main focus: ideas
The newspaper for employees, customers and friends of the GMH Group
Extracts in English
Galactic alloy ETE · Cronidur ® 30 is a steel for many uses. Recently it has even been incorporated into navigation satellites.
Main Focus //
ideas Ideas rule the world – and determine the fate of many companies which are reliant on good ideas. Whether product development, organisation of work, marketing or customer services: any company that wants to develop further is dependent on innovative thinking. Our main theme – “Ideas” - looks at what aspects play a role in this connection.
R see pages 6 to 9
veryday life would no longer be imaginable without nitrogen-alloyed steels from Essen. Whether for elevator and rudder control in aircraft, as a bearing material in Formula 1 racing, in dentist drills, or beverage filling installations: wherever a special material solution is sought, Energietechnik Essen (ETE )often has the right one among its HNS (High Nitrogen Steel) materials. These special steels offer not only high hardness, but also good corrosion resistance and toughness. They are made in a pressure electroslag remelting unit - a technology in whose development ETE has played a significant part. Recently, the Cronidur® 30 material also went “extraterrestrial“, as it is being used in the European “Galileo IOV“ space programme. Yet what exactly predestines this material from Essen for use in space? What function will it be performing there? It is being incorporated into navigation satellites that, similar to the GPS system,
“light the way home” for those on Earth in need of orientation. Cronidur® 30 is used there for gear wheels installed in the socalled Solar Array Drive Mechanism. This mechanism aligns the solar panels in relation to the sun, thereby safeguarding the satellite’s electric power supply. Eight gear wheels made of Cronidur® 30 are installed per satellite. Four of these Galileo navigation satellites are already in orbit around the Earth at the present time. Dr. Roman Ritzenhoff We would like to thank RUAG Schweiz AG for their kind input and assistance.
For further information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/cvpt554
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Decisive weeks for the German steel industry Renewable Energy Sources Act under review in Berlin as well as in Brussels.
ncertainty is currently rife in the German steel industry due to the fact that decisions to be taken in Berlin and Brussels over the next weeks will have a significant impact on its future. On the one hand, Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel intends to make radical reforms to the Renewable Energies Act (EEG ) so that it can come into force on 1 August. The draft of the amendment to the German Renewable Energy Sources Act is to be brought before the Bundestag for its first reading on 8 April. The EU, on the other hand, has instigated proceedings against Germany because energyintensive companies there are granted full or partial exemption from the costs of the levy in connection with the Act.
Furthermore, some companies benefit from a reduction in network usage charges. Both procedures are regarded very critically in Brussels and are now to be clarified by the introduction of the state aid investigation procedure. For some years now the German steel industry has been demanding a clear, target-defined energy and climate policy which takes industrial interests into greater account. The annual increases in expenditure imposed by the Renewable Energy Sources Act on industry in order to promote renewable energy generation have reached a level which is no longer sustainable for energy-intensive industry. The German “go-it-alone” approach is expensive and causing
The current relevance of
the energy situation in Germany and the pending EU proceedings have prompted the editorial team of glückauf to conduct an interview with Peter van Hüllen on the subject of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act in this edition instead of the usual editorial article. see page 3 for the interview on this topic
considerable cost disadvantages for companies exposed to global competition. Approximately 43 percent of the total electricity price ensues exclusively from decisions taken by politicians and the state. If the turnaround
in energy policy in Germany is to succeed, it is essential also in future for energy-intensive businesses which have to compete in a global context, to remain exempt from the burden of the Renewable Energy Sources Act levy. If this exemption were to be withdrawn from the six most energy-intensive companies of the GMH Group, these companies would be confronted by additional annual costs to the amount of 50 million euros, which would be fully recognised in profit or loss. “Additional costs ensuing from the Renewable Energy Sources Act levy”, emphasised Peter van Hüllen, Chairman of the GMH Holding Management Board, “could lead to a reduction or even a complete freeze on investments in our German facilities. Germany already has the second highest electricity prices in Europe.” A negative ruling by the EU, according to van Hüllen, could lead to de-industrialisation in Germany. “We therefore expect the EU to put an end to its state aid investigation procedure.” ikw
Generous support for children Philippines – donations for the typhoon victims people there motivated the works councils of the GMH Group to organise a donation project. At GMH ütte alone more than 9,000 euros were collected and at Dieckerhoff Guss, where colleagues always show special commitment, the sum amounted to 3,300 euros. Altogether a grand total of 20,000 euros was collected. The management of the Holding will increase this amount to 30,000 euros and transfer it to terre des hommes, a co-operation partner of many years’ standThanks to all donors whose contributions, however large or small, have made it possible to help these children ing which is currently providing Photo: terre des hommes emergency help in remote regions of the island of Samar and on the island of Manicani. n November last year the horrific “HaiOn Manicani and Tubabaw, 850 families yan” typhoon devastated the Philippines are receiving medical care –for example with unimaginable force. The island state tetanus vaccinations, medicines against has experienced many natural disasters in pneumonia and diarrhoea, protein-rich food, the past but none have caused as extensive mosquito nets, blankets, solar lamps and toidestruction as “Haiyan”. The suffering of the
letries such as soap and nappies. The project partner there is the experienced Medical Action Group which has a network of around 250 doctors, health specialists, nurses and psychologists. terre des hommes, furthermore, supports projects for the protection of children and for the psycho-social care of traumatised and intimidated children. Philippine co-operation partners have begun setting up protection programmes for children in the town of Tacloban. In San Jose, Philippine experts have organised areas for 960 children where they can receive medical care in a safe environment. Specially trained volunteers are taking care of children who have lost relatives or are suffering from anxiety. In addition, the corrugated iron roofs of private houses are being renewed and funding provided to reconstruct the hospital in Tacloban and the primary school on Manicani.
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EEG hardship clause is indispensable Without steel no industry, without industry no prosperity and without prosperity no stability. I n te r v ie w The German economy faces a great challenge as far as energy and climate policy are concerned. That is because there is no clear policy as yet about how the energy turnaround is to be put into practice. For many years now, the German steel industry has been calling for an open debate on energy and climate policy and emphasising the need to give greater consideration to the industry’s interests in this country. High energy costs, which are hardly competitive by comparison with those of our European neighbours, and European Union procedures against ecological energy rebates within the scope of Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), are seriously hindering the domestic economy. glückauf spoke to Peter van Hüllen, Chairman of the Management Board of Georgsmarienhütte Holding GmbH, about this subject: glückauf: 2013 was hard-going for the German steel industry and some people even described it as a crisis year. How do you view the past year? Peter van Hüllen: 2013 was indeed a difficult year for the German steel industry. There were many reasons for this. For instance, the economic situation in Europe also affected the steel industry. Declining demand on the markets led to oversupply and significant price pressure as a consequence. At the same time, we were confronted by increasing prices for upstream products and raw materials. Decreasing revenue combined with increasing costs creates an imbalance which is hard to compensate for. Outside Europe, furthermore, we were confronted by slight declines in the previously positive economic activity of the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). The Ifo Business Climate Index – a confidence indicator for the German economy – depicts an upward trend. How stable, in your opinion, is the predicted economic recovery for 2014? van Hüllen: We are now seeing the first signs of a revival in demand. The automotive industry is a driving force in the current development. In January, car production rose by 11 per cent compared with the same month last year. This welcome development is not reflected in all sectors, however. Purchasing behaviour in machine and large engine production remains unsatisfactory. The offshore industry, as a driving force in the energy turnaround, has come to a virtual standstill. The picture is therefore divided. So I definitely do not expect an economic recovery across all markets.
Peter van Hüllen
German energy policy is a matter of considerable concern for industry in general, and for the energy-intensive steel industry in particular. Numerous interventions in the market have caused significant increases in the costs which ensue from the energy turnaround. Is a reliable, affordable and ecologically tolerable energy supply a realistic possibility in Germany? van Hüllen: As a group of companies in primary industry, we are absolutely dependent on internationally competitive energy prices for our steelworks, forges and foundries. It is extremely dishonest not to disclose the genuine truth about the energy turnaround. It will cost an exorbitant amount of money. So that the triad of objectives of energy generation – reliability of supply, moderate pricing and environmental compatibility - does not become distorted, politicians will have to issue binding and reliable statements on all three points in order to provide a sound basis on which sustainable entrepreneurial decisions can be taken. If energy in Germany remains affordable and there is no comparative competitive disadvantage at international level, then the steel industry in Germany has a future.
The cabinet bill to amend the Renewable Energy Sources Act is to be brought before the Bundestag for the first reading at the beginning of April. What do you think about the German coalition government’s plans in this connection? van Hüllen: The legislation must be fundamentally reformed and adapted to suit the new situation. It is ridiculous to pay higher levies whilst CO2 emissions are still continuing to rise. The current system takes the fundamentally good and honourable aims of the turnaround in energy policy ad absurdum and has become virtually incomprehensible to everybody, whether experts from industry or “ordinary” citizens. The current German govPhoto: Uwe Lewandowski ernment urgently needs to introduce measures to curtail the severe increases in the financial burden imposed, yet also find provisions which enable energy-intensive industries competing at international level to continue producing in Germany in the future. What are the dimensions of the burdens imposed on the Group? van Hüllen: Let me just mention a few figures to make clear what we’re talking about here: the energy costs for the GMH Group in 2013 amounted to more than 200 million euros including the EEG , but excluding electricity tax. Of the 47 companies of the GMH Group, 6 currently fall under the hardship provision of the EEG , in other words they qualify for a partial exemption. If this partial exemption were to be discontinued, these 6 companies would be confronted with additional costs of approximately 50 million euros. However hard we tried, we could never compensate for those costs.
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Can you give us any concrete figures here? van Hüllen: Over 50 per cent of German goods exports consist of steel-intensive goods from the automotive, metal products and mechanical engineering sectors. Seventy-five per cent of Germany’s foreign trade surplus – around 245 billion euros – is generated in areas of business which are reliant on innovative, high-performance steel. It is very obvious that the future of Germany as an industrial location is directly linked to competitive energy costs. Electric steelmaking plants such as Georgsmarienhütte, which have always been optimum recycling businesses, will simply not cope without exemption from the EEG levy if they are to continue producing under competitive conditions in Germany. This is why I expect our politicians to make a sustainable and effective commitment to maintaining the hardship clause in the form applied until now. In order to provide greater legal certainty, these unnecessary procedures must be terminated as quickly as possible and continuation of the hardship clause must be confirmed. Any other outcome will seriously jeopardise the future existence of energy-intensive industries in Germany. How is the GMH Group addressing increasing energy costs? van Hüllen: The companies of the GMH Group have been working intensively for years to improve both process and energy efficiency. Energy costs have always existed! In
Discontinuation of EEG relief provisions will lead to considerable cost increases in the steel industry in million €
relief provided until now
Total burden approx. 1,600
EEG levy 2014
Exception own power generation Relief due to compensation provision
the flue gas system on the electric-arc furnace has made it possible to use the steam produced from waste heat. The steam produced in this way can now be used to operate the vacuum steel degasser. The separate, previously required process of producing steam by means of natural gas has thus become virtually redundant. In addition, heating systems have been, and indeed still are, fed by this system. Our energy management also involves numerous other individual measures, such as improved insulation, optimisation of heating systems, reduction of superfluous activation times for machines, and better lighting arrangements, which are all good examples of intelligent and sustainable improvements in energy efficiency. So have the workforce gone along with this? van Hüllen: Many of them have taken part in energy training courses which, of course, have increased their awareness of the subject. In 2010, Georgsmarienhütte GmbH was the first steelworks in Germany to be certified to ISO 50001 . Further GMH Group companies such as Stahlwerk Bous, Schmiedewerke Gröditz, Energietechnik Essen, Dieckerhoff Guss and Harz Guss Zorge have followed. But the steel industry has physical limits, too, so hardly any technical scope remains for generating further savings potential in this area. From an entrepreneurial point of view, what do you believe needs to be done in Germany? van Hüllen: As entrepreneurs in Germany, we are unable to take any action at the current time. How can we make responsible investment decisions without knowing on which energy policy they need to be based? One of the greatest challenges for our country, as I see it, is therefore to define the aims, implementation measures and the time factors of energy policy as quickly as possible and, at the same time, continue to strengthen Germany’s position as an industrial nation. Once jobs in industry have been lost to other locations in the world, it is virtually impossible to win them back.
