Cutting Tool Engineering
April 2012 / Volume 64 / Issue 4

United Grinding celebrates 30 years in Virginia

By Alan Rooks, Editorial Director

United Grinding Technologies Inc. celebrated 30 years in its Fredericksburg, Va., location with an open house on Feb. 22 and 23. The event included technical presentations, facility tours and a ribbon-cutting event for the newly expanded and renovated facility. The upgrades include a 7,500-sq.-ft. showroom/demonstration area, new training facility, customer care center and engineering offices. The Fredericksburg location is the U.S. headquarters for Walter EWAG, United Grinding’s tool grinding machine unit.

United Grinding’s headquarters are in Miamisburg, Ohio, home to the company’s other grinding machine brands: Mikrosa, Schaudt, Studer, Blohm, Jung and Mägerle. The expansion in Fredericksburg is a response to the growing U.S. tool grinding market.

Harry Moser, founder of the Reshoring Initiative, an organization dedicated to convincing U.S. companies to bring manufacturing jobs back the U.S., was the keynote speaker at the event. He noted several trends working in favor of reshoring. Wages in China are going up 15 to 20 percent per year and the Chinese currency, the Yuan, is appreciating 6 percent per year against the dollar. Also, the Chinese policy of one child per family is leading to an aging population, which means that as demand for labor is increasing in China, the supply of labor there is going down.

Courtesy of A. Rooks

Ed Sinkora, senior product manager for United Grinding Techologies’ Fredericksburg facility, welcomes customers and other guests to the company’s open house.

Considering these factors and others, such as rising transportation costs, more domestic manufacturers are bringing production back to the U.S. “Reshoring is the fastest and most efficient way to strengthen the U.S. economy,” Moser said. “Reshoring, if carried as far as possible, could eliminate the U.S. trade deficit with China, which stands at $600 billion per year, create three million additional U.S. manufacturing jobs and eight million more total jobs.”

Siegfried Knüpfer, managing director of Walter Maschinenbau GmbH, Tübingen, Germany, congratulated the Fredericksburg facility on its 30th anniversary and noted that the facility’s remodeling and revamped technical center have positioned it for long-term growth.

“We lived through the Great Recession, and we are climbing out of it,” he said, noting that Walter EWAG sales have not only recovered, but will likely reach its 2015 sales goal in 2012.

With new grinding, EDMing, laser and software technology, the company offers a full range of equipment and services to tool grinders, according to Knüpfer. “We offer machine buy back, complete machine overhaul, financial services, high-tech communication and a training academy,” he said. “We have all the elements needed for sustainable growth.”

Rodger Pinney, president and CEO of United Grinding and based in Miamisburg, spoke about the economic prospects for the U.S. in general and United Grinding specifically. “We see a good, improving economic situation, no matter what you read in the press,” he said.

United Grinding maintains a detailed “financial dashboard” that tracks economic conditions, and Pinney said almost all the indicators are “green,” indicating economic expansion. He cautioned that there are some headwinds that could affect the economy, including the European financial crisis, U.S. government inaction and political volatility, continued high unemployment and a slow housing recovery.

The tailwinds, however, are strong, Pinney noted, including no double-dip recession, a forecasted recovery in U.S. gross domestic product, low interest rates and improving consumer spending. “Also, key industry segments are clearly in recovery,” he said. “Medical, aerospace and automotive are all growing, investing like never before. We are definitely more bullish than bearish.”

Pinney noted that Walter EWAG’s primary North American goals are to expand market share, achieve true customer advocacy and remain the market leader for total grinding solutions.

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