How to Ensure Uniform Friction for Increased Safety and Quality

Jacob Lund-Hansen
Application Engineer, Bossard Denmark

When it comes to pump production, one of our clients is a world leader. They sell millions of pumps every year. A few years ago there was a problem with a small fraction of these. A portion of oiled screws broke during the installation at the assembly line and I received a phone call.

The client’s engineer in charge complained that screws fractured occasionally in a pump model with a cast-iron housing, which led to shutdowns in the automated assembly and occasionally returns. In the competitive pump market, our client has the reputation of manufacturing high quality and low maintenance pumps, but they are a bit more expensive. So, defects in workmanship are a sensitive subject.

I packed my things to visit our customer’s production site for a first-hand evaluation. For the engineers, it was clear that the screws were the problem. Fortunately, however, Bossard has the test equipment to check breaking torque and other mechanical fastener properties. It turned out that the screws were not the problem. Rather some of the mating threads in the pump-housings were not correct and suitable for a flawless installation of the screw. The reason for this was that the cast- iron pumps were coated for a corrosion-protection with a special paint and that the screw holes were not sealed when the housing was painted. So occasionally, paint got into the nut-threads which has been known to lead to increased friction. When friction between the screw and nut-thread increases, that leads to a twisting of the screw. If the stresses get too high during installation, then the screw can break.

The first thing I did was to propose sealing off the screw holes before coating. However, the engineers dismissed this suggestion as being too expensive with millions of screw holes. In addition, the question was raised why some screws broke while others didn’t. Although the screws were all supposed to be oiled, I learned that the screws were oiled differently because the liquefied oil collected at the bottom of the screw bins. Consequently, the screws in the bottom of the screw-bin were well lubricated with oil while the upper ones weren’t – and those were the ones that broke. This detail provided the key to solving the problem. We needed screws with a uniform, low friction-coefficient.
Bossard had launched its ecosyn®-lubric coating just a year prior. This coating is an anti-friction coating, which lowers the friction during installation, but this coating is baked onto the fasteners and is therefore dry. So, all fasteners in the screw-bin are well lubricated in comparison to a liquefied lubricant.

The client-test with this coating was positive – not one screw fractured. Another decisive factor was that our ecosyn®-lubric coating is extremely durable against wear and tear. The client had previously had negative experiences when testing screws with a dry coating, because coating residues had to be removed from the automatic assembly system up to three times a week, which resulted in production shut-downs. The screws with our ecosyn®-lubric coating, on the other hand, need only one cleaning per week.

Today, Bossard provides the pump manufacturer with 2.5 million screws with ecosyn®-lubric coating. And that might only be the start. The client is said to be so pleased with the results that he wants to use pre-coated ecosyn®-lubric screws in applications at other plants.

March 21, 2014
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How to Save Thousands of Kronor with Rivets

Pierre Kubalski
CEO, IMO Pumps AB, Colfax Corporation, Sweden

Do you know what a screw pump is? It’s used for fuel oil pump systems and for supplying lubricating oil in ships, for example. The Sweden-based IMO AB, a business unit of Colfax Corporation, invents such pumps and is a leading global innovator in this field.

However, innovation accounts for only half of our success. We owe the rest to our steadfast customer focus. For this reason, we are excited to be partnering with Bossard. Bossard takes an approach similar to ours: going the extra mile for the customer. For example, many of the fastening elements and C-parts that we use in our pumps are specialty solutions. In recent years, we used different manufacturers for fastening elements and C-parts, and we sometimes lost track. Some of our engineering drawings no longer matched the parts. Bossard put our parts lists back in order, compared the parts with the engineering drawings, adapted tolerances and dimensions whenever necessary and sent the updated drawings to the world‘s best suppliers. That was fantastic!