What do you expect from politicians in connection with the EU state aid investigation procedure concerning exemptions from the EEC levy. van Hüllen: The investigation procedure instigated by the EU Commission on account of unlawful aid under the Renewable Energy Sources Act is a threat to Germany as an industrial ... location. The hardship clause, which provides for exemption from the renewable energies levy for energy-intensive businesses, is indispensable. This is the only way of compensating for the competitive disadvantages suffered by German businesses vis à vis competitors based in countries which do not levy charges in connection with the promotion of renewable energies. In our view, the hardship clause does not represent a case of state aid. Abolishment of the hardship clause or, worse still, a repayment provision, would jeopardise the viability of many industrial establishments and would be an absolute catastrophy for Germany as an industrial location. The economic efficiency and prosperity of our country as well as thousands upon thousands of jobs are at stake.
view of the increasing scarcity of resources, rising energy prices and need to protect the environment, we have always – long before the turnaround in energy policy – looked to invest, reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency. As a most recent example of this I can tell you about a measure implemented at the Georgsmarienhütte steel plant. Since 2009 a further optimisation to
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… in future
Source: German Steel Federation’s own calculations based on 2014 Graphics: elemente designagentur
What would be the far-reaching consequences of de-industrialisation? van Hüllen: This can be seen in Great Britain, for example. If we want to continue to have jobs in industry in the future, we have to provide the fundamental conditions which enable competitive participation in international markets. My philosophy is: without steel no industry, without industry no prosperity and without prosperity no stable social and political conditions. And who should know this better from their own history than we Germans? Thank you for talking to us
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Email from Sam Sample
Stylistic blunders in automatic email responses can cause irritation. Anyone who wishes to avoid such problems should observe three simple rules.
S Photo by courtesy of RENK AG
Renk AG ranks internationally among the leading manufacturers of gear units for special-purpose vehicles, industrial installations and ships. Produced at its site in Rheine are, among others, propulsion system components for the world‘s largest and most advanced liquefied petroleum gas carriers. Friedrich Wilhelms-Hütte Eisenguss (FWHE ) won an order to produce gearbox housings made of grey cast iron. The rated capacity of this gearbox type (RSH ) is 13,600 kW. The order also included the fabrication of the necessary combination pattern equipment. The pattern concept was developed together with the Design Department in Rheine to ensure an optimum production process. This pattern equipment is designed for various gearbox sizes with interchangeable components. The already produced type measures 4,950 x 3,040 x 700 mm and has a single piece weight of around 13,000 kg. These castings have to undergo acceptance by different authorised inspection agencies (LRS , BV, etc.) and be approved for delivery. The new component augments the product range of FWHE, as it is a serial part for which there is continuous demand. Peter Preusse Photo by courtesy of the GMH Group
pring is now in the air. So we are already starting to look forward to the summer and our well-earned holidays – and thus to the season when stylistic blunders in automatically programmed notices of absence come fluttering into our email inboxes. For example: “Sailing is hard work and sailing is fun, sailing is rain and sailing is sun. I am currently on a sailing trip in Croatia, recovering from the stresses and strains of work.” There is no doubt that people who write such messages go to an enormous amount of trouble to create them. Whether the messages are appropriate or not, however, is a matter for debate. Quite irrespective of the external impact. Automatic email responses are definitely useful – they provide immediate information about your absence, so nobody waits in vain for a prompt reply. But how can you determine whether your automatic email response is good or not? Just imagine you sent an email yourself to someone concerning an urgent matter. Would you be any the wiser after reading the response you have formulated? If not, then something is wrong. Here are three simple rules for an exemplary response: State the period during which you are not available. Make clear whether or not somebody will be dealing with your emails whilst you are away. Indicate who is covering for you or who can be approached in case of urgent matters. Like this, for example: Thank you for your email. I’m out of office up to and including 20 June 2014. My emails will not be forwarded. For questions or matters of urgency, please contact Sam Sample, telephone 0123.456-789, email: Sam Sample@Samplecompany.de. mw
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THE OWNER‘S VIEW
Steel will remain the “No. 1 material” Why carbon can only play a secondary role in automobile manufacture. Dear GMH Group employees, dear readers, Material weight plays a major role in industrial manufacture when it comes to moving or driving things along. Be it automotive, ship and aircraft construction or wind energy - the lighter the better. Logically, alternative materials are constantly being sought which are even lighter in weight, more cost-effective and environmentally friendly - and nevertheless technically safe. This also applies to automotive engineering, of course, because lighter-weight materials in that domain hold the prospect of a significant reduction in aggregate weight - and thus in fuel consumption. The latest ray of hope is carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP ). These have been an indispensable part of Formula 1 racing for years. The only question is whether, and how, they can gain a foothold in automobile manufacture and which other materials they can supersede. Will steel soon be “on the scrapheap” where automobile construction is concerned? I would contend that steel will remain the No. 1 material in the automotive industry for years to come. This applies particularly to the steel grades produced in Georgsmarienhütte: high- and super high-strength steels for power train applications and for safety-critical parts such as those of vehicle steering systems. But why will this steel continue to be so competitive in future? Because only steel can guarantee power transmission between individual components and meet the demands placed on highly critical parts in the power train. Because steel components are much more economical to produce. Because its recyclability and ecological footprint constitute a good ecobalance that is unrivalled. And because steel is yet far from finished in terms of its potential including component weight, incidentally! – as savings and further developments of high- and super high-strength steels demonstrate. It has recently been calculated in the context of the “Lightweight Forging Initiative” that a 40 kg weight saving per vehicle is possible by using forged lightweight steel components. Which is why CFRP components have so far occupied only a niche position compared with other engineering materials (2012 saw the production of around 70,000 t of CFRP , of which less than 10 percent was used in the automotive industry). And, perhaps, they will be able to establish themselves similar to aluminium, although not as an alternative to steel, but for special-purpose applications.
Photo: Paul Ripke
A detailed comparison between the two materials reveals why: When looking at CFRP , it is first of all a matter of distinguishing between two uses: autobody and power train. Carbon has been undergoing development and testing for autobody use for a long time. The BMW i3 was recently unveiled as one of the first series-produced vehicles with carbon skin panels. The use of carbon in power trains - as well as for entire wheel suspension systems - is already imaginable today. In some cases it is already being practiced. It is, for instance, possible to integrate a cardan shaft made of carbon, as it would only have to withstand tensile and shear forces. But when it comes to transmitting power to other components, carbon fibre reinforced plastics run up against their limitations – for example in the rotary motion from the gears to the cardan shaft, and from the shaft to the axle drive. It is there that gear pinions made of steel are indispensable, because only steel can withstand the high contact pressure on the tooth flanks. All other components can, in principle, be made completely from carbon - as long as two serious drawbacks are accepted: the significantly greater volume of the components (and, therefore, a much higher space requirement), and the considerably higher costs of producing both the fibre material and components. A study conducted by Roland Berger and the VDMA shows the orders of magnitude: the total costs of a CFRP component produced by the RTM (injection moulding) process are currently still 500 to 600 percent higher than those of a steel component. Little is expected to change in this respect in the foreseeable future (the study takes as a basis a cost-saving potential of around 30 percent for CFRP component
production by 2020). These high costs alone stand in the way of autobody and power train components being manufactured from CFRP in medium and high volumes. Yet CFRP are no certainty even in the very domain where they stand out - that of low weight. For years now, steel makers and research establishments have been developing and working successfully on innovative steel materials, namely high- and super highstrength steels. Their special properties meet not only demands for greater safety. They also make it possible to lower the weight of steel components substantially - and thereby reduce fuel consumption. Steel is also unique in relation to carbon in terms of environmental acceptability, because steel can be produced both primarily and secondarily with a much lower energy input and lower CO2 emissions. And steel can be recycled completely, time and again, without any loss of quality and returned to the chain of materials. For components made of carbon, however, there is no comparable, functioning recycling concept as yet. At the present time, carbon can only be recycled thermally, if at all. There is, though, also another relevant factor that might co-determine over the long term which of the various lightweight materials – steel, aluminium or carbon – will be installed in what amounts in vehicles in future: the ecological footprint. There are calls from many sides to have vehicle taxation based on new criteria. Instead of assessing just the CO2 emissions per kilometre driven (“end of pipe“ - in other words, what comes out of the exhaust), a Life Cycle Analysis – or LCA - of the vehicle should be made in which the manufacture of the vehicle, its use and its later disposal or re-utilisation are included. Steel, especially, does not have to be shy of this comparison because, compared with all other engineering materials, steel has the smallest ecological footprint. To summarise: high-strength steels, in particular, clearly have an advantage over CFRP – technologically, economically, and ecologically. Steel will thus continue to be the material of choice when it comes to ensuring affordable mobility in future for the broad mass of automobile buyers around the world. And that, precisely, is what it comes down to. Glück auf Yours,
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Development potential not yet exhausted GMHütte · Application-oriented material development is also a question of cooperation.
related potentials early in the system or component development. The starting material and forming process must be precisely coordinated with one another – which requires allround cooperation between the steel maker, steel processor and automobile manufacturer. We work together as partners on the material solution, supported by diverse simulation programmes, among others.
I N T E RV I E W An important factor in the success of energy-efficient and cost-optimised component manufacture is optimum collaboration between steel makers, downstream processors and end customers. GMH ütte is also well aware of this and, together with its customers, is developing new, applicationoriented materials and processes. glückauf spoke on this topic with Dr. Robert Lange (Head of Technical Customer Service) and Oliver Rösch (Head of Application Development): glückauf: Everyone is talking about More information on weight reducpossibilities for saving weight in tion and energy conventional passenger cars is efficiency where available at: automobiles are www.massiverleichtbau.de concerned. Is there really any room for manoeuvre left in that domain?. Robert Lange: Yes, because the Robert Lange (Head of Technical Customer Service) and Oliver Rösch (Head of Application Development) Photo: vl possibilities offered by steel as a Can you give a practical example? Annealing and straightening to save weight in standard pasmaterial are far from exhausted. Rösch: The Hirschvogel Auare unnecessary for new compoIn terms of lightweight potential, senger cars. These ranged from tomotive Group has, together nents, thereby reducing process the amount of forged lightweight adapted designs to new materiwith GMH ütte, developed the and component costs considerals. steel components used in autoably. mobile manufacture was recently H2 air-hardening bainitic steel And you are developing these new analysed in the context of the grade – H2 standing for Hirsch… and what about fuel consumpmaterials together with your cus“Lightweight Forging Initiavogel melt no. 2. This steel has tion later? Is that also reduced? tomers? tive”, in which experts from 30 the same strength levels yet betRösch: Less is more when it enterprises belonging to the steel Oliver Rösch: Correct, because ter dynamic properties in the comes to energy consumption and forging industries developed with new material concepts it rotating-bending test than the and resources - both in producis possible to cut down on ininnovative proposals on how heat-treated 42CrMo4 quality. tion and when driving. To reduce Trials in the laboratory as well as dividual process steps and even fuel consumption, we are develachieve better material properin industry demonstrate that the oping steel that is lighter, perties. Steel still offers development machinability of the H2 steel is Would you have known? mits greater precision, and has a potential. good, similar to that of 42CrMo4 longer life. – and much better than that of How is it possible to cut down on 50CrMo4. The H2 steel grade is Bainite Is it possible, then, simply to use a production steps in future thanks to thus a very attractive and susA steel microstructure that different material in manufactura new material? tainable alternative to current forms, during the heat treating? Or do other parameters have to materials, such as for diesel injecLange: Take specially developed ment of carbon steel, as a result be modified in order to compensate? tion. steels with a bainitic microstrucof isothermal transformation or Lange: To apply weight-saving ture, for instance. They make it continuous cooling. It influencpossible nowadays to shorten the ideas, it is necessary to take acMany thanks for talking to us. es particularly the toughness count of material- and formingproduction process significantly. properties of the steel.
