Krieger Craftsmen wins a Major Award!

When Tim Krieger, founder and president of Krieger Craftsmen Inc., in Grand Rapids, Michigan, found out that his company had won this year’s Leadtime Leader Award, he immediately felt reassured that his years of efforts had paid off. But to speak with him, as he surveys what he has built and the people he leads, one gets the impression that he is also both humbled and proud to be recognized…

…move toward “productionizing” moldmaking, Krieger invested in a five-axis Grob G550 universal CNC horizontal machining center offering 30,000-rpm spindle speeds and 1,000-psi through-spindle coolant capabilities. The machine is also equipped with an integrated and expandable Schuler LoadMaster robotic 10-pallet changing system. “This machine has become the cornerstone of our productionized mold manufacturing process,” Krieger says. “It’s a production powerhouse.”

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The choice of this machine was not necessarily an obvious one, however. After seeing a smaller G350 in Grob’s booth at IMTS 2014, Krieger visited the machine builder’s Ohio facility and saw an automated production line consisting of 10 machines that was being configured for Ford. “I’m looking at this robotic lineup of machines, and thinking this just reinforces what I had been envisioning for so long. Why can’t we do this for molds?” he says. “Technology has evolved so far and so fast, so why can’t we take a raw block, put it in a machine and get a finished workpiece at the end?

“I could imagine what some of my colleagues were thinking. They would say, ‘Grob machines are designed for high-production manufacturing.’ And I would reply, ‘Exactly. They run 24/7 for years. Isn’t productionizing mold building what we’ve been talking about doing for the last decade or longer?’”

Krieger says the Grob is the first truly robotic, automated work cell in his company’s arsenal, enabling his machinists to machine all five sides of a workpiece in one setup using its 120-position toolchanger. It’s the beginning of the productionized mold manufacturing system that he is building into his operations using Grob technology. In fact, he has already poured the foundation for a second machine…

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Merrifield Machinery Solutions and GROB Systems are proud to be a part of the Krieger Craftsmen family.


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