, listen to the entire episode!

Vise system optimization

When projects become large a TRIAG modular vise system is the most efficient. With modular clamps that can fit almost any shape, the system boasts serrated base rails that mount on a standard, 2-inch grid and locate with dowel screws. This system enables the spindle to keep moving, thereby creating a more efficient process. The modular components can be loosened in seconds, and you don’t have to spend time indicating because of the dowel screw location. Listen to the full episode for more information on how the TRIAG modular vise system works and why it improves overall performance.

What to implement now for immediate impact

With so many options available on the current market, Alvin supplies three workholding systems that will instantly improve efficiency in the shop. First, optimize your foundation. Implementing a 2-inch grid system enables you to work with a lot of different system types, tools, and materials. Second, hydraulic, dedicated fixtures that automatically fit the part with a flip of the switch will save you time and energy. Third, introducing a low mix, high volume TRIAG system to your shop floor will prove invaluable. Center-less vises that mount on a rail are lighter and more efficient. Alvin explains that if you need to move from one sized part to another, the application is easy and fast, allowing you to produce more chips and earn more money.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Manufacturing news: manufacturing jobs are steadily growing!
  • Alvin Goellner: Business Development Leader at Amrok.
  • The birth of Amrok created out of the need for a solid foundation.
  • The versatility of a 2-inch grid system.
  • Why optimizing the workholding process is just as important as upgrading your tools.
  • How’s your vise grip?
  • European vs. American workholding systems.
  • The three most impactful workholding systems that you can implement today.

Tools & Takeaways

Related Content

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Alvin Goellner

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Jim Carr: Welcome to MakingChips. We believe that manufacturing is challenging, but if you are connected to a community of leaders, you can elevate your skills, solve your problems, and grow your business.

Jim Carr: I'm your host Jim Carr, and I'm joined in the Northwest Suburban Chicago studio with my good friend, my cohost, Jason Zenger.

Jim Carr: How you doing, bud?

Jason Zenger: I'm doing great, Jim. How are you?

Jim Carr: I'm doing good. It's our fourth recording of the day, and-

Jason Zenger: Yeah, we're back to recording today.

Jim Carr: You're getting a little punchy, I might add!

Jason Zenger: I'm just being funny!

Jim Carr: I know.

Jason Zenger: Just like normal.

Jim Carr: Well, you think you're being funny, but it's okay. Metalworking Nation knows the truth. They know that I'm-

Jason Zenger: More punchable?

Jim Carr: Yeah. Punchable, yeah. Remember, this episode, we don't need to use any big words to try, and show me up.

Jason Zenger: No vacuous words?

Jim Carr: No vacuous words.

Jason Zenger: Okay. So Jim, last week, we talked about cutting tools.

Jim Carr: It was good. I enjoyed that episode, quite frankly, because I think that it's important as a small manufacturing company leader to be able to know what's available at our discretion to make good choices for my company.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. You have to be on the cutting edge when intended.

Jim Carr: Pun intended. Genuinely, we really do have to be on the cutting edge, because there's people all across this country.

Jason Zenger: The right geometries, I mean, all that's right, like chip breaker, grades, all that kind of stuff.

Jim Carr: Yes, all of those cumulatively are important, but at the end of the day, when you look at it from a 30,000 foot, we have to be at the level of our competition or else we're gonna start falling off.

Jim Carr: I mean, if there's people out there right now that are still using high speed, 90, not, 100. What is the old included angle on an old high-speed steel drill, I think it's 90 degrees or 120.

Jason Zenger: We don't even sell high-speed steel anvils anymore.

Jim Carr: I know. Who buys those anymore?

Jason Zenger: We don't even sell uncoated carbides anvils anymore.

Jim Carr: Is that right?

Jason Zenger: Oh no!

Jim Carr: I mean, I feel bad for those people if there's people out there buying quarter drills that are $2.50 from Walmart. There's not gonna be any efficiency to that; but, yeah, it was a good episode.

Jason Zenger: It was a great episode obviously nobody's talking about, and he really helps us to help our customers make more money.

Jim Carr: What are we gonna be talking about today?

Jason Zenger: But, today-

Jim Carr: Yes.

Jason Zenger: We're gonna go to workholding.

Jim Carr: That's another invaluable resource that's small.

Jason Zenger: Absolutely. It's another piece of the puzzle.

Jim Carr: It is. It is another piece of the puzzle that has to be put in because as I mentioned before, you have to have a machine tool. You have to have a cutting too, and you have to have a workholding process.

Jason Zenger: Mm-hmm.

Jim Carr: All three of those together. And, you have to have a skilled person to operate that machine tool that knows the fundamentals of machining. And, the fundamental of machining are: Speeds, speeds, speeds. Holding that piece part in the most rigid way possible. Getting the right amount of coolant.

Jason Zenger: And, I would say-

Jim Carr: Ship evacuation, it's all important.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. And, I would say for a machining company like yourselves, who, you don't spend as much time in the cut as you do in the setup. workholding's probably more important the average.

Jim Carr: Oh no. We're 80% set up.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. It's probably more important than the average machining companies, so this is gonna be more important to you than some of our high production clients who are making thousands and thousands of parts a day.

Jim Carr: Yes it is. It's all how fast you can take the raw materials comes in from the steel vendor. It's sitting in a car.

Jason Zenger: Speeds us up, yeah.

Jim Carr: You roll it over to the machine. It's all how fast you can get that raw material into the workholding process. Get the program done. Get the tools set up, and start removing the material.

