The overall Manufacturer of The Year, ANCA, also won in the Australian Industrial Product of The Year category, for its FX Linear tool grinder range.
The FX range consists of three new machines – the FX3 Linear, FX5 Linear and FX7 Linear.
The entry level range is ideal for tasks from light manufacturing, to regrinding and full production. Its many new features include a new touchscreen customisable with Windows, handheld pendant for easier set-up, and an easy to access front loader door for slide out pallets.
"The real measure of success I have with ANCA is whether or not we're selling our products in the field," co-founder Pat Boland told Manufacturers' Monthly after winning the award.
"We're exporting precision grinding machines from Melbourne to Switzerland, to Germany, to Japan, to US, China, Holland, Sweden, Russia – that's the measure of success, really."
The company has seen great acceptance in the field of FX at this early stage after releasing the new range late last year. It adds to ANCA's export success, with 99 per cent of what it makes exported.
ANCA developed its own LinX cylindrical linear motor technology for X and Y-axis movement on the new machines. These provide superior surface tool finish, reduced cycle times and increased productivity.
The company's strength is producing machines that are versatile, precise and user-friendly.
The easy-to-use software is also a key feature of their machines. Key industries such as aerospace, medical, automotive, tool manufacturers and electronics are supported through a global network of offices and agents.
The FX Linear tool grinder is compact but also has a large working envelope. Every part on the machine, from the two choices of automation – both contained within the canopy, to the new AM5000 control system, has been designed to enhance accuracy and increase productivity.
The range consists of three machines (FX3 Linear, FX5 Linear, FX7 Linear) that grind a variety of tools from blanks (or regrind used tools) such as endmills, ballnose, etc for tool manufacturing companies, or specific industries (such as automotive, or electronic).
The machines take up less factory space than competitor units, but still have a large working envelope allowing a wide range of tools to be made. Also saving space is the fact the two choices of automation (including a robot) can be inside the machine
Every element of the machine is new – hardware, software and the electrical system. The machine includes new, faster electronic drives and CNC, a new customisable user panel and Graphic User Interface.
Pat McCluskey, the co-founder (with Boland) and team leader, threw out the corporate rule book and developed a more lean and agile way to develop this project to maintain innovation and design speed for the radically new ideas in this project.
McCluskey pulled together a core group to work on the FX Linear machine, while another group developed the LinX cylindrical linear motors required for the machine.
This technology was new to the company. For the first time the company used an agile methodology called 'Fast Track', a sub-branch of concurrent engineering which aims to get things happening in parallel. Management reviews were replaced with peer reviews, rapid hypothesis testing was included and enough time was built into the schedule to experiment with new ideas.
They had working FX Linear prototypes on the floor in 10 months which would normally take over 18 months.
(Pictured: Pat Boland, co-founder, ANCA, and Chris Barnes, General Manager, Gases Product Management, BOC.)
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