A recent development within Voortman Steel Group is that we are increasingly producing subassemblies such as frames, roller conveyors and cross-transfer units in house. The major reasons for this were cost savings and cutting throughput time for machinery manufacture.
Handling system production has been taking place since January 2017 in hall 1 of the former Europe Coating premises at Ozonstraat 16. Mike Mansveld (Group Leader – Parts Manufacturing): “At present we are arranging the various process in the hall as well as possible. Once they have been optimised, we will be able to upscale capacity further.” He estimates that a two-week throughput time for roller conveyors and cross-transfer units is achievable.
Mike lists a number of improvements that have been implemented recently. “We are cutting lead times by sourcing cutting work from Voortman Steel Construction rather than outside suppliers. We have applied more structure to the inward flow of goods. We are currently laying out our warehouse with fixed location codes, which enables us to make space for materials and pick them more efficiently. We are also working on the welding process with the deployment of a welding robot and two welding manipulators.” A welding manipulator enables the welder to position the part to provide him with the best access. The major benefits of using it are improved weld quality and a reduction in welding hours. What is more, it is ergonomically better for the welder. Furthermore, there is a machine for producing our own cables for roller conveyors and cross-transfer units and a tapping table for cutting screw threads into plate parts for Handling and Construction.
Halls 3 and 4 are equipped as sawing and cutting departments respectively. Having resolved a few start-up problems, the drilling/sawing machine in hall 3 is now operational five days a week. The cutting department supplies all plates for Voortman Steel Machinery Construction. Arjan Knol (Construction Team Leader) explains how the department goes about its work. “There are three inward goods flows. Bought in items are added to the cut and/or sawn parts. We thus put packages together which need to be welded and coated as necessary. Welded machine frames that need subsequent processing are annealed first if necessary (for post-welding stress relief) and then milled and coated. These are the only processes that are outsourced. After that, the finished products are delivered to Geerd Schippers (Assembly Group Leader).”
The quantities of goods kept in stock are visibly quite a bit smaller than at the start of production. In order to substantiate the results with figures, we have recently started monitoring aspects such as stock control, production efficiency, reliability of supply and costs. The aim of this is to have better insight into the results of the Parts Manufacturing department.