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main main focus: focus: ideas
Photos: © panthermedia.net/Gelpi José Manuel und Yuriy Chaban; www.shutterstock.com/Hodag Media
Eureka – I got it ! Ideas are the fuel that drives innovations. The only question is how ideas can be generated – especially in the case of companies that depend on innovation.
ow do you come up with ideas when you need them? Do you go for a walk and reflect on the problem that you want to solve? Do you dissect your problem systematically? Do you rely on your intuition? Do you need a patient listener to whom you can explain your problem and develop solutions whilst you talk? – a method which Heinrich von Kleist recommended as early as 1805 in his es-
say entitled “On the Gradual Production of Thoughts Whilst Speaking.” Others prefer exercise for actuating ingenious spirits. They go for a run, do the dishes, or potter about the room all tasks that the body can complete in standby mode without imposing too much strain on the mental concentration. Thus the head remains clear and has the scope to explore ideas - almost
like mothers who drop their children off at a kids’ paradise so that they can go shopping without any interference. Others come up with the best ideas just before falling asleep, in a nether land between dreams and reality. And – so they don’t forget anything – they place a pencil and notebook on the bedside table just in case. This is a method with potential pitfalls, as is shown by an anec-
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main focus: ideas
dote recounted by director Billy Wilder. Halfasleep, he had recorded a starting scene for his next film and, whilst drifting off to sleep, he congratulated himself on what he felt was an Oscar winning idea, only to discover the next morning that he had merely scribbled: “Boy meets Girl.” Now, what if you cannot think of anything? For you, as a private person, this is not normally a life-threatening situation. But for many companies, good ideas are crucial for developing innovative products, services, marketing strategies, production processes, and more besides. The absence of good ideas could mean that a crisis was imminent. Creativity techniques promise relief in this regard. Admittedly, for centuries, top people in research, science and technology have managed without creativity sessions, workshops, coaching and consultants. An Archimedes, Leonardo da Vinci, or Copernicus had to rely on his own creative resources. Professional literature was not available, exchanges with colleagues difficult. At the same time, however, they didn’t have to constantly produce ideas at the push of a button. Skills have to be specifically learned. Formerly, creativity (creare = create, make) was assumed to be the concern of the boss - because it belonged to the sphere of the Gods, human creativity was an expression of divine grace. The attitude today is that “everybody is creative” – this was the sound of the programmatic battle-cry of the 1950s, influenced by American psychologist, Joy Paul Guilford, one of the pioneers in the field of creativity research. This is also when the demystification of creative processes started and when US psychologists identified creativity as a research
area. The fact that their results came into circulation so swiftly was due to the “Sputnik shock” when the USSR shot their satellite into space before the USA did. The American military and businesses made use of anything that might close the perceived technological gap in relation to the Soviet Union as quickly as possible – including findings from creativity research: creativity techniques were upand-coming. Until not so very long ago the general public believed that creativity belonged – virtually exclusively – to advertising agencies. Their employees were considered to be on a pedestal as far as creativity was concerned. Today, we know that creative potential is quietly lurking in all companies. Accordingly, more and more companies are beginning to involve their employees in the process of generating ideas. Be it a desk or a workbench: all areas and levels are potential sources of ideas for innovation management. And there is a good reason for this. Never has there been such a great opportunity as today to bolster one’s creativity or ideas using new methods. Countless websites are opening their bags of tricks for free and demonstrating how to develop ideas. The website www.mycoted.com alone lists about 350 creativity techniques - from A for “AIDA ” to S for “SCAMMPERR ” and W for “Working with Dreams and Images”. Yet, the two most important questions remain unanswered by such websites: which method suits which type of employee in order to solve which problem or to develop which ideas? And how do I use the method correctly and efficiently? Without professional help, it is virtually impossible to proceed.
And how do those expected to produce all these ideas i.e. the employees – deal with this? How do they cope with this new challenge? In order to organise the flow of ideas, many companies rely on the continuous improvement process (CIP ), idea management, and other innovation strategies. Ultimately, all these optimisation concepts function as an infinite loop. In plain language: the process which they instigate is never completed. Employees constantly have to start from the beginning, to develop new ideas, to take the next step. They constantly need to discard the old and search for the new. And this within innovation cycles that are moving at ever increasing speeds. Many feel overwhelmed and punished because of this, just as Sisyphus once did. He was given an impossible task by the Gods as atonement. According to legend, he was doomed to heave a heavy rock from a valley to the summit of a steep mountain. But each time, just as he reached the top, he would lose the rock, and it rolled back down to the valley – and so the ordeal began once again. Nevertheless, the French philosopher, Camus, the French philosopher, does not agree with this (narrative) perspective, however. For him, a constant fresh start is an essential part of human existence. He sees in this what human freedom actually constitutes: starting anew, testing yourself, giving a meaning to life. He does not see this as punishment but as a privilege: “We have to imagine Sisyphus as a happy person.” Now, if that isn’t a nice idea …
Ideas that changed the world | A PICTORIAL JOURNEY Letterpress printing
Johannes Gutenberg · Around 1440, Gutenberg developed the printing press based on the concept of movable types, which dated back to earlier Korean and Chinese inventors, and on the bench press that was widespread in Germany. Prior to this invention, the copying of written works was a monopoly of specialists who mostly were to be found in monasteries. Access to scripts and books thus became simpler and secular.
Thomas Newcomen · The first functioning steam engine was developed by Newcomen in 1712 to pump off water from coal mines (as early as 1551 an Ottoman scholar, Taqi ad-Din, described a steam turbine for driving a barbecue spit). James Watt improved the efficiency of the machine to the extent that it could be used in industry and, especially, to drive ships and railway trains.
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Heads are round so that thinking can change direction Why orderliness and a stimulating work environment are so important for creative processes.
n-the-job creativity and inventiveness – companies require these qualities, and creative persons are in big demand. Yet frustration or dull routines often predominate. In the majority of cases, though, it doesn’t take much to get creativity and imagination flowing freely between the office and the shopfloor – there being no need at all to turn individual work environments on their heads. “No fixed office, no fixed working times, no fixed rules” is how experts foresee the future of work. The Fraunhofer Institute, Stuttgart, for example, is researching what offices of the future could look like – and is putting its findings straight into practice. “Office21”, in which Fraunhofer employees also work, resembles a stylish cafe rather than a work place: bright colours, soft furniture as well as seating areas to meet and have a chat.
Other companies have also taken such ideas on board. Google, for example. The search machine provider has enjoyed a reputation as an exemplary employer for many years now. Employees at Google can relax and play table football, sit comfortably in colourful armchairs or lie in hammocks during work, or discuss their next project with colleagues in a bright environment whilst sipping a free lemonade. Admittedly, a lounge atmosphere with creative cushions will never feature at the control consoles or on the shopfloors of our companies. And letting people start work whenever they please to promote inventiveness will definitely never be helpful for shift work. Our workplaces are not suited to this. Nevertheless there is still considerable scope for providing a pleasant and thus more creative atmosphere within the companies of the GMH Group.
One very simple thing that frequently helps is a good tidyup. Many people believe that creativity and chaos go hand in hand. But our brains actually appreciate a certain routine and hate searching for mislaid items, or moving piles from one place to another. Any time and energy spent doing this is to the detriment of creativity. By banishing chaos from the workplace, the mind is also freed up for ideas. And at the same time, another essential goal is achieved: a sense of well-being at work. When Jürgen Grossmann took over Georgsmarienhütte GmbH in 1993, one of his first measures was to “tidy up” the premises and to give the offices a fresh coat of paint. It sounds banal but many flashes of inspiration are lost when people have to work in dirty, dusty, austere rooms where they feel anything but comfortable.
Henry Bessemer · Between 1850 and 1860 he developed a process whereby molten iron could be refined in large quantities into steel with the aid of an air blower - the so-called Bessemer converter.
In an environment in which no one wants to spend too much time there will never be any enthusiasm for work and, as such, no desire to develop new ideas. A little bit of fresh paint, a cheerful picture on the wall, a tidied and “slimmed-down” pin board, an organised system of notes, pens and other frequently used pieces of equipment – this is possible almost everywhere, in offices as well as at control consoles. Many companies within our group use a “tidy-up day” for this. But a combined tidying campaign can also be organised within departments or on particular shifts. In the end everyone benefits from the results. Collective exchanges can also help to generate new ideas. Anyone constantly “left to stew in their own juice“ will be unable to gain any new insights, discuss new ideas, or give others input on new ideas. Many of our companies have therefore set up information points where employees are able to get together for a short discussion. Some have also designed their recreation and break rooms to be so attractive that employees are happy to spend their breaks there and look for opportunities to talk to one another. This space quickly provides somewhere to not only talk about private nonwork-related issues but also to discuss problems and their solutions – generating a pool of ideas which can create long-term benefits for our companies. mw
Alexander Graham Bell · The foundations for the development of the telephone were laid as early as 1837 by Samuel F. B. Morse when he transmitted signals via electric lines using the Morse telegraph. This was followed by developments of functional telephones by, among others, Innocenzo Manzetti, Antonio Meucci, Tivadar Puskás, Philipp Reis, Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell, who ultimately prevailed in the race with Elisha Gray to register a patent.
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Photos: © panthermedia.net / Marc Dietrich
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“There’s always a solution to things” What goes on inside Eugen Schnabel when he develops his ideas. I N T E RV I E W Eugen Schnabel successfully completed his training to become an industrial mechanic (specialism: industrial engineering) at Rohstoff Recycling Osnabrück in 2004. Since then he has been working in maintenance. The industrial mechanic is known for his high-quality improvement suggestions. Dirk Strothmann interviewed him on how he comes up with his ideas. glückauf: How many ideas or improvement suggestions have you submitted so far? Eugen Schnabel: I’ve submitted five suggestions since 2010. Improvement suggestions that have also been implemented, without exception? Schnabel: They have all been implemented. Let’s start from the beginning: What actually induces you to think about an improvement suggestion? Schnabel: I try to make my work as simple and pleasant as possible.
Photo: © panthermedia.net / David Koscheck
Example? Schnabel: The very frequent job of replacing the dust louvres on the charging bin in the NF separation facility. This always involved loosening each indi-
vidual screw that fastened the individual louvre blades at a height of around four metres using a mobile worklift platform. It was very laborious. Added to this there was, depending on the weather situation, wind, rain, snow, high temperatures, cold, dust, and interruptions due to the charging process. I therefore had a few thoughts about this and developed a “quick-release mechanism” for removing the blade rail. We are now able to replace the blades more quickly and much less laboriously.
the work done by my colleagues. Which is why I often discuss my ideas with my colleagues.
In other words, it has made the work more pleasant? Schnabel: But not only that. Disruptions or repairs that repeatedly occur cost a lot of time and are felt to be unpleasant. I also try to eliminate these or to make improvements.
How do you determine whether your solution is the right one? Schnabel: I often imagine how something would function if my improvement suggestion were implemented. It’s then like watching a film in your head. Or I make a sketch of the process. By trying it out you become wiser.
How do you think about the solution - while working, at breakfast, when jogging? Schnabel: If things are not going as well as they might during a repair job, then I already have a few thoughts about things on the spot. Often I make a sketch, and then I think things over further after work, once my head is clear. Do you also involve your colleagues in resolving problems? Schnabel: My suggestions concern not only me. They are, of course, also intended to simplify
And how does the “flash of inspiration” arrive? Out of the blue? Schnabel: In most cases my ideas occur to me during work. Or I remember having seen something comparable at some point. My experience as a maintenance worker helps me, certainly, not to accept everything as a given, because maintenance people know there’s always a solution to things.