Jim Carr: That's the sweet sauce right there. That's the secret sauce, I might add. What's new at Zenger's? Anything? Or, what's new at MakingChips? Let's tell the metal workers what's new at MakingChips.

Jason Zenger: Well, what's new at Zenger's, one of the things that I've realized is that we've talked about EOS a lot on MakingChips.

Jim Carr: We have.

Jason Zenger: And, I'm involved in too many level 10 meetings.

Jim Carr: You are.

Jason Zenger: And, I need to delegate and elevate myself out of a lot of those; and, it's when you're growing that's hard. It's a transition.

Jim Carr: I wonder about that seriously. All seriousness aside, I know you are just all day long thinking about meetings, meetings, meetings. And, you're strategizing, strategizing, strategizing, strategizing. But, you're not, it's not how bad he wants it; but, that's your role. That's your role in the company.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. Everybody wants a piece of me and it's exhausting.

Jim Carr: Same thing, me, on a much smaller level.

Jason Zenger: I'm involved in like 5 or 6 level team meetings a week.

Jim Carr: Wow.

Jason Zenger: It's hard.

Jim Carr: Yeah, how do you do that?

Jason Zenger: It's not easy, man.

Jim Carr: Yeah. It makes me want to cry.

Jason Zenger: Sometimes.

Jim Carr: Please don't cry.

Jim Carr: Nick, can you get a box of tissues for Jason?

Nick Goellner: Yeah, sure.

Jim Carr: Okay.

Jason Zenger: But I know where he's coming from. We're actually implementing EOS Advance Machine Engineering and we're doing it at the top level right now; but, if we break that down to every business unit, that would be 7 level 10 meetings a week.

Jim Carr: We do 7,

Jason Zenger: But every department's got to have them-

Jim Carr: Don't you think that's a lot of talking?

Jason Zenger: No, it's good, because, I mean, you are moving through your issues and you're communicating at a high level. It's just that I, personally, don't need to be involved in all of them. That's the big thing.

Jason Zenger: I'm sure my dad feels the same way.

Jim Carr: Right. As I said recently, we're thinking about going into EOS at Car Machine & Tool, but somebody the other day mentioned the Great Game of Business, GGOB.

Jim Carr: Have you heard of it?

Jason Zenger: Yeah. Jack Stack wrote that book, the Great Game of Business, and it was about a manufacturing company.

Jim Carr: I didn't know that.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, there's a couple books, very famous books, that were written about manufacturing companies, and that's one of them.

Jim Carr: Do you know the distinctive differences between EOS and GGOB?

Jason Zenger: Well, they're totally different.

Jim Carr: Can you share with me a somebody who's trying to make a decision?

Jason Zenger: I really can't tell you that much about Great Game of Business, because we don't utilize it. One of the things that I do know about it that we're going to be incorporating,

Jim Carr: I think it's more financial. I think people in the GGOB-

Jason Zenger: GGOB is about giving people a stake in the financial ramifications. We're going to be doing those things at my company, but we haven't adopted GGOB, just because we can only adopt so many things at one time.

Jim Carr: Yeah, you can't do it-

Jason Zenger: But, I do know one of our past guests, Tom [Hollaris 00:05:55] from [Argyle Seal 00:05:56], he runs on EOS, and he's implementing a lot of the principles of the Great Game of Business as well.

Jason Zenger: So, we can bring him on and have him talk about how that's impressing his business.

Jim Carr: I'd like to, honestly, that's a great idea. Let's do that.

Jason Zenger: The book was originally written about the Springfield ReManufacturing company in Springfield, Missouri.

Jim Carr: Sounds great. I'd love to bring Tom on and hear his opinion on how he feels what the two differences are.

Jim Carr: So, anyway, that's where Carr's at, and we'll let you know what I decide to do.

Jason Zenger: But, as far as I know, GGOB is not a business operating system.

Jim Carr: It is not a systemized approach, a process approach to running your business, right? It's more financed based.

Jason Zenger: Absolutely.

Jim Carr: So, let's talk about manufacturing news. Nick, Nick is here.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, let's go to our weatherman, Nick.

Nick Goellner: Hey, the weather in Chicago is horrible. Stay home.

Jason Zenger: As it always is in February.

Nick Goellner: Actually it's more than manufacturing news, we do four pieces of content every week now; we've got the podcast, obviously. We've got an original article written by someone on the MakingChips staff.

Nick Goellner: We also have a Chip-In contribution from an owner of a workholding company named, [Triage 00:06:57]. His name is [Biat Baumgardner 00:06:59].

Jim Carr: Where's he from?

Nick Goellner: He's from Switzerland.

Jim Carr: Okay.

Nick Goellner: He's going to be talking about the advantages of using the entire machining envelope. He compares that to like, if you owned an apartment building, when you rent out all of the apartments in it.

Nick Goellner: So often, we have this big machining envelope and we put a little vise in it and run one part at a time.

Jason Zenger: And then, to get into the news this week-

Jim Carr: What is the news this week?

Nick Goellner: There's an article about Fact Checking Trump's 2019 State of the Union Address.

Jason Zenger: Oh, we're not getting political, are we?

Nick Goellner: No, no, no.

Jim Carr: We don't normally go there, Nick. Why did you pick this?

Nick Goellner: We're only going to talk about what relates to manufacturing.

Jim Carr: Okay, so it's going to be a manufacturing-centric discussion? We're not going to bring the political pendents in?

Nick Goellner: No.

Jim Carr: Okay, good.

Nick Goellner: Because sometimes you got to check the fact checkers.

Jim Carr: Yes.

