ANCA opens expanded Michigan tech center

ANCA opens expanded Michigan tech center

Australian company experiencing rapid growth in grinding equipment.

June 1, 2018
By Robert Schoenberger
Grinding/Abrasives People/Facilities

Wixom, Michigan – CNC tool grinding machine maker ANCA opened its expanded Michigan technology center Wednesday, a milestone for the Australian company that has been operating in the United States since the early 1980s.

“That first year, every time we met with someone about our machines, the first thing they’d ask was if I knew Mick Dundee,” said Russell Riddiford, president of ANCA Inc. “At least it gave us something to talk about until we could introduce them to our machines.”

The tech center’s expansion gives the Detroit-area facility more demonstration space, classrooms, more machine assembly space, and more process development room to allow ANCA’s engineers to develop systems for customers.

“Customer service has always been an important selling point for us, and this should expand our capabilities,” Riddiford said.

Riddiford says growth of composites in aerospace have boosted sales at ANCA.

“Aerospace is driving our industry at the moment. The materials that they are using are exotic and abrasive, so they’re very tough on cutting tools,” Riddiford said.

Company co-founder Pat Boland added that when Boeing and Airbus began increasing their use of composites, tooling companies were worried that the near-net-shape components would need significantly less machining, lowering demand for tools and tool grinding.

“It turns out, the little bit of machining that is required is so abrasive that the use of cutting tools has increased,” Boland said.

While the focus of the event remained on ANCA’s tools and expansion, several local and international figures gathered to discuss the economy and manufacturing.

Michael Wood, consul-general for Australian consulate office in Chicago, called ANCA a star of the nation’s manufacturing technology industry.

“Companies like ANCA are here for you to work with them because the U.S. has a very open economy,” Wood said. “Trying to prevent the forces of economic advantage from entering your market will only work against you.”

Dr. Christopher Hegarty, an executive who will become ANCA CEO on July 1, 2018, said grinding equipment sales hit a 40-year high in 2017, part of the reason for the company’s expansion in the U.S.

“ANCA, in its entire history, has never seen a growth rate like this,” Hegarty said.