APM invests in automated production machines in response to the increased demand for plungers for chain tensioners.
APM, specialist in precision components for the automotive industry, took two new hypermodern CNC lathes into use last quarter. This step is entirely in line with the company’s constant innovation drive, and its ambition to continuously improve its own production processes and to create more efficiency.
“It immediately became apparent that these new machines exceeded our expectations,” says Guido Gerritsen, director / owner at APM. “The performance is unprecedented. The capacity is now four times as high. This creates a positive impulse for the ‘powertrain’ market in which we operate. “
The original reason for director Guido Gerritsen and his staff to make a progressive and technically well-founded step in the production process was the visit to the factories of our Japanese customer in the United States in the spring of 2018.
Turning or honing?
“All the inspiration we gained led to a thorough evaluation of our production methods for the T2 plunger. In our production plant in Haaksbergen we have been working for years in two different production processes, namely; turning and honing. We found out that one production station based on ‘turning’ would be the best for us and our customers, “says Guido Gerritsen, who personally supervised the technical change in the organization.
“We also wanted to structurally increase the production capacity. Because the demand from the market is growing, we were looking for opportunities to be able to produce at night and in the weekend. As much as possible unmanned.”
“We started intensive discussions with the supplier of our lathes about our special requirements,” continues Guido. “In addition, we wanted to expand our machines with the measurement systems developed by ourselves for automatic checking of the product specifications. As APM, we attach great importance to realizing our quality standards. And we set the bar high.”
“We want to minimize rejection and waste as much as possible. We achieve this with an automatic 100% control system. I see that our Lean Six Sigma approach puts us well on track with our 0-ppm objective. There are, I think, few companies in the industry that are doing as well as we do at this quality level. It strengthens our market position, but also the entire chain.”
“Except for even higher quality, we strived for a shorter processing time in the entire improvement process and for maximizing 24×7 production without crew. This has now been realized through a perfect link with our own ICT systems. The numbers tell the tale! We can adjust more quickly.”
Ready for the future?
An entrepreneur and his company must always be ready for the future, Guido Gerritsen concludes. “We are inspired every day. That was also the purpose of our trip to the United States. We had good discussions with the quality and production logistics departments.”
“They also turned out to be very interested in our production method. This created a fruitful exchange of useful information and ideas for process innovations. And … of course we also build a strong relationship for the future. Due to all technical developments, the automotive industry is moving more than ever. And right then it is fantastic if you can join together and dare to inspire each other.”