World market leader for automotive seats trust in afu-tech expertise

In 2021, afu-tech received a huge order from the world market leader for automotive seats to optimize its stamping shops including tool maintenance. The US parent company had deliberately chosen afu-tech because of its strategic importance. 

April 2022, Author: Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs, CEO afu-tech, Bad Waldsee

The task was the analysis and benchmarking of the stamping shops incl. tool maintenance and subsequent sustainable optimization.

 

That sounds quite simple at first glance, but in fact it is complex and extremely demanding in reality. Such stamping shop performance-projects require excellent experience and comprehensive and deep cross-divisional know-how. It is a fact that very few companies in the world have this capability.

afu-tech is one of these few companies and known in the industry for its unique problem solving expertise, comprehensive and deep know-how and its vast experience in the areas of press shop, tool making and stamping and forming technology. This is the reason why afu-tech exceeded the customer's expectations.

afu-tech has delivered results on time in all key areas, each of which represents significant added value for the customer. As a result, the customer from now on benefits permanently and significantly in terms of financials, technology and quality. Improved processes and optimized performance through higher efficiency round off the project result.

 

The customer was highly impressed by the incredibly broad and deep expertise of Axel Fuchs and Mario Fuchs. It is remarkable that the two likeable graduate engineers from the Lake Constance region led the project to success in the agreed time in 2022.

 

Exactly for these reasons, afu-tech is in a class of its own.

 

In his press shops the customer produces, highly complex seat structure parts, mainly from AHSS and UHSS, which are assembled into complete seat structures. The project focused on the components, the tools, the production presses and all processes up to the delivery of the seat structures to the internal customers. They complete the car seats, depending on the type of vehicle and options, and deliver them to the OEM's.

 

With the extensive analysis in both press shops and tool maintenance, afu-tech CEO, Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs and Senior Manager M.Eng. Mario Fuchs set the foundation for the success of the project.

 

afu-tech precisely analyzed the 15 critical areas that are crucial for the performance of press shops, determined KPI's and compared them with benchmarks. Afterwards afu-tech presented a comprehensive problem-solving concept to the customer with effective measures to successfully optimize the overall situation. These BEST PRACTICE solutions were successfully put into practice by afu-tech on-site.

 

afu-tech is clearly superior to other companies worldwide in this respect.

 

Axel Fuchs provided intense theoretical and practical training for the teams from the press shops, die maintenance and the management. The training content covered all processes for an efficient and profitably operation of the press shops and included a lot BEST PRACTICE solutions for the staff.

 

The excellent cooperation and communication with the management and staff of the customer was an essential building block for the success of the project.

 

USA - China - Europe - Great Britain

 

M.Eng. Mario Fuchs (29) has already gained quite a lot of valuable international professional experience which he can draw on in every situation.

 

With the extensive analysis of both press shops and tool maintenance of the leading car seat manufacturer, afu-tech CEO, Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs and Senior Manager M.Eng. Mario Fuchs set the foundation for the success of the project.

 

afu-tech uses its own proven methods to analyse the most important figures and metrics. We can derive the right decisions and effective measures from this.

In this project, Mario Fuchs was responsible for the analysis and evaluation of all customer data incl. conducting and evaluating the interviews.

 

This project once again has given evidence of the benefits of afu-tech as a pure family business. Complete trust, everyone can rely on each other, quick decisions and we complement each other perfectly. This has a very positive effect on our work and the results.

 

Saudi-Arabia - afu-tech planned press shop and die shop for new EV plant

The conflicting priorities mobility and climate change are one of the central challenges of our time. Electric Vehicles (EV) are seen as a solution to this conflict of the future. Consequently, afu-tech was awarded the planning contract for the press shop and die shop for the first EV car plant in Saudi Arabia in 2022. "A state-of-the-art press shop in the desert

May 2022 - Author: Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs, CEO afu-tech, Bad Waldsee

"Building a state-of-the-art press shop incl. die shop in a desert state has its own requirements“. Heat, drought, sandstorms, culture, infrastructure, logistics, to name a few.

The press shop, die shop and the corresponding equipment had to be as modern as possible. Discussions with the end customer's project manager regarding the press shop and die shop quickly showed that there was some need for clarification regarding feasibility and plausibility. The end customer's ideas were unrealistic for essential topics and therefore the feasibility was not given.

