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Newsletter 1/16

True to our conviction that standing still means going backwards, HUBER+SUHNER plating has pursued a continuous improvement policy for many years. In this spirit, we present the new Plating Flash, which will be provided in electronic format in the future. Once again, the topics in this edition highlight improvements that will benefit you as a customer.

Hans Eichenberger, Leiter Galvanik

Equipped for future challenges

At HUBER+SUHNER, plating is performed exclusively on two fully automatic, computer-controlled finishing lines. This concept allows us to plate a large range of products in line with our customers’ requirements in a swift, individual, competitive and controlled manner. 

The field of software and system control is developing at incredible speed. For product safety and innovation reasons, it is important that we keep pace with these developments.
HUBER+SUHNER has therefore decided to upgrade its two system controllers to the very latest state of the art. By completing the upgrade in two stages, we are ensuring that we are able to continue providing our customers with an optimum, interruption-free service. The first stage was completed successfully over the Whit weekend.

As a result of the upgrade of our plating system controllers, our plating facility is now perfectly equipped for further innovations in the context of industry 4.0.

Hans Eichenberger, Plating Manager

Lean philosophy in action

Since the start of 2016, lean management has been part and parcel of day-to-day life for our plating employees. The intensive lean philosophy training course completed by our employees defined four fundamental aims:
  • Committed employees
  • Zero errors
  • 100% on schedule
  • Delighted customers
  • Engagierte  Mitarbeiter

Following the successful rollout of the 5S method some years ago, we have introduced another lean concept. Shop floor management. Every day in production, a 15-minute meeting is held with all production employees across all shifts using suitable indicators to identify deviations at an early stage. Analysing the problem on site in a team makes it much easier to identify solutions, allowing the necessary steps to be defined and implemented without delay. 

Managing the employees directly on site improves communication, supports a more broad-based dissemination of knowledge and allows production processes to be continually improved. Initial experiences since the rollout of shop floor management have been very promising and some great improvements have already been made as a result of these meetings.

Christoph Müller, Production team leader

The Plating QA department

The tasks of the Plating QA department are many and varied, and require a high degree of flexibility. The department currently boasts 2 employees, one full time and one at an employment level of fifty per cent. An additional person can also be brought in on an ad-hoc basis to assist during busy times.
Day-to-day operations account for the lion’s share of daily working life; after all, it is important that quality products are delivered to our customers at the required time (contract customers, HUBER+SUHNER internal and international). Based on its quality inspections, the Plating QA department makes decisions about whether to accept incoming deliveries and about reworking or liquidating finished batches. This means that QA is an important partner for contract customers, external finishers and internal and international HUBER+SUHNER departments alike.

An equally important activity is the continual assurance of high product quality and process reliability by performing various activities, such as the enforcement of quality requirements, the initiation of defect prevention measures, management and supervision of layer thickness measuring instrument X-rays, the creation of initial sample test reports, re-qualifications, layer thickness comparisons with production in China and external finishers, IMDS registration and supplier approvals.

With the increasing requirements for consistently high product quality, the demands placed on the equipment fleet for preparing and measuring polished metal edges and the visual inspection of these are also growing. In view of this, as part of the continual updating of measuring and testing equipment, the department is soon to receive a new material microscope with 1,000x magnification.

Andreas Hachen, Plating Quality Manager