Tough on the Issues – Soft on People
Tough on the issues – soft on people. Which company would sound more convincing carrying this management principle than a specialist for lathing, hard turning, grinding, and milling? Müller Präzision GmbH, located in Cham in Bavaria, handles customer orders on a strictly process-oriented basis and leads its employees with transparent identification numbers. In this way, every employee has open access to his or her performance within the company team.
In the same way that all employees take part in internal competition, the company itself also participates in the global competitive environment of sub-contract suppliers. Müller‘s tools of the trade are grounded in consistent customer orientation and the quality of its products, which not only meet but surpass customer demands. These are just some of the reasons why Müller Präzision GmbH has been successful as a business involved in metal machining, even in hard economic times. Perhaps it is also that the employees identify with the company to a special degree. Müller Präzision is a TOP JOB company for employees, and the metal machining company was crowned 2008 winner of the category Culture & Communication.
Müller Präzision GmbH, founded in 1907 by Heinrich Müller, is a reliable company specializing in lathing, hardening, grinding, and hard turning; it specializes in products for the automotive industry. Moreover, the company also manufactures milling parts and offers assembling of ready-to-install systems. Additionally, Müller Präzision handles all types of surface refinements. Customers hail from many types of industries: automotive, electronics, leisure, as well as engineering. Many industries are serviced under one umbrella. This saves customers a lot of time and money.
This company strategy might have been a deciding factor for Müller‘s decision to choose CAQ AG Factory Systems as its partner for quality management. CAQ AG Factory Systems offers everything related to quality management under one roof. CAQ AG Factory Systems‘ software products have developed over many years into a polished system, including smooth implementation and integration into existing business structures and including, beyond the software level, certification in quality matters for employees. CAQ AG Factory Systems‘ maxim in software development and maintenance is guided by customers‘ needs.
Integration in Perfection
In accordance with its motto „tough on the issues,“ Müller Präzision went through a rigorous selection process while making its choice for a CAQ system software provider. At the conclusion of this selection process the company chose CAQ AG Factory Systems software. System implementation and integration into the company‘s existing ERP system by infor:com represented the first litmus test for the software. Müller Präzision manufactures hundreds of items due to the diversity of industries that are represented by its customer base.
In order to create an effective and efficient CAQ system, the software was connected right away to the existing infor:com ERP system. CAQ AG Factory Systems offers the certified interface Connect.Net to allow for a smooth integration.
Mr. Rasbach, a member of the Müller IT team, still remembers how easily and quickly item identification numbers were transferred from infor:com to Compact.Net. „Integrating infor:com into Compact.Net was no problem at all. We even dealt with applying the correct parameters to the interface ourselves.“ In this way inspection plans for existing items could be created just one day after installation of the CAQ software.
Transfer of new items or synchronization for changes in item data has been done fully automatic since the installation. This is also a completely reliable process when updates are done to the ERP or CAQ software. „So far we‘ve never had to do any modifications to the interface,“ reports Mr. Rasbach with satisfaction. He is downright thrilled when talking about the update process itself. The IT team implements updates and upgrades with the help of automatic software distribution. In this way, the entire CAQ system is brought up-to-date on a single PC and then distributed via the network to all of the company‘s workstations. „We only need about 30 minutes to update the entire software system in the company,“ beams Mr. Rasbach.
After successfully integrating the CAQ software into the existing ERP system it also had to convince those whose success in daily business matters depends on a well-functioning CAQ software system. These are the quality management specialists and employees in manufacturing. Qualitative and quantitative processing goals can only be achieved when those involved can concentrate on important matters. For this to happen, the CAQ system has to run smoothly and cannot demand additional operational time.
Inspection Equipment Management with the Least Amount of Time and Effort
Before Müller Präzision purchased the CAQ system, it was already employing almost 7,000 measurement devices. Many of these gauges needed to transfer their measuring values automatically into the new CAQ system. For this task, CAQ AG offers the standard interface APE.Net – automatic inspection data acquisition.
With this tool measuring devices could be connected smoothly via peripheral boxes or directly with SPC spaces. It does not matter whether there are measuring instruments that inspect drilling, for example, by Diatest, or profiler to evaluate the surface quality of shafts and axles. „Next, we want to integrate a measuring microscope using the standard protocol U-Soft,“ explains Mr. Hausladen, the quality management team leader. He is confident that this integration will occur quickly and without any problems. Just as is the case with the ERP integration, measuring instrument peripherals are updated automatically and function without any manual adjustments. CAQ system users generally do not even notice that an update has been implemented. The CAQ system administers the large number of measurement instruments automatically with the help of the inspection equipment management module PMM.Net. The measurement system analysis compliant with MSA 3rd edition is done as well and measuring instrument capabilities are evaluated according to this standard. For SPC measurements (SPC = Statistical Process Control) the CAQ system only allows those measuring instruments to function that comply with the required capacity index.
100% Quality and Retraceability
Müller installed eight SPC measuring stations which administer random sample inspections. Additionally, two presses located at the final assembly administer 100% inspections. The statistical evaluation of inspection results is done automatically based on static distribution models which fit Müller Präzision‘s processes most aptly. The company uses statistical process control SPC, not just to cater to customers‘ quality demands, but also to optimize productivity.
SPC aids especially in machining to carry out manufacturing safely to its physical limits. Imminent process disruptions, for example due to tool deterioration, are caught early. „This way we can correct the process preventatively before products are affected to such a degree that they no longer meet the company demands,“ notes Mr. Hausladen.
Transparency at the Push of a Button
The CAQ system is in use throughout the entire manufacturing process, starting at incoming goods and ending at outgoing goods. Individual lot information is included so that potential errors and parts can be traced consistently. This information can, of course, be searched and found in the database. Thus, in case there is a rejection notification all important information is available in a matter of seconds. Customers or suppliers can therefore be notified immediately.
Users cannot search solely for lot information. This information is also available for comprehensive evaluation as is all data in the system. With the graphic evaluation assistant users can also create and save an unlimited number of evaluation models. The desired evaluations are available any time at the push of a button.
The CAQ system comprehensively supports Müller Präzision‘s employee administration with transparent identification numbers. „We can compile our specific data analysis quickly without the help of any of CAQ‘s specialists and adjustments to the software are never necessary,“ reports Mr. Hausladen with satisfaction. As a matter of course the results in these cases are graphically enhanced and even displayed in 3D.
Müller Präzision has also integrated a complete initial sample inspection into its CAQ system due to its positive experience with Compact.Net. By now the complete life cycle of an item is displayed in the company‘s CAQ system. Quality related information is collected in one system and can be summarized efficiently into usable knowledge.
Mr. Hausladen has one wish for the future: He wants to implement Process.Net und Success.Net in order to display automatically and in real time company processes and processing identification numbers. This will further enhance identification number transparency at Müller Präzision.