Industry 4.0 is more than just a empty phrase for OBD Precision
The serial manufacturer for the automotive industry, mechanical engineering and other sectors relies on a high level of automation.
OBD Precision GmbH manufactures and distributes high-precision turning and milling parts, primarily for the automotive industry and the mechanical engineering sector. With a modern machine park and innovative production processes, the German company from Swabia has a leading position in this market. For its two managing directors Dr. Ulrich Ahrens and Michael Bölling, the topic of Industry 4.0 is more than just an empty phrase. In order to maintain their success in Germany, they are both counting on a high degree of automation enriched with modern information and communication technology.
OBD Precision conducts its manufacturing with over 150 production machines. With such facilities, the company offers its customers flexible options in the production of small- and large-scale series with highest precision and quality. Almost all machining processes interlink seamlessly in such processes. Heat treatment and coating processes are also part of the company‘s product and service capabilities. If required, assembly tasks are also carried out on customer request. The goal is to achieve the highest quality through precision for all manufactured products.
OBD Precision sees itself as a partner with many years of experience in project management, production and measurement technology. The company‘s success is based on its experienced sales and project engineers along with technicians who support customers in the operational implementation of the respective projects.
”The goal is to reduce the tool cost share below 5%“
Interview with Dipl.-Ing. Michael Bölling, Managing Director of OBD Precision GmbH
KROMI newsletter: Mr. Bölling, how did you initially come to approach the topic of tool management, and what was the main motivation for your company?
Bölling: As far as we are concerned, the introduction of tool management does not just mean a different kind of tool supply. On the contrary, it‘s of great importance to us as a medium-sized company with around 300 employees to relieve our purchasing department, which is not directly involved in value-adding activities, as far as we possibly can. And, it‘s also essential that we continue to use all the suppliers important for us.
KROMI newsletter: So how did you arrive at KROMI?
Bölling: The systems operated by the individual tool manufacturers chiefly offer solutions for their own range of products. In contrast, we definitely wanted to exploit synergies that occur by combining suppliers, i.e. one contact person and one monthly invoice for all the items. In addition, we also considered it important to reduce warehouse capacities and, above all, to minimise our own stocks so as to improve liquidity. In such respects, KROMI clearly stands out with its solution in all the relevant test criteria.
KROMI newsletter: What is the volume we‘re talking about?
Bölling: We had a tool turnover of around 7.5 million in 2015. During our implementation of KROMI Tool Management, we were able to reduce this figure to around 5 million, whereby sales declines in this segment also influenced the result. Nevertheless, significant savings were measurable. The goal is now to permanently reduce the tooling cost share to below 5%. To achieve this, however, we‘re still intervening technologically in the manufacturing processes.
KROMI newsletter: What else was important to you when you introduced KROMI Tool Management?
Bölling: Definitely important for us was to ensure a high availability of the tools directly in production at the machine level. We have very demanding production stations with expensive machines and a high degree of automation. Downtimes due to missing tools are an absolutely no-go. We also wanted to retain our own experienced employees as tool managers in a new sphere of responsibility. To this end, KROMI is now operating its own office within the plant. In our view, a functioning partnership is indispensable in such a close form of collaboration, and this has already been effectively achieved.
KROMI newsletter: What‘s the current situation and what‘s next?
Bölling: The pilot phase has been completed, and the task now is to pursue further implementation. The important thing for us in the first step was that the new business processes based on the automatic KTC dispensers and the KeC procurement system ran smoothly and stably. Of course, we have already achieved significant savings with these systems. This can now be extended to other operating equipment such as grinding wheels or cooling lubricants. It will, of course, be interesting in the technological domain to see the extent of the savings that can be attained from ongoing processes in terms of costs per part. Needless to say, we hope for positive effects in this area as well.