The WSU-12 Universal Turning Machine - Introduction
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  1. #1
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    Lately there has been a lot of posting activity relative to this machine. Coincidentally, I came across some notes from a two day Sales Conference in October of 1981, devoted primarily to the introduction of this CNC machine. First, let's look at the W/S sales situation at that point in time.

    During the mid-19 seventies, orders lost to competition were seriously climbing. Even in 1982, after the birth of this WSU-12, the W/S field sales force reported a total of 438 lost orders. Of those, 254 were lost to builders in Japan, and a full 113 of total lost orders were for machines of the 12" chuck size. The company could easily see the vital importance of getting a new 12" univeral machine onto the market ASAP.

    Getting more serious about recapturing market share than probably ever before in its history, W/S focused on a strategy which it felt would make it a major producer of general purpose, high quality turning machines. Part of the objective was to have these new WSU-12 machines available within 90 days from reciept of purchase order! A deivery cycle rare in the history of the company, espcially in the NC and CNC slant bed machine era, but not at all unusual for the Japanese builders.

    Also, the machine came on the market at the price of $129,200, base machine. Management expressed the philosophy "set the price low enough to make the foreign competition squirm a bit." To hold this so-called competitive price, plans called for a UMO, Universal Manufacturing Organizatioon structure, or a "plant within a plant" for the building of this machine. It would employ a line process, in which each machine would be built in exactly the same way. Target production was for 22 units per month from a dedicated staff of 62 people. Assemblers would be cross trained for emergency situations. It was visualized that 60% of all parts by volume would come from carefully selected and closely monitored vendors, in a competitve environment, to help control of costs.

    High quality was a top priority for this new machine. "Freedom from Failure" was a term used. Many machines would leave the plant with hidden lectronic monitors, looking at such things as ball screw and spindle revs, real time on line, pumps, conveyor, power supply, etc. Field service would report all monitor data to HQ. Prior to shipping, every machine would be cycled a minimum of 8 hours under the monitoring of all functions. The Universal was to receive "more inspections per dollar than any prior machine."

    To aid in the easy installation and rapid production use of the WSU-12, precision leveling of the machine was not required, as the bed constuction provided a three-point suspension arrangment. W/S Field Service personnel, almost all of whom were very experienced at this time, were given special training on this machine, and were audited with a new system for their installation techniques.

    To further hold down manufacturing costs through the standardization process, the few available machine options were to be boxed for shipment with the machine and installed in the field. Customers could select from three standard machine colors, applied in the inline process.

    I note with interest that field sales and service people were told not to "sell the assembly line" as customers might be unduly concerned about possible quality loss due to such a system.

    The above represents only the highlights of my notes. I know little about the actual success of this machine in terms of total sales realized and its work in the field, as I sold only two of them (American Bosch) prior to taking early retirement. Perhaps others of you will continue this tale where I left off.

    Thanks,

    Jack

  2. #2
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    Jack,
    Well, I have a mark of distinction re: the WSU- 12 story.
    I bought the "last" WSU-12 to be sold at full list price! Programmed Machine, Inc. Cleveland, OH.
    See, those alum's in the field can prove valuable. There just were not enough of us!
    Best regards,
    Bernie Goering

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    I wonder if some of you guys can enlighten me.Does WSU 12 stand for Warner Swasey Universal?If so where does the 12 come in and does it bear any resemblance to the Warner Swasey Universal 315 of which I have two.
    Mark.

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    I am interested as to the lineage and relationship between these original, 1980's Warner and Swaysey products, and the Indian made WSU-12 Universals that brought this up.

    Like these, made by Miven-
    http://www.mivenmachinetools.com/categories.asp

    They claim they export these machines to europe, and our previous Indian poster, who owns a machine shop in Bangalore, says they are very common and popular in India today.

    Is this the same machine, or at least similar, to the one you used to make? Are they licenced copies, or just ripoff counterfeits?

    Oops- to answer some of my own questions- it seems these were originally a joint venture or W&S and an indian company, and are now partially owned by G&L-
    http://www.mivenmachinetools.com/aboutus.asp

    Interesting that a machine that is now pretty much considered to be obsolete here is still made, and used, in India, and exported from there.

