The success factor of using direct screw fasteners at Mahle
Demonstrable cost reduction / Higher quality obtained from greater process reliability / Increased acceptance by automotive manufacturers / Early inclusion into the development team
This is the main challenge that Mahle has had to face for over 80 years. Mahle is a leading supplier of car components, employing 38,000 people at 70 locations throughout the world. The company has its headquarters in Stuttgart and specialises in developing and manufacturing engine components, with products ranging from single filters to complete system solutions.
“In fact, we could also make the entire engine,” says Otto Mehrer, Production Manager at the Mahler Filter Plant in Öhringen, as he described the range of products that his company produces; however he admitted that such a development still lies in the future. The car engine continues to be a manufacturer’s image-making core skill – and that’s why they will continue to be identified with the manufacturer’s own brand and logo. It is that brand image that has given rise to the demand for quality that manufacturers place on suppliers of crucial system components. And they are requirements that Mahle considers carefully when selecting its own suppliers. Every day, every employee involved in production must ensure that he or she is actually implementing the Mahle maxim which is “to make what is good even better”.
High product requirement profile
One of Mahle’s suppliers is Arnold Umformtechnik GmbH, based in south-west Germany. The company, which belongs to the Würth group, has taken a leading position in Europe as manufacturer and supplier of specialist screws – supplying Mahle and many other manufacturers. Unlike most of its competitors, Arnold has identified a tremendous cost-saving potential in fastening technology.
This is confirmed by Otto Mehrer, Production Manager at Mahler’s Öhringen plant, where Arnold products have been used on its production line for some ten years. In particular self-tapping screws, such as the Taptite 2000 products from Arnold, have led the production specialists at Mahle to realise that the cost elements lie not so much in the cost of the part itself and the material it is made of - in actual fact the cost of the screw itself represents a mere 15 percent of the overall cost of a screw fastening. However its potential to increase efficiency throughout the process is the factor that reduces the overall cost. Cost analyses carried out by Mahle clearly show that a self-tapping screw, which is only just about a third more expensive than a conventional screw, ultimately reduces manufacturing costs by up to 80 per cent. “In principle, by using self-tapping fasteners, we can make a sustained reduction in the overall cost of preparing the screw location,” said Otto Mehrer, confirming Arnold’s own findings, which arrived at similar conclusions, and which show why there is a distinct move towards direct screw fastenings.
Reducing costs throughout the process
“According to our findings, when inserted into pre-cast holes, self-tapping fasteners reduce processing costs by around 0.25 euro per piece – without affecting quality in any way,” commented Mehrer as he highlighted Arnold’s products. The most crucial factors are the fact that the construction of the screws provides process reliability and that the number of separate process steps is significantly reduced.
In fact different levels of savings can be made depending on whether the fasteners are used in manual, semi-automated or automated screw fastenings – they range from 65 percent for manual screw fastenings to 80 percent on automatic assembly lines. But another crucial factor is the much lower investment required which, compared with traditional fasteners, has a particularly noteworthy effect on upstream and downstream production costs. “Direct fastening solutions reduce management costs. These involve pre-production costs such as development, logistics, buying and warehousing costs, as well as keeping costs down in our quality department,” concluded Mehrer.
Where fastenings can be made into pre-cast holes, no drilling or thread-cutting is required. So there is no need for the relevant tools, such as the processing centre and washing unit required for the screw locations where metric threads are used. The same applies to pumps and to the disposal systems required for cutting emulsions, and to the measuring instruments needed to check the gauge size of metric threads. Consequently, the use of self-tapping screws, especially on new production lines signifies considerable savings on investment in mechanical processing stations. A further factor positively expressed in the overall calculation is the time gained in the process flow.
Increasing acceptance of direct screw fastenings
In all we are noting a proportion of around 40 percent of metal direct screw fastenings – and it is rising. We still have to break down some of the prejudices held by our customers. Ultimately it is our clients who, on the whole, specify the type of fastening technology they want,” said Otto Mehrer, pointing out the constraints. “So that makes it even more important to ensure that specialists such as the Project Managers at Arnold are included into the development process for new modules. Because it is only by taking such far-sighted decisions at the early design engineering stage that the full cost-saving potential can be realised,” concluded Otto Mehrer, summing up the future of self-tapping direct fasteners such as Taptite 2000.
Über Arnold Umformtechnik GmbH & Co. KG
The ARNOLD Group – solutions which connect
Whereas the Arnold name has always signified and still does stand for “fasteners”, in recent years the range of products has expanded.
Today, Arnold is a group of companies supplying a comprehensive range of fastener products and related services besides the parent company ARNOLD UMFORMTECHNIK GmbH & Co. KG, Forchtenberg-Ernsbach in Germany, members of the Arnold Group include subsidiaries Arnold & Shinjo, also based in Forchtenberg-Ernsbach, Germany, and ARNOLD Technique France, based in Lyon, France. In 2003 the overall group, employing just under 500 people, achieved a sales turnover of over Euro 80 million. The transformation from a purely manufacturing company into a comprehensive service provider to the fastener industry began in the mid 1970s, when the company decided to conccentrate on manufacturing very high-quality technological fasteners. As it entered the higher quality fastener market, the company faced new challenges. Today Arnold works with major companies in the automotive and electrical industries, both at home in Germany and abroad, and becomes involved early on as their customers develop and design new parts. First of all this requires intensive on-site consultation along with comprehensive customer services, and secondly it requires highly qualified employees who can rise to, and meet the demands of the market.