 

afu-tech has created a highly efficient planning, which easily met the output and quality targets of the end customer, taking into account the special conditions. afu-tech has taken into account cutting-edge press and cutting technology. Cultural customs were taken into account as well as climate-friendly equipment, the climate itself and the safety of the staff in press and tool shop.

 

We are a proven team. Highest esteem, short distances, quick decision making process, blind trust in each other and having fun at work. Dipl.-comm.-Designer Birgit Fuchs is responsible for implementation of Specification, analyses and calculation into quality layouts at afu-tech. 

 

Conclusion

 

In the end, the customer was very happy that the experts from afu-tech had taken over the planning of the press shop and die shop in this project. Despite all adversities, the customer was very satisfied and afu-tech delivered a planning that fulfilled feasibility, plausibility and efficiency.

 

A lack of or insufficient experience on the end customer's team, made the planning of the press shop and die shop considerably more difficult. New automotive manufacturers in particular try to procure missing expertise externally, as cost-effective as possible. This hardly works in the area of press shop and die shop. As a result, ramp-up of new plants are delayed because of problems that would have been absolutely avoidable, if real experts had been involved.

China - afu-tech sets benchmark for a new press shop 

The German premium OEM wanted to make sure, that the press shop in the new EV plant in China would meet the highest technical standards, achieve the defined performance and that the budget would not include unnecessary costs.

April 2022 - Author: Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs, CEO afu-tech, Bad Waldsee

The completely new planned manufacturing plant in northern China, which will be part of the German premium OEM's global production network, will exclusively build Electric Vehicels (EV).

 

The proven expert for press shop, dies and manufacturing, afu-tech CEO Axel Fuchs, was hired to do an intense benchmarking at the OEM's press shop planning early in 2022.

 

The renowned consulting company afu-tech located in the lake constance area in southern part of Germany, specializes in press shop, die shop, stamping and forming technology and manufacturing.

 

afu-tech evaluated all available figures, data and documents etc. in an intensive analysis and compared them with its own benchmarks. The result of the benchmarking was surprising for the OEM. afu-tech found clear optimization potential in all essential areas of the submitted planning. Both from a technical and a financial point of view, corresponding effective measures and figures were identified.

 

Conclusion

 

afu-tech delivered results on time. The premium OEM was highly satisfied with the benchmarking and highly appreciated the work of afu-tech.

 

This projekt pointed out again three things

 

  1. The OEM got exactly what he was looking for.
  2. Due to lack of experience in planning departments of OEMs and TIER 1, monetary and technical potentials are often not recognized in the planning of press shops.
  3. afu-tech is in a class of its own in what they do.

Supplier Management by afu-tech in a project for luxury E-Limousines and E-Sportscars, during corona pandemic

In March 2020 afu-tech was hired from the Powertrain area of the High Performance Division of a German Premium OEM, to do supplier management in a top priority project. afu-tech achieved project targets validation of build batch supply and industrialisation incl. manufacturing process and equipment validation

November 2020 -Author: Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs, CEO afu-tech, Bad Waldsee

This report is about how we switched to 100% digitised supplier management because of the first corona lockdown. The report gives an answer to the important question about the impact of corona pandemic to the efficiency of the digitised supplier management.

 

This EDU Project for luxury E-cars was a special project for the OEM, afu-tech and all suppliers involved as well. The collaboration between OEM and key-supplier from USA became increasingly complicated in recent month. Manufacturer of the production line and various equipment packages such like test benches were spread across Europe. Parts and cast components were deliverd from suppliers around the world.

As a result the time line was in danger. Due to the critical situation, the customer was looking for an excellent expert with distinguished skills and many years of international management experience in the automotive and supplier industry.

 

Through the years we have learned that, were other consulting companies are at one´s wits end, often afu-tech experts come into play to implement best practice solutions".

 

At the request of the OEM, afu-tech CEO Axel Fuchs took on this assignment at the beginning of March.

 

First and most important task was to implement a good communication between OEM, key-supplier and afu-tech. This is the base for a constructive collaboration. Mid of March 2020 we were faced with the Corona Pandemic including lockdown with all consequences

 

Axel and the entire project team focused on the important issues. The overriding goals have been the validation of build batch supply for prototype cars and all models with EDUs to ensure the industrialisation of the EDU manufacturing process. In addition Axel installed a reporting-tool, which is used for decision making by the Management of the OEM since that time.

