Wood & Panel

Toolmaker at the Great Lakes puts its trust in Vollmer

 Thursday, February 11, 2021

The name of the US Company Great Lakes Custom Tool Manufacturing (GLCT) says it all: GLCT produces special tools and is situated at Lake Michigan, one of North America’s five Great Lakes. In order to machine tools and circular saws that are tipped with carbide or PCD (polycrystalline diamond), the toolmaker uses 19 Vollmer machines in total. Recently, the Swabian sharpening specialist supplied GLCT with a VPulse 500 wire erosion machine and a VGrind 360 tool grinding machine, amongst others.

“We have developed from a local sharpening service into an international manufacturer of special tools for wood- and metalworking,” says GLCT CEO Ray Martin. “Our combination of products, services and support, along with a company culture of investment and innovation, is the reason behind our success both on the American market and globally.”

In the manufacturing halls of GLCT, there are now more than 50 CNC-controlled machines and a wide variety of manual machines, as well as instruments from testing and measurement technology. The toolmaker uses this machinery to develop around 70,000 products for sawing and machining wood, metal or composite materials. Since its foundation, the US toolmaker has put its trust in the sharpening expertise of Vollmer, the Swabian machine manufacturer from Biberach. It is primarily Vollmer erosion machines that GLCT uses to machine its PCD-tipped circular saws and cutting tools. Since the company has been focusing its attention on the PCD-tools market, a new Vollmer machine has been delivered to Lake Michigan almost every year – including numerous erosion machines with automations, such as the QXD 250 with a loading system so that it can be used around the clock without human intervention.

“Thanks to the VPulse generator, the new machine is at least 20 per cent more productive than our previous QWD machines”, says Ray Martin. “What’s more, the surface quality of the cutting tools is better than ever, and the VPulse 500 has the latest Vollmer programming system, which offers an intuitive user interface. This means that we no longer save production time, but also avoid machining errors.”

“The North American market is very important for Vollmer. We first increased our presence in the US by building a new company building in Pennsylvania in 2019, which was completed in June 2020” says Jürgen Hauger, CEO of the Vollmer Group. “The new building enables us to further expand our growth throughout North America, as well as offer our customers more services and showcase more innovation.”

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