Manufacturing Today Europe issue 123 December 2015

Page 1

BEST PRACTICES FOR INDUSTRY LEADERS

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

today

Sixty

minutes How manufacturers could meet the demands for same day and even one-hour delivery

Also in this issue:

IP Protection Supply chain resilience Customer-centricity

Motivation in the workplace Outgrowing IT systems

EUROPE

123 December

MANUFACTURING



Editor’s Comment

Editor Libbie Hammond

Site for sore

eyes

Art Editor/Design David Howard Studio Assistant Barnaby Schofield Staff Writers Jo Cooper Andrew Dann Ben Clark Production Manager Fleur Daniels Production studio@schofieldpublishing.co.uk Advertising Administrator Tracy Chynoweth studio@schofieldpublishing.co.uk

Business Development Director David Garner Operations Director Philip Monument Editorial Researchers Laura Thompson Jeff Goldenberg Mark Cowles Tarj D’Silva

libbie@schofieldpublishing.co.uk

MANUFACTURING

123 December

Advertising Sales Joe Woolsgrove - Sales Director Tim Eakins Dave King Darren Jolliffe Mark Cawston Emma Kerton Andy Ellis

W

hile this issue of MTE has some great features that I am keen for you to discover, firstly I must invite you to visit our new look website. We’ve had a slight change to the URL so please visit www.manufacturing-today-europe.com where you will find a new website, with a nice clean design, simple navigation and easy access to our old archives of company profiles, features and news. I think that the new look, in tandem with our digital issues and our glossy hard copy magazine combine to make MTE a very attractive platform for your stories – if you’d like to be featured, please get in touch.

Subscriptions ikidd@schofieldpublishing.co.uk

BEST PRACTICES FOR INDUSTRY LEADERS

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

today

EUROPE

Chairman Andrew Schofield

Follow us at: @MTE_magazine

Sixty

minutes How manufacturers could meet the demands for same day and even one-hour delivery

Schofield Publishing

Cringleford Business Centre, 10 Intwood Road, Cringleford, Norwich, NR4 6AU, U.K. Tel: 044 (0)1603 274130 Fax: 044 (0)1603 274131 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

Also in this issue:

IP Protection Supply chain resilience Customer-centricity

Motivation in the workplace Outgrowing IT systems

©2015 Schofield Publishing Ltd Please note: The opinions expressed by contributors and adver tisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effor t is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the proper ty of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 1


Features

6 Resilient to risk 4 News Updates and announcements from the manufacturing arena

12 Keeping a secret

6 Resilient to risk

14 How to keep your customers

The best-prepared companies will strive to make, and keep, their supply chains collaborative and agile

How to be more customer-centric and the importance of putting the customer at the heart of what you do

8 Motivation for the future

16 Sixty minutes

The advantages of apprenticeships and how they can help to motivate both new employees and existing staff

The technology exists to make one hour delivery happen, which means it is only a matter of time before it happens

10 Making the most of IT How manufacturing businesses can tell if they have outgrown their IT infrastructure

8 Motivation for the future

2 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

12 Keeping a secret Effective intellectual property in an increasingly collaborative world

16 Sixty minutes


CONTENTS

Profiles

20 Kentec Electronics

20 Kentec Electronics 25 Husqvarna Group 31 Joseph Clayton & Sons 34 Arc Specialist Engineering Ltd 36 EWS Ltd 38 Toolspec Manufacturing Company 41 Cooper Coated Coil 44 Mini Gears 48 Reifen Hinghaus 51 Gooch & Housego

54 Tetronics International

62 Elddis

54 Tetronics International 84 MAJA-Mรถbelwerk GmbH 59 Aqualisa 86 Bosch 62 Elddis 88 Zollern 65 Ardagh Group 68 James Dewhurst Ltd 68 James Dewhurst Ltd 71 Bema Kunstsoffen 74 Wax Lyrical 78 SML Maschinengesellsellschaft 82 Engro Polymer & Chemicals

74 Wax Lyrical www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 3


New operation launched Yusen Logistics has launched a new operation for the storage and distribution of dangerous goods at its Duisburg facility in Germany. The site is now equipped to carry out warehousing, trans-shipping and picking operations for dangerous goods. Investing nearly two million euros, the launch is part of an extensive expansion for Yusen, adding significantly to its services in the storage of dangerous goods. The site is fitted with a gaswarning automatic air ventilation system and features three fire zones, each with state-of-the-art fire extinguishing equipment and fire protection alarm systems. The largest of the three fire zones is safeguarded by a rack sprinkler system with a foam additive. The remaining two fire zones are each rigged with a unique location based light-foam-extinguishing system. The facility is fully bunded; designed to act as a ‘collection pan’ with a leakage, water and fire-retaining basin. It is licensed for water pollution grades 1 to 3. Mario Cavallucci, MD of Yusen Logistics Germany, said: “The new operation responds to the growing demand for dangerous goods logistics and is an integral part of our future strategy. Through this opening, Yusen aims to ensure that its customers receive the highest quality of service in the dangerous goods sector.”

New £1 million slitting line Capital Coated Steel has completed the commissioning of its new £1 million light gauge slitting line which will significantly increase capacity at the company’s new production base at Wattsville, Newport, South Wales. Manufactured by Red Bud Industries of Illinois, US, which also assisted in the installation of the new line, the machine is capable of slitting 300 metres of coated steel a minute and over 500 tonnes a day. Its purchase is part of a £3.5 million investment made by the company in re-locating from its former base in Cardiff to the significantly larger new ¼ mile long facility at the former Tata Steel plant, which closed in 2014. Already the largest independent specialist distributor of pre-coated steel in Europe, Capital Coated Steel processes over 70,000 tonnes of coated steel annually. It estimates that its latest investment will see a doubling of production, propelling turnover to over £40 million in its first year on site. Gary Hunt, Managing Director of Capital Coated Steel, whose father John founded the company in 1972 said: “This is easily the largest single investment in new plant in our 40 year history. We are pleased to have received financial support from the Welsh Government, which clearly sees the economic benefit in the new jobs we are bringing to the Gwent valleys. It also demonstrates our confidence in fulfilling market growth opportunities for our output both in the UK and worldwide.”

Fear of fat The UK has been dubbed the ‘fat man of Europe’ and it seems working from home could be contributing to our expanding waistlines. Almost a third of the UK’s manufacturing & production professionals say that they fear getting fat due to the temptation to snack more when working from home compared to working in an office environment. The research by global workplace provider Regus canvassed the opinions of more than 4000 business people across the UK. The findings suggest that the solitude associated with working at home, coupled with ready accessibility to fridge, cupboard and larder, leads to more munching during the day. Richard Morris, Regus UK CEO, comments: “Working from home is different to working from a purposebuilt, flexible workspace. The temptation to snack is just one of several distractions that can affect homeworkers. Working from home makes it easy to reach for a doughnut whilst still in your pyjamas. This look is not so popular in a workspace surrounded by professional peers!”

4 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

Supply chain and logistics vacancies up The number of supply and logistics vacancies advertised across the UK has grown by 25 per cent in the third quarter of 2015 compared to the same time last year, as the growing UK economy has sparked demand for professionals to support business expansion. The figures, taken from the Robert Walters UK Jobs Index, show that supply chain professionals saw the highest growth in demand for their skills in London and the South East with vacancies up 36 per cent and more steady but still significant growth of 11 per cent in the North West. Neil Morgan, Manager, Supply Chain recruitment, comments: “The importance of supply chain professionals to support business growth is becoming more widely recognised, and employers looking to grow their operations to take advantage of the UK’s economic growth are looking to increase their headcount in this discipline. “In particular, we have seen high demand for category specialists in procurement, people with F and OP and demand manage experience and logistics professionals at the mid to senior level.” He added: “The fact that we have seen significant growth from the second to third quarter is particularly encouraging. While the summer usually represents a slow time for recruitment on both the employer and candidate sides, it is evident that businesses are in a race to increase headcount in supply chain teams to take advantage of the opportunities for growth afforded by the improving economic outlook.”


MANUFACTURING NEWS

Happy workforce is top criteria A happy workforce is the most important criteria of business success for just under a fifth of small and medium sized firms in the manufacturing sector, according to the latest research from Close Brothers Asset Finance. The Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey of UK SME owners and senior management from a range of sectors, also revealed that just under half of firms in the manufacturing sector are looking to take on more staff over the next 12 months, with over three quarters of these new hires to be taken on as permanent staff members. Commenting on the figures, Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “It is great to see firms taking on more permanent staff and believing that a happy workforce is the key driver of success throughout the business.” The results also revealed that firms in the manufacturing sector believe profitability (16 per cent) is key in determining business success. Mike added: “Our figures clearly show that firms in the manufacturing sector are aware of the positive effects a happy workforce can have on a business and are looking to grow and expand their workforce. During growth, it is vital for these firms to have the appropriate plans in place and funding options to equal their growing workforce.”

Partners in lean Predictive analytics provider Warwick Analytics has partnered with GELRAD, a leading provider of business improvement and Lean Six Sigma consulting services. The partnership will add enhanced analytical capability to the typical data-intensive processes in Lean Six Sigma projects. The integrated approach will rapidly resolve problems in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, as well as many other sectors. Dan Somers, CEO of Warwick Analytics explains: “Lean Six Sigma type problems are typically resolved by applying an analytical framework and harnessing domain knowledge to generate appropriate datasets, which are used in statistical packages like Minitab to figure out root causes by confirming hypotheses. “This is a tried and tested approach and has resolved many issues since it was invented within Motorola several decades ago. However the landscape is changing and there are challenges going forward with the increase in big data and the complexity of new products and processes. It is more difficult to quickly identify, cleanse and transform datasets to test hypotheses, and it can introduce biases. For these new challenges, new technology is needed to support rapid problem solving.” Dave Hauff, Director of GELRAD Europe, says: “The technology from Warwick Analytics doesn’t need pre-determined hypotheses or the cleansing of data. It can work with any sized dataset and will rapidly pinpoint the root causes and possible solutions, which can be deployed within a Lean Six Sigma framework. “We are really excited to be bringing such advanced technology to our customers. The Warwick Analytics tools complement a traditional Lean Six Sigma approach. They also enable us to answer questions we couldn’t answer before. We would previously have had to significantly reduce large datasets to make them able to be analysed. Together, we will be better at identifying issues, performing analyses, and solving business problems.”

£8.7 billion Digital Opportunity Virgin Media Business, the arm of Virgin Media that provides products and services to UK businesses, has released a major research report (The UK’s £92 billion Digital Opportunity) from Oxford Economics that outlines the huge potential of digital technologies to boost manufacturing companies. The report was compiled by Oxford Economics, following interviews with senior executives at over 1000 UK-based companies who together represent 470,000 workers. One hundred and twenty two companies from the manufacturing sector took part in the survey. When examining the impact of digital capabilities on their business, manufacturing companies said that they increased their revenues by 3.2 per cent in the past year. Looking at the next two years, manufacturing companies are optimistic about the potential of digital to continue to drive growth. While digital is expected to result in some job losses (approximately 51,000 jobs from manufacturing companies), 38 per cent of manufacturing businesses expect no jobs at all to become obsolete from the increasing use of digital. Overall, expected job losses are far outweighed by the number of employees companies anticipate hiring as a direct result of digital investments, which aggregated across the sector are expected to total 98,000 new jobs. When it comes to growth, if all manufacturing companies had access to the best digital capabilities available, the economy could be boosted by a further £8.7 billion per year. The research also found that 19 per cent of companies in the manufacturing sector are Digital Leaders – defined as those firms who are prioritising investment in a broad range of digital capabilities: technology infrastructure, digital workforce, digital information, digital strategy and leadership, open and collaborative partnerships and digital customer engagements. Digital Leaders as a whole are more profitable, faster growing and more confident in their ability to compete than other businesses. While on average Digital Leaders don’t spend any more money on technology than other firms, they spend it more wisely and achieve better results.

44

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 5


Resilient to

risk

When disaster strikes, strength in supplier networks helps businesses take action. By Kurt Cavano

The financial turmoil in Greece will have caused businesses reliant on Greece’s exporting community to assess their level of exposure and, in some cases, look to alternative sources to counteract the risk of an impact on supply

U

nforeseen events can have a devastating impact on supply chains, sending companies into a spin as they work to keep production going and supplies moving in the face of difficult circumstances. Disruptive events come in many forms. The financial turmoil in Greece will have caused businesses reliant on Greece’s exporting community to assess their level of exposure and, in some cases, look to alternative sources to counteract the risk of an impact on supply. The devastating explosion in the Chinese port of Tianjin resulted in goods lost and frozen shipping. Faced with such disasters that throw supply chains into disarray, companies scramble to assess impact, replace supplies and re-route, often at considerable cost. Companies understand the risks around supply chain disruption and put time, effort and resource into plans to assure supply in the face of a crisis. Unfortunately, the exact nature of a disaster is impossible to predict and, in the event of one occurring managing the problem isn’t always as slick as businesses would like. It often comes down to shuffling papers, scouring Excel spreadsheets and calling trading partners one by one in an effort to determine the best course of action. Through this process, business leaders often discover that an accurate view of current inventory, production, and availability of alternative transportation providers and suppliers is hard to come by quickly. The cost of such a reactive approach to disaster can be greater than the potential lost revenue. The most effective mitigation against supply chain risk is to have a supply chain management system and processes that allow businesses to be agile, transparent and collaborative when working with trading partners and service providers. As well as understanding the processes in their own plants, manufacturers need to understand all the processes that their outsourced manufacturers and suppliers go through if they are to have a predictable outcome of supply. A starting point when considering how to mitigate the impact of supply chain disruption is to consider the following points: 1. Get networked – companies are interdependent on their partners, suppliers and customers. Those with the most connected and informed network will have the most effective contingency plan and lose

6 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Supply chain

Kurt Cavano Kurt Cavano is founder and chief strategy officer at GT Nexus. GT Nexus, an Infor company, operates the world’s largest cloud-based business network and execution platform for global trade and supply chain management. Over 25,000 businesses across industry verticals, including adidas Group, Caterpillar, Columbia Sportswear, DHL, Levi Strauss & Co. and Sears share GT Nexus as their standard, multi-enterprise collaboration platform. wwwgtnexus.com

the least from disruption. Cloud technology can optimise the way this network functions. Often vast and international, supply chains where partners pool their data gain the benefit of all parties being updated on changes, progress and events in real-time. Through a cloud platform a company can handle supply chain disasters by executing its plan with the help of others on the network. 2. Collaborate for greater visibility – in the past, companies relied on in-house legacy software to store information about their supply chains. However, these systems were not designed to manage data outside the four walls of a single company. One of the most important factors today in dealing with supply chain risk is the ability to share information collaboratively with outside partners. Tapping into a common, unified source of information, a company can make quick decisions when the pressure is on – having information in the right format, at the right time is central to making the best decisions for the benefit of the business. 3. Keep communicating – supply chain risk mitigation starts well before disaster hits. It’s

true that each disaster is different and required actions and solutions are likely to be different each time too, but there’s still no excuse for not thinking ahead and preparing. Plans will have limited benefit if they’re contained intra-company. Prepared companies know this, and communicate with their supply chain partners on potential risks and contingency plans. A company looking to strengthen its planning process should begin by assessing its environment and addressing possible threats to supply chain excellence well before a disaster strikes. 4. Assess suppliers with contingency in mind – in the procurement phase companies have a chance to evaluate possible providers based on different scenarios and should assess pricing and routes in the context of a possible major disruption. While a bid typically asks for prices from carriers based on estimated demand and allocation, those numbers won’t be sufficient to create a contingency plan. Companies that run complex ‘what-if ’ scenarios can decide if a seemingly low-cost carrier is worth it under more precarious circumstances. 5. Continuous assessment to keep

improving – best practice dictates that partner performance levels should be continuously monitored and evaluated – this allows for a continually improved supply chain and a strong network of vetted partners to provide support when it’s needed the most. Supply chain disruptions are unavoidable – but the operational and financial havoc wreaked by them needn’t be. Companies that make technology work for them stand the best chance of being prepared to deal with supply chain risk. Globalisation and the concept of a lean supply chain exposes companies to more risk from major disasters than ever, so businesses are searching for the most effective way of planning for, and acting on, problems when they arise. The price they can pay for not doing so is a heavy one – their reputation and bottom line. Natural disasters, extreme weather, political conflict, sudden demand shocks and export/import restrictions will continue to test those in the supply chain business. The bestprepared companies will strive to make, and keep, their supply chain collaborative and agile, and therefore more resilient to risk. n

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 7


Motivation for the

future

Rachael Fidler discusses the advantages Apprenticeships offer businesses and explains the framework they provide for the development of staff at all levels of an organisation

R

egardless of the size or your organisation, or the sector you operate in, continuous improvement in efficiency, productivity and employee engagement is critical to success. One of the most effective ways of attracting, harnessing and motivating talent to improve business performance is through initial training and continuous development of staff at every level of the organisation. The Apprenticeship Framework provides the perfect model to recruit and train new staff and offers a structured, accredited career pathway for the existing workforce. The business benefits of improving knowledge, skills, confidence of individuals through the Apprenticeship programme include:

8 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Motivated workforce

•Cost effective recruitment •Development of a well-trained, well- motivated workforce

•Help with the costs of training •Increased productivity through better trained staff Improved business performance The opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to staff development Great way of giving responsibility to members of staff to mentor new trainees

• • •

Earlier this year, the Government gave their commitment to Apprenticeships by setting an ambitious target to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020. In the 2015 Summer Budget the Government set out plans to introduce a levy on large employers to create a fund supporting apprenticeships however, much of this detail has yet to be finalised and the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) in the autumn will determine the allocation of funds for the delivery of Further Education and skills in England. For some time now employers from every industry have been participating in groups known as ‘Trailblazers’ working alongside awarding bodies and training providers to review the Apprenticeship standards and assessment methods in their sector to ensure levels, content and outcomes are matched to the needs of employers. New funding approaches are currently being trialled for the updated Apprenticeship Frameworks giving employers greater control over spending on training delivery.

So what is an Apprenticeship? An apprenticeship is a real job – with training – where the Apprentice achieves a set of qualifications including a competency based qualification (formerly an NVQ), a technical certificate to prove their knowledge, and other skills including Maths, English and ICT. Apprenticeships are available at different levels: Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) Higher Apprenticeship (Levels 4 -7)

• • •

The majority of people embark on an Intermediate Apprenticeship before progressing to an Advanced Apprenticeships that are linked to the skills and knowledge required to progress to the next level of the organisation such as supervisor or manager. Higher Apprenticeships offer a great alternative to further and higher education to develop the skills needed in more senior roles. Statistics from the National Apprenticeship Service show that 80 per cent of employers say that their apprentices make their workplace more productive and 92 per cent of organisations believe apprenticeships lead to a more motivated

and satisfied workforce. No wonder that an increasing number of businesses are offering apprenticeships. Whilst an apprenticeship enables staff to develop and meet or exceed a set of clear standards, Apprenticeships are a long-term commitment which require finance and time. On average an apprenticeship programme takes between 12–18 months, enabling participants to develop their knowledge, competence, literacy, numeracy and ICT skills relevant to the needs of the sector and individual business. However, using the apprenticeship framework to design and deliver a matrix of training and development, which is delivered in the workplace will provide organisations with a practical solution to increase their employees’ skills, knowledge, commitment and motivation. Introducing this structure also leads to improved performance and assists succession planning ensuring operational effectiveness within budget restraints. In addition staff become more motivated as they receive nationally recognised qualifications providing them with improved career prospects and job satisfaction.

that meets expected outcomes

•Regular meetings with you and each learner

to review progress, provide training, support and feedback on achievements Training Consultants who set high professional standards, are committed to the promotion of learning and are competent and well qualified in their subject/vocational area Opportunities for learners and employers to give feedback on the training and services provided A safe, healthy, inclusive environment, which complies with Health & Safety regulations. n

• •

Establishing a successful Apprenticeship programme… As the employer you play a vital role in ensuring the Apprenticeship programme is successful by supporting learners throughout their training, providing required assessment opportunities and giving feedback to the training provider on the teaching, learning and assessment process to ensure the programme is reviewed regularly in relation to existing and emerging needs. The first step in introducing apprenticeships in your organisation is to make contact with your local training providers. Choose one that offers free organisational/training needs analysis to identify your training requirements. They will then work with you to determine the provision that will meet your requirements. Next, sector experienced staff will help recruit new apprentices and design flexible training which meet the needs of your business, new staff and the existing workforce. As part of this, qualified trainers will identify the support needs of individual learners and workplace mentors, providing resources and additional support to ensure the aims and objectives of each Apprenticeship are achieved. The Apprenticeship starts with a comprehensive induction programme to explain essential information to both you and your learners. From that point onwards the training organisation should deliver: High quality training which takes into account individual needs and abilities, specific job skills, occupational competencies and the demands of the working environment A well-managed and co-ordinated course

• •

Southampton company Vanguard Fixings Limited introduced Apprenticeships in 2011. Here Aoife O’Neill, Director explains the benefits Apprenticeships has had on the business. “Choosing the apprenticeship training programme has provided a wealth of benefits to the organisation. It has given us the opportunity to tap into the youthful enthusiasm and to train these new employees in our working techniques to perform in the work place; without previous habits intervening. Their fresh initiative and willingness to work and impress at such a young age has also inspired senior staff members at our company. We can definitely say that the apprenticeship scheme has added massively to our working team and we would recommend it to any employer.”