Meanwhile Corona revealed its impact to the full extent:

 

Short-time-working at OEM, key-supplier and component supplier around the world, travelrestrictions, traffic jams and delays in supply chain at country borders, 7-14 days quarantine for people and products from abroad, risk areas, travel warnings from many countries and finally corona test as premise for business travels.

 

Omnipresent reporting about Corona and Covid-19 Sars 2 in all media and well-intentioned safety measures created a perceptible and increasing uncertainty within the population about how to handle the topic in public and in companies. Preventive safety measures like stay home be save, keep distance, increased hygiene and wearing mask are daily routine since then.

 

Pandemic was omnipresent, lockdown, short-time-working etc. and all safety measures described were part of our „new daily routine“ for at that time. Everything has changed and nothing is as it was before. afu-tech and the whole project-team worked fully digitised since the first lockdown. This means supplier management nearly without any personal contact and working from home office.

Despite completely modified conditions and work method, we achieved the first project target, validation of build batch supply for production of EDUs of prototype cars sovereign. We did the same with timeline tracking of LV- and HV-harnesses.

 

The final focus was to secure the industrialization and PV of the EDU production process. We also achieved this goal according to the current schedule of the OEM. However, we have made the experience that a pure "digitalized" processing only from the home office is not always useful and also not recommended for all projects.

 

Final focus was to secure the validation of industrialisation and the pv of EDUs manufacturing process. Again we achieved this target on time and according to latest OEM time line.

We found out, that a completely digitised supplier management from home office, is a very special challenge, which can only be recommended to highly skilled and experienced people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Achieved targets

  1. Implementation of a good communication culture
  2. Constructive collaboration between OEM, key-supplier and afu-tech
  3. Installation of a reporting-tool for the Management as a base to make decisions
  4. Validation of build batch supply for EDU production for prototype cars of all models
  5. Tracking PPF (acc. VDA) for all models incl. LV- and HV-Harnesses
  6. PV (acc. VDA) production process and industrialisation of EDU manufacturing

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

Summary

 

During our project we asked ourselves the following questions:

  1. What does the pandemic mean to us and our project?

The pandemic showed us once again, that we are very flexible, mentally agile and creative. Again this gives evidence for how good we are in what we are doing and espcecially how we are dominate our business. The pandemic had no impact on the success of our project, despite the massive change in the general requirements.

  1. How can we keep a good communication and an efficient supplier management without a face-to-face communicaiton?

We had the right answers to all questions and we took right decisions quite quick, by using all kind of digital communicaiton. A key point is, that you have to be really familiar with all aspects of communication, which is very rare in many companies from SME to huge corporations.

 

After the end of the project, the following questions were important to us

  1. How were we able to achieve the goals of the customer and the project, even though we were doing Supplier Management in a completely new way - essentially without personal contact?

You have to be able to evaluate information and data correctly and then make the right decisions. That only works with a lot of experience and the right skills.

  1. Will "digitised" supplier management be the future?

We are convinced that digitised supplier management will play an important role in the future and is therefore part of our new project reality. The advantages are not insignificant and the disadvantages are clearly definable for us.

 

An important part of our afu-tech internal project review is the evaluation of various data in order to determine KPIs, evaluate them and then derive the right decisions from them. In this project, we determined and compared, among other things, our "on-site times" at the customer and the suppliers and our HO times.

 

Due to the Corona pandemic, we were repeatedly confronted with "roadblocks" for the "Project EDU". The fact is that we were only able to spend 10.15% of our time on customer and supplier site visits and 89.85% of the total consultant days, communicated and worked in the home office via digital media.

 

The key insight for us is that our recipe for success in the EDU project was our vast experience with "conventional" supplier management, our special know-how, flexibility, speed and creativity. This allowed us to successfully switch to a digitalised way of working, with intensive use of various digital media.

 

This is also in line with our view and experience that every ("conventional") process and system has immense potential for improvement when looked at closely. This must first be recognized and then fully exploited before a process or system is digitised.

Carmaker benefits from cost saving potential of 3 Mio. EUR by afu-tech 

Technology & People – This field of conflict has been a core competence of afu-tech for 10 years now. Only a few consulting companies can handle that topics at the same level in these days 

June 2019, Author: Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs, CEO afu-tech, Bad Waldsee

The excellent cross-functional expertise of afu- tech in manufacturing, die shop, quality-management, problem solving processes and change processes, led to achieve tremendous and sustainable cost saving potential of nearly 3 Mio. EUR in total at the customer.