It all started in the summer of 2012 when our production manager contacted Bossard Sweden. He needed a solution for self-drilling screws. After an intensive test phase, IMO chose to go with Bossard as the supplier – ultimately not just for the self- drilling screws but for all C-parts. What tipped the balance for us was the consistently high quality of the C-parts as well as Bossard’s outstanding consulting expertise – for example, consolidating our parts lists and providing input for our research and development. The introduction of the speed rivet from Bossard alone saves us thousands of kronor every year. Bossard has also automated our procurement process by setting up SmartBin. Up to that point, much of our purchasing had been a manual process. Today, we can again focus on our core area of expertise: designing innovative pump systems.

Much of this optimization work was part of the Lean Next Generation project, which we carried out together with a lean production expert from Bossard. What we have gained and will continue to gain from our collaboration with Bossard are noticeably lower total operating costs. T

March 21, 2014
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How Wipro GE Healthcare India Went from 139 Suppliers for C-parts, to Just One – Bossard

Kanchan Satyanarayan
Key Account Manager, Bossard India

Wipro GE Healthcare India began working with us in 1999. As their strategic partner, we have covered a lot of territory since then, overcome countless hurdles, and we have reached just as many milestones. This journey began with the delivery of some 50 different fastening elements; today we provide 1,750 parts. And there is no end in sight because this positive development benefits both parties. India is growing, Wipro GE Healthcare is growing, and Bossard India is also growing.

In my native India, Wipro GE Healthcare is renowned for the outstanding quality of its medical devices such as X-ray units, CT systems and ultrasound equipment. This reputation is well-deserved: Wipro GE Healthcare has very high standards – for itself and its suppliers. This means for us, we not only have to find solutions, but sometimes invent them for our client.

For instance when dealing with prototypes, our core competence has helped find the right solution for complex fastening problems. We have also advised Wipro GE Healthcare on standardization and consolidation of its parts lists, as well as in questions of simultaneous engineering, that is, efficiently managing the interchange between product development and application.

Based on our excellent collaboration, Bossard India has built a warehouse close to the Wipro GE Healthcare facilities in Bangalore as a supply hub. With the Bossard Inventory Management system, we successfully reduced the number of C-parts suppliers at Wipro GE Healthcare from 139 to 1. A good example of how well this partnership works is that we do not visit the customer for quarterly reporting, but instead we invite them to our facilities for a look behind the scenes. After all, it is people who store Bossard’s knowledge. Through such personal contacts we strengthen our business relationship further.

Of course, the numbers must add up at the end of the day. Wipro GE Healthcare regularly reviews our performance using a set assessment matrix. In short, Bossard India is doing very well. Wipro GE Healthcare had already selected us as their best provider in 2002. In 2013, we were invited once again to Milwaukee where we had been nominated for the Global Supplier of the Year award.

March 21, 2014
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How to Reduce your Supplier Pool from 186 to 1 and Save Time, Money and Stress

Urs Güttinger
Head of Customer Logistics, Bossard Switzerland

After 15 years of working at Bossard, I still find new challenges every day. There is one simple reason for this: In my job as head of Customer Logistics, I deal with many parts, even if these are small. In fact, that’s what I find exciting. Many small parts with minimal value, individually, to which one might not pay much attention at first glance. However, they are indispensable and generate substantial costs. Therefore, my job is also about large sums of money – money that companies can save by entrusting the management of their C-parts to a specialist.

Roche Diagnostics International AG, a Swiss systems provider for medical diagnostic solutions has been a loyal customer of Bossard for more than 25 years. We have watched them grow and evolve, and we have kept them up-to-date on all the latest advances. For many years, they didn’t want to even consider an external C-parts management solution.

However, Roche Diagnostics International AG has been very successful in the past ten years and has grown from 300 to 2,000 employees. It is not surprising, therefore, that their in-house logistics department had trouble keeping pace. With regard to C-parts, this meant 186 different suppliers and procurement processes. At some point, the managers at Roche Diagnostics International AG asked themselves: What is our core activity? Definitely not chasing after C-parts! That’s when they called me.