Rachael Fidler Rachael Fidler is Managing Director, HTP Training. HTP Training has become one of the leading work based training providers in the country. It specialises in working with business leaders from a wide range of sectors to develop their staff, achieve business goals and access Government funding. In addition to providing Traineeships and Apprenticeships it offers a full range of vocational training programmes and short, intensive courses to meet it clients’ needs. www.htptraining.com

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 9


Making the most of

IT

Tony Mannion looks at the pressures faced by manufacturing businesses and the tell tale signs that they’ve outgrown their infrastructures

M

aking the jump from SME to a larger enterprise is exciting, but not without its challenges. Having the right software and technology in place is essential to growing a business, yet many companies – particularly manufacturers – are being constrained by out-dated process and applications. So how can decision makers identify when their IT systems have reached the tipping point? Following the recent financial downturn and subsequent on-going recovery, it is now essential for manufacturers to ensure they maximise their assets and applications to achieve their business goals. As IT has become an increasingly vital service to manufacturers, so too has the requirement for systems not to fail and for performance to remain consistent. In order to stay ahead of the curve, UK manufacturers must utilise the latest innovations in technology. This becomes increasingly important when you consider a recent Government Department for Science report,

10 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

which highlighted the UK manufacturing industry as one of the sectors that will undergo drastic change in the coming years, as the impact of the Internet of Things becomes more widespread. The Internet of Things is just one of a host of new approaches that will allow manufacturers across the country to gather smarter, ‘real-time’ analytics meaning they can see how and why

their factories are performing. However, before manufacturers are in a position to adopt and adapt, they must take a close look at the quality of the IT systems they are currently running. There are many pressure points that manufacturers need to be aware of when it comes to the performance and strength of their IT systems. Ageing assets and legacy replacement are among the costliest hurdles, often requiring replacement to avoid unexpected and unnecessary downtime. Increased competition requires systems, which give manufacturers the edge and ability to operate faster and increase productivity. With cyber threats increasing across the globe, security and resilience is now, more than ever, a key aspect of IT systems. Identifying these potential issues before they turn into more serious problems is vitally important and there are a number of tell tale signs that can help manufacturers spot the first signs of an outgrown IT system. For instance, if the cost of maintenance and continued usage of the system become prohibitive, it is time to


Technology

Often the most costly indicator that a manufacturer has outgrown its IT systems is when it becomes over reliant on manual processes – processes that, in an ideal scenario, the system could take on itself

look at a replacement structure. Similarly, as businesses grow, so too does the amount of data that is generated. If systems are not set up to support this growth then manufacturers could be basing key decision making on false, incomplete or inaccurate data. Accurate data is essential to achieve operational intelligence and drive efficiency. IT and automation systems are a major investment for businesses, no matter what their size. Long-term protection of that investment should be a significant consideration when selecting a partner and a system. Flexibility and scalability on all levels is essential to realising the true value and longevity of a SCADA system. It is extremely important to be able to evolve and tailor solutions over time, expand them into previously unforeseen areas, and integrate them with other systems as technology evolves. The inability of systems to adapt is a further indication that it is time to reassess IT provisions. This can be identified by businesses spending vast amounts of time and money integrating data from different sources and equally large resources used on system maintenance. The most damaging result of inflexibility can be as the company is growing and expanding into new markets or launching new ranges, the infrastructure and system it is based on is limiting and therefore holding it back. Today’s manufacturers need to offer their customers flexibility. Whilst some may want a standard product, others will require variations bespoke to certain markets. Older systems often prevent manufacturers responding flexibly to these requests, leading to lost revenue opportunities. As a company grows, so does its geographical

spread. Opening international offices or production sites will only add to the pressure placed on existing systems. These offices, or sites, need to be able to communicate seamlessly. They will all be producing their own data, but to ensure the overall business is operating efficiently, engineers and operatives need access to all the information being produced. If the correct system is in place then data silos are created where potentially valuable data that could drive business decisions is simply wasted. Often the most costly indicator that a manufacturer has outgrown its IT systems is when it becomes over reliant on manual processes – processes that, in an ideal scenario, the system could take on itself. IT is supposed to drive efficiency by making automation processes easy to implement and increase output standardisation. However, if the system is not performing, existing workloads will be added to through the necessity to manually check systems and correct any issues. This said, few companies are able to afford a complete overhaul of their IT systems and infrastructure, so the key to delivering much needed improvement is by managing the existing legacy systems. This can be achieved by carefully protecting and preserving IT investments to ensure that they remain operational and perform to a high standard for as long as possible. Legacy systems can also be migrated onto new manageable, scalable technology. Legacy IT system migration is the process of transferring data or programs from one computer system, software application or website to another. This may involve physical system migration, when old hardware is no longer capable of meeting the needs of the system or if it has been damaged. It

may also take the form of software or data based migration, where files, data, users and many other settings are transferred between systems. Ensuring that the right knowledge and experience exists within organisations can guarantee that IT systems are maximised to work efficiently, delivering the support and services required. However, this does not have to mean employing an entire new workforce of IT specialists. In truth, the skills gap within the IT sector means that more companies are turning to managed services to support their IT systems. This means that a third party can be used to manage and monitor IT systems, allowing manufacturers to benefit from their expertise and knowledge, whilst providing the peace-of-mind that systems are operating as expected and risk and downtime are reduced. Ensuring that factories are secure from cyber threats, operating efficiently and producing to a high quality should be high on any manufacturers list of priorities. What links these separate issues is that they can all be improved by ensuring that IT systems are fit for purpose. Importantly, it is now time for manufacturers to review their plant floor infrastructure and what options are available to them. It comes down to a simple choice – preserve and protect or modernise. n

Tony Mannion Tony Mannion is Business Unit Leader Industrial IT from SolutionsPT. SolutionsPT provides industrial IT solutions for manufacturing companies and infrastructure projects. Based in Greater Manchester, the company has more than 70 employees and 25 plus years’ experience. http://solutionspt.com/

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 11


Keeping a

secret Mark Edge takes a look at effective IP protection in an increasingly collaborative world

I

ntellectual property is one of the most valuable commodities any company can own. In a sign of just how significant IP is to the European economy as a whole, a recent report estimated 39 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the European Union is generated by industries focused on intellectual property1. The manufacturing industry is of course no exception to this. Manufacturing companies need to protect trade secrets that do not always benefit from legal protection in the same way as intellectual property. As a result, the vast majority of these valuable assets are usually kept under lock and key within the confines of most manufacturing organisations. Rightly so, as any leaks can be highly damaging. Key business plans and development work could be compromised and future plans, roadmaps and acquisitions could be sabotaged if rivals hear about them in advance. But in the manufacturing industry, these assets cannot be kept locked away forever. Manufacturing involves intensive communications with a wide variety of existing and potential partners. In doing so, it exposes this information to theft and perhaps unsurprisingly there’s no shortage of people out there trying to take what isn’t theirs. According to a survey by the European Commission, one in five companies has been a victim of attempted trade secret theft at least once in the previous ten years2.

Securing communications channels But how does this sensitive information end up in the wrong hands? One of the easiest ways is through intercepted or misplaced communications. Furthermore, in the infinitely connected modern business environment, once out, sensitive information can be nigh on impossible to get back. But when communication plays such a pivotal role in so many aspects of business, potential vulnerabilities are not always easy to identify and mitigate. For instance, manufacturing sales teams rely on daily communications with a wide variety of external stakeholders in order to ‘Out-License’ their services successfully, and are often required to share sensitive details to secure deals. Equally, external communication/collaboration is

12 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Protecting IP

an important part of the manufacturing process, but this also needs monitoring to closely safeguard processes and patent-related knowledge. In addition, co-operation with external companies in the manufacturing process can also prove risky, as it regularly requires the divulging of a wide variety of confidential business information and production processes. The list does not end there either. There are plenty of other instances where third parties might be given access to a manufacturing company’s internal information. Certification bodies and other businesses within the supply chain could have access to internal processes, assessment reports and safety information, while service reports and information about claims or damage need to be handled in a discreet manner too.

Collaboration must be secure with all parties involved Legal protections for intellectual property must be underpinned with technical measures in order to effectively protect the information flow that is vital to many businesses. But how can effective collaboration be achieved without compromising IP security? One way is to adopt a secure collaboration platform that is both intuitive to use and that supports every day operations, so it is perceived as a help rather than a hindrance. These platforms also feature user interfaces that can be tailored to the needs of the organisation and its collaborators, and feature remote access to accommodate the increasingly mobile working habits of employees at all levels. Below are some of the key features manufacturing organisations should look for in a secure collaboration platform:

Completely secure data storage and transmission: Secure data transmission and storage is paramount, and all sensitive IP should be securely protected by cryptographic means. Furthermore, adopting strong authentication measures also goes a long way to ensuring only authorised users have access to documents and importantly, that their access is removed once they no longer require it. Encryption should also be used as standard to prevent unauthorised individuals from snooping on communications and illegally obtaining or manipulating information. Confidential information should also be protected from access by technical staff, such as internal system administrators. Tailored user rights per individual user: It should also be possible to customise what actions any user can do with a specific document through the collaboration platform. For instance, the document could be in read-only mode with no permission to save, print or forward it. Activities taking place on the platform should be logged in a tamperproof audit trail, enabling traceable, transparent insight into how documents are used and edited. As a result, the organisation can monitor how intensively particular documents have been used/accessed. Fully customisable data protection rules: Data protection rules should be integrated into the system so data is only available for a specific purpose, to certain people and for a defined period of time. Security features should be up-todate and based on the latest technologies with the system complying with current and recognised standards of data protection and security. In today’s manufacturing industry, many organisations need to collaborate with a wide range of third parties to conduct their business, but they also need to protect their intellectual property and trade secrets to preserve their

competitive edge. Thankfully, there is a wide range of tools available that allow for effective collaboration, but also ensure security and accountability for the organisation’s most sensitive IP. n

Mark Edge Mark Edge is UK Country Manager at Brainloop. Founded in 2000, Brainloop is a market-leading provider of highly intuitive collaboration solutions for managing confidential information and sharing files internally and externally. Customers solve a variety of business problems with Brainloop including board communications, M&A, real estate portfolio management, out-licensing, out-sourced manufacturing and supply chain management, secure collaboration and enterprise file share and sync. www.brainloop.com/en/

1 “Intellectual property rights intensive Industries: Contribution to economic performance and employment in Europe” (September 2013), joint study by the European Patent Office and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), http://ec.europa.eu/internal_ market/intellectual-property/docs/joint-report-epo-ohim-finalversion_en.pdf 2 Study on Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information in the Internal Market, Final Study, April 2013, http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/iprenforcement/docs/ trade-secrets/130711_final-study_en.pdf

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 13


How to keep

your

customers

Partho Bhattacharya discusses what manufacturing organisations can do to become more customer-centric

Customers want 24/7 access to support and information. While this sentiment isn’t new, it has become increasingly expected (and demanded) with the introduction of new channels for interaction including online and social media

A

cross all areas of business and industry sectors, consumers are becoming more demanding and expecting of more personalised products and services to meet their specific needs. Some manufacturing organisations have made significant strides towards transforming their business to meet the challenges on customer centricity in a digital world, and have put customers at the heart through digital services. However, according to research by SAP, as many as 80 per cent admit that as an organisation they could be more customer centric and they are still grappling with increasing customer complexity that the always on, connected age brings. A clear sign they could – and need to – be more customer-centric with their approach and embrace the technology, which enables them to do this. In order to truly succeed and grow, embracing customer demands, and putting them at the heart of everything you do is key. And this needs to flow through the entire supply chain.

Understand your customer For me, it’s all about getting into the mind of the customer to really understand them. It’s important that manufacturers immerse themselves in their customers’ business - spend time researching the brand, understanding their market and what it is they really want. Not only does this help build strong relationships and trust at the outset, but it also means a tailored consultancy service can be provided to drive growth and heighten the customer experience. For manufacturers, many inherently suffer from having legacy systems and change can be difficult to implement quickly. It’s hard to react to what customers want right now, let alone what they may need in the future. Start by getting into the mind of the customers. Understand how the today’s customer needs are changing, and will continue to do so.

14 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Customer centricity

Support services don’t have the most highly valued status within an organisation but through openness and transparency, trust can be quickly built among customers

Support services don’t have the most highly valued status within an organisation but through openness and transparency, trust can be quickly built among customers. By simplifying approaches and consolidating information, customers will likely develop trust quicker. While for manufacturers it can be seen as daunting – especially with complex supply chains and legacy systems – they need to look to those who are already successfully taking the right steps, and learn from it. There is so much choice available now, so it’s the differentiating service points that will really help to stand out. Those that choose not to put the customer at the heart of everything they do will inevitably fall down, and behind competition: take small steps now to protect your organisation in the future. n

Partho Bhattacharya

Be available Customers want 24/7 access to support and information. While this sentiment isn’t new, it has become increasingly expected (and demanded) with the introduction of new channels for interaction including online and social media. As a provider of support services to SAP customers, Invenio knows how important it is to remedy issues with business critical applications in the quickest possible time. Our customers expect a personalised, responsive and highly technical support. They want problems to be solved with the first call, not passed down the line multiple times to different customer service operatives. As organisations get bigger it gets harder to maintain a personalised level of customer service and support. Scale is a considerable challenge. Management has a role to play here in instilling a corporate culture that puts the customer first. This sets the benchmark by which everybody else needs to adhere. However, technology can clearly also support.

Making services available on channels such as social media and live chat, across multiple devices including mobile and web browser, automatically provides customers with the ‘always on’ service they want. If they can simply tweet a request and receive a timely response, the customer will be happy. When done well, manufacturers can replicate human, personalised interactions, through automated processes at much lower cost, without reduction in customer satisfaction.

Partho Bhattacharya is MD & President of Invenio Business Solutions, an award-winning business system provider, head quartered in Reading, UK. The company supports 45 customers in the government, media and manufacturing segments, in areas that include industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP), tax and revenue management, business intelligence, big data, mobility, CRM and integration solutions. http://invenio-solutions.com

Be transparent How can vendors and consultancies in the tech sector help to make this shift to greater customer centricity? It’s certainly true that organisations want to consolidate the number of IT vendors and consultancies they use, particularly when supply chains can be complex. They want fewer, better, relationships. So companies that can provide value-added consultancy services and move away from commoditised, ‘race to the bottom’ solutions will prosper.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 15


Sixty

minutes Demand for same day and even one-hour delivery is rising. Tim Fawkes explains how manufacturers could make it happen

O

nline retailer Amazon has thrown down the logistics gauntlet to a whole range of industries with its new one hour delivery service for Prime customers. Announced earlier this year, the service is being phased in across parts of London and is expected to include all of the capital and some UK cities by the end of this year. Whilst it remains to be seen how sustainable the service will be, there is a strong commercial reason behind its introduction. By offering the quickest delivery service around, Amazon hopes to sign up more Prime users (who currently pay an annual subscription of £79). This will enable the company to increase its market share and maintain its assault on high street retail.

Raising the bar in transport management Whatever your feelings about Amazon as an organisation, there’s no denying the increasing demand amongst consumers for ‘immediate service’ - which the company has recognised and acted upon. Amazon’s actions also have significant implications for the manufacturing industry as a whole, raising the bar even higher in transport services – and customer expectation. So, is it possible for manufacturers to meet the one-hour delivery challenge in the near future? Many manufacturing supply chains are complex with supplies coming from different cities, countries or even continents, often involving tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers. Manufacturing may involve a multi stage, timeconsuming process and when complete, finished products may need to be shipped to warehouses, customers and end users across a range of geographically diverse locations. The whole chain involves a complicated set of processes involving planning, purchasing and distribution – all of which can be difficult to predict with accuracy. What’s certain is that demand for same day (and quicker) delivery service is on the rise. Whilst a one hour delivery service may be untenable for certain products and processes for various reasons (product

16 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Manufacturing

range, shelf life etc) there is increasing pressure on the manufacturers to provide a more dynamic service, with a wider variety of options and quicker turnaround of orders.

improved system based forecasting can then be used Whilst a one hour delivery service to provide suppliers and may be untenable for certain the transport management products and processes for various system with enough reasons (product range, shelf life information to plan in advance etc) there is increasing pressure of requirement. on the manufacturers to provide Furthermore, with weba more dynamic service, with a based visuals for suppliers, wider variety of options and quicker carriers and manufacturers turnaround of orders available via web portals, Meeting the there is no longer a need for demands of 2015 complex systems installations and beyond and hardware on all parties’ systems. These web Despite encouraging figures in the UK over portals can be used to communicate demand, the past two to three years, it’s important to provide live tracking visibility, provide confirmation remember that the manufacturing industry as of delivery and POD, manage carrier payments a whole is still recovering from seven years of and provide data to feed into forecasting tools to market stagnation following the last recession predict future demand. when investment levels were been low and the From robots to self-driving cars, many things focus was largely on staying in business. This means which seemed unlikely a decade ago are now that some of the legacy logistics systems put in increasingly viable. And so it is with the one-hour place by manufacturers in the 1990s and 2000s delivery. It’s true that manufacturers and their are now fundamentally out of date and unable to suppliers will need to find a way of measuring deliver the flexibility required in 2015 and beyond. and managing processes to meet demands for The bottom line is, no matter how great your increasing speed. However, the technology exists product is, if your logistics processes are sluggish to make it happen - which means that it is only a and in need of modernisation, companies will find matter of time before one-hour delivery becomes it difficult to meet demand - as well as retaining a reality. n and winning business. Often logistics is the main service element experienced by the end client. Ultimately, manufacturers need to introduce more dynamic systems to facilitate demand planning, supply management, distribution and sustainability. Tim Fawkes is Managing Director of 3T Logistics

Tim Fawkes

How technology can help The main reason that Amazon and other organisations have been able to reduce delivery time so drastically is due to the fantastic advances in technology that we have experienced over the past decade. The newest mobile technology offers increased visibility and control of the transport element, enabling companies to better forecast and dynamically change their transport plan to meet the demands of a changing manufacturing plan. A dynamic multi-carrier transport solution is better equipped to cope with different volume demands and changes in requirements. Integrated transport management systems (TMS) that are independent of carriers can also ensure that the manufacturer has better controls in place to manage the transport aspects of all carriers. Smart phone tracking apps are some of the newest, most affordable and accessible systems on the market. They can track the location of all consignments through transport management systems, generating instant real time information for supplier, carrier and customer. The resulting

and has over 20 years’ experience in the logistics industry. 3T Logistics combines systems solutions and transport expertise with the express purpose of reducing clients’ transport costs – whilst improving service. Formed in 2000 from a background in 3rd party and 4th party logistics, 3T offers a range of products and services to suit all clients’ needs: from those seeking lesser levels of support, through to organisations looking to completely outsource their transport management department. www.3t-europe.com.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 17


P.J. Hare Ltd is a leading manufacturer of hydraulic and hydropneumatic presses in the 1 Ton to 250 Tons force range. Based in the UK, it is a significant supplier to the automotive industry, supplying presses for everything from pushing clinch nuts and clinch studs into body panels to assembling bushes and bearings into suspension arms and wheel hubs respectively. Its strength is the ability to design and manufacture complete tooling solutions with the press that can guarantee 100 per cent pass rates. This is achieved by intelligent tooling incorporating features and sensors to ensure part presence and correct part loading, transducers to ensure forces and positions are correct and bespoke software to bring all the control together. It has even incorporated multicamera vision systems for full product validation. However, you would be wrong to think that P.J. Hare is just about the automotive sector. It supplies presses and tooling solutions into the aerospace, defence and general engineering sectors, and even the food industry. Applications include pressing, stamping, drawing and compression moulding, all of which need controlled delivery of force and bespoke intelligent tooling. Compression moulding is a particularly interesting area requiring accurate temperature control of the platens in order to cure composite resins or form thermosetting plastics. P.J. Hare has already supplied a number of presses into this area and sees it as a key growth potential.