Jason Zenger: That's very true. Donald Trump said we have created 5.3 million new jobs, and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs in his State of the Union Address.

Jim Carr: That was just the other day, right?

Jason Zenger: The article says, "Trump often inflates the number of jobs created under his presidency by counting from Election day, rather than when he took the oath of office."

Jason Zenger: But, the reality is, there's been almost 4.9 million jobs created since January 2017, of which, 436,000 are manufacturing.

Nick Goellner: I feel like, couple things from this, I feel like the stats. Everybody has stats. I'm not trying to make excuses for him, but I get sick and tired of, "Oh, it was 435,000 instead of 485."

Nick Goellner: It's like, come on. Who cares? It's a big number, and it's wonderful for the manufacturing industry. Move on.

Jason Zenger: That's my take away.

Nick Goellner: You know what I mean?

Jason Zenger: Exactly.

Nick Goellner: If you look at the previous administration, you had 900,00 manufacturing jobs gained over 7 years.

Jason Zenger: Which is amazing. We're 2 years in, and we're moving good.

Nick Goellner: Yeah, the manufacturing industry is strong. That's a good thing. Whatever prompted that increase, it doesn't make any difference.

Jason Zenger: There's so many variables.

Nick Goellner: There's so many variables. All I know is, it's not 2008 anymore when we all had our tongue hanging out. We were waiting for the next job to come into the door.

Jason Zenger: When you were using high-speed steel anvil.

Nick Goellner: No, we weren't. Not back then, but we certainly were in the state of flux, and it was not pretty.

Nick Goellner: I've said many, many times on the podcast, it was probably one of the worst times being a manufacturing owner and not having any work. Having to lay off 50% of my people, and your sales plummeting 50%.

Nick Goellner: It was awful.

Nick Goellner: So, if you want to find all the new content, including the podcast, visit makingchips.com and subscribe, and we'll send it to your inbox.

Jason Zenger: That's a great idea. You know, Jim, you don't have your Ph.D. in Economics-

Jim Carr: I do not.

Jason Zenger: You have your Ph.D. in Machining, but do you think that there's a recession that could be coming soon?

Jim Carr: I absolutely could not answer that question. I'm confident-

Jason Zenger: Does that concern you?

Jim Carr: I'm confident that, yes, it does concern me. Absolutely. We just did an episode about the recession.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, we did.

Jim Carr: But, it does concern me that a recession is moving. I am confident to say that I don't think my personal opinion is, I don't think I am going to feel a recession in 2019.

Jim Carr: Could it be 2020? Yeah, maybe, but I don't feel it for 2019. I think it's going to be pretty good. Pretty good for us. I can't compare myself to other manufacturing companies.

Jason Zenger: Well, let me ask you something. So, you've got these POs, and they tell you that the future looks good, right?

Jim Carr: Well-

Jason Zenger: Could your customers push those out? And, that could really impact your sales.

Jim Carr: They could, 100%.

Jason Zenger: Because, you can't invoice based on stuff you haven't shipped out, right?

Jim Carr: No, you cannot. Absolutely.

Jason Zenger: So, that could impact your business.

Jim Carr: It could. It could; however, I'm pretty confident that it's going to happen. I mean, I could be wrong, but, if you just had to say, "Jim, how confident are you that 2019 is going to be a good year?"

Jim Carr: Right now, I would say I'm 85% confident it's going to be a very good year. I could be wrong, but, that's what I'm saying. So, everyone has a crystal ball. Everyone interprets the crystal ball.

Jason Zenger: I don't have a crystal ball.

Jim Carr: You don't?

Nick Goellner: I don't either.

Jim Carr: Oh? Well, I do.

Nick Goellner: Should I have one?

Jim Carr: Yeah, you should.

Jason Zenger: I don't think so.

Jim Carr: Because it helps navigate your business.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, well. I don't want to get involved in witchcraft.

Nick Goellner: Can I get one of those from Zenger's?

Jason Zenger: No, we don't get involved in witchcraft. Tooling? We do. We sell ball anvils.

Nick Goellner: Okay, so, I think to put a bow on it, previously, we used to just cover the manufacturing news on the podcast. That's where you can hear about it, but now, we actually publish an article on our site with our thoughts related to the latest manufacturing news.

Nick Goellner: So, check out makingchips.com.

Jason Zenger: Great. Jim, can I introduce our guest today, who's going to talk about the evolution in workholding?

Jim Carr: Let's do it because we need to know how workholding is affecting our efficiencies.

Jason Zenger: I know it's made an impact in your shop.

Jim Carr: It has.

Jason Zenger: Using advanced principles in workholding.

Jim Carr: Yeah.

Jason Zenger: So, our guest today is Alvin Goellner. Alvin is Business Development leader of North America for AMROK workholding, a business unit of Advance Machine and Engineering.

Jason Zenger: Alvin is a pioneer in workholding products and we're going to hear more about that in this episode.

Jason Zenger: So, Alvin, welcome to MakingChips.

Alvin Goellner: Well, thank you, Jason. I appreciate being here and talking with you guys, and see what you guys have to say about workholding and-

Jim Carr: Welcome, Alvin. It's great to have you here. I know we share a lot of the same history, legacies from old school days from workholding, and I really am looking forward to talking about how we really have evolved from those Bridgeport vises-

Alvin Goellner: Yeah, yeah.

Jim Carr: On a Bridgeport milling machine.

Alvin Goellner: [Kerning truckers 00:12:19] and radio drills, and all that good stuff.