What advice can you pass on to colleagues who would also like to make an improvement suggestion? Schnabel: The important thing is not to go about your work indifferently. At the latest when certain jobs repeatedly prove tiresome, you should use your head to bring about that flash of inspiration. When something is not going as it should, you
Thomas Alva Edison · Edison is generally regarded as the inventor of the light bulb. However, he merely improved the concept of generating light by means of electricity to the extent that the invention was able to gain acceptance over the then prevalent method of producing light by using gas. His work was based on the ideas of many other researchers such as James Bowman Lindsay, William Robert Grove, Frederick de Moleyns, John Wellington Starr, Alexander Nikolajewitsch Lodygin and Joseph Wilson Swan. As early as 1801, Louis Jacques Thénard demonstrated that it is possible to make metal wires glow brightly by means of galvanic current.
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are more motivated to change things. With a bit of imagination, by keeping one’s eyes open, and by being prepared to think “outside the box”, it is quite possible to develop many an idea. And where should you exercise caution? Schnabel: The suggestions should also be realistic. Do you also have an idea you enjoy thinking back on? Schnabel: What immediately springs to mind is the clamping device for the ram of our briquetting installation. This installation presses sludge containing metal particles from machining operations to form briquettes. This mixture is pressed into a mould. The mould and the ram have to be replaced at regular intervals due to wear and tear. For this replacement operation we initially had only a clamping table, and on it the ram first had to be clamped laboriously by means of many nuts and bolts before it was possible to begin the actual work on the ram. I built a new table for this. Now the ram is lowered by crane into the table’s half-shell recesses, and a clamping clip is then attached. Using hydraulics, the ram is held in place so tightly that we are able to commence with replacing the ram straightaway. This leads to genuine time savings. What is more, it reduces the risk of personal injury that always arose through socket wrenches slipping off or being extended. Many thanks for talking to us.
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Change also requires good leadership The “never-ending story” continues: example of the “good ton” at GMHütte. othing is more constant than change. There isn’t anything new about this statement and indeed, in a variety of different forms and applications, it accompanies us throughout our professional lives. Time and again, both as a company and as individual employees, we must scrutinise ourselves critically and observe and analyse our environment. We must consistently ask ourselves the following questions: • How are we perceived by our customers? • How do we present ourselves on the market? • How are production processes and quality expectations of our customers changing? • Are our quality performance and delivery reliability better than average? Do we nurture and intensify our customer loyalty to the extent necessary? • What about our business and production processes? Are they sufficiently documented and subjected to regular inspection? • Is quality sufficiently integrated in all of our processes? • What about health and safety at work? Is it also sufficiently integrated? • How do we treat each other? • What about our management style? In addition to what we “can” do – more than 80 per cent of us are highly skilled workers – and what we are “permitted” to do – the management expressly requires us to work independently – the important premise here is, above all, what we “want” to do. The development of GMH ütte since the takeover by Jürgen Grossmann in 1993 could be described as an “almost never-ending
Benz/Daimler/Maybach · 1886 is regarded as the year the modern automobile, powered by a combustion engine, was born in the form of the Benz Patent Motor Car Number 1. It was not, however, a passenger car in the present-day sense, as it only possessed three wheels. Gottlieb Daimler, together with Wilhelm Maybach, had already built a fourwheeled motor vehicle with a four-stroke engine in 1885.
story“. Because during this period there has been a series of outstanding milestones on the way to the process of the “good ton”. These include, for example, the introduction and certification of the Q systems, the implementation of complex data processing systems, the development of a mission statement, and the important safety-at-work project referred to as “Our Company – My Safety”. We have always been aware of the fact that an ongoing process of improvement is the prerequisite for process excellence and thus, as a direct consequence, for product excellence – with this extending across all levels, from management, via the heads of department in the technical and administrative areas, to those who produce that quality on the shopfloor. In order to reach a higher level of excellence – and everyone agreed on this – such a process would have to be set up anew, whilst at the same time maintaining the aspects which have already proved successful in the past. The holistic way of looking at things, that a “ton” is only “good” if it reaches our customers without any accidents having occurred, and without any unnecessary re-working or quality deficiencies, securely loaded and exactly on time, represents a completely new perspective, because it corrects the exclusively quantity-orientated mind-set which used to prevail. Ultimately, process quality, productivity and safety at work form a triad which ensures the success of the company, also in the long term.
Photo: © DaimlerChrysler AG
The “good ton” is an organised process set up to ensure the ongoing development of previous projects. It helps us to observe our process chain in a methodical and harmonised way and to improve it consistently. One of the most important tasks is to integrate the employees so that their combined knowledge and ideas can be used beneficially. Steering and control groups as well as groups of experts provide the pillars which support the project. Process coordinators and process promoters in the facilities act as connecting links between the different circles. The competencies and conduct of the managers in the facilities and departments also have a decisive influence on the success of the “good ton”. Important components in this regard include a clear commitment to the project, fostering of the expert and working groups, a constant exchange of information, adoption of ideas, and further development or qualification of their personnel. Exemplary behaviour on the part of the managers and a direct and personal approach to staff are further success factors in gaining their commitment. Leadership at eye level, whilst also showing mutual respect for each other, is required. This involves active listening to suggestions made by colleagues and clearly defined goals. This creates the will and the necessary acceptance among all players to recognise changes and to become involved in implementing them. If this succeeds, it is simply a logical consequence for our employees to adopt responsibility and to develop it. “GMHütte” and the “good ton” are making very good progress, as many successfully completed projects already show. It is important, however, that the colleagues’ ongoing development has a positive impact on their self-confidence, increases their identification with the product as well as their commitment to the company. In this way such a “good ton” process, steered and implemented with serious intent, will result in a higher level of excellence for all concerned. Because it is quite clearly a never-ending process! hgr
Pablo Picasso & Georges Braque · Cubism evolved from an avantgarde movement in France from 1907 onward. Other representatives of this artistic movement included Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp and Robert Delaunay. Today, the most revolutionary innovation in 20th century art is seen in cubism. The influence of cubist works on subsequent styles was very substantial.
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Potentials on demand Creativity must be appreciated and fall on fertile ground
ur society faces significant challenges. Be it global warming, the euro crisis, or a turnaround in energy policy, there is that nagging feeling that problems are likely to become even more difficult to resolve in future. The same applies in a corporate context. Markets are becoming more volatile, customers more erratic, the competition stronger. The GMH Group is also feeling the squeeze. The good news here is that we actually have the potential to solve all our problems. The bad news, however, is that the potential usually remains unrecognised. That potential is to be found in our brains. Formally speaking, it is a complex network of up to 100 trillion neural cell connections (for comparison: the entire World Wide Web currently has about 40 billion connections between websites). Apart from controlling life sustaining processes (e.g. breathing) it is able to store, connect, and apply knowledge and develop ideas. Whether individual human beings actually use their creative potential and take their own ideas seriously or not, is also controlled by the brain. Those who have had bad experiences with their own creativity will suppress it. Subconsciously, they will decide that it makes no sense and that there is no use in developing and pursuing ideas and implementing them through altered behaviour. Such people will comment on new ideas with corresponding scepticism: “That won’t work anyway.” or “We’ve always done it like this.” or “Let’s wait and see before rushing into things.” or “You couldn’t make it work.” or “That’s not our area of expertise.” Such an attitude would, quite obviously, nip any kind of creativity in the bud. Never-
theless there is still hope because our brain can be shaped even after we have reached an advanced age. And there are always ways of “reanimating” a person’s creativity. First, you need a suitable form of motivation. The awards made under the IdeeM scheme are a good initial step, especially if they are based on the estimated value of individual ideas. But IdeeM does not yet go far enough in its current form. Although the award provides a motivational incentive, it leaves employees alone with their ideas until they have fully developed them and have the courage to enter them in the system for evaluation. Creative environments in companies must smarten up. Companies must provide space for their employees to share ideas – ideally within an interdisciplinary framework where they can develop and test ideas together and learn from mistakes. Knowledge should be as accessible as possible. Employees’ brains could then almost create their own network. Individually differing brain properties, different experiences, different ways of assessing information, and different strategies for solving problems are what would make such a collective network so valuable. If such benefits are to be reaped, however, a company culture is required that signals to the employee “Your creativity is welcome here.” Interdisciplinary teams are needed which target problems in creative ways using a process that is reinforced by rules (e.g. by means of “Design Thinking”) – in other words, methods that are also capable of winning over employees’ enthusiasm emotionally.
Because emotions are important, too. A sense of solidarity with the team provides security, the creative task offers the chance to grow - and satisfies the fundamental human need for autonomy. And when everything is up and running, when ideas are flowing, when the burning drive to create is igniting all round, yes, then, work turns into fun! For this to work, a new management style is needed. We are talking about “Leadership at Eye Level” (see article on page 8), confidence in the team, motivation, and moderation. Many companies - especially in the IT and start-up sector - have, by now, understood this. Google applies a management style corresponding to that of Design Thinking. Apple, when undertaking research and development, does not follow any kind of linear waterfall model but, right from the outset, brings in people from the design, engineering, manufacturing and marketing fields. SAP, Siemens, Deutsche Bank: all these companies use Design Thinking as a method for innovation and management. There is, therefore, hope for a more innovative company culture. But, without change, this will not work. Whether as individuals or, even more so, collectively, glückauf-readers will know – at the latest since reading about the focal theme of “change” in glückauf issue 3/2013 – how difficult it is to make changes happen, especially when they are complex.
Heisenberg uncertainty principle | 1927 Werner Heisenberg · It is thanks to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle that we know that light can behave both like a wave and like a particle, depending on the observer. If we observe the particle, it behaves differently to when we don’t observe it! The uncertainty principle is the basis of quantum mechanics, which today is one of the fundamental theories for describing our physical world.
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Ping-pong tactics for arriving at objectives Technical developments: it is common knowledge that nothing is too difficult for the engineer.
e has shaped the image of the inventor like only few have: Daniel Duesentrieb. The engineer from Entenhausen, for whom nothing is too difficult, is said to have registered 139 inventions, among them a silent rocket propulsion, a non-forgettable umbrella, and a pneumatic shoelace tyer. Yet his flesh-and-blood colleagues are no less productive. According to the European Patent Office, there were 26,645 patent applications in 2013 in Germany – putting them in 6th place, in relation to the size of the population, after Switzerland (1), Sweden (2), Finland (3), Denmark (4) and the Netherlands (5). In Germany, according to the German Patent and Trademark Office, Baden-Württemberg (136) and Bavaria (109) had their noses in front in 2013 (per one hundred thousand inhabitants). North Rhine-Westphalia (40) occupied a distant third place. When technicians develop products, then it is often done in team work. And frequently it is not an ingenious idea that solves all problems at a stroke, but rather the fact that the team steadily approaches the ideal solution by employing the “ping-pong method“. One example of this is a vibration absorber for rail freight wagons which Bochumer Verein (BVV ) is developing. Different experts – engineers, designers, physicists, acousticians, technical draftsmen and external experts (TH Aachen) – take turns to get involved in different phas-
Mirror of innovations M
irror, mirror on the wall which Federal State has the most innovation potential of them all? Indications suggest that there are three important factors relating to innovations: the number of students as a proportion of the total population, venture capital per inhabitant and patent applications per 1 million inhabitants.
es. They look for the simplest and most cost-effective technical solution possible that also takes account of all safety aspects as well as other requirements. Prototypes tried out in practical testing reflect the interim status. The measurement data – just like the model calculations – provide a pointer for the further development work. According to BVV acoustician Martin Fehndrich, “Once the acoustics have been improved, it is examined how this affects stability, durability and costs, whether all the standards are met, and how costly production would be. Depending on the assessment, it becomes necessary to revise the absorber - which will perhaps have a negative effect on the acoustic behaviour. Thus making it necessary to begin a new cycle of optimisation.“ This takes place while at all 515 Ew./km2 times keeping an eye on the costs because, after all, (rail) freight traffic is in fierce competition with the trans201 Ew./km2 port haulage companies. At some point, however, the continuous development work is brought to a close 387 Ew./km2 once the ideal technical solution has been found – and, ideally, a patent application can be registered for it with the patent office. pkm
Number of students as a proportion of the total population Venture capital per inhabitant (e.g.: € 1.51) Patent applications per 1 million inhabitants
178 Ew./km2 69 Ew./km2
Hertha Heuwer · She is credited as having invented the “Currywurst”, a cooked sausage in a sauce comprising tomato puree, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce, and further ingredients, which according to her own comments she served up for the first time at her snack stall in BerlinCharlottenberg on 4 September 1949. Uwe Timm, an author, “moved” the invention of the curried sausage to Hamburg as part of a novel. He remembered having eaten a curried sausage at the snack stall of a woman in “Grossneumarkt” square as early as 1947. Photos: © shutterstock.com/stockfoto-graf; © panthermedia.net/Kati Neudert
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Source: statista.com/DPMA/BVK/EPA Graphic: elemente designagentur
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Quite some progress Idea management is something GMHütte can be justly proud of.
