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ANCA wins award for designing a unique solution for Swiss tool maker, reducing production costs by 50% through automation

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ANCA wins award for designing a unique solution for Swiss tool maker, reducing production costs by 50% through automation


ANCA was honoured to be recognised as one of Australia and New Zealand’s Most Innovative Companies. Coming in at the top 6th most innovative manufacturing businesses, it showcased a recent customised solution for a grinding taps that can run unattended for 50 hours even while grinding multiple different tool designs.

We were also mentioned as an Honourable Mention in the IMTS 2018 Exhibitor Product Innovation Competition for our LaserPlus measurement system. LaserPlus enables the grinding of a batch of complex helical profile tools to within the required tolerance without manual intervention by the operator or the need for an expensive secondary offline measuring machine. It can measure and maintain an accuracy of ± 0.002mm (0.0001”) or less, over a large batch of tools.



Pat Boland, Joint ANCA Co-Founder said “ANCA’s growth over the past 44 years has been driven by a series of innovations that have revolutionised the production of cutting tools and have impacted the whole of manufacturing globally.“

“When my partner Pat McCluskey and I started as an advanced manufacturing exporting business, we were facing competition from traditional manufacturing regions in Germany, Japan and the USA. To be successful in our field as an Australian company we needed to be bringing the latest technology to market from day one.”

“Today we are second, if not first in our field, export to almost 50 countries, employ over 1000 people and turn around $300 million dollars. This project is one example where we have collaborated with our customers to push the boundaries of what is possible and invent a brand-new solution. To enable the machine to run unmanned we needed automation and an in-process measurement capability.”

Pat continued, “When I think of the reasons why ANCA has been successful I think that it is our blend of high level engineering, software and mathematics with the practical experience and skills of our technicians and application engineers. This combined with an unusually high level of vertical integration fosters practical innovation. Today we continue our history of innovation with approximately 10% of our turnover spent on research and development annually.”

The prestigious annual list, published by The Australian Financial Review, is based on a rigorous assessment process managed by Australia’s leading innovation consultancy, Inventium, in conjunction with a panel of industry expert judges.

Specifically, the judges look at how valuable the problem is that the innovation is solving, the quality and uniqueness of the solution, and the level of impact that the innovation has had. Inventium assesses internal elements such as innovation culture, strategy, resources and process, which demonstrate a sustainable and repeatable approach to innovation.

The project

Watch a video by Fraisa CEO explaining the project:



Fraisa approached ANCA looking for a solution to manufacture taps in Switzerland, the world’s highest cost labour market. Taps are tools that create threaded holes for inserting screws; used in watches, electronics and heavy industry.

A complex highly accurate process, grinding taps previously required multiple machines. ANCA’s TapXcellinnovation enabled production on one fully-automated machine lowering cost and lead time.

Combining multiple tap grinding operations onto one machine gave opportunity to automate the entire process, but running a machine for 50 hours unmanned requires extensive innovation. ANCA integrated a robot loader, extending grinding the machines volume capacity. To guarantee taps were ground of consistently high-quality ANCA designed a closed loop process to measure the key component geometry to ±0.002mm accuracy and automatically adjust grinding parameters.

Not only can the machine run unmanned for 50 hours, it is fully connected being linked to Fraisa’s factory ERP system for further efficiency and reliable production data gains. The machine can be remotely monitored using our RedaX product and automatically sends notifications to keep Fraisa’s remote staff aware of the machines progress and also any issues or faults that need to be addressed. In addition, RedaX can be used to track the productivity and up-time of multiple ANCA machines.

ANCA’s commitment to innovation is by being able to deliver custom solutions as an enhancement to our standard product. This requires agile response and capacity in our engineering to deliver what can be quite a complex set of customer requirements.

Unique to the market, the TapXcell is a complete production package for tap manufacturers. The grinder itself includes a 37kW grinding spindle that enables grinding of even taps above M32, as well us dual wheel dressers and between centre work holding. Industry leading iTap software makes setting up all machine operations easy, even for the more complex tool geometries. Grinding capability is complimented by the TXcell’s robot loader that manages auto changing of up to 24-wheel packs and tool changing. For Fraisa ANCA introduced an extended capacity turn table to the current TapXcell design to meet the additional capacity requirements.