Jim Carr: Yes, to what's driving the future of this industry. Again, like I said, it's all about how fast we can get that raw material on the bed of the machine, get the tools in the tool holders, turn it on, and start making chips.

Jason Zenger: So, Alvin, tell us about your start in metalworking.

Alvin Goellner: Well, let's see. I was 12 years old, and my dad, I think, was giving me 50 cents an hour. Now, everybody's complaining that they don't make enough, and I'm thinking, "50 cents an hour? My God. I was making squat."

Alvin Goellner: Anyways, I started when I was 12. He had me sweeping the floors and just picking up a lot learning from veterans that'd been around for awhile, and that's how I started.

Alvin Goellner: From there, I went to manual lathes, and the way we did things, we did spindle shafts. We had a taper attachment on our manual lathe and a gauge with blueing. We'd check it, then adjust the taper.

Alvin Goellner: It was some good stuff back then. I was glad I learned all that. Now, we-

Jim Carr: You just need a computer and a calculator.

Alvin Goellner: We didn't have computers back then, you know?

Jim Carr: We had Texas Instruments computers.

Nick Goellner: Weren't you running in the milling department after the lathes, though?

Alvin Goellner: Well, after the lathes, when I got a little older, I ended up going to the milling department.

Jim Carr: You were 13?

Alvin Goellner: No, not quite 13. I think I was 20 something, kind of lose track at my age of 58; but, wound up in the milling department and I was thinking, "Geez, this is crazy. We're bringing out the spindles to put an indicator in the spindle to indicate this, and indicate that."

Alvin Goellner: I'm thinking, "We ain't making no money. The spindle sit and idle. It just doesn't make sense to me."

Alvin Goellner: Then, I said-

Jim Carr: You had an epiphany back then at how to amp up efficiencies as a machine shop apprentice, or journeying machinist?

Alvin Goellner: Yep. Learning the ropes and of course, my dad was on my, excuse my language, ass. Why's it taking so long? So, I finally said, "You know what? I got an idea. Why don't we put a grid system, subplate on the palette of the machines, and where every hole is locating or mounting, or both?"

Alvin Goellner: We decided to go with the 2-inch grid system, which to my understanding and what I see traveling and being out there these days now, is the industry standard, on a 2-inch grid system. Either a 1/2 inch ID bushing with a 1/2 13 thread, hardened threaded insert, or a 5/8s.

Alvin Goellner: Those are the most two common one that I see. There's metric out there, but still, in the United State aerial space and lot of other companies are on that standard 2-inch grid system.

Jim Carr: So, that was your brainchild?

Alvin Goellner: That was my brainchild.

Jason Zenger: So, after you put that grid in, how did it speed up the setups?

Alvin Goellner: We started with components products that we kind of develop in our own workholding catalog, and we had it all on a 2-inch grid system.

Alvin Goellner: So, with our precision dowel screws that we also make and manufacture, locates the components right on that grid system. I never have to indicate. So, the spindle doesn't have to sit idle.

Alvin Goellner: Nowadays, with the vertical machines, we have double palettes. So, while one palette is machining a part and is set up and running, we set up the next part or another job. It's all based on that grid system on the palette itself.

Alvin Goellner: That's been working out really well, and we've been introducing new products along the way as well, too. We've been really happy with that system.

Alvin Goellner: Now, a lot of companies are following suit.

Jim Carr: Thank you for that. I appreciate that. It gives me a little insight into your background and your beginnings.

Jim Carr: Let's talk about AMROK right now. How did advance machinery and engineering get into the workholding business, the birth of AMROK?

Jim Carr: A-M-R-O-K. Is that an acronym for something?

Alvin Goellner: To me, AMROK, I actually helped come up with that word; and to me, it's a good foundation: AMROK.

Jim Carr: It's the Rock.

Alvin Goellner: Yeah, it's the Rock.

Jim Carr: Because, we all know in the fundamentals of machining that the better than you can hold the workpiece, is going to be a lot better. You can't have it flimsy and floppy all over the way.

Jim Carr: You're going to get chatter, you're going to get deflection, you're talens aren't going to be there. Everything's going to go down from there.

Alvin Goellner: That's right.

Jim Carr: It's really, it's all about the rock, and the foundation, and about how rigid you can make your setup.

Alvin Goellner: Yes. That's what a lot of companies don't focus on. It's that foundation. You have to have a solid foundation to work with; and from there, you build on it with your components.

Alvin Goellner: If you don't have a good, strong, solid foundation, you're going to have chatter, you're going to have a lot of problems, and you can't utilize your speeds and feeds like you should, and crease them.

Alvin Goellner: That's very important, too, and of course, we do a lot of tombstones. To me, AMROK fit perfectly with tombstones, as well.

Jim Carr: So, the branding, "AMROK," that was your brainchild? You birthed that word?

Alvin Goellner: Yes.

Jim Carr: Awesome. Thank you for that, I appreciate that.

Nick Goellner: Yeah, let me just jump in. Advanced machine and engineering has a bunch of sub-brands, and they're all "Am this" or "Am that," the sawing machines that we sell are "Amsaw," the workholding stuff we sell is "AMROK." The locking units we sell are, "Amlock."

Nick Goellner: That's kind of how we do the branding from there, but, he tagline is, build on the rock.

Jim Carr: Build on the rock, because it's all about having the most rigid setup around. Tell me how that evolution of AMROK came about?

Jim Carr: You brought this, you pulled this fundamental skillset about building on the rock, the fundamentals of machining, having this rigid setup, and then you brought it to someone and you started to develop products for industry that we, as machinists, needed to help in the inefficiency of cutting tools?