•To be able to meet the particular demands of each of the industrial sectors, Arnold has divided its marketing activities into automotive and trade and industry divisions. Thus, customers can call upon specialist teams able to offer customised advice in order to provide innovative solutions.
•To meet the challenge of such development partnerships, our qualified staff develop the best possible fastener solutions by visiting customers at home and abroad, and implementing the results of their visits at our own engineering design and development departments.
•By constantly analysing industry applications, the products themselves, and users´requrements, ARNOLD is always in an excellent position to be able to develop new solutions to problems and incorporate thm into the development process. So, with ARNOLD´s own production expertise, we are able to produce top quality innovative products and individual industry solutions that set new market standards. Furthermore, ARNOLD is an important and integral part of the Supply Chain. Working very closely with OEMs and their suppliers, ARNOLD is able to react very quickly to changes in the market, and to incorporate the knowledge gained into enhanced products for customers. A Pre-Sales and After-Sales service covering Key Account Management, modern logistics systems and customer seminars rounds off the range of ARNOLD services.
The Arnold Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Würth Group, which with over 50,000 employees and more than 320 companies world-wide operates on a global basis with earnings of over 6 billion euros. So, against that background, the Arnold Group represents a secure partner in the best possible position to serve the global requirements of the market.
Die ARNOLD Gruppe – Lösungen, die verbinden
Wurde der Name Arnold in der Vergangenheit noch oftmals automatisch mit dem Begriff „Verbindungselemente“ gleichgesetzt, so hat sich dies in den letzten Jahren grundlegend geändert.
Heute ist Arnold eine Unternehmensgruppe zu der neben der Muttergesellschaft ARNOLD UMFORMTECHNIK GmbH & Co. KG, Forchtenberg-Ernsbach (D), noch die Töchter Arnold & Shinjo, ebenfalls Forchtenberg-Ernsbach (D), und Arnold Technique France, Lyon (F), gehören. Die Unternehmensgruppe erwirtschaftet mit knapp 500 Mitarbeitern über 80 Mio.€ Umsatz. Der Wandel setzte bereits Mitte der 70er Jahre ein, als man sich auf die Herstellung von anspruchsvollen Verbindungselementen konzentrierte. Mit dem Eintritt in das Marktsegment der höherwertigen Verbindungselemente kamen auch neue Herausforderungen auf das Unternehmen zu. Arnold arbeitet heute national und international mit den „großen“ der Automobil- und Elektroindustrie zusammen und wird von diesen frühzeitig als Entwicklungspartner in Entwicklung und Konstruktion von Neuteilen eingebunden. Dies bedingt zum einen eine intensive Betreuung vor Ort und umfassende Dienstleistungen für die Kunden und zum anderen hoch qualifizierte Mitarbeiter, welche den Anforderungen des Marktes gerecht werden können.
Das Unternehmen Arnold hat sich diesen Herausforderungen mit Erfolg gestellt:
•Damit die speziellen Anforderungen der einzelnen Branchen erfüllt werden können, ist man bei Arnold dazu übergegangen den Vertrieb in die Sparten Automotiv und Industrie + Handel zu gliedern. So entstanden Spezialistenteams, die den Kunden mit individueller Beratung innovative Lösungen anbieten können.
•Um dem Anspruch der Entwicklungspartnerschaft gerecht zu werden, erarbeiten qualifizierte Mitarbeiter national und international vor Ort beim Kunden und in der eigenen Konstruktions- und Entwicklungsabteilung die optimale Verbindungslösung.
•Durch die kontinuierliche Analyse der Anwendungsfälle, der Produkte und der Anforderungen der Anwender ist ARNOLD in der Lage selbständig neue Problemlösungen zu entwickeln und diese in den Entwicklungsprozess mit einfließen zu lassen. Verbunden mit dem ARNOLD eigenen Produktions-Know-how entstehen so innovative Produkte und individuelle Branchenlösungen die neue Marktstandards setzen. Des weiteren ist Arnold ein wichtiger Integrationspartner in der Supply Chain. Durch die enge Zusammenarbeit mit den OEMs und deren Zulieferer ist ARNOLD in der Lage, bei Entwicklungen in der Zuliefererindustrie auf wichtige Veränderungen des Marktes hinzuweisen. Ein internationaler Pre- und After-Sales-Service der u.a. moderne Logistiksysteme, Key-Account-Management und Kundenseminare umfasst, rundet die Palette der Dienstleistungen ab.
Die Arnold Gruppe selbst ist ein 100%iger Bestandteil der globalen Würth-Gruppe, die mit über 50.000 Mitarbeitern und über 320 Gesellschaften weltweit über 6 Milliarden Euro erwirtschaftet. Durch diesen Hintergrund stellt die Arnold-Gruppe für jeden Kunden einen sicheren Partner dar, der die globalen Anforderungen des Marktes optimal bedienen kann.