18 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

All of P.J. Hare’s presses are backed by a knowledgeable service team who ensure that the press is setup and commissioned optimally from day one and they can support throughout the life of the press with regular servicing and maintenance. Where applications fall outside the size of a P.J. Hare press it can still help. Through a partnership arrangement with Rocher presses, P.J. Hare can offer presses up to 5000 Tons force.


www.manufacturingtoday-europe.com

Focus on: l Kentec Electronics l Husqvarna Group l Joseph Clayton & Sons l Arc Specialist Engineering Ltd l EWS Ltd l Toolspec Manufacturing Company l Cooper Coated Coil l Mini Gears l Reifen Hinghaus l Gooch & Housego l Tetronics International l Aqualisa l Elddis l Ardagh Group l James Dewhurst Ltd l Bema Kunstsoffen l Wax Lyrical l SML Maschinengesellsellschaft l Engro Polymer & Chemicals l MAJA-Mรถbelwerk GmbH l Bosch l Zollern

y EUROPE

BEST PRACTICES FOR INDUSTRY LEADERS

EUROPE

MANUFACTURING MANUFACTURING toda y toda


Kentec Electronics

Vital production

Continuous investment is the defining factor to Kentec’s ambitious growth plans as it looks to continue providing the global market with quality and robust life-safety systems Above: PCB Finishing – Flow Soldering Left: Control Panel Sub-Assembly Next page, left: PCB Final Assembly – Cell manufacturing employing Kanban and consignment stock Right: Control Panel Final Assembly – All panels supplied by Kentec are manufactured and assembled in house

C

elebrating its 30th year in business this year, Kentec Electronics has established itself as a leading player supplying open protocol fire panels to the global market. With demand for life safety control systems ever on the rise, Kentec is seeing growth in all of its markets around the world. By implementing a constant programme of investment, the company ensures it is able to exploit this demand and as such has experienced record growth over the past year. This year, the company expects to turn over close to £14.5 million, with a sales split of 45/55 to domestic and export markets, respectively. “The company is best known in the global

20 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


market for quality, simple to use products delivered with a fast turnaround,” begins General Manager, Jonathan Gilbert, highlighting the foundations of the company’s exemplary reputation. It is a reputation that sees its system installed as the predominant platform on the London Underground, in royal residences and in every application from marine to student accommodation sites.

At the heart of this reputation is research and development, which, like everything else in the company, is managed and operated in-house. “The founders of the company came from the fire industry originally, and this ethos has continued so that much of our management also comes from this sector,” explains Jonathan. “This means we have a good background in and understanding of the market and its

Ai Engineering

At Ai International we have a comprehensive range of anti-static materials to cover a variety of applications within the electronics and electrical industries. The range includes carrier materials used in production, PSBs, terminal boards, machine covers, cleanroom wall cladding and ESD cabinet materials. Additionally, we offer a full range of engineering materials including fire retardant, low smoke and non-toxic plastics used in aerospace and rail applications, as well as food approved materials used widely within manufacturing. To complement this offering we are able to provide material selection support and the machining of finished parts to provided specifications.

ing

ied

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 21


22 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Kentec Electronics Left: Taktis group: A new concept in life safety system management Below left: Sigma XT Extinguishant Control Panel Below right: Syncro Two or Four Analogue Addressable Fire Control Panels

Azcon CSL

Azcon CSL Ltd is a franchised electronic component distributor and supply-chain management services provider based in Essex. Combined with its manufacturing division, K2A Electronic Manufacturing Services, it is in the unique position to offer a wide range of quality products and services to its clients. Its business philosophy and objectives are clearly set to offer such products and services to the most discerning clients, building true business partnerships en route. Congratulations to Kentec for turning 30! Azcon CSL is delighted to have been a valued supplier to Kentec for many years and looks forward to supporting the business for many more.

Essentra

Essentra plc is a FTSE 250 company and a leading global provider of essential components and solutions. Through its strategic business units, Essentra focuses on the light manufacture and distribution of high volume, essential components which serve customers in a wide variety of end-markets and geographies. With over 50 years expertise in electrical components Essentra has become a major supplier of plastic components to the electrical and electronics industries. As an innovative designer and manufacturer, Essentra specialises in fasteners, circuit board hardware, wire routing products, cable ties, clips, clamps, fibre optics and telecommunication accessories, providing a global presence with local support.

requirements. We keep close contact with all our customers and listen to their feedback in order to develop and deliver the best products.” As such, in 2016, the company will be launching

Quality is paramount within the fire industry, and with a current output of 40,000 panels a year set to grow, it is key to the company’s performance to deliver this consistently. “We of course have a lot going on in terms of quality and safety checks at every stage of the process,” continues Jonathan. “We also do a lot of our own pre-release valuation and validation tests to ensure everything works and is implemented properly. This is in addition to meeting the wider market standards in the fire industry, which we always strive to exceed.” In order to have complete control of the manufacturing process, Kentec is responsible for every stage from sheet metal work through to the end product and continually invests to make sure it is able to do this as efficiently as possible. “We have ambitious growth plans and over the last few months the factory has been shipping 40 per cent more than it was this time last year,” explains Jonathan. “This year alone we have invested in an additional surface mounted machine, a selective soldering system, which automates part of the tricky soldering processes freeing up personnel to be redeployed elsewhere and a second flatbed printer. We are also upgrading the original printer so we have two of these latest models. In addition to this

the Taktis panel, an innovative panel that has taken all the recent comments into account regarding existing products and future needs. With the gradual emergence of internet connectivity and intelligent buildings, the Taktis focuses particularly on integration and can be re-configured to realise many other control and indication applications, whilst retaining the quality and ease of use that so defines the company’s offering. “This is typical of our approach to development. We don’t ever want to put to market something that isn’t needed – we need to develop things that we know are needed and will be of benefit to the market,” Jonathan adds.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 23


Kentec Electronics Top left: AOI – Automatic optical inspection for surface mount Cemtre: ATE – Sophisticated computerised automatic test equipment Bottom: PCB Finishing – Flow Soldering

we have done lots of in-house studies looking at how to achieve greater efficiencies in factory layout and other aspects of the lines. “We have also invested in a new computerised system called KIPPS (Kentec Intuitive Production Planning System), which has been tailored specifically to our needs and is continually being developed accordingly. Implemented early this year we are already seeing huge differences in flow rate, factory planning, and quality, including a new bar-coding system to track the parts and assembly at each stage.” Jonathan highlights that one of his goals for Kentec is to increase exports to 75 per cent of the company’s total sales, in line with further growth in the UK as well, and investment into capacity increases are vital to achieving this. “It is a challenge to increase the volume of manufacturing without affecting quality and delivery, so investing in more people and machinery, and getting more out of the facility is really important,” he says. “It is about being

able to fulfil our growth plans, not just by getting more people to buy, but by actually being able to manufacture for and supply the demand that is continually increasing.” And this very much defines Kentec’s vision. The next year will be focused on introducing Taktis to the market as well as driving further investments into the facilities in its never-ending quest for continues improvement. “In its simplest form, our long-term vision is to ensure that we continue manufacturing more products to grow our business and that we are recognised as a key global supplier of fire panels,” Jonathan concludes.

Kentec Electronics Ltd Services Specialist manufacturers of life safety fire control systems www.kentec.co.uk

Packaging Solutions designed to suit you! Maidstone Packaging, is a leading supplier of packaging, including made-to-measure cartons, Stock Cartons, Bubble Wrap, Pallet Wrap and Packaging Sundries such as Business Card Boxes and Rubber Bands. No matter your packaging needs we can advise you and help you find the right type of packaging for you. All our packaging materials are delivered promptly to your door, for your convenience. Maidstone Packaging Supplies Ltd Unit 7C Lodge Road, Staplehurst, TN12 0QY T: 01622 631 223 M: 07768 004 219 F: 01622 631 816 E: maidstonepackaging@hotmail.co.uk

www.maidstonepackaging.co.uk

24 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Husqvarna Laufenberg

Leading the

way

Innovation, sustainability and customer focus all sit at the heart of Husqvarna’s long history for success, and maintaining these commitments is key to it continuing well into the future

S

tretching back 325 years Husqvarna Group’s history is rich in innovation. Providing quality products and solutions to make garden, park and forest care as well as construction easier for professionals and consumers around the world, the group has a product and brand portfolio that includes names such as Flymo, McCulloch, Gardena and Husqvarna. With this portfolio behind it Husqvarna Group’s presence in many of its markets is unrivalled, taking a leading position in the global outdoor power products and European watering products markets, as well as sharing the top flight of the market for cutting equipment and diamond tools. In 2014, supported by over 14,000 employees in 40 countries, the business turned over SEK 33 billion with sales coming from over 100 different countries. With lawnmowers forming a core product offering for the company, Husqvarna Group has been leading the way for the last two decades with its innovative robotic lawnmowers. Its first

model was launched in 1995 and over the years since, technical development teams have been working tirelessly to continuously update and develop both the hardware and software. “The market for robotic mowers is strong in Europe at present and there is growing awareness regarding their advantages in the UK,” explains Caraline Robinson, Manufacturing Director for Husqvarna UK. “Twenty years of development is only one of the reasons why we now have by far the largest market share.” Today’s robotic lawnmower range consists of six models, each offering a range of specifications from a working area capacity of 600 square metres to 6000 square metres, and onecharge mowing time of 70 to 260 minutes. The robotic mower use an array of state-of-theart technology to regularly cut lawns with the capability to handle complex garden shapes and terrains in all weather conditions. With two decades of development engineered into its unique cutting system, which uses razor-like blades made from carbon steel, high reliability

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 25


‘‘

Over the coming years we expect to invest further into new technology, with a particular focus on automation development, to achieve efficiency improvements, and visual management to support decisions in production

26 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

and low noise operation make Husqvarna’s product range a true leader in its field. With the twenty-first century currently going through the advent of the ‘The Internet of Things’, the innovative app allows robotic mower users to communicate with and GPS track their product from wherever they are in the world. However, it is not just its leading product development that has benefited from Husqvarna Group’s long history of innovation, but also its manufacturing capabilities. “The main strengths of the manufacturing organisation are both the skills and experience of its workforce and our focus on continuous improvement,” says Caraline. “This is supported by the Husqvarna Operating Systems (HOS), which is driven from the top and provides the tools and techniques to support waste elimination, standardised working, problem solving, value stream mapping and so on.” Key to this continuous improvement is continuous investment into facilities and capabilities. “We invest in new assembly facilities on an annual basis, with similar spend on new moulding equipment,” Caraline continues. “We have recently invested in our first ‘twinshot’ moulding machine due to increasing demand from our industrial designers for plastic components that have a more quality look and feel. Over the coming years we expect to invest further into new technology, with a particular focus on automation development, to achieve efficiency improvements, and visual management to support decisions in production.”

What results from such strengths is a manufacturing excellence that allows Husqvarna Group to continue producing highly innovative products and maintain its position in the market. However, it is also critical to the company’s ability to cope with seasonal conditions within the garden market. Caraline notes that there can be a variation in volume of finished goods production ranging from 2000 to 20,000 units a week depending on seasonal demand, and highlights Husqvarna Group’s unique flexibility to cope with such variation. “We recruit over 600 temporary employees annually in the UK, who we train to efficiently manufacture our products to the required high quality standards. Our permanent staff in production also work annualised hours, so they are working more hours per week during our busy time and less in the low season,” she outlines, going on to explain that strong supplier relationships are also crucial to this variable capacity. “This is one of the key factors of Husqvarna’s success,” she says. “Due to some components having long lead times, supplier communication and planning is vital in guaranteeing component supply for our highly seasonal business. In order to cover the quieter periods we have diversified into becoming a second tier supplier to the automotive industry, helping to guarantee work in our moulding area for 12 months.” Sustainability is also a core element of Husqvarna Group’s ongoing success and strong brand reputation in the global market. “In the UK we support this and last year we achieved ISO 50001 energy management accreditation,” she explains. “In accordance with this our energy team continually generate potential energy reduction ideas through energy audits. We also purchase all of our electricity from a provider who supplies 100 per cent green energy generated from wind.” As an international company Husqvarna Group was ranked in the Global Top 100 of most sustainable companies in 2014 and is a member of both the FTSE4Good Index and the STOXX Global ESG Leaders indexes. Being recognised amongst the leaders of global sustainability practices perfectly exemplifies the group’s commitment to delivering environmentally sound and safety conscious processes and products throughout the world. In terms of product initiatives, Husqvarna has developed a unique range of handheld battery tools, which includes trimmers and chainsaws, and combines zero


Husqvarna

direct emissions with low vibration levels. Within Gardena’s watering range, new hoses are now free from phthalates and watering computers now make efficient watering easier. The group’s flat saws also became the first in the world to comply with both European and US legislation regarding emission regulations during 2014. In regards to safety, a new injury rate KPI for safety was implemented in order to establish a baseline for less severe/less frequent injuries to increase focus on corrective actions. Regarding the future Husqvarna Group has a clear plan in place in the form of ‘Strategy 2020’. The ultimate goal for this five-year strategy is to achieve total industry leadership with an even stronger end-customer and market focus as a profitable organisation. In the UK, Caraline outlines that achieving this strategic goal will be implemented through continuous expansion and supporting product development. “Over the next 12 months we will focus on further investments that support the growth in volume of robotic mowers, along with more efficiency improvements in both moulding and assembly. For instance, there will be 62 moulding machines on site by the end of the year, ranging in size from 50 tonnes to 1100 tonnes.” Husqvarna Group defines market leadership as being able to drive industry evolution in terms of innovation, end-customer focus and operational excellence. Product-wise it is clear that innovation has always been, and will continue to be, a core

competitiveness and its reputation for successful innovation in order to achieve its leadership ambitions over the next five years. In the shorter term, the group will be focusing on completing its Accelerated Improvement Programme, which was launched in 2013 with the aim to increase operating margins by ten per cent by 2016. By improving the mix of products and brands sold and reducing the cost of products sold, in 2014 Husqvarna Group successfully increased this margin by 1.9 per cent to 7.2 per cent overall. Focusing on operational excellence and the core brands, developing the dealer and retail business model and improving business in emerging markets will all be key to achieving ten per cent improvement over the coming year. A long history precedes today’s Husqvarna Group, but a clear direction defines its future. By remaining true to its core values of innovation, sustainability and customer focus, the group is on course to achieve its ambitions to lead the global industry in the near future.

Husqvarna of the business. To ensure this continues, the company is undergoing an extensive market research campaign to fully understand the diverse needs and demands of its market segments. By understanding this Husqvarna Group hopes to be able to hone its resource efficiency, its brand

Products: World’s largest producer of outdoor power products www.husqvarnagroup.com

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 27


Negri Bossi

Negri Bossi, a leading supplier of injection moulding machines, has had a major involvement with Husqvarna’s equipment investment programme. Having previously supplied a number of smaller machines, 2014 saw the installation of a new and much larger Vector series 1100 tonne machine. The ease of use, accuracy and superior energy efficiency demonstrated by the equipment, coupled with excellent technical support, has resulted in a strong partnership being developed. Three additional machines have consequently been ordered in 2015, 250 and 500 tonne Canbio series machines and a further 1100 tonne Vector series model.

28 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


CW Bearing is a leading manufacturer of high precision ball bearings with production facilities in China and Germany. CW delivers standard and customized solutions to all industrial sectors including the automotive industry. Deep business relationships as well as quality and innovation are the strengths of CW Bearing. Globally well known companies with major brands like Husqvarna have trusted in CW Bearing products for decades. This is also the reason why CW Bearing got the Best Supplier Award from Husqvarna in 2014. CW Bearing GmbH Am Neumarkt 34/36, 22041 Hamburg Tel: +49 (0) 40 67 10 80-10 Fax: +49 (0) 40 67 10 80-20 Email: info@cwbearing.de

www.cwbearing.de www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 29


30 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Joseph Clayton and Sons Laufenberg

Hardwearing and

flexible

Whilst it has a long and deeply entrenched history, Chesterfield based Joseph Clayton and Sons is very much tuned in to the present day and its ability to adapt to serve the changing needs of a global market is key to its continued success

T

here aren’t many companies around today that can boast a 175-year history, and today Clayton of Chesterfield is taking bigger strides towards the future than ever before. Now the largest of only four full-scale vegetable tanners left in the UK, the company has undergone a process of continued progression, overcome a number of challenges and diversified across the globe to become a leading manufacturer of high quality leather. “If the company hadn’t been able to adopt new ideas, adapt them going forward and continued to improve them, then we wouldn’t be here as a company today,” highlights Chairman, Ian Walker. Starting life producing and supplying leathers for the booming industrial revolution of the nineteenth century, Clayton quickly began to prosper. With a major fire forcing the company to move to its existing premises in 1911, it quickly re-established to support the efforts of both world wars and showed a keen ability to adapt to changing technologies, customer bases

Top: Leather samples Bottom: Leather jacket

and opportunities. In the 30s, despite obvious challenges, Clayton became one of the first UK based companies to spot an opportunity for exporting to the US and it subsequently began to capture export business there. Progress continued throughout the twentieth century, as technology adapted, automation began to be implemented in the factory, and exports continued to grow. New markets opened up and Clayton took advantage through a programme of constant innovation and new product launches – particularly into the fashion and small leather goods sector. “Today we export about 65 per cent of what we make, which includes the figures from recently acquired J E Sedgwick in Walsall,” explains Ian. “We have been concentrating on opening up new markets and in this last year alone we have made significant inroads into the Far East, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China. We currently have 168 different types of leather that we can manufacture, but once you take into account the range of finishes and substances this

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 31


Top left: Drying yard Bottom left: Tannery

expands to about 6000 different variations.” By the end of the century and on the dawn of a new one, Clayton continued to play a key role in the global market but faced the economic challenges that plagued the world. This was exacerbated in 2007 when a major flood threatened to completely wipe the company’s facilities out, but Ian pays testament to its staff ’s diligence in recovering operations in a matter of months. However, difficult challenges continued to put pressure on the company throughout the recession and in 2013 Ian was brought on board with the plan to reshape the business and return it to prosperity. “Over the last two years we have been reinvesting in new equipment, increasing capabilities, implementing new IT and manufacturing systems and either upgrading or replacing machinery, some of which had been in operation for close to 60 years,” Ian outlines. “To that end the company is back to looking very buoyant again.” In its current operations, the company relies on a combination of pit and drum tanning, resulting in reductions in tanning times in comparison with traditional figures. Amongst its recent advancements, the replacement of tired,

32 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Right: Finished product examples

old machinery has led to far improved levels of quality and precision that has made a marked difference to the process. Claytons has also made significant developments into material usage. “Last year we proudly achieved 100 per cent recycling of everything we use,” points out Ian. “We use all of the raw hide, knowing exactly which products come from which hides, and all the general waste we produced on site was recycled in some way instead of being sent to landfill.” This ethical responsibility also extends to the sourcing of its hide and the provenance of the animals used for production, something Ian is keen to publicise. “We know the entire process, from the beginning of the animal’s life, sure that it is responsibly brought up, right through to the end product,” he says. “Provenance is an important issue for us and we want people to understand where our leather comes from and how we process it. When an animal goes into the food chain, its hide is typically worth up to 1.5 per cent of its total value so it is a by-product of the food industry that can be turned into so many beautiful leathers using completely natural processes and techniques

that stretch back to the beginning of mankind.” At the heart of the reshaped Clayton, as it looks ahead, is a renewed focus on product offerings and brands. In 2016 the company will be reviving two of its subsidiaries, Samuel Sharp and William Clarke Currying Company, with histories extending back to 1628 and 1780, respectively. “These are both based around the hand finishing of premium leathers, so we will be launching these names again as two heritage brands to market specific products under those banners,” explains Ian. Whilst industrial sectors provided much of Clayton’s success during its history, this has experienced a steady decline and today the

Joseph Clayton and Sons

company’s main markets are small leather goods and fashion, supplying a number of mid- to premium international brands. Of particular note Ian highlights a customer in South Korea who uses Joseph Clayton English-bred leather to manufacture Apple iWatch straps. “This is an interesting bookend for us,” he says. “Our history goes back to 1840, making leather for necessity and living, and now its being used for luxury goods right alongside the most modern products on the market.” Clayton is also one of four global leather specialists currently producing the high value Cordovan leather, used in luxury products, and following a successful APLF Show in Hong Kong, has gained a lot of interest for the material in the Far East and China. Elsewhere, it also supplies to the world’s largest manufacturer of cricket balls. As far as the future is concerned, Ian is clear about the company’s strategic direction. “We want to continue growing the group,” he concludes. “At the moment turnover is about £6.5 million and the plan is to hit £8 million by 2017, which is a big leap for the company. We have new products coming through and we will continue to work on new things, primarily in the small leather goods market where the growth is. Equestrian and industrial are no longer growth markets for us, but fashion, small goods and sport are all markets full of opportunities that we hope to make the most of. Ultimately, its about getting the name back into the market and with 175 years under our belt there is an awful lot for us to shout about.”