Jason Zenger: Not cutting tools.

Jim Carr: Workholding process.

Alvin Goellner: Yeah, we actually, we started as a machine shop, started that way. My dad was a strong believer in having your own product lines. You never know when economy's bad, you may not be getting enough work to keep your company busy.

Alvin Goellner: That was a problem. So, my dad was always into product line; I started thinking a little, too. Then, we acquired a company way back, many years ago, that actually made the tombstones.

Alvin Goellner: From there, we built on that. We added new designs and patterns to that tombstone line. Then, we created a catalog. We also had product line, it was called, "Amflax," which had a lot of components. It was also then based on the 2-inch grid system; V-blocks and vise systems that just locate automatically with dowel screws.

Alvin Goellner: From there, we just kind of added more products. When I was on the road too, I have seen a lot of cool ideas. It made me think, "Well, geez, if we did this-"

Jim Carr: What other machine shops were doing? So, as you visited, you were taking in all of what these obscure machine shops, their best practices, and you were developing this product line in your head, based on what you saw in all these machine shops you were visiting through your career.

Jim Carr: Awesome.

Alvin Goellner: That's correct. Also, I noticed, "Boy, there's this one product that has a self-centering dovetail vise."

Alvin Goellner: I thought, "Boy, that would be cool to have." I would ask questions, I'd go to certain locations where they have a lot of this type of product. I'd ask the questions, "Well, what were the problems you had with this?" "What did you like about this?"

Alvin Goellner: All the problems that they had, we developed our own, and we solved all their problems that customers had. That was real helpful. Now, they're actually starting to buy this product and going away from the original project that was similar.

Jim Carr: Are you the inventor then?

Alvin Goellner: Yes. There's probably 20 different product component trees that are in our catalog that I actually brought in through the help of other customers being on the roads, selling, and quoting.

Alvin Goellner: That kind of help brought up even more products in our mix that we sell.

Jim Carr: So, let's back up just a little bit, Alvin, because you keep reiterating this 2-inch hole pattern. Why is that significant, why 2 inches? Why isn't it 1 3/4? What is synonymous with the 2-inch grid pattern that has become an industry standard?

Alvin Goellner: A lot of customers back in the day, had oddball grid systems, I think, an inch and 3/8s, or inch and 1/4, hole to hole.

Alvin Goellner: Then, there was a 3-inch system, but the most common always seemed to be a 2 inch; where most of the products and components can fit in that envelope on a 2-inch grid.

Jim Carr: So, what you're saying, let's stop right there. When you say a 2-inch grid, you're talking about a hardened bushing that is pressed into-

Alvin Goellner: Yeah, we lock tight them in-

Jim Carr: Oh, you lock tight them in, that's good to know. Well, there's an interference fit between the hardened bushing and the steel grid plate that it goes into?

Alvin Goellner: It's actually a slip fit.

Jim Carr: Oh, it is a slip fit.

Alvin Goellner: With locktight-

Jim Carr: I did not know that.

Alvin Goellner: The reason why is because if it was a pressed fit, say you have a big aluminum plate-

Jim Carr: The idea is it's going to close up a little bit.

Alvin Goellner: It's going to mess up the geometry of it-

Jim Carr: Between the center of it.

Alvin Goellner: Those press fit bushings can actually change it.

Jim Carr: Yeah, it could.

Alvin Goellner: The aluminum, especially. Lock tighting was the easiest way to drop in with maybe three 5 tenths clearance, say.

Jim Carr: So, it would retain the center distance tolerance, just because it's got a minimal clearance?

Alvin Goellner: Right.

Jim Carr: And you would use the locktight to secure that bushing-

Alvin Goellner: And hold the bushing in place. We would hold 5 tenths, plus or minus 5 tenths hole to hole, is what we would hold.

Jim Carr: Between centers?

Alvin Goellner: That 99.5% at a time, that is plenty accurate. Some companies would overkill that and make it way too precision, and maybe jig grind the holes; it's not necessary.

Alvin Goellner: 99% of the time, the plus or minus 5 tenths is totally fine.

Jim Carr: And below that. So, what is the standard grid plate thickness?

Alvin Goellner: We used 2-inch, but you can go for the half inch system, the threaded insert's 825/1000 long, and a bushing is a half inch; and then, there's 40/1000 gap between the bushing and the threaded inserts.

Alvin Goellner: So you could go as low as an inch and a half; I'd like to go 1 5/8, or bigger, but most of the common sub-plates that are on the machines are 2-inch thick. That's what we normally use.

Jim Carr: So, the ID of the hardened bushing is typically?

Alvin Goellner: It is roughly, it's like .75182 something.

Jim Carr: That's the ID?

Alvin Goellner: That's the ID of the board hole. So, it'd be like 4/10, or so, 5 tenths bigger than the OD of the bushing. I think you need a minimum 2, 3 tenths for interference fit.

Jim Carr: Below that is what size-

Alvin Goellner: A threaded insert, if you have a 1/2 in ID bushing, we would use a 1/3 13 harden threaded insert below the bushing. That's in every hole, and on the grid plates, we'd do alpha numerical so you know where every hole is.

Jim Carr: Got it.

Alvin Goellner: Actually, what's nice too, is an engineer could draw that grid plate up and say exactly where to put the components for the next job. That's kind of nice; that's why alpha numerical, so you know where the holes are. Otherwise, you're trying to count them, "Where the heck is this hole at?"