ust how effective the Idea Management (IdeeM) scheme of GMH ütte is, can be seen from the 2013 annual report. According to it, 294 workforce members took part in IdeeM, 564 improvement suggestions were submitted, and 630 were completed (in some cases implemented from the years before). For GMH ütte the economic benefit totalled 1,060,300 euros. The awards paid out for all the suggestions amounted to 125,040 euros. In the twelve prize draws, 3,600 euros were paid out – and at the annual prize draw on 3 December, even a Toyota Yaris Life Hybrid, an e-bike, a travel voucher worth 1,000 euros
and other prizes were won. The net highest award was 9,130 euros (net = GMH ütte pays the wage tax and social insurance contribution), and the cost-effectiveness achieved per prize-winning suggestion was 2,930 euros on average. The fact that the German Institute for Management and Economics (Deutsches Institut für Betriebswirtschaft) has already presented an award in recognition of GMH ütte’s IdeeM scheme for the third time in succession demonstrates that it is progressing well. Ralf Kübeck
Main Focus 2/2014:
Photo: © plainpicture/beyond, Junos
Success stories Handling of FeO residual materials: Every year some 25,000 t of ferrous residual materials accumulate at GMHütte’s works site. Depending of their iron oxide content, these material flows are disposed of or recycled at different locations, incurring not inconsiderable costs in the process. Thanks to an improvement suggestion, some residual materials flow in other recycling directions - saving over 170,000 euros per year. The suggestion won an award of 25,700 euros. Energy saving through fewer pumps: In recooling plants 1 and 2 there are always two service pumps in operation in the primary and secondary circuits during production. They cool the electric-arc furnace and the accompanying equipment. The improvement consisted in no longer having all pumps continuing to run during stoppages if the temperatures in
the circuits allow it. Saving: 63,550 euros per year. Net award: 9,535 euros. Optimisation of brake-fitted gear motors: In several sections of the S50 inspection and straightening line there had frequently been trouble with the brakes fitted on gear motors. Although they are only intended as holding brakes, shock loads caused by material impacts had led to the thin brake fastening screws breaking off, and to the gear housings being damaged. Screw-on connecting brackets have been fabricated that stably connect the housing to the brake. Since their modification, no more damage has occurred. Benefits: longer service life, cost saving, fewer repairs required, higher equipment availability, no consequential damage. Cost effectiveness: 9,310 euros. Net award: 1,400 euros.
World Wide Web
Gregory Pincus and John Rock · Innsbruck physiologist Ludwig Haberlandt was the first to publish a concept of hormonal oral contraception as early as 1921. In the early 1950s, Gregory Pincus and John Rock, with financial support from women’s rights campaigner Margaret Sanger, developed a product called Envoid. The medication for menstrual pain received approval in 1960 as a contraceptive. There thus followed the “wild 60s“ - and with them the “sexual revolution“.
Tim Berners-Lee · Building on the open platform of the Internet, which Vinton Cerf designed in 1971 in cooperation with other computer scientists with support from the U.S. Defence Department, Lee at the CERN developed, more or less on his own as well as incidentally, the software architecture of today’s WWW: the linking of pages in HTML . Berners-Lee created the first Web presence at http://info.cern.ch. It explained, among other things, what the WWW was meant to be, how to find a web browser, and how to set up a web server.
Photo: © shutterstock.com/rvlsoft
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Volume production of CFRP as an absolute novelty GWB · BMW electric car has CFRP bodywork – manufactured with the aid of tool steel from Gröditz
n 2013, BMW unveiled its brand new, completely electric i3 vehicle to the public. A most extraordinary feature of the production engineering used for this vehicle is its superlightweight auto-
body consisting of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP ), manufactured for the very first time in large volumes. The preparations to reach the production stage involved many years of development work in which Gröditzer Werkzeugstahl Burg also played a part, with the company supplying the material for the specially fabricated, heavy-duty RTM (resin transfer mould) tooling. This called for several thousand tonnes of tool steel, forged and heat-treated in Gröditz. The heavy, high-tensile BMW i3: Lightweight design featuring carbon fibre autobody
steel plates in 2738 quality were then premachined exactly to drawing in Burg and delivered to BMW . There, specialised tool makers transferred the contours of the later bodywork precisely to large tool steel plates, two at a time. As part of the production process, a cutto-size carbon fibre mat was then placed in the open die in giant press units and pressed into the mould. This was followed directly by a special resin being filled at high pressure into the mould. The pressed carbon component then also had to harden for a short time at 100 degrees Celsius in the press. This process has made possible something that was previously unachievable: industrialscale volume production of CFRP components for lightweight automobiles - using high-grade tool steel from Gröditz. The CFRP components are, incidentally, manufactured at BMW’s component plant in Landshut as well as directly at its new assembly plant in Leipzig. Walter Grimm
Sources: BMW Group
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Flying change BVV · Milestone: relocation of production from old to new wheel line.
ochumer Verein is modernising its production facilities step by step. Recently it completed an important stage – the so-called wheel line used to produce rolling stock wheels. Its core units comprise a rotaryhearth furnace, preforming press, wheel rolling mill, dishing press, laser measuring machine and marking machine. The modernisation process started as early as 2008. First of all, the preforming press underwent an all-round overhaul, and the rotary hearth furnace was retrofitted with a new furnace control system and with energysaving regenerative burner technology. The plan was then to install a completely new production line downstream of the preforming press, running parallel to the existing plant and equipment. The installation of a new wheel rolling mill and new dishing press recently rounded off this major modernisation step. The wheel rolling mill of DRAW 1450 type is capable of rolling railway wheels with a maximum outer diameter of 1,450 mm and a maximum weight of 1,500 kg using the mandrel-free process. In this process the wheel is guided not as previously by a mandrel but by vertically and laterally arranged centring rolls. The dishing press of PRv 5000 K type has an integrated mandrel for wheel hub piercing. It is capable of developing a maximum pressing force of 50 MN. The runup to this project began as early as 2010, and several preliminary jobs were also completed during the partial shutdown of facilities in the summer of 2012. After numerous meetings and negotiations, the order to supply the wheel rolling mill and dishing press was awarded to SMS Meer GmbH in September 2012. The company was also to carry out extensive modification work, adapt the utility services, integrate new handling systems, and optimise the automation engineering for the entire line. Production time losses were to be kept to a minimum, the requirement being to prepare, assemble and start up the new facilities, if possible, while the old ones were still in operation. Once the planning work had been completed and diverse official approvals obtained, it was possible to commence implementation in the spring of 2013. Extensive construction work was necessary initially. The first major challenge was to lay the foundations for the rolling mill and the press. The foundation soil proved very difficult and repeatedly held a surprise in store. Continuing production as planned did not make things any easier. And matters were made even worse by the fact that during this phase a shop extension was added in which
The rough size is correct – successfully rolled and dished wheels from the new wheel line.
a hydraulic station, cooling plant and new transformer station are now accommodated. The partial shutdown of facilities in August 2013 then signalled the start of the “crucial phase“: first of all the wheel rolling mill was moved by means of a special-purpose lifting frame to its envisaged position, turned through 90 degrees and then lowered onto its foundations. This was followed by the main components of the dishing press being lowered by two heavy-duty cranes through an opening in the shop roof into their positions and then mounted in place. It was also necessary to carry out “routine” maintenance and repair work on the remaining 80 MN preforming press as well as relocate the laser measuring machine, marking machine and diverse handling robots. A further requirement included being able to use them in combination with the new units. This task proved particularly demanding. At the finish, all concerned were happy. Firstly, the new plant and equipment was in place and, secondly, production on the old wheel line was able to restart on schedule. The two new machines only had to be connected up hydraulically, electrically and mechanically. A new linear robot was also installed which conveys the wheels from the wheel rolling mill to the dishing press. The start-up process then commenced from October 2013 onward. The functions were tested, firstly in the cold state, and then with hot wheels. The personnel also completed an extensive training programme. The final phase comprised a series of acceptance tests and inspections under volumeproduction conditions. Among other things,
the supplier had to demonstrate compliance with the wheels’ dimensional accuracy requirements, that the agreed cycle times are achieved, the availability of the plant and equipment is assured, and that the tool changing times also meet the requirements. All the tests ended positively, and it was possible for volume production to begin. Step by step, the production of all wheel types is now being relocated from the old to the new wheel line. The completion of this project is a milestone where the further successful and long-term positioning of Bochumer Verein Verkehrstechnik in the context of global competition is concerned. It is now essential to implement the rationalisation effects in practice and to access further potentials. Jörg Villmann
Rationalisation effects The new wheel line has yielded numerous rationalisation effects, including: • Material savings through improved rolling accuracy • Greater degree of automation • Reduced need for maintenance • Less reject material incurred during set-up • Shorter set-up times • Fewer unexpected faults and disruptions • Increased throughput as a result of reduced cycle times • Reduction of dishing press tooling costs • Production of tangential corrugated wheels without reheating
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On the other side of the world Windhoff · Successful with its workshop equipment in New Zealand.
n March 2012, Windhoff won an order from Auckland Transport (AT) to manufacture and deliver diverse items of workshop equipment, comprising subfloor lifting system, lifting jacks, 2-way shunting vehicle and bogie turntable, for the new Wiri MSF Depot. It was the first order from New Zealand – and the start of a success story. At a site extending over 4.4 hectares, AT has built a highly modern maintenance shop with an area of 7,650 m² and trackage totalling 7 km. The aim there is to accommodate and maintain a total of 57 three-unit trains. After a construction period lasting somewhat more than a year, Auckland’s mayor Len Brown inaugurated the depot officially in June 2013. But even with the delivery of the workshop equipment and official inauguration having taken place, the project was still far from over for Windhoff. The first trains built by Spanish manufacturer CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles) were, after all, not to arrive from Spain until August - a date which would signal the crucial start-up phase for Windhoff, because it then had to be demonstrated whether the engineering skills constituting “Made in Germany“ would meet the high demands of the customer and of the depot operators (CAF and Transdev). And there were a great many demands such as coupling the Windhoff 2-way shunting vehicle (ZRW 35 AEM type) to the new trains, for example. When the process of manufacturing the vehicle commenced in Rheine, the details concerning the trains were still at the design stage at CAF , with the consequence that a lack of information and constant modifications to the requirements became an everyday feature. The compressed-air system integrated in the 2-way shunting vehicle, in particular, required precise adaptation to the train’s design, as it connects fully automatically to the train’s brake system and is therefore a component that is vital for shunting the rail vehicles safely. Another interface of essential importance presented difficulties as well: the communication of data between the stationary subfloor lathe and mobile shunting vehicle, the background to this being that one of its main tasks involves shunting the three-unit CAF trains over the subfloor lathe used to reprofile the wheelsets once they have become worn. Data communication serves to prevent the train from being moved by the 2-way shunting vehicle while the lathe reprofiles the wheels. Windhoff resolved the problem with the aid of a special radio system. It is now possible to operate the 2-way shunting vehicle solely by radio, in other words without a
Photo: Wolfgang Klein-Katthöfer
Windhoff subfloor lifting system
driver, when at the subfloor lathe station. As the radio system communicates with the electronic controls of the subfloor lathe, this ensures that the systems are mutually interlocked. A further challenge involved the subfloor lifting system and lifting jacks being of aseismic design. New Zealand lies on two tectonic plates and has to cope with more than 50 earthquakes per year. Although the northern island, where Auckland is located, is much less affected by this than the southern island, there is nevertheless the need to protect the personnel as best possible. The fact of the matter is that work will go on, day in, day out, under jacked-up trains weighing almost 140 t.
