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“Grinder of the Year” to be announced at GrindingHub

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“Grinder of the Year” to be announced at GrindingHub

Sanding technology is precision work. Fabian Grossmann grabs the magnifying glass and examines the surface of the milling cutter that has just been ground. The 27-year-old is one of the finalists who will be competing for the title of “Grinder of the Year” live at the GrindingHub trade fair on May 15 and 16. He recently met with his opponents to prepare at the technology center of the main sponsor Anca in Weinheim. Initial tests on the competition machine are highly promising. The countdown to the trade fair is underway.

The eagerly awaited title fight in Hall 7 at the Stuttgart Exhibition Center is hardly any different from sporting decisions in an ice channel or on a race track. Skill can be measured, the better competitor wins. For the young title contenders – all of them trainees or prospective metalworking grinding specialists – the aim is to produce the required geometric and surface properties of a tool or a workpiece within a specified time. It’s all about accuracy in the micrometer range.

Main sponsor Anca ensures fair competition conditions
As they revealed in Weinheim, all the finalists had already trained in advance, studied videos and even visited companies in the neighborhood to gain experience on various machines. But in the end, it is the main sponsor Anca who ensures that everyone is fit for the final by inviting them to an intensive training session on the competition machine.

“The training is designed to familiarize the candidates with the in-house grinding software and the machine and, above all, to create a level playing field,” explained Barbara Hannappel, Managing Director of the KSKomm agency in Ransbach-Baumbach. It is responsible for the organization and implementation of the competition. All candidates will then demonstrate their skills on the same grinding machine at GrindingHub.

Taking part in the competition boosts experience and knowledge
During the training in Weinheim, however, there is not much sign of a competitive atmosphere. Things are rather friendly between the finalists. In addition to Fabian Grossman (27), who works as a cutting tool mechanic at Fraisa in Willich, they include Christian Brodowski (22), a cutting tool mechanic apprentice at Aweba Werkzeugbau Aue, Jan-Niclas Kiefer (23), a cutting tool mechanic at the Effgen Lapport Technology Center in Herstein, and precision tool mechanics Simon Lehmann (21) and Osman Sylaj (23) from Rotheneicher-Tools in Erkheim. The young grinding experts exchange ideas and give each other advice and tips. “The most important thing is that the competition gives us the opportunity to learn something new, gain experience and exchange ideas with other professionals,” the candidates agreed.

All five finalists said that they first needed a little push to register for the competition. Sometimes it was the line manager who put a discreet reference to the competition in an e-mail, sometimes the boss put a magazine article on the table. In Christian Brodowski’s case, it was his vocational school lecturer who spoke to him about his talent and encouraged him to apply. This should come as no surprise to the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW), the organizer of GrindingHub. It is not only trainers and supervisors who have a major influence on the development of the next generation in the industry. Committed vocational school lecturers also have an immensely important role to play.

Working with young talent as a mission
Back in 2009, the VDW set up the Young Talent Foundation for Mechanical Engineering, which sees itself as a partner for vocational training. On the one hand, the aim is to showcase the attractiveness of metalworking professions and highlight career opportunities in order to get young people interested in metalworking professions. On the other hand, current training content must also be taught in the best possible way, according to the Young Talent Foundation for Mechanical Engineering. In addition to basic knowledge of metalworking, this now also includes knowledge of CAD/CAM technology or digital manufacturing processes, networking technologies and software programming in the context of Industry 4.0. The Young Talent Foundation for Mechanical Engineering is working intensively on aids for further training and provides didactically prepared information.

The growing influence of IT and digitalization is also evident at Anca in Weinheim. For the finalists in the “Goty 24”, as the “Grinder of the Year” competition is now commonly known, the first day of the intensive training course is all about programming and using the Anca grinding software. After application engineer Guido Winnemuth explained all the special features of programming, the program includes handling the FX7 5-axis tool grinding machine from the new Ultra series.

The second day of training provides a foretaste of the final. Each candidate is then given a drawing of the tool, which must be programmed and then ground within a specified period of time. A three-member jury will scrutinize the result with micrometer precision and check whether, for example, clearance angles fit and geometric data have been adhered to.

But regardless of who wins the title on the evening of May 16, all five finalists can already feel like winners. The training has brought a lot of new knowledge and, in addition, everyone – depending on their subsequent placement – has secured a training voucher worth between 500 and 3,500 Euros, which can be used for master classes, participation in seminars, conferences or training courses. What is certain, however, is that the grinder competition is no different to high-performance sport. In the end, form on the day or a little bit of luck may decide who is a few micrometers ahead.

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