Jim Carr: Oh thanks. I wanted to understand the 2 inch grid plate, because you keep mentioning that and it keeps coming up over and over again. Now, I understand why.

Jim Carr: My next question is, why do you think that the metalworking nation is quicker to optimize cutting tools than they are to optimize Workholding systems? Why are they always trying to get that variable pitch or variable helix, solid carbine anvil with [tylan 00:24:48] coating on it versus getting a triage or an AMROK Workhold, 2 inch grid pattern system?

Nick Goellner: Jim, I think, I probably know why that is, speak of it as a less of an investment. They can try advance, cunning tool technology, with less of an investment than they can with the investment that it would take in changing the workholding processes.

Jim Carr: I agree, yes; however, I believe that the workholding is just as important because, if you're not going to be able to hold your work piece-

Alvin Goellner: Securely in place, you'd have a big problem. You could have all the best tooling in the world-

Jim Carr: Right, or the best machine tool-

Alvin Goellner: Holding that part isn't secure enough to handle more advanced cutting tool, then you got a problem.

Jason Zenger: Well, I think most manufacturers are holding the work piece effectively, it's just that they could be doing it better.

Nick Goellner: Or, they could be thinking more about the setup. They think about, "Okay, how fast can I actually run through the cut," but are they really thinking about how long the setup takes?

Jason Zenger: For you, Jim, that setup is very important. For you, they might be equally important, but I would say, for the production manufacturing company, the cutting tools are definitely more important.

Nick Goellner: They are, but, at the end of the day, if it's not a rigid and robust and efficient workholding, you can have the most expensive machine tool with the most expensive and high tech cutting tool in that spindle, and if your workholding sucks, that tool is going to fail incredibly fast and you're going to be disappointed on all aspects-

Jason Zenger: Yeah, but I would say most people have the rigidity, they at least know-

Nick Goellner: I disagree. I disagree.

Jason Zenger: No, I agree. It could be better. I agree with you, but I would say they're not optimizing the processes. I think that's probably where you can come into play, and you could really make the most of [crosstalk 00:26:34]

Alvin Goellner: A lot depends on the application, too. If you're holding a part and it's pretty high off the vise or table, you can have chatter problems.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Or, you could have a situation where you had, "I can machine 6 parts instead of 4, or 10 parts instead of 8 parts." That helps with your efficiencies as well.

Alvin Goellner: I mean, when you have a product that is a high volume, you may have a custom fixture. Once you actually get that tweaked in and set up, it's always going to stay there because they're running the same part over and over again.

Alvin Goellner: But, when you're in a job shop environment where your set up is constantly changing, you got to think, "How can I do this next set up pretty quick?" Because, if I don't have a double palette, like say on a vertical machine, that spindle's going to sit.

Alvin Goellner: When that spindle sits, you are not making any money.

Jason Zenger: Because, if you're not making chips-

Jim Carr: You're not making money.

Alvin Goellner: That's true.

Jim Carr: That's what we're going through right now. I've got machinery equipment out there right now, the spindles are not running, and we need to get a lot more efficient, and make sure that we're running multi machines concurrently, at the same time, and just ramp up the efficiencies.

Jason Zenger: Get in that shop, Jim Carr.

Nick Goellner: So, are you guys getting into that modular category?

Alvin Goellner: Correct. I grew up with Kurt vises, Bridgeport vises, a standard one piece, then they came out with two pieces on a double vises.

Jim Carr: Oh, the double lock vises.

Alvin Goellner: Yeah, the problem is-

Jason Zenger: It's amazing because, we sell a lot of Kurt vises. We buy loads of them.

Jim Carr: Still?

Jason Zenger: Still.

Jim Carr: Those dinosaur vises? Those 6 inch Kurt vises?

Jason Zenger: Well, yeah. I know, there is more advance work. You'd be amazed the number of manufacturing leaders out there that are like, "I want a Kurt vise, that's what I've been using. That's what I've got the shop set up for, and that's how I run my shop."

Alvin Goellner: Everybody starts with a Kurt vise when they first start a shop, but from there, as they grow, they start realizing, "Boy, I've got a 500 piece job. Not a 2 four piece job, and I want to put more than one or two pieces on there because, then I could let that spindle run."

Alvin Goellner: So, that's where the modular system comes in play. We have a line called, TRIAG modular line, and that's with a cerated base rail, which also mounts on a standard 2 inch grid, and locates with our dowel screws.

Alvin Goellner: That's nice, because you can do big parts and small parts. The vises themselves start at 19 mm wide, or 125 wide; so, depending on the size of the part, you can do 3 side machining. Say, on horizontals, 0, 90, and 270 with the system. It's a great way to go; and in my opinion, that's one of the best systems out there.

Alvin Goellner: You can loosen it in seconds, either side of the clamp, and it pops straight off because it's on every 2 mm ceration, and you can-

Jim Carr: Oh, it's 2 mm between the center line of the cerations? So, that's every 78/1000?

Jim Carr: 78/1000?

Alvin Goellner: Yeah. Correct. Just shy of 80/1000.

Nick Goellner: Jim Carr did say he was good at math, so.

Jim Carr: I am good at math.

Jason Zenger: 24.5 right, buddy? You were doing that calculation in your head?

Jim Carr: That's how you convert from metric to imperial.

Alvin Goellner: and again, this modular TRIAG rail system, you don't have to indicate anything. That's what's great; all our components, 95% of our components all locate with dowel screws. I don't have to bring out the indicator or anything like that.

Jim Carr: Alvin, as you know, we do have some TRIAG systems in our shop right now-

Jason Zenger: I'm curious. I don't know the answer to this, honestly, but are the cerations ground? Because, I'd imagine that center distance is really important that 2 mm that you just mentioned.