Joseph Clayton & Sons Ltd Products/Services: Specialist manufacturer of high quality finished leather www.claytonleather.com www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 33


Arc Specialist Engineering Ltd

Ahead of the

curve

By focusing on the needs of its customers and developing a collaborative approach to business, Arc Specialist Engineering Limited is setting a solid foundation for continued success

F

ormed a mere two-and-a-half years ago in March 2013, Birmingham headquartered group Arc Specialist Engineering Limited is a group of four small to medium sized niche engineering manufacturing businesses within the metal processing sector. Born from the collapse of Metalrax Group, Arc Specialist Engineering enjoyed steady trading in its early days through its subsidiaries Cooper Coated Coil (CCC) in Wolverhampton, Western Body Hardware in Redditch, Luton based Toolspec and US-based business Post Glover Lifelink Inc. However, keen to continue profitability and to target a specific customer base, Arc Specialist Engineering made the strategic decision to sell two of its companies and to acquire two new companies that were more relevant to its future ambitions, as Andy Richardson, CEO at Arc Specialist Engineering Ltd begins: “Arc Specialist Engineering is an ambitious business that is owned by a private family office. Our purpose is to grow and develop the businesses that we have under our umbrella while also acquiring complementary organisations as opportunities arise. Since our inception we have sold two of our original businesses; one of which sold

34 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

electronic safety equipment for medical institutions, which didn’t fit in with metal processing. The other was more of an assembly company that assembled locks, hinges and latches, which left us with Cooper Coated Coil Ltd and Toolspec Manufacturing Co Ltd. Meanwhile, during this time we acquired Tube Bend Form International and EWS Manufacturing, the latter of which we acquired in September 2015. Following these developments we are now a more structured group that is focused on metal processing. This falls into two categories, coil processing and metal tube processing. The coil business is based on the operations of Cooper Coated Coil and EWS, while the metal tube processing parts of the business are Toolspec and Tube Bend Form International.” With four niche businesses under its belt, Arc Specialist Engineering’s goal is to continue growing, both organically and through further acquisition of organisations that complement the group’s operations. This was indeed the case with the 100 per cent acquisition of Tube Bend Form International’s shares, which was brought to complement Toolspec with access to new products, processes and customers that would ultimately result in stronger revenue growth and an expansion of its customer base.


Moreover, the group’s strategy is to focus on niche markets as opposed to competing in very high volume commodity products, as Andy states: “We look for specialist companies that will give us the capability to have a dominant position in our sector. Additionally, as a UK manufacturer facing overseas competition, we look for manufacturers of products that won’t travel well as items that are easy to dispatch overseas are hard to compete against areas such as China. Cooper Coated Coil is a strong example of the niche focus, as there are lots of coil coating businesses that are much bigger than CCC; our competitors may coat 100,000 plus tonnes of metal per year, while we will coat just under 20,000 tonnes per year. Because we manufacture relatively small amounts of coil we are good at changeovers and can therefore access a market that the larger competitors wouldn’t bother with; such as the pre-coated non-stick bakeware market. We have a dominant position in this market.” Another example of this is the company’s acquisition of EWS, a cold roll forming business, from international door and window components supplier Tyman, for approximately £7.25 million in September 2015. Coinciding with Tyman’s strategy

to focus on supplying components to the door and window industry on a global scale, Andy notes that the arrival of EWS within Arc Specialist Engineering will enable the group to strategically access the relatively niche PVCu window and door reinforcement market: “EWS is a rollforming company, however Hadley Group is the biggest rollforming company in this country and we don’t try to compete on many of the volumes it produces. Hadley will concentrate on giving customers good service in the very high volume markets; whereas we can give outstanding service and value to markets such as PVCu window and door reinforcement where customers require lower run quantities, more frequent deliveries and more product variety than other applications that Hadley focuses on. This is our strategy really, to differentiate our services, find niche markets and deliver truly good value to our customers.” Keen to provide a superior customer service to clients, Andy is committed to creating a creating a management process and system that enables the managing directors of each business to be close to customers and to employees within the business. “Key to providing good value is not only to provide customers with the product itself, but also to deliver knowledge, advice and an excellent service, which will lead to strong long-term relationships. I believe the people in charge of a business should be as close as possible to clients and to those that deliver the service and products to the clients. Because of this, we delegate authority down heavily, we don’t have matrix type structures or corporate policies; the managing director instead sets his own agenda and journey while using our system as a template. This provides our subsidiaries with topclass management that punches above its weight in terms of their size; it is unusual, but is also an integral part of what makes us successful. It would be easy to centralise many of our actions, but taking these responsibilities away from the people serving our customers removes accountability,

while also removing authority, passion and the ability to do the right thing for the customer.” This way of operating also enables Arc Specialist Engineering to be agile when its comes to making acquisitions, confident that the managing directors of its subsidiaries are delivering optimum service to customers and maintaining strong relationships with employees. With a solid foundation for future growth in place, the future looks positive for Arc Specialist Engineering as it continues to develop a more traditional way of working with customers through the delivery of a transparent, open and mutually beneficial service. “We would like to be seen as partners to our customers; I want our customers to make more money so we can make money, it’s a pretty simple way of forming longterm collaborative relationships. CCC has been doing this for years and it is a business that knows its customers so well, it really is phenomenal; we now want to create this same way of working with EWS. Our financial goal is to get to £100 million in sales over the next three to four years, and at least £10 million in profit will be done through organic growth and acquisitions. The other goal is to ensure people enjoy what they do, which may sound trite, but we want our employees to get more out of working for us than just a paycheck,” concludes Andy.

Arc Specialist Engineering Limited Services: Group of niche metal processing companies www.arcspecialist.co.uk

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 35


EWS Ltd

Part of:

Shaping the

future

As the newest member of Arc Specialist Engineering Group, EWS enters a new period of focused investment as it looks forward to a future of growth and success

W

ith a long engineering history behind it, EWS had been a subsidiary of window and hardware producer ERA, itself a part of the Tyman plc group since 2007. Focusing on providing high quality cold roll formed steel reinforcement for the PVCu market, fenestration accounts for 90 per cent of the company’s total sales.Turning out over 20 million metres of products every year and with a turnover of £19 million, EWS supplies to customer across the world as far as Australia. With a strong reputation in the market, EWS’ strengths are founded in its customer service, which is supported by long-standing system house relationships and a commitment to quality. “We hardly have any rejects come back,” explains Operations Director, Nick Stevens. “We are known for performance, for value and for delivering products that do what we promise.” As recently as September 2015, the Arc Specialist Engineering Group acquired EWS from ERA. “In order for us to grow under ERA’s ownership it would have meant it moving away from its own core focus,” explains Nick. “Arc means a fresh start for us. With the new group there is now an appetite for, a focus on and a sense of belonging towards

36 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

growing the business and we are looking forward to improving things.” Under Arc’s keen desire to invest and promote continuous improvement across its group, EWS is beginning to reshape towards consolidating its existing business, whilst gaining further market share and expanding into different markets to take advantage of new opportunities. “We’re looking to build further on our strong customer service,” Nick says. “So we hope to reduce our lead times, to provide more value for our customers’ businesses as well as our own and to build on our strong reputation of quality and performance.” Developments towards this future have already begun for EWS with a recent £100,000 investment into a new automatic saw, which enabled the company to offer an in-house cut-to-length service to its customers. “The system houses take six metre lengths but the smaller fabricators want to take smaller lengths, so we can now produce the products on-line and then cut back after,” outlines Nick.This investment accompanies an internal design engineering competence, allowing EWS to work closely with its customer to develop the best solutions, an in-house tool room, to manufacture its own necessary roll tools, and a preproduction trial area, where it can demonstrate and prove rolls to


market as well as making efforts to build on this and gain market share. We will be recruiting extra sales people to get out there and start making some noise in the market to achieve this. “In the longer term, it is difficult to say specifically, but it will involve looking at new sectors away from fenestration where we feel we have something to offer. We’ve recently done some work with under-floor electrical cable trunking, and also in the automotive and shop-fitting sectors. So we are starting to explore our opportunities, but the future routes will be determined by where the biggest volumes are and where we can make an impact.

It is important that none of this detracts from our existing relationships within the fenestration market and this will always be our main product focus.”

EWS Ltd Products/Services: Cold rolled steel manufacturer primarily supplying the UK fenestration markets www.ewsmanufacturing.co.uk

the customers before heading to final production. Future investments will continue to focus on driving this value to the end customer. “Over the coming months we will be looking at implementing some factory software to drive the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) of the machines that we’ve got and ensuring that we’re getting the highest utilisation out of them to help reduce lead times and costs,” Nick continues. “This will include data capture, bar-coding, on-line planning and so on, all of which will help the end user because when a customer wants something, we will have a much more efficient process to quickly deliver it.” Quality-wise, EWS is ISO9000 accredited and supports this with stringent quality checks across its processes, including total inspection of the flat steel coil materials and periodical care point inspections along the production line.This is followed by a full documentation and review process to ensure that quality is maintained throughout. “We also record and measure all the scrap that we make with the view to continuously driving this down and reducing costs,” adds Nick. With these programmes in place for improving manufacturing processes and building on its already strong reputation for customer service, EWS is well placed to fulfil its future ambitions of driving growth and profitability through the business, whilst expanding its market footprint. “Fenestration products are, and will continue to be, our core focus,” concludes Nick. “So over the next 12 months we will be working hard to brace this business against competition and maintain existing relationships in the

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 37


Toolspec Manufacturing Company

Part of:

The right tools

A story of growth for Arc Group’s Toolspec is being written as continued investment fuels its progress towards a successful future

O

riginally founded back in 1961 as a tool making company, Toolspec has developed over the years in line with changing customer requirements. Now, as part of the Arc Specialist Engineering group, the company is a manufacturer of tubular and section manipulations to be used in complex components and welded assemblies. Employing 60 people, in 2014 Toolspec turned over £6 million, demonstrating marked growth over its recession low of £3.5 million in 2010 and does so by flexibly producing components and assemblies in volumes from ten to 1500 per week.

38 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

Testament to Toolspec’s high quality, specialist expertise is its customer base, which includes blue chip names such as Jaguar Land Rover, Opel, JCB, Case New Holland and CAT, across the automotive, off-highway/construction and agricultural sectors. “We are competitive and competent,” begins CEO, Mark Blythe. “At our core is the ability to manipulate and fabricate tubular structures, but it is our ability to apply this to highly complex assemblies that enables us to provide to sectors such as the automotive industry.” Illustrating this, the company holds a showcase of quality standards including TS16949 and JLRQ accreditation. With 55 people making the components


supported by five experienced toolmakers, the company has the capability to provide bespoke products ranging from under chassis, NVH (Noise Vehicle Harmonics Brace) and door, to brake system, fluid moving, ring rolled and hollow section manipulated applications. Both robotic and manual welding solutions, pressing and fabrication facilities, CAD and CAM systems, and on-site prototype development services support this. With sales targeted to grow to new levels within the coming years, Toolspec has recently implemented, and is currently undergoing, a period of focused investment – part of which has been funded by AMSCI (Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative). Sponsored by JCB for the funding, the business received around 10 per cent of its total capital investment of £840,000 from AMSCI, which has significantly helped the company expand its business, reduce waste and lead times, and has already successfully landed the company further important deals. “The most significant investment of this period has been into two state-of-the-art bending

machines and a machining centre,” explains Mark. “The bending machines are the biggest revelation. They speed up the whole process and cut out most of the waste through measurable accuracy and quality. This allows us to make things better and faster and means we are better positioned to hunt down bigger contracts. It takes us closer to achieving our ‘one-stop-shop’ goal, making ever more complex components.” Another key addition to the company’s facilities in this programme was a new CADCAM system. “We had always CAD-designed the tooling, but then had to reverse engineer that onto a drawing,” Mark continues. “Now we can do everything much more efficiently with our new machining centre and have been able to significantly reduce lead times and costs for our

‘‘

At our core is the ability to manipulate and fabricate tubular structures, but it is our ability to apply this to highly complex assemblies that enables us to provide to sectors such as the automotive industry

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 39


Toolspec Manufacturing Company

customers.” Future investments are targeted to include additional sub-400 tonne pressing facilities, additional break pressing facilities and a five-axis 3D laser cutting machine. Investment programmes of this type are critical in making Toolspec a much more flexible and reactive company in a market that is constantly evolving, but Mark comments on the need to continue the company’s growth trajectory in order to alleviate the pressures felt by ongoing and fluctuating market stresses. “Whilst the automotive and agricultural markets are performing well at present, we are seeing

a unstable marketplace in the construction sector and therefore a downturn in off-highway products. The challenge at the moment is seeing these markets reducing in volumes as this means that we need to be more diverse and proactive in looking for more customers and product ranges. We always want to win more work as when one market catches a cold we can become hit quite quickly,” he says. “By spreading out further over a larger commodity sector, we will become less reliant on one particular market sector, or a few leading customers, to maintain our success. Therefore, buoyed by the financial stability, passion for investment and innovation, and continued acquisitive growth afforded to us by being part of the Arc Group, we hope to see the business double over the next three years.”

Toolspec Manufacturing Company Ltd Products: Part of the ARC Group, specialises in the manufacture of tubular and hollow section structures for the automotive, construction and agricultural industries

www.toolspec.co.uk

40 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Part of:

Cooper Coated Coil Laufenberg

On

coil A member of Arc Specialist Engineering since 2013, niche specialist designer, producer and worldwide distributor of pre-coated metals Cooper Coated Coil is renowned for its high quality niche coating capabilities in the housewares and other niche manufacturing markets

K

nown as Custom Coil Coaters until the founder of the business sold the company, Cooper Coated Coil (CCC) has built a reputation across the globe as market leaders within the non-stick coatings industry since its inception almost 50 years ago. Now known by its acronym CCC, its customers produce over 45 million pieces of bakeware from metal coils coated at its site in Wolverhampton each year. Based at its site since 2009 after major investment in a new process line, the company has been operating as a one-stop-shop for the past six years, with all manufacturing capabilities and support functions operating under one roof. “CCC has been around since 1966 and is a specialist coil coater, which means we apply paint to steel and aluminium coils in a continuous process. The coil coating industry is global and normally operated by the major steel and aluminium manufacturers in the world, however we are niche specialists in the design, production and distribution of pre-painted metal

for the domestic bakeware, domestic appliances, houseware, and certain other niche industrial manufacturing sectors. What we essentially do is buy steel or aluminium coils and paint them; our real forte is non-stick coating, so we put coatings like Teflon and other liquid organic coatings onto a moving metal surface,” begins Kevin Tranter, Managing Director of Cooper Coated Coil. With a globally established reputation as a specialist in the application of non-stick coatings for these niche markets, the company’s customers include major retailers such as John Lewis and William Sonoma as well as bluechip grocers such as ASDA, Tesco, J. Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s. “William Sonoma is the most prestigious kitchenware store in the world and is based in the US, however our products are also delivered across Europe and into the Far East. We export into China; it is here that our material is used in the manufacture of domestic steam irons for the likes of Morphy Richards in the UK or Hamilton Beach for the US market,” highlights Kevin.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 41


Despite facing competition from Chinese spray coating companies, CCC is confident in its ability to deliver efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly coating solutions to customers. Key to providing these benefits is the company’s modern and well-equipped facility, which features a one-metre wide coil coating line that is capable of handling coil weights of up to 12 tonnes; two rotary coil slitting lines and three cut to length lines, as Kevin explains: “For the operation of the two rotary coil slitting lines, we put a wide coil on and slit it down to a number of strands because we usually coat the order in a bulk wide coil. This means we can produce large amounts of coil and then break that master coil down so our customers receive their coil in the size they require in the quickest time possible. “To further enhance our flexibility and capability to deliver in short lead times, we have two slitting and three cut to length lines; this means we can supply coil or sheets to our customers depending on their level of automation on presses. Because of our efficiency, we aim to deliver the product to the customer in 14 to 21 days from the date of order.” The equipment used by the company at its site is relatively young, with its main coating line acquired approximately seven years ago as part of a £5 million investment in the site. On top of this, the company invested in a state-of-the-art environmental control system three years ago as a way to treat the leftover solvent from the solvent based coatings. “Another way we deliver environmentally friendly solutions is through painting the steel as opposed to spraying it on a spray coating line, as some of our competitors do. With our process we get around 95 per cent of the product

42 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Cooper Coated Coil

onto the steel, while our Chinese competitors lose approximately 40 per cent to the local atmosphere through spraying,” states Kevin. Benefiting from being part of the autonomous and non-corporate Arc Specialist Engineering group, CCC is able to operate in an independent manner, making it easier for the company to respond to market trends and customer requests. This manner of working is clearly proving fruitful for CCC, with the company reaching annual sales of £24 million currently. Although an impressive number for a 70 strong niche organisation, Kevin’s strategic vision for the company is to reach £30 million and beyond over the next three to five years. Key to this vision is an increase on consumer facing work at locations such as the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham, which the company exhibited at in November 2015. “Our consumer facing company brand is called Glidex, which enables us to talk to and educate consumers on the quality difference between our products and those made in the Far East. A lot of well known brands import products in the bakeware arena from China and evidence

from our laboratory show these products have a lower quality standard, while ours also have a longer lifetime. We want to reach out to consumers and show them the benefits of our products,” concludes Kevin.