Put to the test CAF were able to convince themselves directly of just how well the Windhoff 2-way shunting vehicle functions (and how simple it is to operate) when the first trains were delivered. The trains arrived on heavy-duty haulage vehicles, were lowered onto the tracks, and then shunted by the Windhoff 2-way vehicle through the new depot and into the maintenance shop. (See YouTube at http://tinyurl. com/lmodcs4.
Windhoff’s project manager, Wolfgang Klein-Katthoefer, had to have many meetings and discussions with the experts from Auckland Transport and vehicle manufacturer CAF before he was finally able to present a convincing solution: the jacked-up trains would rest with their load take-up points in corresponding ‘pockets’ that are closed on three sides. This would prevent earthquake vibrations from displacing the trains from the lifting equipment. The most exciting moment of the entire project came, however, when a train was elevated for the very first time in New Zealand using a Windhoff subfloor lifting system - in the presence of the entire CAF team, AT project manager Tim Barrett, and Windhoff site manager Michael Brinkmann. Majestically and without difficulty, the 70 m-long vehicle combination weighing 140 t was lifted up almost completely without a sound. And, by doing so, Windhoff was once again able to convince yet another customer of the technical capabilities that the Muensterland-based company has to offer.
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Thanks to their own input
Greater availability than ever before: the new wire treatment facility in operation. Photo: mh
HGZ · New wire treatment reduces workplace-specific nuisances and increases process robustness.
he continuous improvement process is producing not only minor benefits but also, occasionally, major progress at Harz Guss Zorge (HGZ ). A very recent example is the improvement of the process for treating material grades GJS and GJV . Cooperation with Moenchengladbach-based OCC Gesellschaft für physikalische Messtechnik und kybernetische Systeme mbH has led to the development of a modified, twocubicle wire treatment station, where a simultaneous inoculation and magnesium treatment of the molten iron is carried out. It has created a very efficient parallel solution and underscores the ambition of HGZ to rank among the industry’s technological leaders and innovators. The new wire treatment enables the
foundry to produce GJV and GJS alloys with a previously unknown process robustness. As the OCC -supported wire treatment facility, melt shop (electric-arc furnace, molten iron transport and laboratory) and Mecana pouring equipment are interlinked, it has also been possible to improve the assurance of quality significantly. The aspect of health has also benefited, however. During the treatment there are less fumes and glare effects. The new facility reduces these workplacespecific nuisances by more than 50 percent. The particular highlight of the new facility is that the project is also a successful example of the familiar idiom “help through self-help” because, given the prevailing economic
conditions, it was clear to Harz Guss Zorge from the outset that the investment costs should be
Would you have known?
Abbreviation for nodular cast iron. Material with outstanding mechanical properties, relatively low-cost producibility and good machinability.
Abbreviation for compacted vermicular cast iron (mainly “worm”-shaped graphite formation). Good combination of tensile strength, toughness, temperature conductivity, thermal shock resistance, machinability and castability.
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kept to a minimum and a corresponding amount of their own input contributed, if possible. Against this backdrop the maintenance personnel of HGZ took on the mechanical and electrical modification of the facility. The programming technology, however, was left to OCC in Moenchengladbach. The software developed by the OCC experts is a self-correcting, modular treatment programme which, if required, can be extended to include further process steps in the melt shop, thus leaving additional scope available. The division of labour between OCC and HGZ has already proved to be of great value: the availability of the facility and its components is almost 100 percent. Laura Hansen
Small cranes often turn out to be a big challenge Kranbau Köthen · For the layperson, large cranes appear easier to build than small ones. Yet small cranes also have to meet specific customer requirements. What was special about them? Kuck: The small stop clearances in relation to the side of the shop, the structural conditions within the shop, and the confined assembly dimensions.
I N T E RV I E W Experts know: Kranbau Köthen specialises in large crane installations with high lifting capacities and long spans. Yet “small” cranes with a lifting capacity and span of 20 t x 12,023 mm or 25 t x 14,000 mm are not to be underestimated, either. They can present equally as great technical challenges as large cranes – or even greater ones. This applies especially when metallurgically similar designs are required, or the shop conditions are extremely confined. Andreas Kuck (project engineer, Sales) describes two examples in an interview with glückauf: glückauf: When did you last build a crane of that sort?
Photo by courtesy of the GMH Group
Andreas Kuck: Last year. We delivered two cranes of that sort to Vallourec Deutschland GmbH in Düsseldorf for their tubemaking business.
And how did you ultimately overcome these problems? Kuck: We installed the entire hoisting gear frame beneath the slewing gear and arranged the crane wheels to suit the craneway structure. Despite confined conditions it is now also possible for the crane to slew longer loads beneath the crane girders – with the lifting beam still slung in place. We developed this solution, incidentally, in close cooperation with the relevant Vallourec project managers.
winter and summer shutdown periods, respectively … Kuck: … not to forget the weekends and public holidays when we were unable to work! How was this at all achievable then in the short time available? Kuck: We took care of all the start-up work – which also included the limit switch and inverter settings, for instance – in advance. To be more precise, we tried out and tested the two cranes in our works. This way we were able to hand over both cranes to the customers on schedule – to their fullest satisfaction. And when did the training of the personnel take place? Kuck: The training of the personnel took place in either case on the functionally operational crane during the first shift after the plant shutdown periods. By that point in time the experts had already carried out the accident prevention safety assessment, meaning that production was not affected for the customer despite the tight assembly schedule. Many thanks for talking to us.
You only had two weeks for the complete assembly of each of the two cranes – namely during the
Better view for the entire Group The Industrial Safety Department of
GMH ütte would like to inform all colleagues through – out the Group that there are, in the meantime, new standard safety glasses available that come with a near-vision lens segment. The lenses are of bi-focal polycarbonate design. The magnifying effect of the lower angle of view makes not only reading but also greater working precision possible –
without limiting the protection afforded against foreign particles that, in the truest sense of the word, can be a pain in the eye. The glasses of the BX Readers series are available in diopters of + 1.50, + 2.00 and + 2.50. Soft earpieces as well as three-stage adjustable temple arms and lens tilt ensure a perfect fit. The eye protection is obtainable through PSMarket Place. For more information, contact Carsten GrosseBoerding, industrial safety expert at GMH ütte, on (tel.) 05401.39-4123. vl Photo: 3M
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The right “vibes” BVV · New solutions get to the root of noise nuisance – by absorbing wheel vibrations.
usic is always noiserelated – and often not appreciated” as Wilhelm Busch once quipped. This humorous reference to music undoubtedly applies in all seriousness to rail freight traffic – especially along enclosed, ravine-like routes that create a funnelling effect, such as the Rhine Valley for instance. Along such rail lines, which are frequented by many freight wagons particularly at nights, complaints and protests from nearby residents are nothing unusual. Railway noise is also a topic in the Coalition Agreement of Germany’s new federal government. The Coalition would like the “state of the art in noise abatement to be put into practice more consistently, and noisy freight wagons to no longer be allowed to use the German rail network from 2020 onward.“ It also aims to support an EU-wide ban on the use of noisy freight wagons. The intention of this is to promote and accelerate primarily the initiated changeover from grey cast iron block brakes to composite material K or LL braking shoes (“whisper brakes) that are expected to reduce the noise level of freight wagons by 8–10 dB(A). The “block brakes” installed to date lead, namely, to a roughening of the wheel running treads - which is the cause of the particularly loud noise emitted by freight wagon wheels. Since last year, higher prices have had to be paid for freight wagons which have not as yet been retrofitted but are still used along these rail lines. The revenues serve to subsidise retrofits. From 2020 onwards, noisy freight wagons will no longer be allowed to travel through Switzerland, even. It would, of course, also be possible to fit wheel vibration absorbers to freight wagons in place of block brakes, as has been
ple that the conventional wheel vibration absorbers of Bochumer Verein are also based. The vibration amplitudes are reduced to a fraction - and correspondingly less sound energy can be emitted. Following the first development work, a number of different wheels and wheel hub-mounted absorbers were tested in collaboration with the Department for Rail Vehicles and MaterialsHandling Technology at RWTH Aachen University, for which freight wagon operator VTG organised trial runs with a test train. This involved fitting a wagon with prototype wheels and the first wheel hub-mounted
q This might also interest you: Ping-pong tactics for arriving at objectives Read on page 14
The wheel hub-mounted absorber is fixed in place in a groove in the wheel hub and acts like a disc/cup spring pressing on the wheel. It presses thirty friction elements attached to the absorber onto the wheel surface. The photo shows a part of the mounting device including a hub that is specially detachable for the trial wheel. Photo by courtesy of the GMH Group
done on ICE trains to replace disk brake systems. That would reduce the running noises of the wheels enormously. Bochumer Verein also offers freight wagon wheelsets fitted with wheel vibration absorbers, developed within the scope of the “LZarG – Leiser Zug auf realem Gleis“ (quiet train on real track) research project. But these two solutions would be too expensive for the broad mass of freight traffic because, in contrast to passenger coaches, freight wagons travel fewer kilometres. In other words, they have much longer idle times during which no money can be earned with them. This explains the high pressure of costs and the caution exercised when it comes to investments - especially given the need to remain competitive vis-à-vis freight transport on the roads. Added to this, there are technical challenges. Where block-braked wheels are concerned, lengthy braking on hill or mountain descents can lead to
temperatures of over 600 degrees Celsius on the running tread of the wheels. The temperature on an absorber, however, may only exceed around 300 degrees Celsius for a short period, because otherwise the absorption effect is diminished. A compromise is therefore being sought: a more reasonably priced and temperature-resistant solution that at the same time does not involve any major reduction in performance. One initial idea was to design a plate-shaped wheel vibration absorber, in other words a wheel hub-mounted absorber that, in a sense, “locks in” (attenuates) a part of the generated noise. That effect on its own would only be able to reduce the noise to a small degree, though, because a part of the wheel always remains visible and the level of noise it emits is thus unattenuated. It is more effective to attenuate the wheel vibrations, as those vibrations are what cause the level of noise. It is on this princi-
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absorber and sending it on a trial run. German certification requirements for rolling stock (TSI Lärm/Technical Specifications for Interoperability – Noise) stipulate that the levels of air-borne sound measured during the passing of vehicles must not exceed a given limit. The outcome of the tests was that, while a co-measured reference vehicle fitted with conventional wheels and composite braking shoes was only just able to keep within the limit, the level emitted by the absorber-attenuated wheels was 3 dB(A) less. The wheel and absorber have subsequently been developed further. The intrinsic attenuation of the wheel measured in the laboratory has meanwhile reached an order of magnitude approaching the effect of conventional wheel vibration absorbers, as well as an order of magnitude of 5–8 dB as can be expected of absorbers fitted to ICE trains. The development work has not yet been completed, but the specialists at Bochumer Verein are optimistic that they are on the right development track. Martin Fehndrich
Gear racks guarantee the necessary drive IAG Magnum · Gear rack technology: decades of experience. I N T E RV I E W Various techniques, among them the push bench process, are used to produce seamless tubes. Where the requisite push benches and their drive element are concerned, IAG Magnum offers the complete manufacture and delivery of new, ready-to-install gear racks. What this involves exactly is explained by Michael Engberding (Head of Technical Customer Service) in an interview with glückauf: glückauf: Which components are particularly important for a push bench? Michael Engberding: The drive element, which essentially comprises a gear rack and two pinion shafts. A gear rack consists of several segments and represents a very substantial investment for its user. The total length, depending on the unit, is 35 to a good 50 metres. Both the rack and the
Michael Engberding, Head of Technical Customer Service
Photos: Marcus Klimek
single-piece pinion shafts are made of alloyed forged steel. What is special about the manufacturing process? Engberding: The enclosed double helical gearing is special, which only few companies using cutting techniques are able to offer in the required high quality. As the tooling in the push bench is constantly exposed to high loads and stresses during tube production, it is subjected to relatively high wear. After a cer-
Intermeshes perfectly: double helical gearing
tain number of load cycles it has to be repaired and, after three to four periods of use, replaced completely. Why is cooperation with IAG Magnum an attractive proposition for prospective customers? Engberding: Because we offer our customers added value in a number of aspects. For instance? Engberding: The complete manufacture of all the forgings needed for a gear rack - from the making of the steel, to the forging, quenching and tempering, and finish-machining, including assembly of the accessories. This takes place entirely within the GMH Group or also with long-established, qualified partners. We support and supervise the entire manufacturing process. How long are the gear racks? Engberding: Gear racks have a total length of a good 50 metres and in modern bench plants comprise a maximum of three individual segments. We are able to supply segment lengths of up to 18 metres. This is important for minimising the number of segments and, thus, the number of joints. These are the critical locations of the overall design of a gear rack where, during contin-
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ued operation, incipient cracks can lead to failures or complete fractures. And if incipient cracking and fracturing occurs? Engberding: If a complete fracture occurs, there is only the possibility of re-manufacture. Which is why it is particularly important to inspect a gear rack after each period of use, to grind out and, if necessary, weld incipient cracks, and to repair all joints. Worn accessories are also replaced or repaired. We carry out all such work. Which customers can be counted among IAG Magnum’s clientele? Engberding: You can say all renowned seamless tube producers who use the pushbench or CPE (cross-roll piercing elongation) process, or who manufacture the plant and equipment. Does technical cooperation also come about? Engberding: It has been doing for more than two decades, and with very great success. Together with our customers we constantly optimise aspects of both design and material engineering so as to increase the service life. Many thanks for talking to us.