Alvin Goellner: Sure. They actually have a fixture that they set these base rails on, and they locate off some metric holes that are in the base rail. Ours is every 2 inch spacing, but they actually, I believe, [milliman 00:30:23] because they can hold precision really well.

Jim Carr: Yes, because, nowadays, you can with the machine tools, the cutting tools. You can do that now.

Alvin Goellner: The technologies they have, but the harden precision machine-

Jim Carr: They have to be hardened, to work for rockwell.

Alvin Goellner: Yes, they do get hardened.

Jim Carr: Like, 55, 60?

Alvin Goellner: The rails I think, are more like 60 rockwell.

Jim Carr: My next question is, you've been fortunate enough travel in Europe, in the US and see and take in all these projects, these strategies that these machine shops are using.

Jim Carr: You've been able to articulate those in your head and develop the AMROK product even better and better and better. How does the technologies that you see overseas, like in Europe, what are the glaring differences?

Alvin Goellner: What I see, there's a lot of modular systems out there, but the problem with a lot of these systems, for instance, like clamp parts, vise system, but a modular.

Alvin Goellner: With ours, we can put chucks on and in seconds, you can take either a vise modular off or a chuck off, a vacuum system can mount on a rail, ER32, ER40 collets that a lot of shops have in their shop.

Alvin Goellner: Our TRIAG system is a lot more modular than most common ones you see out there; because, the common ones-

Jim Carr: What is the big differentiator, Alvin? You keep saying that it's a lot more modular. What are the big differentiators?

Alvin Goellner: Instead of just vising a part, you could hold a round part and they chuck. You can hold it in a collet, you can put a raw material block on them magnet plate. That mounts in seconds on a rail.

Alvin Goellner: It's more than just vising. It's a lot more in than a fixture plate can mount on a TRIAG rail, and you can quick change those out. It offers a lot more than what's out there, these days.

Alvin Goellner: In my opinion, this system with the TRIAG is one of the best I've ever seen out there. I travel a lot. What your mind can think of, you can pretty much create with this system, and that's what I tell a lot of people, too.

Jim Carr: So, Alvin, you've been in my shop before and you've seen it. You know what we're doing and trying to do. We're trying to evolve, which is what this whole podcast episode is about.

Jim Carr: If you don't push yourselves out of your comfort zone and equip yourself with what is available, and the resources available to help make your set ups more efficient and more rigid and easier from job to job, you're just going to fall off the face of the Earth.

Jim Carr: There's somebody else that is going to be doing something that's going to be way faster and-

Alvin Goellner: You're going to get behind is what's going to happen.

Jim Carr: You're going to get behind. You don't want to get behind.

Alvin Goellner: If you don't stay up from what's out there, the new products, the new ideas, you have to. The best shops are staying up with the times.

Jim Carr: So, I know we're getting short on time. Can you just share with me and Jason and Nick, and the entire metalworking nation that's listening to this episode right now, what are the 3 most impactful Workholding systems that will significantly improve efficiencies in their shops immediately?

Jim Carr: If they're not already using them, what are the three things that a machine shop tomorrow can start increasing the efficiencies in their shop?

Alvin Goellner: I always start with the foundation. When I go in a shop and I see that, okay, for instance, the vertical machine just relies on the T-slot of the table. You have some location in why with the T-slot center to center, but you don't have any in X, and you're very limited.

Alvin Goellner: I would always recommend starting with what's common and what most people use, and what components will adapt quickly and easily. That would be a grid plate on a 2 inch grid system. That's what I would first talk to customers that just have regular tables to encourage them to put a grid plate on there.

Jim Carr: With T-slots.

Alvin Goellner: Even Jergens, Carlin, they're also on a 2 inch grid system.

Jim Carr: Boy, those are old school.

Alvin Goellner: A lot of the big old school, but they're also working with new technology and new ideas in that too. If you're in high volume, the hydraulics is the way to go. When you do many parts, say thousands of parts a year, you want to have a dedicated fixture.

Alvin Goellner: Most cases, we would use hydraulics because, you just flip the switch and it automatically clamps the part. That would be another good way, and of course, in a job shop environment, TRIAG is a nice way.

Jim Carr: Right. Low mix, high volume.

Alvin Goellner: Low mix, or even high volume, you can leave it dedicated on a rail system. The TRIAG would be a nice push to a quick change from twosies, fives, ten pieces, and you want to quickly change over to a bigger part, you can just loosen the clamp and reposition it very quickly.

Alvin Goellner: That would be another one that I would recommend or push.

Jim Carr: And then the third and final?

Alvin Goellner: The third and final is just making sure you have the right tooling because, there's so much tooling out there. I still see people using the old-

Jim Carr: What do you see? When you walk in a shop, what do you see that makes you cringe? What you know immediately that they could change tomorrow?

Alvin Goellner: What drives me nuts is when I see 8 Kurt vises on. They're big and bulky-

Jim Carr: Oh, they weight like 70 pounds.

Alvin Goellner: Yes, and we used to have 30 of them. Now, we switched over to the TRIAG with the grid system.

Jim Carr: Those are centerless vises?

Alvin Goellner: We also have centerless vises, self-centering vises that mount also on the rails.

Jim Carr: 2 inch grid plate.

Alvin Goellner: A 2 inch grid plate, and boy. When I see all these vises and they're big and bulky, and you're limited in the envelope, it's crazy to produce the rails.

