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Hilchenbach, July 04, 2018

Industrial working group invited by SMS group

On June 21st 2018, a working group of assembly experts and managers came together for an information exchange event (ERFA), which was held at the works in Hilchenbach under the title “Single-item and small-batch assembly of complex products”.

The objective of this working group, organized by the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University, is the joint development of application-oriented solutions and their subsequent evaluation and implementation in the member companies.

The meeting at SMS group focused on the presentation of the box assembly concept, which was developed and successfully implemented in the Hilchenbach works. Steffen Rosenthal, head of Workshop Assembly, explained the initial situation and the results achieved with the new assembly principle. Due to the strict separation of logistics and assembly, the ergonomic design of the workstations in line with the principles of lean production, together with the introduction of KANBAN warehouses, it was possible to significantly reduce the assembly times for bending and shifting systems for hot and cold rolling mills.

In the coming months, the box assembly concept is set to be implemented throughout the Hilchenbach works.

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The box assembly concept divides the assembly area into sub-sections, which are specifically tailored to the requirements of the products to be assembled. Each box can be supplied directly with components via a route that was planned accordingly.

During a joint workshop tour, aspects such as “shopfloor management” and “safety at work” were evaluated by the participants on site and documented in a questionnaire. In the subsequent feedback round, the SMS group works in Hilchenbach received consistently positive evaluations from the assembly experts. The steps taken as part of the modernization of the works (2007-2013) were commended as an effective contribution to securing the future viability of the works, and the box assembly concept developed was rated as pioneering.

The changes are visible and are indicative of consistent factory structure planning and implementation; the box assembly concept is exemplary. Anton Neumaier, KraussMaffei Technologies GmbH, Munich