Goal finally achieved after a year SHB · Successful SCC certification
he workforce members of SHB Saalfelder Hebezeugbau had set themselves an ambitious goal: to demonstrate in an audit that their company complies with the health, safety and environmental protection requirements on the SCC
Hot experiment: the boot withstood the extreme pour-over test to the delight of all concerned.
Photo: Norbert Kölker
GMHütte · Melt shop is taking no chances when it comes to on-the-job safety: melters’ boots survive 1,550-degree pour-over test without detriment. I N T E RV I E W As the saying generally goes: better safe than sorry. These were also the very thoughts of the melt shop management, who conducted a pour-over test on the melters’ boots worn in the shop. Ulrich Rassfeld (melt shop) and Carsten Grosse-Börding (Industrial Safety Department) report on the outcome in an interview with glückauf: glückauf: Don’t the melters’ boots worn in the melt shop comply with the DIN standards, Mr. Rassfeld? Ulrich Rassfeld: Of course they comply with all the pertinent DIN standards. But, despite this, we do not want to leave anything to chance particularly where on-the-job safety is concerned. Which is why we decided to carry out this pourover test. We wanted to see with our own eyes whether the boot material would withstand the immense heat when exposed to molten steel.
Carsten Grosse-Börding: We are not, after all, in a cake making shop but in a steel plant where serious injuries can happen. What was the point of the pourover test? Grosse-Börding: We simply wanted to see what would happen in the worst case. What happens when molten steel splashes over the footwear. Will the boots catch fire? Will the molten steel penetrate and burn a hole through? Rassfeld: In an experimental setup we therefore poured a sampling spoon of molten steel with a temperature of 1,550 degrees Celsius over a boot, between the bootleg and instep, which is a particularly critical location. And the outcome? Rassfeld: The poured-over boot surfaces started to burn - but that is quite normal at that temperature. The moment the steel ran off the boot, the flame also went out again and the boot stopped burning. Grosse-Börding: Not even the smallest hole was burned.
That will certainly reassure all concerned.. Grosse-Börding: Our melt shop personnel and we from the Industrial Safety Department were, of course, satisfied with the outcome. Not to mention Jürgen Vrankar, the managing director of ATLAS Schuhfabrik, who supplies us with the boots. He was also present during the test. Colleagues now know they have the best possible protection. And we from the Industrial Safety Department know we have selected the right footwear. Will you be carrying out such practical tests more often? Rassfeld: We will be. Whether footwear, headwear, silverware, or protective goggles: we want to offer colleagues the best protective equipment. For this reason we will frequently be involving them in such tests. The best items are those that prove their worth in practice. There will be no euros spared in this regard, either.
checklist (SCC ** code, 2011 version). They had to prepare intensively for this for a year. The Thuringia Association for Technical Inspection (TÜV ) then put the company through its paces within the scope of a combined audit that also included a QM recertification audit to ISO 9001 . At the end of last year SHB received its certificate, which documents that the workforce meets the requirements laid down under the SCC code, and that the applicable documents comply with them. It relates to the three areas of “Assembly/Startup and Maintenance of Crane Systems”, “Components” and “Parking Systems”. SHB customers are also pleased, because now they have it more or less “officially” that the well-trained SHB personnel fulfill their orders dedicatedly, reliably and safely at all times.
Many thanks for talking to us.
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Precision in the third dimension Kranbau Köthen · Precision in the hundredth-of-a-millimetre range across production as a whole: 3D measuring system and measuring and analysis software open up a new chapter in quality assurance.
n present-day industrial enterprises, production or quality assurance is meanwhile scarcely imaginable without modern measuring aids. Until a few years ago, though, high-precision measurement tools were used almost exclusively in aircraft and automobile construction or also in precision mechanics (e.g. turbine manufacture). Nowadays such measuring equipment is to be found increasingly in heavy industry, in shipbuilding, and in various other industry sectors. Kranbau Köthen is taking the same approach by using 3D measuring technology from Leica in combination with measuring and analysis software from Spatial Analyzer (SA software). Produced in Köthen are special-purpose cranes which are designed for highly dynamic applications, operate under extreme temperature conditions, and are adapted specially to customer requirements. The task facing the company involves implementing a quality assurance system that, with the aid of 3D measuring technology, ensures “precision manufacture” through monitoring of the components as well as better verification of, and compliance with, the required tolerances from the outset - from cutting-to-size, to prefabrication and manufacture, to installation. This is expected to minimise measuring, construction and adaptation work, and streamline and improve entire manufacturing processes. The ultimate aim is to thus shorten the project lead times in production and create the basis for a higher throughput. The box girders (main, secondary and end carriages) take on special importance in the prefabrication of the individual component assemblies. Logistically and from the viewpoint of handling, the heavyweight components pose the challenge of being physically put in place, aligned, measured off to exact length and joined to one another with millimetre precision. Using the 3D measuring technology and SA software in combination with geodetic approaches, it is possible to achieve an integrated manufacturing process as early as the prefabrication stage. “Integrated” means that, from 3D design, to cutting to size, assembly and welding, to delivery and installation of the finished product, the individual process steps intermesh and are dovetailed with one another – and are supported metrologically and analytically from the start. At the prefabrication stage the weldments already undergo zero point measurement in the CAD system as well as adjustment and “best fit” preparation without any labori-
Photo by courtesy of the GMH Group
5-girder bridge crane in the assembly workshop
ous assembly work. Elements needed for the spatial construction of the crane (e.g. trestles and supports) can also be taken precisely into account with the actual manufacturing tolerances in the CAD system, adapted in the shop, and positioned for the construction operation. The 3D measuring technology and SA software were selected not only because they provide the capability to measure large objects with few relevant points in real time. The decision in favour of this system was also based on its compact size, as it frequently has to be transported. The domains in which it is used are, after all, very diverse (mounting and preparation work – measurement of cyclical operations – or status assessments of work processes and their impacts). Other advantages include: The mobile measuring system is set up and ready for use within a few minutes. The laser tracker unit has already proved its worth particularly in measuring the shape and position tolerances of end carriages and box girders. The laser tracker unit can also carry out vertical up- or downward measurements, thus also permitting its use in close proximity to components in confined environments
and, as a result, measurements almost anywhere. Its greatest advantage is contactless measurement online in direct comparison with the CAD model. The system is accurate to within hundredths of a millimetre. The measuring process can be interrupted and repeated at any time by plotting-in the reference points (repeat measurements of components in need of monitoring, or deformation analyses). The equipment is IP54-certified and therefore extremely robust for use on the shop floor, in disassembly and installation work, and for the start-up of cranes. The SA software includes a so-called “postprocessing” feature, thus offering the capability to transform accumulated amounts of data into intelligible display formats and to transfer them to suitable measuring records for documentation purposes. Procurement of the laser-based measuring system has enabled Kranbau Köthen to extend and upgrade its quality management and in-process inspection arrangements.
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The geodetic network C
onstant comparison of the nominal design with the actual manufactured size of a component is indispensable for the manufacturing process from a measuring and surveying perspective. Special conditions as well as stateof-the-art measuring and analysis methods are required to be able to measure up elongated, voluminous components (box girders, end carriages) and highly precise geometries (gauges, lintel beams) homogeneously and comprehensively with the necessary accuracy. Because of the architectural situation of the assembly workshop at Kranbau Köthen (solid subsoil, massive supporting pillars) it was necessary, after many intensive discussions between the company management, production and design departments, and soft- and hardware firms, to enter unchartered territory from both a surveying and a manufacturing point of view. Serving as a basis when carrying out measurements is a homogeneously adjusted, threedimensional network of fiducial points (Fig. 1) that at the present time comprises 86 such points. The requirements to be met by the geodetic network include: The points must be selected so as to be easy to aim for (pillar corners, end faces, retractable ground points), so that at least four points are ensured at any location within the shop to determine a position. These points must be stable (35 mm drive-in sleeves in prepared cored holes) (Fig. 2). The network must be optimally configured from the perspective of the theory of errors (“best fit“). The fiducial points have been linked together through classical geodetic distance and angle measurement to form a network. The use of special maintenance software has made it possible to read out unprocessed data from the instrument and thus take account of unadulterated raw data in the adjustment. The network has been adjusted homogeneously, threedimensionally and without constraints. The functional and stochastic methods of network adjustment have achieved a network point accuracy that makes it possible to position the measuring instrument reliably at any desired location in the shop with a precision of 0.2 mm.
The somewhat “other view” of manufacturing: the 86 measuring points stably anchored in the shop have been linked together through classical geodetic distance and angle measurement to create a geodetic network.
Source: VMT GmbH
Practical experience gained with the network has confirmed predictions and shows that the expected positioning accuracy is achieved. To observe any settlement and drift movements of the shop, a check measurement of the network has to take place in which further points should be added so as to improve availability yet again. The individual components of a crane can, irrespective of their location in the assembly workshop, be joined together virtually in the analysis programme in which the three-dimensional design model is stored. This dispenses with the laborious and time-intensive reciprocal iterative alignment of components - for example, for the purpose of measuring off box girder ends to precise length. The process requires a special set of measuring and surveying instruments, special-purpose analysis software, and well-trained personnel. Where the instruments are concerned, a Leica-built Absolute Tracker is used which, as a
mobile and compact piece of equipment, permits the highest accuracy also over lengthy distances of up to 100 m (absolute angle accuracy: 0.07 arc-seconds; absolute distance accuracy: 0.000.1 mm). The equipment is therefore suitable not only for stationary use in the assembly workshop, but also for mobile applications on customers’ premises (e.g. assembly, servicing and maintenance work). Numerous special accessories provide the capability to conduct measurements even in difficult-to-access component locations. The 3D analysis software makes it possible to carry out a feature-based comparison of measured points and geometries with the nominal values of the design model in more or less real time and to document any deviations. To use this system to optimise work processes, it is necessary to have extensive steel construction know-how in addition to knowledge of measuring and surveying methods. Rudolf Wehmeyer
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Legal eavesdropping Geissler · You need finely tuned hearing to detect compressed air leakages.
“A really good idea!” MWL · This year‘s summer in Brazil was
in a class of its own! We had over 35 degrees Celsius by day. And, at night, things didn‘t cool down below 27 degrees. It was the hottest and driest summer for decades. Normal, day-to-day thunderstorms were almost completely off the agenda. We all suffered under the heat. Then I had an idea on how we might bring about a ‘wind of change‘: I replaced the old window latches in the workshop with a new system of levers that I developed and made myself. It is much simpler to use and safer than the old one. Our managing director, Mr. Geissler, rewarded me for this with a shopping voucher and encouraged my colleagues to also come up with ideas to address ergonomic, health and on-the-job safety issues.
