Automotive Pistons from Nuremberg
Engines, carburetor systems, pistons, ball bearings, and cables; there is scarcely an automotive part that is not produced somewhere in the Nuremberg region. There are over 30,000 automotive workers employed here which makes up circa 5% of the region’s entire workforce.
Integrated into the US company Federal Mogul in 1999, Nuremberg Aluminum Works (Nüral) with its ca. 1000 employees represents one of the largest employees in Nuremberg’s automotive manufacturing sector. As part of a company active worldwide, Federal Mogul Nuremberg GMBH specializes in the manufacturing of aluminum pistons for automotive engines. The company’s main production emphasis is on manufacturing high-quality pistons for Diesel passenger car engines. The largest percentage of its yearly production volume of ca. 9 million pistons is delivered to manufacturers of renowned German automobiles. Additionally, development of pistons for the company in Nuremberg and for the piston division of the worldwide acting company takes place in an adjacent technology center also part of Federal Mogul/Nüral.
Meeting Quality Demands
In addition to manufacturing aluminum pistons, the state-of-the-art production halls of the 80-year old company are also used to assemble the necessary piston accessories, such as piston rings, sockets and piston pins. The products leave the plant as a complete system which can then be assembled into an engine for the final customer.
The company’s business strategy is based on goal-oriented optimization of processes so as to attain continuing improvement in product quality. In order to secure the high demands on product quality, processes are guided by a complex quality concept utilizing a variety of different inspections.
In order to efficiently plan and use results of inspections to improve quality, the company decided in 1986 to implement a computer-based quality assurance system. At this time, it was already decided that quality-related topics, such as gauge management or statistical processing control (SPC) would be integrated into the system successively.
When the IT-landscape changed in the 90s, computer-enabled possibilities and demands on CAQ-systems to implement these possibilities arose simultaneously. In 1999 the performance ability of the then existing system running on Unix had reached its limit and the company decided to redesign its entire CAQ –system. After exhaustive research and performance comparisons the company decided to acquire CAQ AG Factory Systems’s software and continues to employs this system to the present day.
Flexibility in Quality Management
Due to the integration of the Nuremberg piston facility into an initially European-wide and later world-wide operating company, new demands emerged for quality management and its corresponding tasks. There was therefore an effort in progress to develop a QM-Intranet solution which would enable reporting and subsequent evaluation of quality data via an FTP-server among participating company subsidiaries. This would result in a group-wide improvement in benchmarks and goal-oriented quality improvement programs.
Through fruitful conversations with CAQ AG representatives, Federal Mogul’s Nuremburg subsidiary discovered that CAQ AG’s successful software offered optimal prerequisites for the so-called back-end implementation. Federal Mogul representatives decided to use CAQ AG’s quality-related document management software, QBD.Net, as a communication medium which was being fed by local Federal Mogul Nuremburg GmbH data. Even though the existing CAQ-platform is still in operation in the background, the CAQ AG software represents the basis of Federal Mogul’s comprehensive quality assurance system.
If an employee recalls quality data, CAQ AG software generates the processes involved and can display the results in several different languages via its Intranet system.
When it comes to quality-related matters, Federal Mogul Nuremburg GmbH is more than satisfied with its software choice as well as the additionally developed back-end implementation. The QM- supervisor at FM Nuremburg notes: “We use a comprehensive number of CAQ AG software products. When we decided to use CAQ AG’s programs there were only few software companies that offered seamless integration into an existing IT-system. CAQ AG was truly a maverick in this field.” And this possibility for integration into an existing SAP®-system, including the SPC-gauging stations already in operation, prompted Federal Mogul’s enthusiastic support for implementing CAQ AG’s software, since this ability proved the software’s broad application range and flexibility.