Cooper Coated Coil Products/Services: Functional coatings for the baking products market www.coopercoated.com

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 43


Mini Gears

A range of gear cut components for power transmission industries

Big developments Following 50 years in operation, Mini Gears has developed a strong reputation as a leading specialist subcontract-engineering firm that delivers high quality products at competitive rates

C

elebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, Stockport based family-owned subcontract engineering company Mini Gears began when Reg Darwent, an engineer and specialist in gear cutting, realised there was a growing market for small gears as demand grew for smaller gearboxes. In response to this, Reg, a partner in a company supplying spare parts for textile machinery at the time, moved the manufacture of small gears into its own business segment and started operating as a separate manufacturer. Proving highly successful, the company soon required its own premises and name; in response to the current trends of the Mini Cooper car and the Mini Skirt, Reg called the company Mini Gears. Five decades on and the small company is not so mini, with gear cutting capacity increasing from being mini to a size of 600 mm dia. In addition, the remainder of the company was taken over by the Darwent family in 1993 when turnover was just over £1 million. Since then Mini Gears has enjoyed more than a decade of incredible growth, with the company approaching £10 million turnover in 2015. In line with this growth, the company has moved premises twice and is now based in its 35,000 square foot Stockport facility. “For us as a business, 2015 has been the best financial result for Mini Gears in our entire history, with a turnover of £9.7 million hit. This record

Left: Mini Gear’s 35,000 sq.ft. machining facility

44 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


s

turnover is due to our wide market spread as we manufacture and supply to diverse industries across the globe such as power transmission, oil, gas and petrochemical, stairlifts and medical, autosport, aircraft seating and nuclear. The industry we are currently getting a lot of demand from has been power transmission, however all markets have been reasonably buoyant apart from oil and gas, which has reduced quite rapidly since the second quarter of 2015,� says Keith Martin, Joint Managing Director at Mini Gears. Within the power transmission market Mini Gears has helped many customers achieve their optimum target design, while also helping to reduce manufacturing costs. Items created within Mini Gears’ factory include precision machined parts, spurs gears, helical gears, ground gears, steering racks, worm wheels, worm shafts, layshafts, pinions and timing pulleys. Meanwhile, aware that a focus on safety and comfort is imperative when manufacturing components for stairlifts and medical lifting equipment, Mini Gears is proud to be supporting

Above: Over 100 machines at the company’s 35,000 sq.ft. manufacturing facility

Northern Broaching Service

Northern Broaching Service Ltd is a one stop shop for all your broaching and gear cutting/machining needs with the largest stock of broaching tools in the UK ranging from k/ways to straight sided and involute splines. Along with its machining capacity, this allows Northern Broaching Services Ltd and Mini Gears to have a mutually beneficial relationship that over the years has helped both companies in the design and manufacture of precision components ranging from one off to larger quantities. It also helps Northern Broaching Services Ltd and Mini Gears to meet customers required delivery dates. Because all the machining is under one roof it saves on both time and delivery cost thus helping our customers reduce manufacturing costs.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 45


Racks, gears and machined components for the stairlift & medical lifting equipment industries

Right: Large CNC Turning machine with huge torque and turning diameter up to 420mm

46 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

mobility through its manufacturing expertise. Taking the opportunity to improve the ride quality of a stairlift a number of years ago, the company used its skills and invested in the right machinery to start building gear racks for the stairlift industry in 1995. Committed to improving the performance of its customers’ products, Mini Gears has provided its input into rack and pinion designs that are used in lifting mechanisms; so far its most beneficial innovation is a specialist tooth profile that ensures the quiet and smooth running of the stairlift. Components supplied to the stairlift and medical market include racks up to three metres long, pinions, spur gears, helical gears, machined parts and sprockets. “As a subcontracting engineering company we don’t have any of our own product range to market or sell or come up with innovative ideas for, however, we are well renowned in the industry for our input into designs and manufacture. We help our customers meet optimum target designs and very competitive manufacturing costs and are always looking at established running products as well to see if there are any cost saving design changes that we could propose for consideration.


Mini Gears Ground gears and shafts for high performance requirements

High precision machined components for oil, gas & petrochemical industries

We are pro-active in suggesting new methods or, if we see potential, new manufacturing techniques to save some costs; we will always propose these and put these forward to our customers,” highlights Keith. As a trusted manufacturer of machined parts, gears and racks, the company has developed strong relationships with customers in areas such as the UK, Europe, the US and even Australia. Key to the company’s reputation for superior service is its close working relationship with clients, its collaborative approach to projects and its modern facilities. “We are based in two locations, one is our main manufacturing location in Stockport, which is where we put strong emphasis on high-end CNC precision machining. It is here that we have a very capable front-end engineering team so when projects come in we can plan and do all offline programming to ensure there are few issues when parts are put forward. We also have a purchasing office in Asia where we produce higher volume, more commercial grade items; the two locations complement each other and enable us to supply a range of products to our clients,” says Keith.

To stay ahead of the competition, Mini Gears continually invests in its machining facilities, with approximately £500,000 spent on equipment for its UK based manufacturing site this year. The investment included a large turning machine, a machining centre and the refurbishment of one of its CNC gear hobbers, which alone cost almost £100,000. Moving forward, the future looks positive for Mini Gears as it uses its diverse capabilities to focus on growing industries such as aerospace and medical. In line with these plans, the company’s short-term focus is on achieving the aerospace AS 9100 revision C approval to enable it to further develop in this market.

Mini Gears Products/Services: Manufacturer of machined parts, gears and racks www.minigears.co.uk

Painted aluminium machined ‘kits’ for 1st class aircraft seating

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 47


Reifen Hinghaus

Making

tracks

Safe and quality performance sits at the heart of Reifen Hinghaus, an eco-friendly company that strives to drive innovation into the tyre industry

F

ounded in 1953 and widely known under its brand name, King-Meiler, Reifen Hinghaus specialises in the retreading of tyres for the automotive industry. Providing tyre solutions to a range of applications from passenger cars, through light trucks and trailers, to highly specialised racing cars for a variety of disciplines and surfaces, the company has carved itself a significant position in the market. “The stronger the market conditions have got over the years, the more the company has established its position as the most important player in the German retreading industry,” explains MD, Mark Hinghaus Kaul. “At King-Meiler there is something for everyone: individuals, business people, local communities, companies and even racing drivers.” Excellent connections to online shops like www.proreifen.com enable final consumers to order summer, winter or all season tyres fast and straight, just making the decision where to receive it – at home or at any service station. In most cases racing teams can be supported directly at the paddock of several tracks in Europe.

48 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Germany remains the key market for Reifen Hinghaus, with close to 70 per cent of sales coming from the domestic market, but the King-Meiler brand has made significant tracks in other markets across Europe, enjoying particular strength in the Baltic regions. With manufacturing based in Germany, the company proudly displays the ‘made in Germany’ mark, standing for quality and reliability in a country internationally renowned for its automotive industry. “One of our main advantages is reliability and involvement in research and development,” outlines Mark. “Besides market flexibility you have to stay focused on the values you stand for. For us

these are safety, performance and environmental consideration.” Operating in the niche market of tyre retreading, Reifen Hinghaus continues to face the challenge of negative perceptions towards safety, and the company is keen to allay these fears by proving the quality and performance of its products, as well as by playing a key role in the industry’s innovative progression. “Retreading tyres is one of the first and longstanding methods of ensuring environmental protection,” says Mark. “However, between our wishes for comfort and our responsibility to the environment, we are always searching for the best solution without forgetting the exceptionally

Berwin

With sites in Manchester and Gloucestershire, the Berwin Group is the UK’s leading custom compounder. With a global customer base built around 60 years of technical excellence it provides rubber and silicone based compounds that conform to both international standards and bespoke customer requirements for tyre, automotive, aerospace, construction, drainage and sewerage, military, railways and many more. Berwin operates a policy of continual investment in order to produce the highest quality compounds at the most economical price. Its wide range of elastomeric compounds and services are designed to meet the diverse requirements of today’s demanding and challenging global industries.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 49


Reifen Hinghaus

important point of safety. At King-Meiler we strive to achieve all three points in one product on a par with newly produced tyres and our intention is to overcome this challenge by proving that we have high performing tyres with extraordinary safety. Most important for alleviating these fears of safety, testing organisations such as TÜV-

Nord and Prüflabor Nord certify King-Meiler factory retread tyres. In order to achieve this our products have to pass tests that place higher demands than those for new tyres.” Further testifying to the quality and safe performance of King-Meiler tyres, leading German automotive TV show and magazine auto mobil ranked the company’s WinterTact tyre third place alongside other leading new and retread tyre brands. Alongside meeting industry standards to overcome challenging perceptions, Reifen Hinghaus places a lot of focus on research and development. “There are several fields to mention when it comes to innovation,” explains Mark. “In co-operation with Lanxess, a very successful technical rubber company, we have established a symbiotic situation in the advancement of knowledge about the practical operating range of rubber, which provides us with the opportunity to find special rubber mixtures and exclusive compounds for King-Meiler tyres. These help set our factory retread tyres apart from the competition.”

Approved by this success the manufacturer has been inspired to design its own pattern for an all season tyre and let approved fabricators of the inevitable moulds manufacture it. The King-Meiler AS-1, is already published at the international market. “As well as this we have been involved in a special project with a leading university supporting the development of tyre stabilisation. This is all about bias stabilisation and once the project is completed successfully there will be a brand-new way to overcome the physical forces that affect tyres, for instance when cornering.” However, despite challenges, the fact that Reifen Hinghaus has occupied a significant position in the market for over six decades, playing a prominent role in the industry’s development for much of that time, only serves to illustrate its success. With this in mind it is no surprise that the company continues to invest heavily into its factory and processes as it continues to show trends of growth. Of late, and in accordance with its core value of environmental responsibility, it has installed solar panels to supply its entire energy needs and a thermal heat pump to conserve heat and prevent energy loss throughout the factory. In terms of operations a new packing machine has helped the business optimise logistics and improved its ability to serve customers directly through wholesalers and online retailers alike. Regarding the future, Reifen Hinghaus is exemplary in its outlook. “We are focused on success within our numerous projects, in terms of how we can help protect the environment, and thus our health and how we can make tyres safer,” concludes Mark. “This will involve continuing to find new, better solutions and presenting retread tyres in the proper light that they deserve. Alongside our re-launched website www.kingmeiler.com we will be hosting a number of events and promotions to help do this. Of course, whilst we always have one eye on our sales figures, at the forefront of our business, success means evolution, both for the company and its products, but also for the industry as a whole. “As such the future for us will be centred around expansion into new markets, launching new products and supporting a variety of social schemes. Above all, we will let curiosity be our guide as we continue to develop.”

Reifen Hinghaus Services: Specialist in tyre retreading www.king-meiler.com

50 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Gooch & Housego Laufenberg

Advanced

photonics

A world leader in its field, Gooch & Housego (G&H) researches, designs, engineers and

manufactures advanced photonic systems, components and instrumentation for applications in the Aerospace & Defence, Industrial, Life Sciences and Scientific Research sectors

I

ts expertise extends from research through the development of prototypes to volume manufacturing and enables innovation and effective manufacturing in the aerospace & defence, industrial, life sciences and scientific research (Big Science) sectors. Researching and manufacturing in eight sites across the US and UK, G&H is an expert across a uniquely broad range of photonic technologies – crystal growth, optical materials processing, acousto-optics and electro-optics, fibre optics,

DFB laser modules, precision optics (thin-film coating, birefringent optics, non-linear, planar and aspheric), RF driver electronics in addition to light measurement and calibration solutions. When combined with the company’s optical, mechanical, electronic and software design capabilities, G&H is able to provide complete optical system design, engineering and manufacturing services, if applicable on an ITAR / non-ITAR basis, with COTS or bespoke products. To give more of a specific example, in the Industrial area, Gooch & Housego serves a number of markets, including: • Industrial Lasers for materials processing applications • LED and Display testing for commercial and industrial applications in the lighting, automotive and consumer electronics sectors as well as for aerospace & defence • Metrology for laser-based, high-precision, non-contact measurement systems • Semiconductor for lithography and test and measurement applications

• Sensing for applications including strain, temperature and pressure sensing • Telecommunications specifically for high reliability and high performance applications

The broad range of expertise found at the organisation has been accrued over almost seven decades in business. When it was founded in 1948 its core skills were centred on manufacturing scientific optical components and crystalline materials, and these skills are still very much at the

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 51


and infrared optics enabled G&H to offer a more complete range of precision optical products. The company was founded in 1976, employed 60 people in a 1000 ft² / 90m² facility in Glenrothes, Scotland – just north of the Firth of Forth and 50 miles from Edinburgh. Meanwhile Constelex Technology Enablers Ltd, an Athens, Greece, based designer and manufacturer of advanced photonic systems was purchased to boost G&H’s Systems Technology Group (STG) and its remit of developing a higheradded-value capability at the sub-systems and systems level. The Constelex acquisition brought added expertise in the area of satellite and space photonics. cornerstone of the current operations at Ilminster with global sales of acousto-optics, crystal optics and precision optics. From these origins as a craft-based optical engineering company rich in practical optical manufacturing skills, G&H has undergone a transformation over the last 20 years into a high-technology photonics business through an acquisition policy of the best-in-breed companies in individual technology areas. The company now has manufacturing sites in the US in California, Florida, Massachusetts and Ohio in addition to its three UK facilities located in Ilminster, Glenrothes

52 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

and Torquay. In 1997 Gooch & Housego was admitted to the alternative investment market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange. Today the company also includes sales offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore with additional representation by a global network of distributors. The transformation mentioned previously involved a series of strategic acquisitions, beginning in 1995 with Optronic Laboratories. The two latest were added in 2013, with the purchase of both a Scottish and a Greek company. Spanoptic Ltd’s manufacturing capabilities in the area of aspheres

The Systems Technology Group The Systems Technology Group (STG) was established in 2013 to function as a separate business unit to design, develop, and prototype systems-level products. Its multi-disciplinary team, with expertise in mechanical, electronic, and software design and modelling, is integrating these technologies with G&H’s expertise in photonics. The STG accelerates G&H’s move up the value chain by providing a strong pipeline of component and sub-systems. The STG relies on government funding for


Gooch & Housego some of its work, although not all the grants it receives are from the Government. These funded programmes are strategically selected and managed to create lasting value, and they need to lead to application targeted technology development and viable products. The STG is currently focused on OCT, fibre optics in the general sense, which includes lasers, sensing and also satellite communications. The defence and avionics markets are two of G&H’s largest business sectors and have been important drivers for its investment in operational quality and programme management. As the defence sector focuses on value and sustaining its wide array of platforms, G&H sees strong opportunities for photonics as a superior replacement for many existing technologies. In addition, the STG is actively developing erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) systems for next generation satellite deployment to enable broadband satellite connectivity. Building on its successful use in science missions, photonics is in the process of being qualified for widespread applications for both satellite-to-satellite communication and on-board satellite data processing and routing. G&H’s strategy is to position itself as a lead supplier of space photonics solutions by continuing to work with major government agencies and contractors on groundbreaking scientific demonstrations. Ultimately, the organisation believes that the high-reliability design and production of components and systems for satellites under the stringent requirements of space flight environment has general applicability to a wide range of other defence and commercial avionic markets. It also believes that life sciences applications, with their worldwide markets and strong benefits to society, offer the largest potential for G&H’s expansion. G&H is the established leader in fibre optical subsystems for optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT has now become a standard ophthalmic diagnostic tool and is being deployed into multiple other applications such as cardio and cancer imaging. In order to pursue its ambitious plans for the future, G&H is investing in targeted bio-medical applications, developing new products and capabilities.

Gooch & Housego Products: Photonics systems www.goochandhousego.com

OHARA – Your Supplier of Optical Materials For more than 80 years OHARA has been recognized as a worldwide leading provider of optical and technical materials. OHARA’s materials have been designed into many challenging optical and optoelectronic key technologies.

Optical Glass: With over 140 glass types, OHARA offers a broad portfolio of leading edge materials which are used in binoculars, camera lenses, microscopes, measurement devices, and all other classical optical applications. Special glasses like high UV transmitting Y-types are used in microlithography or astronomical applications. Over 20 different L-types are adapted to the requirements of low process temperature in precision moulding. OHARA’s optical glasses are available in strip form, and also as near lens shape mouldings for economical use in the polishing processes at our customer’s production site. Glass Ceramic: OHARA’s low-thermal-expansion glass ceramic CLEARCERAM-z® offers superior properties including chemical resistance, dimensional stability, and machinability. Our material is specified when the highest performance is needed. For example, in reference elements for semiconductor production devices, as bodies for modern

laser gyroscopes, or as mirror substrates for astronomical applications. OHARA supplies discs, and machined blanks, with diameters up to 2000 mm. Fused Silica: OHARA produces high quality fused silica utilizing the VAD production method. Our SK-1300 Fused Silica series offers excellent homogeneity and internal quality. Our materials are widely used in visible, infrared, and laser applications. For fiber production, OHARA supplies various types of fused silica in the form of tubes and rods.

Polished Wafers and Substrates: All OHARA materials are available in extremely thin double side polished substrates. Typical dimension ranges and surface quality: -diameter: 4 ~ 12 inch -thickness: 100 µm ±10 µm -Ra >0.1 nm ( available in square or round shapes - if requested, with SEMI orientation flat or notch and laser labelling of your specified serial number in barcode or clear writing formats )

Please contact us with your requests: OHARA GmbH Im Langgewann 4, 65719 Hofheim a. Ts. Germany Phone +49 6192 9650 50 • www.ohara-gmbh.com

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 53


Tetronics International

A matter of great

importance

Tetronics International, a global leader in the supply of Direct Current plasma arc systems for a wide range of resource recovery and hazardous waste treatment applications, is currently using its expertise in a number of groundbreaking projects.

P

roud to be the most experienced plasma company in the world, Tetronics International has developed a strong reputation over the last five decades for producing high quality clean plasma technology for maximum resource recovery, as well as the highest levels of hazardous material destruction. From its Swindon headquarters, the company boasts one of the most comprehensive trials facilities in Europe due to its unique range of highly flexible pilot scale furnaces for conducting plasma trials across a broad range of material processes. This location is also home to its manufacturing plant, where technology is developed in advance of its supply to customers.

54 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


“Tetronics International was founded in 1964 to develop and use plasma arc technology, which we now use to treat a wide variety of harmful waste streams as well as to recover valuable resources from spent materials. These applications include turning hazardous wastes such as Air Pollution Control residues and asbestos into building products as well as the treatment of toxic Spent Potliner generated during the manufacturing of aluminium. Resource recovery from spent materials include precious metals from electronic waste and catalytic converters found in cars, along with the recovery of base metals from electric arc furnace dusts,” explains Graeme Rumbol, CEO of Tetronics International. He continues: “We often describe plasma arc as a ‘synthetic lightning’. It is used to transform spent materials into substances that are benign to the environment while also producing valuable by-products for use elsewhere in industry. We supply this technology to numerous companies all across the world, which use it for a range of different applications.” Indeed, as its name suggests, the ISO 9001,

and ISO 14001 certified company boasts a global customer base, with more than 90 plasma systems installed and commissioned across four continents around the globe. “Many of these facilities have been operating for years in some of the most challenging industrial environments across a wide and varied range of applications,” notes Graeme. Following installation, Tetronics International continues to work with its customers to develop or upgrade the treatment facilities and provide specialist advice as well as spares and service. The most recent example of the company’s technological capabilities can be seen at the Duesmann & Hensel Recycling plant in Frankfurt, Germany, with its plasma arc technology going live in August 2015. A global player in the precious metals recycling field, Duesmann & Hensel Recycling is responsible for approximately ten per cent of the global recycled automotive catalytic converter market. In line with the German firm’s operations, Tetronics International’s plasma arc technology is being used to process and recover valuable precious metals from catalytic

BJD Crushers

UK crushing equipment manufacturer, BJD Crushers Ltd, has supplied its Flextooth and Hammermill crushers for operation in Tetronics’ plasma arc precious metal recovery installations around the world. The equipment is used for primary reduction of feedstock and to reduce the cast sheet of recovered precious metal following separation in the plasma system, making it ready for sampling and further processing.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 55


56 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Tetronics International

BDI Cooling

BDI Cooling, part of Bijur Delimon International, is a leading provider of UK manufactured fluid and temperature control solutions, delivering precision equipment worldwide to a diverse range of industries. BDI Cooling is proud to design and manufacture specific solutions to Tetronics International that match their project requirements.

