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Case study of how Siemens solved a logistical problem

How to integrate several production processes to speed the production of complex precision components – more economically and of higher quality.

An interview with Mick McAlindon, supply chain manager, Siemens Protection Devices Ltd.

What was your issue?

“An outer terminal block is part of an electronic protection relay used widely in the utilities and in electricity supply systems.

“In the past, parts were injection-moulded and completed with cold insertion of brass, nickel-plated parts – up to 28 metal inserts – and hot foil block-printed.

“If parts failed, it was due to the metal inserts twisting in the block or pulling out.

“But failures were expensive as they were critical elements and used all over the world. You’ll find these parts in Australia, Africa and the Middle East.”

The solution

“We first came to S&S for plastic injection moulding and they identified how to remove the risk of parts failing by significantly changing our manufacturing methods. It involved integrating a full spectrum of production services into one supplier, one building. That brought cost-savings and increased the competitiveness of our systems.”

Services involved:

  • Tooling design – both prototype and production tooling.
  • Mould flow analysis – to identify potential threats caused by the differences in the cooling rates of metal and plastic. Mould flow analysis also identifies ideal feed points to optimise production and consistency of shape.
  • Inserting – 28 pieces of metal into the plastic injection-moulded product.
  • Hot foil block printing– to print the numerical identification and earth symbols on finished blocks.

“S&S used the tool prototype to produce 1,000 parts before we needed to commit to investing in production tooling.

“They gave us an integrated moulding, insertion and printing solution – all with one supplier, one point of contact, one entity taking complete responsibility.”

The technical specification:

  • Clear numerical identification of populated connectors.
  • Solidly-retained brass, nickel-plated inserts.
  • Clearly defined ports where the brass, nickel-plated inserts are housed.
  • Accurate and consistently dimensioned blocks to fit into metal housings.

The results

“Working in partnership, S&S minimised Siemens’ logistics footprint. This lowered costs, speeded performance, mitigated several process risks as well as made other gains:

  • Consolidated production in one, precision, plastic injection-moulding manufacturer which took responsibility for complete quality control and brought about:
  • Greater supply chain continuity – internationally.
  • Lower risk due to fewer parties being involved in production.
  • Higher product performance, fewer faults.
  • Improved price performance due to fewer shipments.”

What Siemens says:

“We (Siemens) evaluate our suppliers on four main criteria: purchasing, quality, logistics and technology. S&S constantly come out on top of our evaluation which is a great achievement considering they supply all over the world including India, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. We consider them a valued supplier and trusted partner.

“S&S are right to cite their work with us as an exemplar. We consider ourselves a world-class manufacturer. With their professionalism, flexibility, knowledge and initiative, together we’ve made a tangible difference to the world supply of these critical components used in our mechanical relay switches. Not content with that, they continue to find new ways to improve all aspects of the supply chain which makes them a highly commended Siemens supply partner.”


About S&S Plastics

S&S Plastics is the UK market-leader in providing a comprehensive manufacturing service: plastic injection moulding, tool design and manufacturing including 3D surface lamination and foiling, plastic bearing production and assembly, ultrasonic welding, metal inserting and product sub-assembly.

Using advanced technology, S & S designs, prototypes and manufactures parts which range from fractions of a gram to 700g using mould clamp forces from 6 to 200 tonnes in large and small batches.

Many standard parts are held in stock.


Would you like to say this about your medical injection moulding partner? For more information on how S&S Plastics can help your business please call us on +44 (0) 1623 555501 or email us at info@ssplastics.co.uk


 


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