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    Looking at the link Ries provided the WSU12 is a Universal 315.
    I was aware of these but not the model number.In the UK we have W&S service by Cincinnati but they only have one person who knows anything about W&S machines having transferred from Cross Hueller who were the W&S people.When I first contacted Cross H for service the service manager advised me to contact a seperate private company owned by an ex W&S guy who supposedly knew a lot more than the official W&S guys about the machines.I have since dealt with the unofficial guys for several years,and yes they do know the machines.This company was contacted by the Indians a few years back with a view to them becoming the UK agents.One of the guys went out for discussions and told me it was a 315 Uni they were building and were offering driven tools which were never available on the UK built Uni`s and any bed length as opposed to the UK version of two choices.He said that they looked extremely capable machines and was quite impressed with them.
    I have two Uni`s,they weigh just short of ten tons each and sit on three feet.No levelling required although the full length swarf conveyor/coolant tank has levelling screws and W&S advise adjusting these if the coolant overflows at one end.
    They are very good machines,one of them runs most of the time and has been quite reliable with only a servo motor bearing and an axis encoder going down in the five years that I have had it.There are a lot of them in Scotland mainly in companies doing oil related work and are liked for their capability for heavy cuts and good finishes.
    If Pali`s reading this and wants a WSU 315 I know where there is one for sale.It requires a spindle drive repair.
    On edit:I`ve just remembered we had to change a spindle motor on one.It just needed a clean and a skim but it was quicker to stick in the spare motor.
    Mark.

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    12" equals 304 mm.
    So if you round up to the nearest meaningful and important sounding number, you get a 315.

    Hence they are the same machine.

  7. #7
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    12 inches is 305 MM, perhaps the name difference. I never heard of a WSU-315 when I worked there but there may or may not have been a WSU-15. Memory id fading. I never liked working on them because of the difficulty in removing all of the sheetmetal to get at the problem but I have heard that the Titan was worse. I was gone before the Titan.

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    John,I am calling the W&S 315 Universal(which we have discussed before) a WSU 315.
    I wonder where the 315 came from as I have a 16" chuck on mine and I`m sure I can just handle that diameter if we keep the tools short.
    Re the tinwork,the ex W&S guy over here told me they all complained about the problems they were going to have repairing these machines in the field and were told that they would not need repaired as the design life was something like eight years.Apparently it was to give W&S breathing space to develop a better machine to combat the Japanese imports.Unfortunately they were too late as were some British manufacturers of the time,mostly not with us now.
    The machines badged W&S,Models WSCXX that were manufactured by Murata and assembled in England were excellent machines,as good as anything else on the market and have proved to be extremely reliable.I have four of them,3 x WSC6`s and a WSC12.
    Did W&S actually design these for Murata to build under licence or did Murata design them and badge them W&S or was Murata part of W&S?
    The eight year life of the Universal has proved to be under estimated when you consider that these machines built in 1981 are still going strong.The only major part that has been replaced on most of the machines I have seen was the spindle drive.I suppose that is because a motor flashover tends to take the old drives out whereas the newer drives shut down before any damage is done.I have 60kw motors on my Uni`s and it took two of us a hard sweaty seven hours to change one on a very hot summers day.
    Mark.

  9. #9
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    in the WSU-12, 12 stands for the chuck size. ofcourse bigger chuck can be fitted. The WSU-12 in India is built originally by the Kirloskar group with WS collaboration, called Kirloskar Warner Swasey KWS for short. Later it changed hands to Cincinnati and then to Miven.
    8 years life is an underestimate, i have seen 20 year old machines in india with Giant auto manufacturers and recently they did a cnc system changes all mechanical elements remained same. I was their first small time customer and it raised a lot of eyebrows. Even today they have a hand full of customers, but with repeat orders. It is one of the most Rugged machines built in India today. Others are just toys.
    One machine builder to whome i supply parts was annoyed with me for buying their competitors machine, when i asked him what is the job weight i can load on the machine, he proudly claimed 250 Kgs. The WSU-12 as per manufacturer takes 750 Kgs, if steady support can go to 950 Kgs. Only the chuck can take in 450 Kgs.
    What i understand from the Indian builders is that WS had collobaration with Murata as well, hence it cannot be ripoff.
    Mark can you inform the WSU-315 details or link please.
    I found one in USA, planning to ship it here next week.

    Pali


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