Right: Furuya plant overflow Below left: Trials facility in Swindon, UK Below right: DHR furnace

Rospen

Rospen Industries has been supplying the furnace feed formulation and decanting stations to Tetronics International for over ten years. During this period, using Rospen Industries experience in accurate powder dosing and handling systems aligned with the close support of the Tetronics staff, it has been able to continually improve the final product ensuring a homogenous mix is consistently provided on demand to the Tetronics plasma furnace.

converters; these are then reused in car exhaust systems in modern cars as a way to reduce pollutants. “Germany has an excellent reputation for recycling scrapped cars and we’re delighted we’re able to further support them with their efforts,” states Graeme. Precious metals found in converters include platinum group metals (PGMs), which are essential for a range of manufacturing processes. Tetronics International’s process concentrates these valuable PGMs for resale by a factor of x25; it also makes them available via wet chemistry so they can re-enter the supply chain, thus enabling them to be used in the production of new products. Meanwhile, in the same process, hazardous elements contained in less valuable material are transformed, with the waste turned into an approved, inert reusable building product called Plasmarok®. This strong, environmentally stable product has gone through comprehensive testing to ensure it meets BS EN 13242:2002 standards and is suitable for use in road paving, pipe bedding and other markets. Discussing the markets that Tetronics International operates in, Graeme notes: “Precious metal recovery is certainly an area where we continue to see success. At the moment, our

installed technology has the capacity to process 13.7k tonnes of converter core material (roughly equivalent to 13.7m catalytic converters); however that number is set to rise to 17.5k tonnes in the next few months. In addition to the plant in Frankfurt, we also recently supplied our technology to Duncan Recycling and Refining in Oklahoma, the US. The plant there will be doing much the same as Duesmann & Hensel Recycling and has the capacity to process around two million catalytic converters every year.” Alongside these two projects, Tetronics International has been working on two further groundbreaking projects, one of which involves the development of a new, transportable system that will destroy chemical weapons in the heart of conflict zones for quicker disposal. Commissioned £500,000 by the UK government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Tetronics International aims to develop its plasma arc technology into a fully transportable system that can crack or reform the chemical composition of hazardous chemicals such as mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin. The other groundbreaking project that the company is leading aims to unlock value in discarded electronic products through the

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 57


Tetronics International

Tetronics CEO: Graeme Rumbol

Caldo Engineering

Caldo Engineering has been supplying compact and cost-effective pollution control systems to Tetronics International for more than ten years. Based on ceramic filtration, Caldo’s hot gas treatment systems take the off-gas generated by Tetronics’ plasma furnaces and process it through oxidiser and filter vessels so it can be released to atmosphere in compliance with the EC2000/76 directive. Caldo engineers work closely with their Tetronics counterparts to ensure optimum performance for their customers.

58 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

utilisation of plasma, as Graeme highlights: “A report from the United Nations University found that £34 billion worth of recyclable materials found in electronic waste is being discarded all around the world – this includes £7 billion worth of gold. It’s shocking this happens when technology exists to process this waste. For example, our plasma arc technology can recover >98 per cent of the precious metals found in electronic waste. “We led a consortium of firms which received a £600k grant from Innovate UK to develop and demonstrate the UK’s first integrated plasma facility for the sustainable processing of electronic waste to pure precious metal. The first eight months have gone well and it’s expected to be up and running by mid-2016. Using plasma, we can – and indeed should – expect to see the environmentally friendly recovery of electronic waste becoming more and more prevalent around the world.” As the volume of hazardous waste continues to increase due to growing populations, evolving legislation and increased consumerism, Tetronics International sees opportunities for growth in

the market and anticipates further demand for its innovative solutions. “There are several factors that are creating ideal market conditions for our plasma solutions. For example, the adoption of a complete material cradle to grave lifecycle and the changing view of waste as a valuable resource, as well as the diversification of resources looking to be recovered as demand for secondary material sources increases. “Moving forward, we will be continuing to grow our operations in areas such as China and North America, as well as aiming for further export success and growth in the UK. In line with this progression, we will of course be developing further applications of our plasma technology,” he concludes.

Tetronics International Products: Direct current plasma arc systems tetronics.com


Aqualisa

F

Showered with

success

As Britain’s most successful independent shower manufacturer, Aqualisa provides innovative showering solutions incorporating mixer, electric and digital (which it calls smart) technologies

ounded in 1977 and based in Westerham, Kent, Aqualisa leads the market in digital shower technology, which is also referred to as smart showering. The company embodies a strong spirit of innovation and was established with the manufacture of its patented thermostatic, bi metallic Thermocoil valve. This safe, reliable and easy to use and install solution was designed to alleviate the nuances of the British plumbing system and would go on to revolutionise British shower design and manufacture. Today the Thermocoil design remains a strong product and continues to sell well in the market. During 2001, Aqualisa launched another groundbreaking technology solution when it designed and patented the world’s first smart digital shower. Using a pioneering technology that sees the shower controlled by a remotely sited processor, smart showers have since become an established showering technology in their own right. Aqualisa smart showers are distinct from conventional thermostatic showers, allowing for simple installation, compatibility with all types of domestic plumbing systems, innovative functionality and water-saving features. The company is today headed by CEO David Hollander who, prior to working with Aqualisa, was Managing Director for the UK and Ireland at Dyson for seven years. Additionally, David has held a number of sales and commercial directorships, including roles at Total Home Entertainment and the Walt Disney Company. Joining Aqualisa during January 2014, David brought with him a wealth of industry experience and a spirit of innovation, which has allowed the company to develop a strong growth strategy despite the lingering effects of the global recession. “My experience at Dyson allowed me to develop a blueprint for leading a growth strategy based on innovate products. Although the business operates within a different market, with different products, I am refining that strategy at Aqualisa,” David reflects. “Before joining Aqualisa, I had no experience in the bathroom market, but I have found that my experience in a number of industries has

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 59


helped me to take a fresh look at how we do things and so far it seems to be having the necessary impact,” he adds. “Aqualisa has a fantastic brand and great products, which have helped sustain the business during the recession, despite a period of decline. On my appointment my role was to turn the business around by focusing on its key strengths. This meant ignoring all opportunities that were not in the shower systems market and that were not located within the UK and Ireland. This strategy worked and we have now enjoyed two years of growth and expect this to continue.” During September 2015 it was announced that the private equity firm, LDC had backed the management buyout of Aqualisa from RBS and Sankaty Advisors. The investment of LDC was agreed following 18 months of increased revenue and profit at Aqualisa under David’s leadership, as well as the continued investment into new product launches. Commenting of the partnership with LDC, David says: “This is a vote of confidence in Aqualisa’s future from both LDC and management. It’s the best possible news for customers, colleagues and suppliers. Sankaty and RBS have been very supportive, both financially and with operational expertise over the past three years, consistently showing exceptional understanding of our industry and business goals. Partnering with LDC will allow us to pursue our rapid growth agenda, our obsession with showers and fast-track our ambitions.” Aqualisa manufactures products like its Thermcoil at its Westerham plant, where it also maintains a small molding facility to ensure the quality and availability of key parts for most of the company’s other valves and showerheads. Aqualisa also imports from trusted suppliers around the world, however unlike many other shower companies it does not buy finished goods, but instead assembles products on site. This practice adds further value to the Aqualisa product portfolio by enabling late stage customisation. In recent months, the strong growth of the business has made it necessary for Aqualisa to invest £500,000 in reorganising its plant facilities. “Our growth has meant that we have needed to take extra space in Westerham, which has given us the opportunity to re-orientate the site to maximise efficiency,” David explains. “We have just signed a new ten-year lease, which is a great commitment to the company’s operations within the UK. Now that we have a growing business and a more efficient site we can look to expand our service.” Throughout its history Aqualisa has developed products with a variety of features for different market levels and price points. The company’s innovative products are based on original technology, including its latest smart shower, Infinia, for example. Infinia represents a design led product with a low profile control plate of just 2.5mm, which sits

Mariner Rubinetterie Srl

At Mariner we value and analyse the needs of each of our clients and we strive to improve our product offering to provide the highest level of service. The trading of our products is simple: we discuss and define product requirements to develop a clear offer to every detail, and the experience of our producers propose recommendations and solutions. Standing tall, looking ahead: means listening, knowing how to perceive and be able to interpret. This we hope to be a reference point for Mariner, the engine that drives spurs and achieves new goals. We believe that a long-term, profitable and successful relationship is based on trust, empathy and mutual understanding. We face the opportunities with customers, potential customers, suppliers and anyone else who shares our philosophy of quality. We are proud of our relationship with Aqualisa in supplying them with first class products and look forward to the future working together.

60 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Aqualisa almost flush to the wall. It was developed in response to consumer demand for spa-style showers. Through the continued introduction of revolutionary shower products, Aqualisa is keen to continue on its growth path and establish itself as a household name throughout the UK. “We challenged our designers here in the UK to give clients that require an electric shower a choice. Historically the electric shower has been a white box on the wall and owners are spending more and more time and money on personalising their homes to make them as attractive as possible. Two of our design teams competed with external suppliers and developed winning solutions,” David concludes. “From idea to execution all the work was done here in the UK. I believe that every home in the UK should have a smart shower from Aqualisa. It may take more than five years to achieve that goal, but we are well on the path.”

Aqualisa Services: Independent shower manufacturer www.aqualisa.co.uk

European Springs & Pressings

European Springs & Pressings are a leading manufacturer of springs, pressings and wire forms to clients worldwide. Working with Aqualisa on projects from the design stage, their ability to offer FE analysis, supported by rapid prototype development, enables Aqualisa to bring cutting edge multifunctional concepts into reality. By tailoring tooling solutions to demand, European Springs & Pressings provide cost effective production from hundreds through thousands to millions of components. Working with European Springs & Pressings gives Aqualisa both the technical and competitive edge that today’s demanding market requires for success.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 61


Elddis

SoLiD

success

True innovation has put Elddis at the forefront of the caravan industry and continued development looks set to secure its success for the foreseeable future

A

s a leader in the UK caravan industry Elddis has been no stranger to success over a history that extends back to 1964. However, over the last five years cutting edge innovation and continuous development has defined a new era of success, one that has transformed the company’s offering to the market and puts it at the forefront of the industry. Elddis’ range currently consists of a number of tourer models under the Elddis, Compass, Xplore and Buccaneer brands, plus the Elddis collection of motorhomes. The offering covers a broad spectrum of budgets, berths, layouts and finishes, between them boasting a number of top sellers and award winners, but it is the business’s innovative SoLiD Construction system that has been the real driving force behind recent sales growth. Operating out of a 27-acre production facility in County Durham and manufacturing all timber components from furniture to external panels, Elddis’ coachbuilding expertise is second-to-none.

62 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

In 2010, after an almost-chance encounter with supply partner and adhesive specialist Henkel, the company began testing adhesive fixing for certain components in an attempt to improve aesthetic appeal. Unexpected and positive results followed, as too did a process of testing adhesive in place of mechanical fixings on a number of other components. “At this point our partners at Henkel started discussing the idea of substituting many of our mechanical fixings with adhesive solutions,” explains Associate Director and Head of Manufacturing at Elddis, Gary Jones. “However, wanting a bit more of a ‘WOW-factor’ that would have a big impact on the market, I was a bit unsure until Henkel suggested that we could bond the whole thing. Thus, SoLiD Construction was born.” Standing for Stronger, Lighter, Drier, SoLiD is the biggest single change to the Elddis business for a number of years and represents true innovation within the industry. “Essentially what we have done is replaced close to 100 per cent of all viable mechanical fixings such as screws and


Dometic Group

As a major supplier to original equipment manufacturers and to the motorhome and caravan industry, Dometic Group is very proud to have been working with Elddis supplying Heki rooflights, blinds and refrigeration for over 20 years. With constant innovation, a passion for quality and a desire to make life simple whilst on the move, the collaboration ensures that Elddis customers benefit from Dometic’s expertise and reliability whenever they are away from home.

bolts and replaced them with an adhesive bonding technique,” continues Gary. “This is a system not too dissimilar to the tried, tested and trusted bonding methods used in Formula One, super yachts and aeroplane fixings, so it has a reputation for being highly effective.” By spreading structural stresses evenly across all joints, the integrity and rigidity of Elddis vehicles has been vastly improved, hundreds of mechanical fixings have been removed resulting in unprecedented lightness, and an impervious barrier has been formed against water ingress. “In April 2011 we completed our first prototype in co-operation with Henkel technicians and began thorough testing. Despite initial scepticism by some in the company, the caravan remained structurally sound throughout the testing and many of our operatives became convinced that it was a viable alternative,” Gary says. This heralded a complete and uncompromising change within the business, which has been supported by consistent and relentless testing and development. So far, £1.3 million has been invested into full training – including that of the Retailer Network - and in facility upgrades to aid the transition. In 2012 SoLiD Construction was launched on all caravans and motorhomes and, to date, the company remains the first and only manufacturer to structurally bond every one of its vehicles. “Development continues and Henkel won’t allow us to introduce any new components into the range without their sign off, so everything is fully tested before it reaches the market,” points out Gary, who has always been keen to allay any fears consumers may have about the lack of mechanical fixings. “In April of this year we took ‘Neptune Nine’ (our ninth prototype model) out to the Markbronn testing facility in Germany for further testing of new parts.” Over the course of three days ‘Neptune Nine’ underwent a full lifecycle test on a number of aggressive surfaces and a highly demanding rolling road facility, ultimately passing with flying colours. After 250 laps of the circuit and a 10,000km rolling road test, the vehicle was pushed to its limit, covering over 250,000km of real world, UK road conditions remaining structurally safe and sound, with no new part failures. However, despite such success, Elddis continues to forge ahead and continues to use the data collected from the testing to drive more and more improvements into the

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 63


Elddis

construction system, creating an ever-impressive, ever-innovative range of products. Supporting this development, Elddis has also worked closely with its retail and service centres around the country to undergo the single largest training programme ever seen in the caravan industry. “Over the course of our testing and development, one key element that we had to design into the new structure was reparability, and therefore insurability, as accidents do inevitably happen once vehicles are out on the road,” says Gary. “In order to support this we have now trained, and continue to train, nearly 300 people from the retail network, to fully understand the bonding methods, the materials being used and how to take apart and repair the vehicles. They are then certified and approved by us to carry out the work that they will inevitably come into contact with on a daily basis. It is vital that we can provide this to our end-customers.” Now with four years of retail sales behind the company, SoLiD Construction is living up to its name, becoming the benchmark for build quality. “Whether buying for the first time or upgrading from another product, customers are asking for SoLiD by name. Buying a caravan or motorhome is a considered purchase and our customers are clearly doing their research and asking all the right questions,” says Gary, who attends all of the company’s shows and events with the SoLiD Construction team. With a sold out order book for another year on the 2016 models, the business is in a healthy position and Gary notes that the only challenge facing the company in this respect is how to increase capacity and build more to cope with rising demand. “They’re good problems to have though!” he concludes.

Elddis Products: Leading manufacturer of touring caravans and motorhomes www.elddis.co.uk 64 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Ardagh Group Laufenberg

A global

success

Innovation, quality and sustainability have been key to Ardagh Group establishing a dominant reputation as a world leader in packaging

W

ith 19,000 employees operating from 89 facilities in 21 countries around the world and counting names like Coca Cola, Heineken, Unilever and L’Oreal amongst its client list, Ardagh Group may well be one of the most prominent supply chain companies in the world. In fact, with over 35 billion containers produced every year it is estimated that an average household will possess at least six products produced by Ardagh at any given time. And whilst its long established expertise in metal and glass manufacturing may well be the basis for holding such a leading position, one currently worth 4.7 billion euros in revenue, it is its unrivalled commitment to

constant innovation and sustainability practices that secures it for the future. Through a dedicated R&D facility in Crosmières, France, more than 100 scientists, researchers and designers are focused on developing product and process innovations. As such, Ardagh is the recipient of over 100 international innovation awards – apt recognition for its ability to shape the future of glass and metal packaging. Amongst its innovations from the metal division are production methods such as DWI (Draw and Wall Ironing) and opening solutions such as Easip®, OptiLift® and Easy Peel®. In terms of metal solutions, Ardagh is a leader in aluminium and steel packaging across a number of sectors including aerosols, food

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 65


66 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Ardagh Group

and beverages. Within its aerosol offering, to which it supplies the pharmaceutical, personal care, household, food and industrial sectors, the group has forged its position at the front of the market with innovative shaping and decoration techniques such as freestyle body shaping, 360 degree decoration, blow-shaping, die-necking, embossing and debossing. Looking at its metal food packaging solution, it is clear to see the company’s efforts to deliver sustainable, cost effective solutions, whilst maintaining the protective qualities and consumer convenience so demanded by the global market. Ardagh has become highly acclaimed for its next-generation can, a packaging solution based on ten years of research and development, which uses nitrogen dosing processes to achieve a 43 per cent thinner can wall and an overall material saving of 15 per cent compared to industry standards. As such, the company received the UK Metal Pack of the Year Award in 2013. Other innovations include DWI, which, using cutting edge extrusion and pressing processes, has resulted in a 33 per cent lighter product compared to two decades ago, and simple opening solutions for improved user convenience. Amongst these is Easy Peel®, which combines simple production methods with aesthetically pleasing quality. In October 2015, Ardagh announced a ten-year contract to operate a newly built ‘wall-to-wall’ metal packaging plant in South Korea for leading regional food processor, Sajo. Sajo is the first Korean company to switch to Ardagh’s metal packaging Easy Peel® solution, a move that has been welcomed by the government, keen to support the safest, most sustainable and convenient consumer packaging. One particularly innovative solution recently launched in collaboration with talented packaging design students from the University of Twente in Holland has been a new convenient, microwaveable packaging solution. Using extensive knowledge and experience the team developed a unique system of food safe lacquering and printing to allow the bowl to be heated safely. As a result, Emmi, a European leader in innovative dairy products, has picked up the concept as a new all-in-one cheese fondue bowl. Other specialities within metal production for Ardagh include bottles, bottle cans, kegs, nutritional and seafood solutions, paint tins as well as a range of custom solutions. When it comes to glass, Ardagh continues to display its global leadership position serving customers in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Illustrating its dominance in the market, a whole host of global brands across all sectors all rely on Ardagh glass packaging solutions. Within its capabilities, the

company can produce 17 different glass colours from sites spread across the globe. In some of its wine bottle facilities in the US it can also run two unique bottle shapes on the same line simultaneously to cope with both large and small volume demands. Encompassing this ability to deliver innovative and quality products on such large volumes to many of the world’s leading brands is Ardagh’s commitment to sustainability. The group currently works towards the goal of becoming the world’s leading supplier of inherently sustainable packaging and are keen promoters of the ‘circular economy’ for metal and glass as permanent materials, in that they can be recycled infinitely without quality being hindered at all. For instance, in its facilities in Dongen, the Netherlands, and Massachusetts, USA, it operates furnaces that use 90 per cent recycled glass – a benchmark for global glass production. In its continual efforts to achieve higher standards of sustainably and corporate responsibility, a number of environmental initiatives are in place at every Ardagh site. In the US, the company’s Conklin site has recently received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the US Green Building Council for its zero landfill strategy. This responsibility extends to community engagement and in Limmared, Sweden, where the group has installed an innovative energyexchange facility the 5000-strong community is now receiving 100 per cent of its hot water and heating requirements from Ardagh’s waste heat. The result of this is a 50 per cent price reduction compared to alternative energy suppliers. It is the group’s overarching goal to have a long-term, meaningful community project at every one of its 89 locations by 2017. Supported by an array of highly reputable and quality focused suppliers, Ardagh expertly deploys its ability to innovate and deliver unrivalled results to its customers. However, its desire to go beyond this and engage effectively with its social and environmental impact is exemplary, and key to a company of such a scale to continue operating successfully. It is these initiatives and its careful attention to quality products that affords the group its world-renowned success which looks set to continue long into the future.