Jim Carr: Typically, a 6 inch vise opens about 7 inches, right?

Alvin Goellner: About 7 inches; but, if you got a plate, say 12x12, you just put 2 rails on, you got 2 end stops, and then you clamp it with 2 clamp modules, and then you're done.

Alvin Goellner: If you want to do a bunch of small part, well just get extra clamps.

Jim Carr: I'm sorry I'm interrupting, but immediately I think, is it as rigid? Is your system as rigid as those multiple 6 inch vises, where you're going to get the full 6 inch width?

Alvin Goellner: Sure, sure. The problem is, let's say you have-

Jim Carr: And it's up higher, right?

Alvin Goellner: Sure. Let's say you got a 1 inch block, and you have to do three sided machining. Maybe you're on a vertical and you have to side mill to get the length correct, and do some milling on too.

Alvin Goellner: How are you going to do that on big bulky, dinosaur Kurt vise?

Jim Carr: Right.

Alvin Goellner: You can't. You can maybe shove it to one side and get two sides, the one end and then the top, but how are you going to get the other side? You're going to have to have another set up to move it over to the other site to side mill it.

Alvin Goellner: Here on a TRIAG, you just get a small width clamp, maybe 19 mm and the parts 3/4 long, and now you can have access to get to the end.

Jason Zenger: Is the clamping force the same, though?

Alvin Goellner: The clamping force varies, though, the smaller clamps, you'll have a little less clamping force; but, the bigger clamps are like to 61-150 pound of clamping force with the power clamp.

Alvin Goellner: There's still an optimal clamp that you can get up to 15,500 pounds of clamping force; so, there's some bigger ones that also fit on the same 2 inch grid plate, and you can interchange these rails.

Alvin Goellner: We have a couple different sizes for parts. We have the optical clamp that accommodates for that, as well.

Jim Carr: Alvin, wow. That was great. I love hearing about these new technologies and innovations and efficiencies. It gets me excited to better run my company. I love that we're transitioning away from 6 inch Bridgeport vises and we're utilizing all these new efficiencies on machine, because, at the end of the day, what is in the back on my mind every single day when I'm quoting a job, is I know that there's other shops out there that are utilizing these new technologies.

Jim Carr: If I'm not at their level, if I don't have the right cutting tool or the more efficient cutting tool, or the more efficient workholding solutions, I'm going to be falling behind.

Jason Zenger: I would say even, Jim, just a little bit of a different mindset, if you're at the advanced end of cutting tool technology and workholding technology, you can quote that job at a more efficient price, still be profitable, and grow your business.

Jim Carr: Right.

Alvin Goellner: Let me explain something here. I was at a company in St. Louis, I think it was, and they had several brother machines, vertical mills. The tables were real small. They could fit small machines, they could put one Kurt vise on there, but they had a 500 piece run.

Alvin Goellner: I said, "Throw a little grid plate on there and let me put a couple of rails on there." I could actually fit 20 pieces versus one on there with the TRIAG.

Jim Carr: No kidding.

Jason Zenger: Oh my God.

Alvin Goellner: What the problem is, they don't realize that you're wearing out the machine. You got the center drill same coming, and drilling it for once piece, instead of 20 with the same tool, then you bring it back in the magazine, bring out the drill, and now you're drilling one piece instead of 20.

Alvin Goellner: The magazine and the machines get more; it just doesn't make sense. Some companies are still running-

Jim Carr: And they're not using the full width of the lathes.

Alvin Goellner: And then the machine could be running 20 pieces and not sitting idle after one change over every time. It just doesn't make sense at all.

Jim Carr: I appreciate that. It was a pleasure having you here and sharing your wisdom. I look forward to working more with AMROK in my shop, in regards to amping up our efficiencies.

Alvin Goellner: I appreciate that. The business we're in, you never stop learning.

Jim Carr: Thank you, Alvin.

Nick Goellner: Absolutely.

Alvin Goellner: Appreciate, guys. Thank you.

Kaleb Mertz: Hey, metalworking nation, this is Kaleb, the team lead at MakingChips. If you enjoyed what you heard today, and you want to learn more, go to makingchips.com/workholding.

Jim Carr: Jason, wow. That was a lot.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, that was a lot.

Jim Carr: Is your brain a little fried there?

Jason Zenger: A little bit, little bit.

Jim Carr: Yeah. I can see that your eyes are glazing over a little bit.

Nick Goellner: I would definitely have to say, I'm more familiar in the cutting tool arena than I am in the workholding arena. It's nice to have a partner like Alvin, that we can bring them into our clients and provide solutions for them in order to become more efficient with their workholding.

Jim Carr: You bet, because, at the end of the day-

Nick Goellner: If you're not making chips,

Jim Carr: You're not making money. Bam.

Nick Goellner: Bam.

Jim Carr: Bam.

Automated: Thanks for listening to the MakingChips podcast. Jim and Jason knew that the metalworking nation, the community of world class makers needed to commit to a new way leading to stay ahead of the competition.

Automated: So, MakingChips was created to fill that void. To give you advice from other manufacturing leaders who can push you to take action. Your manufacturing challenges have a solution.

Automated: Many of them are at makingchips.com.

Jason Zenger: Use the plethora words, yes.

Jim Carr: Can you spell plethora?

Jason Zenger: P-L-E-T-H-O-R-A?

Jim Carr: Yeah. Very good.

Jason Zenger: Is that right? I'm just like-

Nick Goellner: I-P-E-R-A.

Jim Carr: It doesn't make a difference.

Jason Zenger: I'm like, please stop.


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