Phileas Hauk, head of tool purchasing at Zahn GmbH
Zahn GmbH relies on ARNO Werkzeuge for the reliable production of high-precision parts, ranging from tool systems and the development of customised tools through to the optimisation of its enterprise resource planning system (ERP).
At its head offices in Aglasterhausen near Heidelberg, the company takes a closer look at each situation. Over the years, Zahn GmbH has gradually specialised in the production of complex high-precision turned and milled parts for major customers in the automotive and aerospace industries. Whether it is a prototype or a series production part, they constantly work to tight tolerances of 4 μ as well as short-term delivery dates. “We are well positioned to cover a wide range of materials and applications and we can react flexibly to customer requirements,” explains Managing Director Lars Pramme. It is mandatory to guarantee high precision to ensure reliable processes across the entire range of applications and materials. This can only be achieved by using reliable tool systems, possessing experience in custom developments, and having a well-conceived ERP system that ensures rapid and smooth work flows. Zahn GmbH found just the right partner to ensure all this - ARNO Werkzeuge (ARNO).
Over the past two years, Zahn GmbH has switched all of its turning, milling, grooving and drilling processes to ARNO Werkzeuge. For Pramme, the main reason for deciding to work with only one tool manufacturer in these fields was to increase process reliability. “Of course, this also made procurement processes much more efficient. But the most important for me was to increase reliability in production. For example, we were continuously confronted with fluctuating tool batches from some manufacturers. And we only noticed this by the amount of wear we experienced with tools in production. With ARNO, quality is at a constant high level and the tools are stable in operation.” Pramme also appreciates the technical expertise and the short communication paths at ARNO. “They have people there who can assess the cause when chatter marks occur on a workpiece. In this type of case, I need immediate support. And I get it from ARNO.”
To ensure that production processes keep running efficiently, tools must fit to the nearest μ and they must also be exactly at the place they are needed. However, small and medium-size companies often fail to have sufficient overview of tool circulation or stock levels mushroom out of control. In the worst-case scenario, this results in machine downtimes due to missing components. Despite regular inventories, bottlenecks in the tool store still occur at Zahn GmbH. “Traceability was not 100% guaranteed,” explains Phileas Hauk, who is responsible for tool purchasing at Zahn GmbH, “and I often had to request express deliveries from ARNO. That took a lot of time and was very stressful.” In the end, the decision was made in 2015 to totally revamp tool storage.
Zahn GmbH has strict specifications in its search for the right tool management system. It had to allow the integration of third-party systems and assume the management of the system at Ossfeld, a partner company located 40 kilometres away in Ubstadt-Weiher. The specification also required variable tool compartment occupation and 100% access control. After a detailed market analysis, these demands were only met by one system: the ARNO StoreManager, an automated tool management system with software. “Alone its compatibility with third-party systems makes it unique on the market,” says Hauk. “We now have two StoreManagers in operation, one in Ubstadt-Weiher and one here in Aglasterhausen. Our system assumes the control function. Not only is the management system in Ubstadt-Weiher linked to ours, the system also integrates our paternoster storage system and the ERP system here in Aglasterhausen. Everything runs like a dream.”
At Zahn GmbH there is a safety stock level for ARNO products which are constantly needed. This has many benefits, as Haul explains: “We have everything available immediately and as soon as a minimum quantity is undershot, purchase orders are generated automatically. This reduces the workload enormously.” Pramme adds: “This gives us more time to deal with technical issues when we meet our ARNO contacts Mr Wollensack and Mr Seiter. In addition, we don’t need to bother with annoying manual orders. And instead of many small invoices, there is only one bulk invoice a month. A very practical solution indeed.”
Other benefits of the ARNO StoreManager include the space-saving carousel system with variable compartment configuration and rapid data transmission by means of a barcode scanner. Employees simply access the system by transponders which are also used at the company. With the clear menu structure which is user-modifiable, employees select the required tool on a touch screen monitor and then withdraw it from the compartment. “It’s quick and we have full access control. We now know when a tool was withdrawn, by whom, for which job order and for which machine. We have been able to optimise tool requirements for upcoming job orders,” says Hauk with satisfaction.
All in all, the partnership between Zahn GmbH and ARNO Werkzeuge is a success story which will certainly be continued. “They understand where the real problems lie in the day-to-day production environment and give support at many levels. Now I have stable processes, full transparency in tool management and so much more peace of mind in the company,” says Managing Director Pramme in conclusion. “It’s an enormous relief to have found a reliable tool manufacturer who provides me with both high-quality products and comprehensive know-how. Open honest consultancy intensifies the feeling of trust within the cooperation and creates an excellent basis for future projects.”
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