We did a process analysis and analyzed the flow of goods and information, looking closely at the paths and procurement process and quantifying the costs. Based on our findings, we developed a new logistics concept. Since then, Bossard Inventory Management has been responsible for supplying all C-parts. Once over 180 suppliers had a hand in the logistics operation. Today, Roche Diagnostics International AG gets everything from a single source. We have also consolidated their supplier list where possible to negotiate better conditions for our customer. Since 2007, SmartBin – Bossard’s logistics system with automated procurement – has been part of our customer’s assembly process, providing a reliable and cost- effective logistics solution. Overall, these measures have helped Roche Diagnostics International AG to reduce process costs by 39 percent.

The next challenge is right around the corner. Roche Diagnostics International AG aims to double their output of diagnostic products by 2017. To achieve this goal, they plan to optimize their assembly process even further. This means that my team and I will face a whole new set of challenges.

March 21, 2014
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Zero Effort Plus 100 Percent Availability

Rolf Meier
Head of Procurement and Logistics, Griesser AG, Switzerland|

When I started at Griesser AG twenty years ago, we had a dozen different suppliers for our C- parts. That made order processing and purchasing very time-consuming. We spent too much time on these activities in relation to purchase volumes. In 1997, we started working with Bossard. They looked over our manufacturing sites for blind elements and advised us to switch to the 2-bin system where two containers with identical C-parts are organized on the kanban shelf, with one bin placed directly in front of the other. When the first bin is empty, Bossard picks it up and refills it while the second bin is used. It’s a very simple system, but with 1000 different items and five manufacturing work cells, it considerably improved our efficiency. We now have five C-part stations in our production facilities which are refilled by Bossard on a weekly basis. This has helped us achieve 100 percent availability of C-parts with zero effort. Well, zero effort is not entirely accurate. Once a month, we have to pay the bill.

I find Bossard’s proactive approach particularly impressive. For example, Mr. Kaiser, who was very familiar with our manufacturing activities, identified an entirely new field for potential optimization: an innovative riveting system from Bossard. He recognized the opportunity to improve the riveting on our Metalunic and Grinotex slat blinds. So we tested the Bossard Speed Rivet System. And the consistently high quality of the riveting and the reduced handling have had a very positive impact on throughput times at the assembly station. Today, the name “Bossard” quickly comes to mind. For instance, when we need C-parts or logistics solu- tions, we turn to Bossard first as our partner of choice.

March 21, 2014
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Higher Output at Lower Costs

Li Chuping
Vice President, State Grid Shandong Power Equipment Co., Ltd., China

As a developer and manufacturer of power transformers for Chinese and international customers, we are active in a market marked by intense competition. Companies that wish to succeed over the long term must be able to innovate at a rapid pace. However, that alone is not enough. It is equally important to take every opportunity to continuously improve productivity. This is especially true in production.

We use some 200 C-parts to build our transformers. As a result, warehouse management was time-consuming and costly before we started working with Bossard. We had eight employees in our warehouse, with one person responsible exclusively for fastening elements. Two additional employees were needed to sort and distribute these parts to the production lines. This task took about five hours and was carried out three to four times per week. In addition, the fastening parts had to be checked again on the production line. This activity required another two to three employees.

When we changed over to SmartBin technology from Bossard about six months ago, we no longer needed all of these manpower-intensive steps and were able to reassign these employees to more productive duties. This helps us to gain an extra 37 % productivity in warehouse workforce. However, the main benefit is that we can manufacture more products and increase our output. There is also a third benefit. In the past, we had to order C-parts four times every month. Delivery delays, for instance due to holidays, regularly caused us to run out of certain parts for production. With SmartBin, we no longer have to deal with such interruptions to production.

In the future, we hope to expand our partnership with Bossard. This includes their logistics solutions as well as their expertise in application engineering. We are already reviewing the first proposals from Bossard for improvements in fastening technology.