 

The customer is an original manufacturer of armored special-vehicles and cars in small batches to exclusive VIP-customers and high volumes of classy exterior design parts for luxury sports cars. Due to the high customer requirements afu-tech was predestinated for that job.

 

This project again gives evidence, that there are huge hidden potentials in many companies. Those can not be found for various reasons, or they will not be tackled because there is a lack of time and internal expertise. The BoD‘s decision to hire afu-tech CEO Axel Fuchs, a global approved and well-known expert for manufacturing, die shop, qualitymanagement and change processes, was the best they could do. Finally it was a positive and clear message to all employees. 

 

By means of our proven and special analyse-tools and QM-methods all results were recorded, analysed and assessed in terms of efficiency, costs and quality. Thus we were able to achieve 2 Mio. EUR of meaningful cost saving potenial within the first week. In addition to the huge benefits for the customer in skills, quality and highly motivated people.

 

 

Result:

afu-tech clearly outperformed the expectations of the customer. The huge potential for improvements in die shop, serial manufacturing, trim and final (assembly) has been identified and uplifted by the great support of afu-tech. Now the customer has a stable foundation for the next step, which could be a digitalisation in the mentioned fields.

 

Digitalisation yes, BUT…!

Will digitalisation replace humans? – When does digitalisation make sense?

June 2019 - Author: CEO, Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs, CEO afu-tech, Bad Waldsee

Every hit of the presslines inside the press shops of the car manufacturer and TIER I suppliers, stands for the heartbeat of the automobile manufacturing companies. If one or more presses stand still unplanned at the same time, this creates a big alarm. Now it is important to do a structured root-cause analyse to find the problem quite quick and do an immediate and sustainable problem solving, to come back to production and ensure delivery of pressed parts to BIW.

Every action must fit perfect to bring the press back to production very quick, that operators at EOL can stack high quality pressed parts into the racks. The magic words are effectivity– which means do the right things, and efficiency– which means do the things right.

 

Expertise, effectivity and efficiency are the main elements of the performance of afu-tech. We generate benefits for our customers, because we are unmatched in our expertise, effectivity and efficiency. Afterwards doing the things right (efficiency) is pure business. 

 

The current topic of the symposium on the 4th of June 2019 at Sindelfingen townhall was „more efficiency at the press shop“. It was hosted and well organised by people from MM and blechnet industry magazines. Congrats.

 

afu-tech-CEO and productionexpert Axel Fuchs was curious for the lectures of the colleagues from BMW, SCHULER, GOM, ANDRITZ KAISER, Formhand, MISATI, Meusburger and Karberg & Hennemann. Already the first lecture by Mr. Saubiez from BMW showed very clearly, it is about efficiency by digitisation.

 

Digitisation and smartfactory are omnipresent in any media since many months. To miss the train to digital future, if they do not digitise their companies now, is a vast worry for most companies and it creates big pressure in the industry.

 

Previous to a digitisation of a process, we have to ensure that the massive potentials for improvements of each process has been identified and utilised. A comprehensive analyse and an optimisation of the processes is essential. The digitisation of a subopimal process results in a digitised suboptimised process. This is only a superficial help for the customer.

At the symposium I was surprised about the kind of comparisons about SMART PRESS SHOP and SMART HOME, where you can check via mobile phone or tablet, if the light is off in your flat or if the heating is off and finally if the door at home is closed. Smart home systems mislead people to be inattentive and to loose the ability to think on your own.

To manage the tasks ahead, we need people which are creative and able to think on their own and which are able to act conscious and attentive. Exactly this is the difference between humans and a KI and this is the reason why people and KI will complement each other in a meaningful way in the near future.

 

The experts of afu-tech have learned from many successful projects and discussions with people from shopfloor and from interviews at all management levels up to BoD at OEM´s in automotive industry, that the most important brick of the digital transformation will be the people.

 

From our perspective we are sure that all employees have to be supported and trained according to their skills on a regular base, to ensure that they are able to deliver their contribution and the company can succeed. 

 

Because of that fact, it makes sense to train and qualify people accordingly so that they match the future technology requirements on the work environment and work places of tomorrow. We have successfully utilised this in some projects already. This is the only way to create a real benefit for you as a customer, which has an impact on different levels.

 

If you are keen on knowing which Benefits and objectives can be achieved by high effectivity on your way to digitalisation, please give us a call +49-7524-9741-96 or send a message with our contact template.