Ardagh group Services: World leading manufacturer of metal and glass packaging solutions www.ardaghgroup.com

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 67


James Dewhurst

The looms at James Dewhurst hard at work

Tailored

solutions

Innovative weaving business James Dewhurst has grown into one of the largest global manufacturers of flexible reinforcement materials

H

aving quickly earned a reputation as an innovator in adapting looms and processes for the production of fabrics in the first few years after opening for business in 1933, Lancashire based James Dewhurst Ltd had more than 140 looms in operation by the start of the World War II. With technical textiles entering the market in the 1950s, the company faced new challenges as the plastic and rubber industry began looking for open mesh scrims made from high tenacity yarns. In response to this, James Dewhurst spent the last three years of his working life finding a solution to this challenge; a level of patience and commitment that was rewarded with the launch of a new class of technical textile, scrims, which was patented as ‘Jamette’ scrim fabric. ‘Jamette’ became the forerunner of James Dewhurst’s high performance woven and laid scrims, now known as Dewlock and Dewtex. “In the early 1980s James Dewhurst developed its own proprietary laid scrim technology, which is

68 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

Laminated Scrims

now known as Dewtex. Instead of using traditional textile looms in a woven process, more open scrims were produced by arranging the yarns in two directions, the warp direction and the weft direction. These were then laid down in this pattern and glued together before being rolled up so the mechanical integrity of the scrim was not damaged,” explains Jean-Claude Abed, Group Sales

Director at James Dewhurst Ltd. “We are the only company to maintain this proprietary technology and are the only company to produce these laid scrims from our own unique process. All of our competitors use the more traditional rotary type process.” This unique process could produce scrims at more than three times the speed of conventional turbine looms and twice the width. However, following 20 years of continual development of James Dewhurst’s Dewtex technology, the company’s latest machines can now produce fabrics of more than five metres in width with weft insertion rates of over 3300 picks per minute. Further innovations followed, with James Dewhurst launching its first off-line coating and laminating unit in 1999, which led to the firm providing its customers with a range of highly competitive coating substrates by combining nonwoven materials with scrims. Now marketed as Combitex and used in roofing, flooring, composites and other applications, the creation of this technology led to an entire factory being


opened to support demand from the global market for the perfect coating substrate for their applications. The establishment of this new factory came in advance of the company’s expansion into Georgia, the US, in 2004 as a result of increased demand for Dewtex in locations such as Asia and North America. “In 2004 a decision was made by the family to expand into the US, with a factory established the same year. From 2004 until 2010 this factory was predominantly used for additional capacity for the European markets while the company worked on developing a market in the US.” As a result of these innovative developments, James Dewhurst boasted three key product divisions by 2007, the traditional industrial textile solutions, laminated scrims and reinforced scrims. With the company well-established, the family decided to sell the business to a private equity firm in 2008, the same year that James Dewhurst’s factory in the US increased in capacity in line with the introduction of the Triatex line making triaxial scrims that are suited for ducting applications. “We developed the Triaxial scrim in the US, it is still a laid scrim but instead of the 90 degree box look it has a more triangular look to it as it has a third element that means there are three different

directions of the yarn,” explains Jean-Claude. With $1 million recently spent on a second Triaxial scrim line in Georgia, Triatex now plays an integral role in the success of James Dewhurst, alongside its two other reinforcement scrims: Dewtex, the company’s market-leading laid scrim brand, which offers low profile and low scrim performance; and Dewlock, its woven scrim that offers superior geometry and tearing resistance. Leading in the development of flexible reinforcement solutions through open scrims or meshes, James Dewhurst’s three scrims are used in markets such as construction, flooring, filtration, packaging, automotive, and insulation. “We do a lot of business in construction markets, filtration and roofing,” confirms JeanClaude. “We are also developing a presence in the geo-textile market and are progressing into the hygienic wipes market globally; you may have seen in restrooms that there are paper towels to wipe your hands on and if you look closely you will see

An old look from the early days of James Dewhurst

Monosuisse

Monosuisse, as one of the world`s leading producers of monofilaments has been a reliable partner for James Dewhurst Ltd for more than one decade. Our common philosophy about high quality, engineered products and ongoing developments, is the key for the success of both companies in the market. Monosuisse has four production facilities worldwide and offers an extensive range of monofilaments with special polymers for various applications. High tenacity multifilaments for technical applications are a new addition to our range of products.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 69


James Dewhurst

Dewlock

Triatex

Dewtex

70 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

these have a netting in them that allows people to pull on the paper towels within a rotary piece of equipment without tearing. This is a big market in Europe and the US, it is growing in Asia too. We also sell woven material to the automotive industry for the engineered parts of car seats, however this is a difficult market to get into as it is high spec and the cars have life cycles, but once you have a contract in place you are connected to the lifecycle of that car, lightweight conveyor belts for a wide range of applications, woven substrates for coating and specific woven fabrics for ardous uses such as flak jackets for the military. “In addition, we make glass woven materials that go into fibre reinforced composites such as windmill blades and other components to help create high-strength structural pieces. Ultimately the main performance attribute of our technology is strength and stability, we support other products through these capabilities.” Having sold more than one billion square metres of flexible reinforcement materials in 47 countries over the last two years alone, the company has enjoyed steady success despite the economic downturn; a feat that Jean-Claude puts down to a renewed focus on customer service. “We have not only maintained our market share, but grown it through a more customer-centric approach. By not only ensuring the material

reaches our customers promptly, but also developing close relationships with customers through open discussions and flexibility, we can deliver solutions that are more targeted for our customers’ requirements,” he highlights. With strengthened relationships in place, James Dewhurst is keen to continue its tradition for innovation by focusing on opportunities in the geo-textile/construction market through the development of higher Decitex yarns. “Now that we have overcome the technical challenges of producing the heavier yarn scrims demanded by this industry, we have begun aggressively pursuing geo-textile/construction business, including road paving, soil stabilisation and water retention applications. Having already gone through significant changes over the last two years, we are ready to expand and we are excited about the opportunities in the future,” concludes Jean-Claude.

James Dewhurst Ltd Products: Reinforcement scrims, laminated scrims and woven textiles www.jamesdewhurst.com


Bema Kunststoffen Laufenberg

Injecting new life

Bema Kunststoffen is a modern processor of thermoplastics, working from facilities in The Netherlands and Bosnia-Herzegovina

E

stablished in 1968, Bema Kunststoffen BV has developed over the years to become a stable and reliable partner for those requiring the injection moulding and vacuum forming of plastic products. Expanding into a second factory in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2004, the Zierikzee, The Netherlands, based company offers design and moulding services thanks to its long-term expertise as a flexible, quality conscious and innovative processor of thermoplastics. Able to take care of the entire process, from the initial idea right through to the industrialisation of its customer’s product, Bema is open to close collaborations with customers thanks to its design department, modern facilities and dedicated team of employees. To ensure the utmost quality, it works with the latest 3D CAD/CAM software and has moulding presses with clamp forces ranging from 20 to 500 tonnes. Alongside these services, Bema has several supporting facilities such as lithography, ultrasonic welding, bonding and assembly.

“Since our foundation we have remained an independent company that focuses on the development and injection moulding of plastic products. Our main strengths are innovation, flexibility and a close proximity to the market; we are also proud of the partnerships we have formed with our customers,” begins Bart Gravendeel, Managing Director of Bema Kunststoffen BV. “We serve three market segments,” he continues. “These are the paint market, packaging and technical moulding; out of these three the paint market is a core business area for us. Within this segment we focus on two niches, packaging for pigment paste (tinter, colorant) and packaging for waterborne car refinishes, and serve both market leaders and smaller companies; these include Akzo Nobel and Valspar. The market is challenging but interesting, especially if you come up with innovative products that the market needs.” One such product within the company’s portfolio is the LDV-n can, which is used to

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 71


package up to one litre of pigment paste and has been designed for the refilling of colour mixing machines. With a moving bottom, just like a silicone cartridge, the paint can allows the user to completely empty it of paint; it also has an aluminium seal on the lid that can be removed manually, by placing the closed packaging onto a docking station or by using a can adaptor. This new packaging concept makes refilling the colour mixing machine far more simple, which thus results in a significant reduction in the risk or spills and increased efficiency. Moreover, for easy of pushing the bottom through the can, Bema has designed and injection moulded the Paintpusher, an accessory that is used for pushing both the pigment paste packaging and the car refinishes packaging. It empties a can in one shot, much like refilling, and makes doing large and small quantities much easier; this product is suitable for both 0.5 litre and one litre packaging. Proud of the company’s focus on innovation, Bart highlights: “Our approach to innovation is both internally and externally driven. This means that sometimes we come up with our own ideas and ask our customers about their opinion; it also means that the market sometimes challenges us to find a solution to meet its demands. In this respect, we have developed packaging that attributes to our customer’s CSR objectives by reducing waste to an absolute minimum and, in the meantime, making the operator’s job easier.” Producing both in The Netherlands and Bosnia, the company has 24 mould presses and 18 people within its Dutch facility, while its Bosnia factory has 15 mould presses and 35 people. However, as market demand has increased over recent years, Bema made the strategic decision to invest and expand, as Bart highlights:“We have recently invested in four new mould presses, Aruburg, and the peripheral automation will be implemented in the next three months. Because of our growth we have also invested in a new warehouse close to our Dutch plant, we have also doubled our surface space in Bosnia since its establishment in 2010. We are also starting up a production under license in Mexico.” Other investments include 3D measuring equipment, a DeMeet 400 that offers possibilities for both tactile and visual measuring. The DeMeet 400 also allows the company’s quality department to perform measurements that were previously impossible and will thus be used for measuring reports of new products; it will also provide quality control during production and the highly accurate measuring of mould parts. Committed to its mission of keeping promises and, where possible, exceeding expectations, Bema maintains a focus on quality in all areas of operation thanks to its quality department’s

72 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Bema Kunststoffen

dedication to getting each product exactly in accordance to customer specifications. “We achieved ISO 9001 in 1996, MBO in 1999 and ISO 26000 in 2014. Today, both of our factories are certified ISO 9001,� says Bart. This is a key strength for the company as it has developed a strong customer base within the food, medical, defence and automotive markets, all of which require consistent quality and efficiency to the most stringent of standards. As it continues to serve a diverse market, that includes stock-exchange listed multinationals, SMEs and those in the public sector, Bema remains committed to reducing the timeto-market as much as possible, while also controlling costs and offering a high degree of expert craftsmanship. To do this, it will further invest in new equipment, with the implementation of its four new fully automated production lines taking place over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, looking further ahead, Bema will seek further growth in the paint market through a new production facility abroad or a complementary joint venture.

Bema Kunststoffen BV Products: Leading injection moulders and vacuum formers of plastic products www.bema.nl

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 73


Wax Lyrical

An enthusiastic

approach

Home fragrancing company Wax Lyrical is continuing to enjoy the sweet smell of success thanks to a focus on lean manufacturing and ongoing investment in both machinery and employees

O

riginally established by the Williams family in 1980 when they saw potential in the home fragrancing market while working as hotelier and restaurateurs, Wax Lyrical has changed hands and faced financial difficulties over the years before it was acquired and rebranded by Mike Armstead in 2006. Renamed Wax Lyrical in 2010, the company has become a true success story for British manufacturing following a strategic decision to manufacture 95 per cent of its products in-house. Indeed, it is in the scenic Lake District that Wax Lyrical’s team of 130 skilled and dedicated employees strive to produce and market more than 15 million high quality products to its global customer base through independent control over issues such as flexibility and quality. “We supply to 42 countries and 35 per cent of our sales come from exports,” confirms Joanne Barber, Managing Director at Wax Lyrical. Perfecting its innovative and unique products

74 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

in Ulverston, Cumbria, the company collaborates with the best fragrance houses in Europe to ensure customers receive true to life fragrances that come from the purest and finest ingredients. Offering customers a range of candles, reed diffusers, room mists, scented sachets and refresher oils from its own Wax Lyrical collections, the company’s products all emphasise its commitment to the best ingredients and materials, stunning designs and bold fragrances. Furthermore, the company has partnered with five prestigious brands, the Royal Horticultural Society, Jelly Belly, Fired Earth, Julie Dodsworth and Churchill China (UK) Limited Hidden World; by manufacturing these products under license, the company has further strengthened its appeal to a broad range of consumer groups. Although Wax Lyrical has significantly improved its services and the level of quality of its products since 2006, the company refuses to become complacent and has instead continued to invest in both machinery and its employees since last


appearing in Manufacturing Today Europe in March 2015. “Historically our manufacturing was in different locations, however in June 2015 we completed the relocation of our manufacturing operations into one hall. Following this development, we began to look into lean manufacturing training, which covers lean manufacturing simulation and the TIM WOOD (transport, inventory, movement, waiting and delays, over production, over processing and defects) seven wastes in manufacturing; we have also focused on some 5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardise and sustain) exercises. These exercises have really helped to improve the mindset of our employees with regards to manufacturing,” explains Joanne. On top of this, the company has also enjoyed a positive seven months of passing accreditations and assessments. As the first home fragrance factory to be awarded the British Retail Consortium (BRC) quality approval in 2009, Wax Lyrical has continued to earn this approval every year, with 2015 being no different. “We are proud to be awarded the BRC quality approval

for the seventh year running; additionally, we have been successfully accredited for the SEMTA 4 Pillar audit, which covers labour, health and safety, environment and business practices and were awarded a bronze accreditation for being Investors in People,” enthuses Joanne. Indeed, alongside these improvements in production, the company is also proud to offer opportunities for development to its employees; a strength that was recently highlighted by the BBC during the pre-election in early 2015. “As part of the pre-election BBC Breakfast was visiting UK manufacturing companies and we were delighted to welcome them on site. The production people interviewed some of our employees, most notably an employee who has been with us for 30 years and was being trained on a new piece of kit at the time. They also interviewed a member of staff who came into the company on a temp contract five years ago before moving into production and progressing into a laboratory where he is now doing further training,” says Joanne. “Furthermore, following our relocation and

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 75


76 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


Wax Lyrical

Continental Bottle Company Ltd

Continental Bottle Company’s (CBC) vision is to provide their customers with the highest level of customer service and be recognised in the home fragrance, perfume, and cosmetics market as the first choice for the supply of candle glass, glass bottles and quality closures. CBC strives to create new products and ranges to enhance the ever changing requirements of the industry. Its mission is to be the first choice for glassware, delivering products of outstanding quality and great service through its commitment, hard work and dedication to meet their customers’ requirements. CBC serves both large and small companies nationally and internationally, and the company attributes its success to the fact that it offers a wide range of exceedingly flexible services. Its full decoration service includes screen-printing, frosting, spraying, hot foil stamping, sublimation and metallisation. This can be supplied on bottles or glasses for wax fill. Future investment in new innovative projects and designs ensures that CBC remains at the forefront of the industry. CBC has a wealth of experience and design know-how contributing to quality and excellence in all parts of the design process. CBC is here as your first choice on custom projects to complement your packaging requirements.

lean manufacturing training we have been looking into cross-skilling and up-skilling our labour force, a strategic decision that has been made easier by the fact everyone is now in one area. We definitely believe in investing in our people and growing our own, which in turn helps Wax Lyrical to produce high quality products. About 40 per cent of our staff have been with us for more than ten years, so this is clearly an ethos that truly works for both us and our employees,” she adds. Alongside investing in its people, Wax Lyrical has further strengthened its focus on efficiency with investments in machinery that enhances how the company wicks as well as the cooling process. “We have changed some of our automatic wicking operations, which has enabled us to improve production rates and the quality of the product. This is the same with the cooling process; these investments have not only enhanced quality but also increased capacity during production. We are very much focused on driving efficiencies in manufacturing to ensure we remain competitive and this trend is certain to continue during the first quarter of 2016. For example, during this time period we have set out automation plans for tealight packing and have some new labelers that will be brought into production; these will allow us to label more efficiently and give us versatility on shapes and sizes that will enable us to put more labels into a product,” explains Joanne. With preparations set for the first quarter of 2016, Wax Lyrical’s attentions are now turning to the festive season, with a number of products developed and launched this year. “We have launched our first candle advent calendar as well as gift sets for the 12 days of Christmas,” highlights Joanne. “These have been well-received by the market and were developed from the principles we have learnt from lean manufacturing,

such as how we approach packing gift sets in our factory and so on, so it was a very exciting launch that has been received positively.” As the home fragrance market continues to grow, Wax Lyrical has enhanced its production capabilities and developed its product range to ensure it is ready for the influx of demand. “Having completed this part of our investment programme, we are continuing with our strategic vision of being a one-stop-shop for home fragrance. We expect a five per cent increase in growth in comparison to last year due to market developments, however, as a UK manufacturer we are able to respond quickly to these changes and work quickly in servicing our customers needs,” concludes Joanne.

Wax Lyrical Products/Services: Luxury scented candles, reed diffusers and private label collections www.wax-lyrical.com

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 77


Technically

superior

Specialising in high performance extrusion equipment for the packing industry, SML is leading the market with unprecedented levels of innovation and technical development

W

hilst the SML name may only be celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, the company’s expertise spans back almost half a century. SML emerged from the internal works of Austrian viscose fibre producer, Lenzing AG, as a plastics machinery division initially intended solely for the company’s in-house packaging needs. However, with raising demand coming from the outside markets for their equipment, it became apparent the company had stumbled upon a new market and subsequently sold the division on to maintain focus on its own operations. “Twenty years ago, when SML became an independent company, it had already grown to 110 staff generating over 30 million euros,” explains Managing Director, Karl Stöger. “Over that time we have seen growth of two and a half times to 270 people turning over about 80 million euros, following growth on average of about five per cent a year.” Serving a range of markets from food and pharmaceutical to general consumer and industrial, SML’s ability to deliver high quality, cutting edge extrusion plastic film and sheet making machines has seen it rise to a leading position in many of its target industries. “We are very innovation led, with our technology often beating everything else in the market in terms of output, productivity, energy efficiency, and film and

78 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com


SML Maschinengesellsellschaft SML’s stretch film line ‘MasterCast’ is the world’s biggest

winding quality,” highlights Karl. “Because of the competitive nature of these markets we have to be trend setters in bring new products to market and driving innovation through the industry. In this respect we have been the first to launch particular solutions many times over our history.” This is all made possible by a technically superior R&D department, which SML nurtures with leading engineers and technical experts from a broad scope of disciplines and backgrounds. “Being based in Austria it is not cost effective for us to operate a lean, high-volume manufacturing process,” outlines Karl. “Therefore, we can only survive by having better technology and a focus on continuous improvement. However, with our strong technical departments we have the capacity to listen to new ideas and demands from the market and quickly turn them into reality.” To demonstrate this market leading ability to develop cutting-edge innovations for its customer base, SML recently held an in-house exhibition to showcase every range of products in its portfolio. Karl points out that at this year’s event the company had two main highlights on opposite ends of its product scale to demonstrate its diverse range of offerings and technical capabilities. “On one hand we had our smallest, entry-level stretch film machine, the MiniCast which is important for providing smaller companies in developing economies around the world with SML quality,” he says. “And on the other hand we had the MasterCast machine, the biggest, most powerful and most innovative machine on the market, capable of producing in a reliable process stretch film at a web width of six metres wide.” Before this innovation the largest available stretch film lines had reached a possible limit of four to five metres, and it was widely considered that anything beyond this size was impossible. “Everybody thought we were crazy,” continues Karl. “However we have had it running through a number of tests, even down-gauging the production to 12 microns on a high output test and we have seen it performing extremely well. We have already shipped a machine out to a customer in Poland and feedback from them and visitors to the show has been very positive. This has been achieved by the technical expertise in our R&D division and is testament to their worldclass capabilities.” Aside from major, arguably industry changing, innovations such as the MasterCast, SML has a constant focus on making small innovations across its product range. This is done in pursuit of improved stability, film quality, sustainability and energy efficiency – all of which are vital to its customer’s remaining competitive in their respective industries.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 79


Starlinger & Co. Ges.m.b.H. Starlinger is a cutting-edge technology supplier for woven plastic packaging production and plastics recycling. Starlinger recycling lines are used for reprocessing all types of plastic waste, ranging from industrial production scrap – e.g. from film, sheet, fiber and filament as well as injection molding lines – to post-consumer waste such as beverage bottles and plastic packaging from municipal collection, or agricultural films and geotextiles. Starlinger was founded 1835, has production sites in Austria and China and has been supplying leading technology for more than 45 years to customers in over 130 countries worldwide. SML is an associated company of the Starlinger Group.