March 21, 2014
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Full-Steam Ahead with the High-Speed Train

Luca Maria Introini
Logistics Manager, Bossard Italy

After several years in the financial division of different international companies, I got the opportunity to take the lead of the logistics department of Bossard Italy. Right after my start, I was involved in a huge project for Alstom.

Honestly, I had to think twice when considering whether to take on this challenge. However, we needed a manager for a project in Piemont, and it didn’t involve finances or Barolo, Brasato or other amenities. Rather we were tasked with installing and commissioning 11 SmartBin systems with a total of 2500 scales – at night and in one week. The client was the French Alstom Group, a major international client of Bossard. But let me start at the beginning.

The project involved the Alstom plant in Savigliano, a small town not far from the French border. Alstom builds its famous Pendolino tilting trains there. In early 2013 Bossard received the order to equip the four production lines at the plant with its SmartBin logistics system. By automating the purchasing process and moving the warehouse for C-parts closer to production, Alstom sought to reduce its logistics costs.

As I mentioned, we had to work at night because Alstom wanted to avoid disruptions to production or delays in deliveries caused by the installation of our SmartBin units. The shift began at 6 p.m. and ended at 6 a.m. That applied to me, as well. I wouldn’t think of leaving my guys in a bind although as the project manager, I also had to be available during the day for countless meetings. I didn’t sleep a lot during that time!

The second challenge was that I had to direct a truly multicultural Bossard team. That was the best experience for me. I liked seeing how Bossard employees are cut from the same cloth, so to speak, no matter where they are from. Everybody was on time, goal-oriented, efficient and reliable. Sure, there were differences in the details. The Italians always thought first before taking action. The Swiss were faster, because they had thought things through in advance. And the French team members were in between.

But today, when I see the satisfied faces at our client, then I know that it was good to take on the challenge. We ordered shelves, programmed computers, assembled miles of cables, and worked at full-steam tightening screws, connecting elements and hooking up wiring – and from one day to the next, the SmartBin logistics system was up and running at Alstom. Smoothly. That was a logistics tour de force, and we are confident that our client will enjoy significantly lower logistics costs.

March 21, 2014
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A Screw to Quench Your Thirst

Alain Berenbach
Mechanical Designer, Gebo Cermex, France

Basically, there is nothing easier than trans- porting a bottle from point A to point B. All you need is a conveyor in relatively good condition that follows the basic rules for the connections between the two machines. As a specialist for conveyors in the bottling system market, Gebo Cermex designs and installs this type of equipment 365 days a year. It gets complicated when the area near the production line is subject to large temperature fluctuations that require maintenance – which is often difficult to perform. Costs quickly spiral out of control and the client complains that the equipment delivered no longer works after a short period.

For our brewery clients, we manage entire production lines. In my role as a mechanical designer, I recently handled a case involving a production line in an open-air factory in equatorial Africa, where the equipment was subjected to extreme wear and tear. There our components are exposed to climate conditions vastly different from those they were created for. Temperatures at the site fluctuate by 15° to 20° Celsius. In addition, the fact that this is an open-air facility created even larger problems for the components because the extreme temperatures were compounded by penetrating sand. The challenge we had to overcome was as extreme as the conditions in which our systems were installed.

We found a solution in a relatively short time by incorporating a team of engineers from Bossard in our project. Working at their own locations, the engineers were able to provide a part specially adapted to our new plastic guide. And the costs were low. The problem we faced was the expansion of the plastic. The part that matched our needs most closely was a screw with a square head. It had to be placed between the stainless steel body and the plastic section, but the head was too big. So we had to create an element with a smaller head, which would be as resistant – and as affordable – as possible.