 

We are pleased to accompany and support you and your entire team in doing your first step on your way to digitalisation. Finally you can decide on a good foundation what will be the next step for your company to your digital future.

 

Press shops of british premium OEM benefit from afu-tech know-how

afu-tech developed and implemented successfully a pathbreaking concept for quality improvement of pressed parts, for a famous british premium car manufacturer.

March 2019 - Author: Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs, CEO afu-tech, Bad Waldsee

Early in 2018 afu-tech, a family-owned first-class consulting company with focus on technology and business mediation from Bad Waldsee in Germany, got the PO from a british premium OEM, for a Q-project in the press shop area. afu-tech competed with huge consulting companies from the United Kingdom. All facts indicated clearly to go for afu-tech: Compared to the competitors afu-tech owns comprehensive know-how and an exceptional wide range of experience mainly in the fields of metal forming, press shop, die shop, BIW, projectmangement and Quality Management, and since many years afu-tech is a valued and reliable partner of the international car manufacturer (OEM´s). 

 

Within 11 months Dipl.-Ing. Axel Fuchs, Dipl.-communication-designer & businessmediator (DHBW) Birgit Fuchs and B.Eng Mario Fuchs have successfully finished one of the most important projects inside the entire group, of this very famous british premium car manufacturer. 

 

One fundamental requirement of the customer was, that all press shops at all UK plants shall be able to produce and deliver high-quality pressed parts according to consistent processes and standards, to the BIW. That was a big challenge, due to the history of each plant and the existing press shop equipment.

 

In a short period, the experts of afu-tech did a comprehensive and detailed analysis in all UK press shops. The management of the customer got deep insights and a complete new perspective to the entire situation based on the clear and precise results of afu-tech.

 

Based on the analysis afu-tech developed a concept for quality improvement of all pressed parts like skins, inner panels and structure parts, which are predominantly made of Aluminium but also from steel. The implementation was done by practical intensive training and permanent consulting.

 

With the preparation of the quality management handbook for the responsible business unit, afu-tech documented all new developed Q-processes and related Q-documents like process descriptions, work element sheets, inspection instructions, checklists etc.

 

For quality validation additional sustainable methods and processes, like KAIZEN, CIP, TQM, TPM incl. the PQR®(developed by afu-tech) were installed. From now on this is the foundation for manufacturing of high-quality pressed parts according to consistent processes and standards at all press shops of the British premium car manufacturer. PQR®enables the customer to track and improve the quality and performance of each manufacturing process very easy and effective.

 

Remarkable is the use of the afu-tech owned method project-mediation, developed from the business mediation practice, which again has proved its value..

 

The key to success was the comprehensive know-how and the exceptional wide range of experience of afu-tech in all press shop equipment, metal forming technology, quality management, processes and professional communication skills. afu-tech achieved the project targets and mastered all tasks in an excellent manner, to the total satisfaction of the customer and last but not least kept the budget.

China - afu-tech has planned a new press shop for a German premium car manufacturer

afu-tech supplied an important contribution to achieve the 2020 strategy targets and future success of a southern German Premium car manufacturer in China.

Citation: “… Axel Fuchs did a great Job…"

 

Since March 2011, afu-tech played a key role in the most important project of a southern German premium car OEM in China. We planned all press shops incl. all press lines, scrap removal, logistic processes and IT-processes. Furthermore we did the planning, intensive consulting and gave assistence for all press projects at the DAIMLER AG group.

 

President Axel Fuchs was present for many months at the German plants of the premium OEM and especially at the Chinese plant of Beijing-Benz for operational consulting and implementing the planning.

 

afu-tech has made the planning for all new press shops, which will produce the complete Mercedes-Benz range of products, and the specifications of the press lines, the scrap removal, logistic processes and IT-processes. These press shops with their state of the art press technology equipment like XL servo tandem lines, XL servo blanking lines, servo transfer presses and mechanical try-out-presses are the base for the future success of the premium car manufacturer in the chinese market.

 

In addition we have given constructive consulting to our customer in the complete tendering process incl. supplier selection and purchase negotiations in China. During the project we have conducted the design meetings, we did the follow-up visits and buy-off procedures at the press manufacturer plants in Germany, Brazil and China on behalf of our customer.

 

The German team leader of the premium OEM and the team leader of the Chinese joint venture partner gave big compliments to Axel Fuchs, for the good cooperation, the impressive know-how and the great professionalism.

 

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