80 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

In terms of market strategy, SML employs a smart approach to ensuring it can remain competitive throughout difficult economic periods. “We have to be a global company because individual markets can be unpredictable and fluctuate,” expresses Karl. “For instance Asia is currently showing signs of a downturn, but a strengthening market in the US is offsetting this

at present.” SML is able to achieve this with sales offices in Europe, the US, Asia and Russia, as well as a number of agents in all key markets across the world. It employs a similar strategy in its product range, ensuring it has a diverse offering that can balance out any demand fluctuations. The organisation also encourages working in partnership with valued suppliers, such as Doteco.


SML Maschinengesellsellschaft

SML Maschinengesellschaft Products/Services: Manufactures extrusion equipment for packaging applications www.sml.at

“Our close relationship with Doteco is key to ensuring we can achieve fully integrated machines that provide high performance and consistent quality control to our customers,” confirmed Karl. Looking ahead, SML is set to continue its steady growth in order to keep up with growing operational costs. To cope with increases in demand it will be building an additional plant to expand capacity. “We will continue growing by bringing new products to market as well as improving existing ones,” concludes Karl. “Through

a process of continuous innovation improving our products in ways that make them most cost effective and energy efficient for our customers, we cultivate a need in the market to continue investment in order to maintain competitiveness. We then of course have to support this with a high degree of customer service, so continuing to improve customer satisfaction with our service structure will also be key as we look to the future. If we can help our customers grow, and they are happy with us, then we will grow too.”

Doteco

“Our close relationship with Doteco is key to ensuring we can achieve fully integrated machines that provide high performance to our end customers in terms of reproducibility and quality control. By working seamlessly together, our automation systems allow the customer to fully understand and operate the machine more effectively in order to produce consistent quality in the end product. Strong communication channels and common goals have led to a very successful working relationship between SML and Doteco.” Karl Stöger – Managing Director, SML

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 81


Engro Polymer & Chemicals

Distributing

quality

Engro Polymer & Chemicals Limited (EPCL) focuses on the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of chlor-vinyl allied products and PVC under the brand name ‘SABZ’

O

perating as the only fully integrated chlor-vinyl chemical complex in Pakistan, Engro Polymer & Chemicals Limited (EPCL) was established in 1997 under the name Engro Asahi Polymer and Chemical Ltd as part of a joint venture between Engro Chemical, with 50 per cent shares, Asahi Glass Company, with 30 per cent shares, and Mitsubishi Corporation, with 20 per cent, with the goal of setting up a 100,000 tonne capacity PVC plant at Port Qasim. Two years on, the plant went into commercial operation and remained under the same ownership until 2006 when Asahi Glass divested from the business and Engro Chemical acquired its 30 per cent shares, making it the majority shareholder of the joint venture. Following this acquisition, the company’s name was changed to Engro Polymer & Chemicals Limited and an expansion to enhance PVC capacity to 150 KT began; EDC-Vcal and Chlor-alkali plants were also established in 2007 and caustic soda and

82 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

sodium hydrochloride added to its product range in 2009. Today the present shareholding structure of Engro is Engro Corporation with 56 per cent, International Finance Corp, with 15 per cent, Mitsubishi Corporation with ten per cent, and the general public with 19 per cent. Driven by the highest standards of integrity, transparency and commitment to protecting the shareholders’ value, EPCL adheres to the industry’s most stringent practices, while the board of directors and senior management place a great deal of emphasis on internal controls as a way to reach each and every employee operating within the company. Although EPCL employees are wholly expected to follow the company’s regimen of core values, the working environment for staff members is one of motivation, development and reward as a way to achieve success. Indeed, the company believes investing in personnel is key to EPCL’s future and thus provides its 470

plus employees with opportunities to learn and develop themselves professionally. On top of this, open and transparent dialogue is welcomed and equal opportunities are provided to all. Not only does EPCL invest in its employees, but also in its value chain to ensure ongoing growth and sustainability in all segments of the business, whether that may be product quality, ontime deliveries or technical support to customers. The core product within the company’s portfolio is PVC suspension resin, which is produced in a wide range of K-values such as AU 58, AU 60, AU 72, AU 62R and AU 67S. It is used in the manufacture of a number of PVC based products and the different grades of resin offer a diverse range of properties that can be used in all processing methods. Produced by the polymerization of ethylene and chlorine, which is obtained from the electrolysis of common salt, PVC is one of the oldest and most versatile of polymers; it also offers benefits including corrosion, weathering, impact and


caustic soda for the domestic market, with EPCL hiring a dedicated distribution fleet with epoxy linked tanks that ensure the delivery of the highest quality product. Largely used in the textile industry for processing, caustic soda is also used in the soap industry as a raw material and other industries for water treatment. During the manufacturing of caustic soda, the company gains sodium hypochlorite as a by-product, which is used as a bleaching agent, disinfectant and for water treatment. Due to the limited production of this product, sales are focused on the south region of Pakistan only. Aiming to be the long-term partner of its customers, EPCL is committed to providing the best possible value in terms of product quality, reliability of supply and also customer service. In fact, the company prefers to create partnerships with customers to ensure it fully

caters to the increasing demand of local industries through innovations and product developments that it knows the market requires. Moreover, the company has warehouses strategically located in different cities throughout Pakistan to ensure customers can receive products in a relatively short amount of time. By continuing to invest in its value chain and the development of new solutions required by its customers, EPCL is certain to attain further growth and sustainability.

Engro Polymer & Chemicals Products: Chlor-vinyl allied products and PVC www.engropolymer.com

scratch resistance as well as electrical insulation. Moreover, it is cheaper than other plastics, making it one of the most widely used plastic materials across the globe. The company is also involved in the production of ethylene di chloride (EDC) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) at its plant in Port Quasim, Karachi. As a chlorinated hydrocarbon, EDC is used to produce VCM, which is the major originator for PVC production; around 95 per cent of EDC is converted to VCM for PVC production, while the rest is used as a solvent, a fumigant and also in the chemical synthesis of a range of products. Approximately 55 per cent of the resin is used in the domestic market, with the majority being used in the manufacture of PVC pipes; however, other sectors include artificial leather, shoes, garden hoses, windows and doors. In fact, PVC domestic sales have been steadily increasing at the rate of five per cent per annum. In addition to PVC the company also produces

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 83


MAJA-Möbelwerk

Fully furnished

future

With innovation, quality and environmental consideration all undergoing constant development, MAJA-Möbelwerk is able to successfully serve the ever-changing demands of its customer base

C

elebrating its 50th anniversary last year, MAJA-Möbelwerk has always seen its ability to react to ever-changing market demands and consumer trends as the key to its success. With a focus on bringing quick and cost-effective furniture solutions to the market, MAJA has continued to drive innovation into its product development and has consistently pursued a strategy of expansion to cope with rising demand. Central to MAJA being able to continue operating successfully in the market is its ability to remain customer focused and market aware. Whilst always ensuring to incorporate flexible and systematic functionality into all of its products, at the same time unique and contemporary design is vital in order to keep up with changing market trends. Years of experience has taught the company that manufacturing processes are also key to securing this product flexibility, and as such MAJA employs state-of-the-art technologies within its manufacturing facilities to achieve that

84 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

consistent, reliable quality and functional standard that its reputation has been founded on. In addition to this, the business maintains close relationships with its customers and partnerships to ensure it can keep one step ahead of the market, also relying on large stock levels and an efficient logistics network to respond quickly and flexibly to customer requirements. Perfectly demonstrating its ability to offer innovative, stylish products to the market is the well-received Soundconcept. The Soundconcept is a low board TV stand with an acoustic front, uniquely designed to amplify quality sound from an integrated surround sound system. Available in 140cm and 180cm variants plus a range of colours and finishes to choose from, the system has been highly reviewed by industry magazines. MAJA received the highest possible rating from HEIMKINO, HiFi-Test and Video magazines, all of them commenting on the excellent sound quality, appealing design and terrific value of the Soundconcept.

Other innovations within the company’s portfolio include the office module solutions, OFFICE-Program SYSTEM and OFFICEProgram SET+. Combining functionality with contemporary design, the two offerings range from single desk solutions all the way up to complete office solutions. With a modular system designed into the product programmes, sets can be added to and rearranged according to need, whilst remaining smart and coherent. Quality sits at the heart of MAJA’s products but the company sees this being achieved through a number of channels. As an employer the company was awarded the certificate for supporting young people, by the Federal Employment Agency in 2001, for its outstanding commitment to vocational training. By nurturing and training its staff MAJA is able to drive passion and enthusiasm into its production and design and therefore ensures that the highest quality standards are met. Supporting this, the company holds DIN EN ISO 9001 and DIN EN ISO 14001


manufacture specialist products according to the customer’s needs and budget. As MAJA looks ahead, continued growth and innovation will be central to its future ambitions. It is clear that developing its product portfolio on a constant basis in order to keep up with consumer trends goes hand in hand with having passionate, nurtured and well-trained employees that feel valued and are therefore able to contribute effectively. In addition to this, the company also demonstrates a keen commitment to environmental responsibility, which it applies to both the materials it uses and the manufacturing processes it operates. As part of this programme, improvements in energy consumption, emissions, wastewater and general waste are all pursued in order to create a more robust and efficient manufacturing company in today’s market.

more appealing to consumers. Complementing its flexible design and production capabilities, MAJA also offers its customers a bespoke product development service, able to produce small runs of exclusive pieces. Working closely with its clients, experienced designers and engineers are able to

MAJA-Möbelwerk GmbH Products: Manufacturers of office and home furniture www.maja-moebel.de

quality management accreditations, runs regular internal and external audits and is committed to continuous improvement. With innovative products bringing the company continued success, MAJA has been investing heavily to cope with greater volumes. In 2013, after 18 months of work the company opened the expansion of its Wittichenau plant. Designed to develop its lightweight furniture offering, the 60 million euro investment brings the total size of the factory to 80,000 square metres and will create over 100 new jobs for the longterm future of MAJA at the site. Expanding its capacity for lightweight furniture production is a key part of MAJA’s strategy as the company sees this technology playing a major role in the future of furniture. With the advantages of increased transport ease and a more resourceconserving production process, MAJA has made significant progress into developing lightweight boards. This has become particularly important for a market where convenient self-pickup and self-assembly products are becoming more and

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 85


Bosch

Innovation station The new research campus in Renningen is the hub of Bosch’s global research and development network

F

ollowing several years of planning and construction, Bosch’s new research campus in Renningen, Germany, was officially opened on October 14th 2015 at a ceremony attended by high profile business, politics and academia guests such as Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel. Bringing together many faculties, the research campus is Bosch’s very own Stanford, with the company wanting its researchers to be entrepreneurial when it comes to research and innovation as a way to maintain prosperity. Indeed, with the campus bringing together disciplines from science and technology, including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science or microsystems technology, the company will ensure it stays one step ahead of competition in growing markets such as mobility solutions, industrial technology, consumer goods and building technology. Today a total of 14 new buildings have been erected on a space of 100 hectares in Renningen, and the total size of the new centre has reached almost 110,000 square metres. Twelve of the 14 buildings have been laid out

86 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

in line with the model of a university campus in mind and have been distributed over 32 hectares at the northern end of the property. Meanwhile, the laboratory and workshop buildings have been connected via paned bridges and transparent connecting buildings; an open style that aims to promote communication and co-operation through a range of scientific disciplines. In the middle of the campus will be a number of generous green spaces and bodies of water, while the towering central building, at 60 metres high, will be the visual highlight of the campus. Created as the heart of the new campus’s research and advance engineering operations, the central building will feature rooms for site management functions on the basement and ground floor, while part of the site’s logistics are also located on the lower floors. Meanwhile, the building’s upper floors include a conference centre, offices and laboratories; it is here that Bosch researchers will work in the electronic labs while focusing on software intensive systems. There will also be a multi-purpose room for sporting and cultural activities and a library. Costing more than 310 million euros,

Renningen is setting new standards for technological research as a total of 1200 associates in corporate research and advance engineering and 5000 PhD students and interns strive to find solutions to the technical challenges of the future. Before the official opening, these researchers were based at three areas in greater Stuttgart, however, with everyone now operating under one campus, there are opportunities for associates to network in different research locations and scientific disciplines; this is something that Bosch is keen to develop through the creation of its hub for R&D that boasts the motto of being ‘Connected for millions of ideas’. In line with this focus on enterprise and entrepreneurship, Bosch understands that a start-up spirit is key to ongoing innovation; with this in mind, the company paid close attention to working conditions in Renningen through the development of a modern work environment. Creating a campus that is also an entire workplace, Renningen has WiFi connections in every building and all over the grounds, while laptops, tablet computers and voice over Internet means work can take place in any area


electronics for occupant and pedestrian safety systems. Costing 70 million euros, the investment will strengthen Bosch’s wholly owned subsidiary Robert Bosch GmbH’s Chassis Systems Control division, which has continued to grow since the location was opened in 2004. Following continuous growth in the workforce, Bosch will be adding more than 30,000 metres of space, with additional parking for 1300 vehicles built by mid 2016. With 3400 associates from over 50 countries and growing at Abstatt, Bosch will build two new buildings that will provide much required space for offices, meeting rooms, project areas and another company restaurant at the highly successful centre. Construction of the buildings is due to begin in mid 2016. As the company makes continuous improvements within the business, it will also be focusing on increasing energy efficiency, comfort and security as its customers become more demanding of technical solutions that offer these benefits while also saving energy and cutting

costs. In response to this market trend, Bosch is offering integrated solutions that merge energy and building technology with smart connectivity and services for areas such as heating, hot water, air conditioning and power generation via its Energy and Building Technology business sector. Well-positioned to take advantage of this growing market thanks to its wide-ranging technical systems expertise, ongoing innovative developments and understanding of regional markets, Bosch is set to deliver technological solutions and continue to strengthen its global footprint long into the future.

Bosch Divisions: Mobility solutions, industrial technology, consumer goods and energy & building technology www.bosch-renningen.de

of the campus. There are both quiet corners and collaborative zones, depending on the type of research taking place; these office layouts have been designed through a comprehensive analysis on the process of innovation based on whether researchers are exploring ideas or exchanging ideas with others. Aside from individual workplaces, there are 270 meeting rooms of various sizes within Renningen, which gives researchers the sufficient room they need for both focused activity and teamwork. Thanks to the layout of Renningen, each associate at the campus is ten metres from the nearest meeting room, meaning the next innovative breakthrough could literally be just around the corner. Alongside this major development, Bosch remains busy with plans to expand its development centre in Abstatt near Stuttgart, with construction work on buildings anticipated to start in 2016. It is here that the centre develops and manufactures innovative components, functions and systems, with the goal of enabling safe, agile and automated driving. Products within the company’s portfolio include electronic brake control systems and

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 87


Zollern

Metal guru German headquartered family company Zollern has used its 300 years as a pioneer in the metal industry to become a global provider of innovative metal products

F

ounded in 1708 by Prince Meinrad II of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Zollern today is the oldest family-owned company in the state of BadenWurttemberg, Germany. Headquartered in its founding location in Laucherthal, the company has spent the last 300 years developing its skills in areas such as plain bearing production, precision casting, the production of rods and bars and also gearbox production. To further strengthen its services, Zollern made the strategic decision to acquire complementary businesses such as BHW Braunschweiger Huttenwerk GmbH, which had three plain bearings plants in Germany and Brazil in 1996; cutting metalworking firm Friedrich Blickle & Co GmbH and gearbox producer Dorstener Maschinenfabrik AG in 1999 and GMH Gleitlagerfabrik und MetallgieBerei GmbH, another plain bearings producer, in 2003. Following this globalisation strategy, all companies during the takeover period began

88 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

operating under the Zollern brand name in 2004. Further takeovers followed, alongside an investment of more than 100 million euros in the enhancement of operations through new processes and technologies in 2006. One year on and these strategies proved themselves successful when Zollern broke the sales barrier of 500 million euros. With more than 3300 highly dedicated employees in place to meet the needs of customers across the globe, the jewel in the company’s crown is its immense adaptability. The group today consists of five business units, casting and forging technology, drive technology, bearing technology, steel profiles and engineering components, which means it is wholly capable of meeting the stringent demands of industries including automotive, aviation, construction, energy and power generation, machine building and ship, harbour and offshore. Another part of the company’s globalisation strategy was to enable increased flexibility

to its global customers. Understanding that each region and country has its own specific characteristics, Zollern established 15 production locations, branch offices and agencies in strategic positions around Europe, America and Asia. By maintaining strong roots and expertise with a forward thinking approach to business activities, the family-owned company merges tradition with innovation to create optimum solutions for customers. One prime example of this can be seen in its casting and forging technology business segment, which first began in 1890 when Zollern’s bronze foundry went into operation. More than 120 years of experience has remained within the casting and forging technology segment, however, as expected, the company has also enhanced its capabilities in line with market demand and become one of the few organisations able to offer both cast and forged copper and copper alloys. Having helped shaped every stage every stage in the development of casting and forging


terms of materials; a high degree of dimensional accuracy due to the elimination of the mould parting line, which tends to cause casting imprecision; facility for complex shaped inner contours due to ceramic cores utilisation, low material allowances on surfaces to be machined, and a high standard of surface quality. In fact, the investment casting technique is unrivalled in its scope for optimum shaping, which frequently makes it the solution for technical problems that would otherwise be impossible. Zollern can also provide customers with one-off productions as well as large-scale manufacture services within its sand castings production area thanks to its manual and machine moulding methods. This versatility has led to the company being adept in its ability to cast demanding alloys and complex components. Production weights are between one kilogram and 8000 kilograms per piece of copper and copper alloys and between one kilograme and 1800 kilogrammes for steel. Meanwhile, within its forging and rolling plant, Zollern produces forged copper and copper

alloys with its forging hammers and a hydraulic forging press that operates at forces of up to 1600 tonnes. This production process transforms the formerly coarse grained cast microstructure into a fine grained structure, which increases its strength values while maintaining tenacity and ductility. Forging also increases the density of the material, which ensures high operating reliability under high pressure-related stress and during vacuum applications. With a strong history behind it, the wellreputed Zollern can move forward with confidence as it continues to integrate tradition with innovation to meet the needs of its wide ranging customer base.

Zollern Products/Services: Designs, produces sells and services metal products www.zollern.de

IMC

technology, Zollern is now widely seen as not only one of the leading names in Europe, but is also a well respected exporter to some of the major industrial organisations in the world. Within this area of the business Zollern can offer customers forging and rolling services, sand casting and investment casting; the latter of which it began more than 50 years ago. As this precision casting method continues to become increasingly economically important on an international scale, the company is in an enviable position as it has the know-how and equipment to provide customers in need of investment casting products made of steel, aluminium and nickel-cobalt based super alloys. This technique is generally used for small piece weights of between one gram and ten kilograms; larger workpieces of up to150 kilograms are also possible. The investment casting technique is characterised by an almost unlimited scope for the shaping of castings, minimum restrictions in

IMC (Industrial Marketing Corporation) is a technically oriented sales and distribution organisation focused on investment casting in Europe, Russia and the Middle East, with a wide experience and expert knowledge as a supplier of raw material and equipment for precision foundries (lost wax process). The IMC team has developed a close relationship with the Zollern Group over almost 30 years. It is part of its mission to be a loyal partner, supporting the development of its customers through the distribution of the best quality materials and equipment. IMC is ISO 9001: 2008 and member of the EICF.

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com 89


BEST PRACTICES FOR INDUSTRY LEADERS

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com

Editor: Libbie Hammond libbie@schofieldpublishing.co.uk Sales manager: Joe Woolsgrove jwoolsgrove@schofieldpublishing.co.uk

today

EUROPE

MANUFACTURING

Schofield Publishing Limited Unit 10, Cringleford Business Centre, Intwood Road, Cringleford, Norwich, NR4 6AU, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1603 274130 Fax: +44 (0) 1603 274131

www.manufacturing-today-europe.com