Do you hear a whistling sound? Trainees Waldemar Donis (wearing headphones) and Tomasz Depta listening-in for leakages. Photo by courtesy of the GMH Group
very Friday, a major eavesdropping operation is initiated at Heinrich Geissler in Witten. Equipped with ultrasonic detector unit and headphones, two trainees patrol the shopfloor with perked ears, listening-in for previously undetected compressed air leakages. Heinrich Geissler is a company with a long tradition in the steel industry. Steel has been worked and machined since 1903 at the Witten site, for which considerable amounts of compressed air are used. It is therefore all the more important that the compressed air, which is a source of energy, remains where it belongs - in the plant, equipment and systems, because leakages can incur significant costs. “From my previous fields of work I know how much money a company can lose if compressed air leakages go undetected and uncorrected,“ says Jean Frédéric Castagnet, technical manager since 2010. A technician with extensive knowledge of the industry, he is aware that most companies pay a lot of attention to energy saving - and frequently neglect compressed air in doing so. But not only he knows that, particularly in this field, a lot of energy is “whistled away“ in the truest sense of the word. “Given the noise on the shopfloor“, explains Waldemar Donis, “the personnel fail at all to hear the whistling noises that compressed air leakages make.“ The 22 year-old is in the process of completing his second year of training at Geissler and, together with Tomacz Depta (19), forms the “eaves-
dropping” team. Equipped with specially procured ultrasonic detectors, they scour the shopfloor and shipping department on a weekly basis. “We find leaky locations in all the plant and equipment. Often they are old couplings or valves, worn-out mechanisms or threads“, explains Depta. Anything that whistles is carefully documented and photographed. The maintenance personnel then know at which locations exactly they have to set to work. Jean Frédéric Castagnet sees a great many benefits in the “eavesdropping activity“ of his young trainees. “We save money, and the trainees get to know every inch and corner of the shopfloor. What’s more, young people hear the extremely high-pitched tones that compressed air leakages produce, and hear far better than older employees.“ Not forgetting the fun that the two have when they do their rounds. Incidentally: Heinrich Geissler is currently taking part in the OEKOPROFIT project in the Ennepe-Kreis region – and is doing so even though it has already been successfully certified to environmental management standard 14.001. For Castagnet, it is clear that such commitment will nevertheless pay off for the company. “We are looking to share ideas and experiences, and are seeking savings potentials - in other words, specific tips and advice that we haven’t thought of yet ourselves“. Britta Worms
Profile name: Jobair Rodrigue Age: 56 years old Job: Toolmaker
STATUS: Married, two children hobby: Travel
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“Please work more carefully!” GMHütte · An accident involving a serious foot injury made Dirk Ballmann particularly sensitive to the subject of health and safety at work. He is now a safety officer in the finishing shop. I N T E RV I E W Safety officers have to be particularly highly motivated. After all, they take on this task voluntarily – and give themselves a lot of extra work as a consequence. In this glückauf interview Vera Loose and Markus Beckmann (Industrial Safety) find out why Dirk Ballmann recently took on this job in the finishing shop. glückauf: You are the new health and safety officer at GMHütte. Where do you work, Mr Ballmann? Dirk Ballmann: In the finishing shop. I have been working there since 2011. I used to work for WBO and was hired out to GMH ütte on a temporary employment basis. There I received an offer of a regular employment contract and, on 1 April 2011, I began my job at GMH ütte. I was absolutely delighted finally to have a permanent employment contract and euphoric about my work. But tragically your euphoria quickly came to an abrupt end. How did that happen? Ballmann: I was working in the loading area in bay 12 as a forwarder – and that’s where it happened. We were just singling out double coils deposited on wagons. A supporting block broke and one coil slipped. It hit me and knocked me over. I injured my ankle badly. How did this accident change your life? Ballmann: Despite several operations, I still cannot move my foot properly. It is no longer possible for me to work in the loading area. Luckily I got the opportunity to work in quality assurance in the finishing shop. How did you become a safety officer? Ballmann: It was last year in autumn. At one of the regular quar-
ways give safety offices free time to attend information events, site inspections and safety committee meetings. Soon I will be attending my first course, “Safety Officer Part 1”. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m open to new ideas and am very much looking forward to the exchange with colleagues from other companies.
ter-hour discussions, the film “Friends” was presented to us. It draws attention to incorrect behaviour and occupational safety hazards. This
Nothing will happen to me, with all my experience I’ll be ok’ – we have to stop thinking in these terms.
film made me feel quite emotional because it reflected my own terrible experience. Then they were New safety officer Dirk Ballmann at work – wearing his own, personal protective clothing, of course. Photo: vl looking for a new safety officer for our What wish would you like to comopportunity to process my own shift. I spontaneously offered to municate to your colleagues? experiences. take on the job. Ballmann: I’d like them to take my proposals seriously and What is your aim? How do you see your work as safety develop more respect for the Ballmann: It’s quite simple: no officer? dangers which are lurking eveaccidents. In the finishing shop Ballmann: I would like to be a rywhere and which confront we do a lot in this respect. We point of contact and serve as have regular instruction sessions, us every day. Please work more a link between colleagues and quarter-hourly discussions once a carefully! management, and I want to pass month, postings, inspections, to on my experience to colleagues Is there anything else you would like name just a few of the measures. and help to make them more to get off your chest in this connecNevertheless the human dimenaware of safety requirements. tion? sion remains. Simple work proThis is why I draw colleagues’ Ballmann: Colleagues should cesses and routine tend to make attention to the risks involved people negligent, and this is why realise the full impact of safety: when they behave incorrectly, “Occupational safety is more imfail to exercise the necessary care a lot of accidents happen. The attitude “Nothing will happen to portant than production. Nothin their work, do not wear proing is worth the risk of injury!” me. With all my experience, I’ll tective goggles or are negligent It’s always possible to take two be ok. I’ve done it so often bein some other way. Furthermore minutes’ time in the interest of fore.” We have to stop thinking I take part in safety events and safety – without production havin these terms. visits. ing to suffer as a consequence. Key figures of recent years proWhat motivated you to take on this Do the colleagues respond to your vide clear evidence of this. And it tips and improvement suggestions? additional task? doesn’t cost anything to change Ballmann: Some of them tend to Ballmann: Since my own acciyour own conduct! be rather resistant to my advice, dent I have become much more but the majority accept it quite aware of potential accident risks. Thank you for talking to us. willingly. And I want to protect my colleagues. Safe working is someHow does the company support you thing which is very important in this context? to me. One moment of absentBallmann: Cooperation with the mindedness – and your whole foreman is excellent. He always life – including your private life takes the necessary time when – can change. I believe a lot of we have something important to people are simply not aware of discuss. And the management althis. In addition, it gives me an
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Four under one roof Pleissner Guss · New management system
he certification history of Pleissner Guss is similar to that of numerous companies: many years ago, it started with a quality management system certified to ISO 9001 , and gradually other areas followed - in the present case an environmental management system certified to ISO 14001 , welding quality requirements to ISO 3834 and, lastly, energy management to ISO 50001 . By then, at the latest, the point had been reached where it was time to say goodbye to the four systems which, for the most part, had operated side by side. It was more practical to consolidate all the systems in one lean Inte-
grated Management System - so as to work more efficiently in future. At Pleissner Guss the go-ahead was given in the autumn of 2013. This not only meant rigorous scrutiny of all the processes. The method of presentation also required rejuvenation. After definition of the process steps, a start was made to describe the core processes afresh and to present them in a graphic system as a flow diagram. This diagram offers many advantages. Instead of reading lengthy texts, the personnel are able to take in the process sequence optically at a glance and identify interdependencies
within the processes more easily. An added factor is that, normally, processes span more than one department. If the departments concerned communicate too
Would you have known?
An Integrated Management System consolidates, in one uniform structure, methods and tools for complying with standards and legal requirements pertaining to different areas. These areas include quality, environmental protection, occupational health, energy, and safety.
An internship in Germany Walter Hundhausen · From Milton Keynes to Schwerte an der Ruhr
t the end of January, 18-yearold Jaqueline Prempeh from Denbigh School in Milton Keynes (Great Britain) – the twin town of Schwerte an der Ruhr – completed a five-day internship in the Human Resources Department of Walter Hundhausen. The background to this is that Denbigh School and Schwerte Comprehensive School have been exchanging pupils and internees regularly for 22 years. What is special about the exchange is that young people from both countries not only have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of the foreign language in a practical context and to get to know the other country and people – they can also obtain an insight into the working world of the other country. One of the companies involved in the project in Germany is Walter Hundhausen, which has been co-operating very successfully with Schwerte Comprehensive School for many years.
Official documentation of her overseas experience: Jaqueline Prempeh from Milton Keynes proudly receives her “internship certificate” from Human Resources Manager Norbert Hemsing. Photo by courtesy of the GMH Group
The driving force and organiser on the British side is English teacher, Judith Heinemann, who has been married to a German
engineer from Schwerte for over twenty years. She is instrumental in promoting the school cooperation and, together with her
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little with one another, information is then lost, or processes become disrupted. The diagram shows new personnel, or those with new tasks and responsibilities, where the interfaces lie. Pleissner Guss has meanwhile recorded, made descriptions of and presented the core processes almost in their entirety. Work is currently underway to describe the supporting processes. Once the process descriptions have been completed, the training of the personnel will commence in the spring. The workforce is, after all, also expected to embrace the new system 100 percent. This project is being mentored by Maike Suethoff from goING GmbH & Co. KG, Aachen. The new Integrated Management System is to demonstrate its capabilities for the first time during the next ISO compliance audit in November. li
German colleagues, she also organises accommodation for the pupils in the guest families. Jaqueline Prempeh’s parents come from Ghana but she was born in Germany, where she also lived and went to school until she was 13 years of age. She therefore speaks perfect German. In the meantime she feels at home in Great Britain. The only fly in the ointment – she likes the sweets in Germany better than the British ones! Her very good knowledge of German enabled her to gain maximum benefit from her internship in the “Human Resources” department. Her true passion, however, is the “world of figures”. She would like to get a scholarship from international auditing company Deloitte to study statistics and economic sciences. With a “1” in mathematics – or “A”, as the British say – her chances of getting the scholarship are pretty good. Furthermore, Jaqueline attended legal proceedings at the Regional Labour Court in Hamm. This gave her the opportunity to observe that judges there, in contrast to their British counterparts, do not wear white wigs. nh
Team sport in conjunction with the Fanshop The GMH Fanshop fulfils (almost) every wish The GMH Fanshop helps whenever possible. After all, our motto is: Together – with each other – for each other. • Does your company have an in-house sports team which requires a team kit? Regardless of whether sports are played exclusively in-house or your team takes part in public cycling, running or fitness events, we have it covered. We make sure that your employees look their best and represent your company in optimum style - with sports clothing in a corporate design look. We offer functional and high-quality team outfits, including flocking or embroidery. Because don’t forget that an optimum outfit improves the chances of success in a competition. The example of our team sports package illustrated here can be obtained from the Fanshop. • Are you looking for an item that the GMH Fanshop doesn’t stock? No problem: we can order the article you need. Or we will help you to find an alternative - on a fast, flexible and individual basis. • Would you like to show your employees items from the GMH Fanshop? We can provide you with a sample for your Fanshop. On request we can also send you a copy of our latest GMH Fanshop flyer as a printable PDF or by post. Please address all enquiries to: email@example.com. Kirsten Schmidt
Only the best for our young offspring! Now available from the Fanshop: decorative baby romper suits made of soft high-quality cotton, in a choice of red and white stripes or blue and white stripes, flocked with “GMH Group”. In sizes 3-6, 6-12 or 12-18 months.
Masthead Publisher: Georgsmarienhütte Holding GmbH Neue Hüttenstraße 1 49124 Georgsmarienhütte www.gmh-holding.de/uk/ Responsible in accordance with press law: Iris-Kathrin Wilckens Translations: Carol Hogg, Michael Snowley Design: elemente designagentur, Münster
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