December 28, 2015 by Anne Winslow

Evolution of The Doosan Puma Turning Center

 
In 2007, newly formed Doosan Infracore Machine Tools had an image issue.
As with cars and electronics, machine tools built in Korea were often viewed as the "cheap" alternative to their Japanese counterparts. Doosan wanted to increase sales of high-end models and target customers in medical and oil industries, which meant it had to deliver a high-quality product and change consumer perceptions. The evolution of the Doosan Puma Turning and Milling Center illustrates the company's journey.

The History of Doosan Infracore

The company we now know as Doosan Global can trace its roots to a small store opened in Seoul in 1896. Once known for retail stores and cosmetics, Doosan grew through acquisitions in the decades after the Korean War. By the mid 1970s the conglomerate’s business units included a news agency, a brewery, and multiple industrial ventures. By 1979, Doosan was exporting over $100 million USD worth of product.  The Doosan Machine Tool Division was established in 1967, and it entered the U.S. market in 1996.

In 2005, Doosan acquired Daewoo Heavy Industries and Machinery and became Doosan Infracore.  Daewoo had been producing the Puma lathe since 1980, but the company had struggled since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.  After acquiring another machine tools business group in 2007, Doosan was the third largest machine tool builder in the world in terms of production capacity.’s business units included a news agency, a brewery, and multiple industrial ventures. By 1979, Doosan was exporting over $100 million USD worth of product.  The Doosan Machine Tool Division was established in 1967, and it entered the U. S. market in 1996.

If you are a shop manager reading this blog, you know production capacity doesn’t matter without orders coming through the door.  Nobody cares about how much stuff you build unless you can sell it, too.  Wouldn’t you rather be one of the top 3 for sales?  That’s what Doosan wanted as well, and in 2007 the newly formed company set its sights on becoming one of the top-selling machine tool builders in the world.

To get there, Doosan invested heavily in R&D, restructured manufacturing operations, and ramped up their profile at industry events all over the world.  Behind the scenes, engineers began reconsidering several of Doosan’s most popular machines. For a new line of Doosan Puma turning centers, engineers aimed directly at CNC machine industry heavies like Haas and Mazak, using their competitors’ specs as benchmarks.  They wanted to develop a machine with more benefits than their rivals’ equivalent models while staying within the same price range.

Building a Better Puma Turning Center

Doosan Puma Turning Center 5th Generation

Doosan used a process called Finite Element Analysis to consider how structural components of the machine could be improved in terms of stability, stiffness, and thermal expansion.  Instead of building specialized machines, engineers worked towards models that would have the broadest possible applications for end users.  Using modular elements across multiple series and models helped control costs.

In 2010, Doosan rolled out its 5th generation Puma turning centers: the 2100, 2600, and 3100. Different models and bed lengths in each series added up to a total of 36 available machines.  The new lathes had wider box ways, more power along the Y-axis and the ability to produce a wider range of parts than their Doosan predecessors.  Static stiffness was 3 times higher than in previous models.

Heat walls, fans, and a new coolant system all but eliminated thermal deformation.  Conversational programing and less required maintenance also made the machines easy to use. The machines helped Doosan Infracore Machine Tools set sales records and capture increased market share in 2011.

 

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