The Bossard teams developed this element for us and brought in specialists who optimized the sequence of individual compression procedures and reduced them to a minimum – because each additional compression step adds to the price of the item. In parallel, our teams tested the tightening torque. We tested the new screw in our laboratory in Reichstett using an impact screwdriver. The part was approved and we started normal production for the new guide via Bossard. We will test the guide in the near future in a new production line in southern France. With a magnitude of 27,000 units a year, it is easy to understand how important such a partnership can be.

The impact is enormous. The development of further application opportunities for this new screw will increase demand and further reduce its unit price. We are now working toward achieving this goal.

March 21, 2014
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How to Solve Bottlenecks and Delight Clients

Full time supply chain help

Tom Hicks
Director of Sales, Bossard North America

To achieve a high level of productivity in production, all the parts have to be available at the right time and in the right quantity. With this in mind, we support our clients with our comprehensive logistics solutions as well as our know-how in fastening technology and procurement management. But that’s not all. We also provide parts on short notice when bottlenecks suddenly occur, for instance due to a short-term spurt in demand or an unexpected additional order from an end client.

One of our long-time clients, a global leader in agricultural engineering, is familiar with such situations. When they occur, the production managers in their factories contact us. After all, Bossard’s annually supplies for them add up to 6 500 unique parts and a total of over half a billion pieces. They count on our extremely short response time – and that also goes for parts for third- party products. We have a sophisticated supply chain, as well as the necessary resources, and we understand our client’s business. In addition, we know the manufacturers who can produce and supply the required parts immediately. As a result, we can ensure that the parts are frequently ready the next day for our client to put into production. If fastening elements are needed that we have in stock, we fly them directly to our client. Any bottleneck has virtually no negative effect on production. We regularly receive this kind of positive feedback from the different factories.

Together with our achievements in application engineering, this capacity to deliver on a fast and flexible basis is one reason why in early 2013 Bossard North America was awarded the highest supplier classification granted by this client.

March 19, 2014
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How to Liquidate your Central Warehouse and Save Money in the Process

Hans Frehner
Production Manager, TROX HESCO Schweiz AG, Switzerland

20 years ago, hardly anybody talked about Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of life and work which focuses on continuous improvement. When I started my job as the purchasing manager of what at the time was Hesco, my first project was to make our logistics processes more efficient.

Screws and other fastening elements were stored in a large warehouse located at quite a di- stance from production. Not only was this a relatively expensive storage location, it was also easy for employees to help themselves to whatever they needed, which made it difficult to keep track of the inventory.

As far as screws and other fastening elements were concerned, I’d already had a very positive experience with Bossard, which was then being run by Heinrich Bossard. Therefore, the first step of my project to improve the efficiency of our logistical operations was to introduce the two-bin system. This change required a great deal of commitment from everybody involved. A few years later, we introduced the Bossard SmartBin system, an automated procurement process where orders for C-parts are automatically triggered by weight sensors. The switch from a central warehouse to SmartBin had a positive effect on the entire production because the availability of fasteners was greatly simplified. Physical inventory also became much easier because with this system we receive the inventory figures directly from Bossard. For many years now, we’ve been able to finish the physical inventory of our small parts storage with zero errors.

As part of the Kaizen philosophy of life and work that I mentioned earlier, we set up production islands to improve our workflows even more. In the production island where fire dampers are made, there is a storage area for semi-finished products which we call “the supermarket.” A warehouse worker fills “shopping carts” with everything that is needed to manufacture a fire damper and then makes these components available to the assembly workers. We operate according to the one-piece flow principle. Not only does this make us more efficient, it also allows us to address the requests of our customers more flexibly and to interrupt production at any time if another, more urgent job requires it.

The original warehouse isn’t needed any more. Today we rent it out, which gives us additional revenue.

As the production manager, I want my employees to work efficiently right where the value of our products is created. This means that we eliminate any waste, such as unnecessary transport routes. Value stream analysis and SmartBin flex are additional projects we plan on tackling in cooperation with Bossard.

March 19, 2014
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