04 February 2014
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Optimising the procurement process

Effective rapid prototyping concept closes the gap between development and high-volume production in today's manufacturing sector

For a considerable time now, the automobile industry has focused on reducing the cost of purchased items to boost competitiveness. However, analysing the entire procurement process holds significantly more promise.

This is especially true for C-parts such as screws, bolts, turned parts and precision parts, for which the process costs in purchasing are about four times the actual parts costs. This can be remedied by Fastener Express from Arnold Umformtechnik, which ensures production-ready fasteners straight out of the development phase.

Best method
The Fastener Express team performs a production readiness check in the development phase for the functional part concerned. It indicates the best fabrication method for the machine part in subsequent series production, as a turned part or as a formed part. Deciding on the appropriate method at an early stage saves a lot of time and money.

The system, dubbed functional prototyping, is built around a dedicated rapid prototyping team. This eliminates lost time due to administrative procedures. The well-known direct acceptance process also avoids the request handling delays typically seen in the industry. It automatically results in a prompt technical assessment of the request in order to determine the proper fastener materials, as well as the mechanical properties of the joint.

Time savings
Quasi-simultaneous incorporation of the 3D Cad data in the product results in additional time savings. The tooling design and tooling procurement steps are eliminated entirely. Instead, the blank parts go directly into production-ready final machining using automated lathes and comprehensive in-house machining centres.

Arnold also has equipment available for heat treatment and electroplating. This eliminates the need for services from external suppliers and puts an end to time-consuming and costly coordination activities. At the same time, the quality of the finished parts is optimised by this method. The functional parts are immediately ready for use. Generally speaking, Fastener Express reduces the delivery time necessary for special fastener products from the previous value of as much as 30 weeks to around a quarter of this.

The available range of materials includes stainless steel, free-cutting steel and heat-treatable steel, as well as copper, aluminium, brass and special alloys on request. Along with checking fasteners for production readiness, Arnold Unformtechnik's service portfolio includes fabrication of one-off parts for prototype building as well as small and micro series production with a maximum volume of 3,000 pieces. Functional parts up to 40 mm in diameter and 100 mm in length can be produced within four weeks as standard. Shorter delivery times are also available as an option. Other services include drawing preparation. The company has its own test laboratory and holds EN 9001 and ISO TS 16949 certification.

The Arnold Group is a fully owned subsidiary of the internationally active Würth Group, which realises sales of more than 8 billion euros worldwide with 420 companies and about 65,000 employees.

Paul Gay

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Arnold Umformtechnik GmbH & Co KG

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