Thyssen Krupp boosts uptime through replacement part maintenance

Tags: inventory management

Thyssen Krupp is a major producer of automobile coil springs, serving a number of major manufacturers. Operating in a modern, 30,000-square-foot plant and employing 80 70 people, maintenance coordinator Philip Ryan was given the responsibility of solving a pressing problem. Production machinery had an uptime performance of 55 percent. This was severely affecting operating profitability. Ryan was challenged to improve to a minimum of 90 percent uptime.

It became apparent that a major component of the problem dealt with the amount of time it took to locate replacement parts needed to keep two five distinct production lines up and running.

Key to that issue was the matter of part availability. While records indicated that the dozens of bearings, pneumatic and hydraulic elements, valves, fittings and cylinders which were needed were in stock and available, they often could not be located. The system with which Ryan Ryan was confronted consisted of poly bins on wall-mounted louvers in the mechanical, electrical and paint maintenance departments. The size of the buckets in these louvers made it difficult to organize and store the number of smaller components Ryan Ryan kept in his office.

Instead of simply accessing a needed part, he Ryan learned that many times, the maintenance worker would remove buckets containing the parts he or she thought were needed, bring them to the machine and, in many cases, not return them. If the worker did return the parts, he often would not replace them in the proper spot on the louvers. Exacerbating the problem was the fact that labels identifying bucket contents were frequently lost or defaced in the process of being moved about.

Ryan’s solution to the problem was the elimination of the poly bins/louver system and the use of steel compartmented bins. Working with the Durham Manufacturing Company, he developed an entirely new system. Durham manufactured a wide variety of storage units which proved ideal for his intended application. First, their compartmented steel bins not only provided the needed storage space, but solved the problem of workers wandering off with contents. Available in a number of sizes, Ryan Ryanbuilt a new system using models with four, 20, 32 and 72 compartments, with varying sizes to accommodate the wide range of replacement parts. Their modular design also permitted him to arrange them vertically or horizontally to meet space requirements.

The secondary problem of losing identifying labels on the poly bins was eliminated since the bins were designed with space for pressure-sensitive labels under each compartment. Labels remained firmly affixed. The use of steel boxes with inner plastic compartmented trays, which are mounted in a steel case with slide racks, proved to be the answer to the need for a compact system to contain and organize small components in his office.

The net result of Ryan’s effort was that uptime productivity increased to 95 percent. There was the additional benefit of more accurate inventory management.

This article was provided by Durham Manufacturing. For more information, visit

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