Efficient production is the key to handling competition and achieving lasting success in the market. This has been recognised within the industry for years, and many companies are increasingly turning to external suppliers for high-quality, fully tested, all-in-one systems that can be incorporated into the installation process at the right time. LQ Mechatronik-Systeme GmbH has been consistently achieving these standards for more than fifteen years. As a premium supplier to the TRUMPF Group, the LQ Group satisfies the very specific requirements of the world's leading supplier of tooling machinery and displays great flexibility in the way it adapts to the customer's needs.
TRUMPF is the market leader in the production of stamping, forming and bending equipment and laser-based production processes. In 2000 this high-tech company switched from fixed-station assembly to a continuous assembly line. As part of a modern manufacturing concept, machine installation was outsourced, along with cables and control cabinets. "What a waste of time that was", remembers Franz Elbert, whose responsibilities at TRUMPF include production planning within the TruMatic-assembly. After 45 years, he knows the company inside out. "In the past the cables came in a big box. Before you could use them you had to spread everything out and sort through them."
By shifting manufacturing and pre-assembly volumes to an appropriate upstream supplier, the aim was to introduce a number of improvements at the same time. The amount of capital tied up would be reduced by drastically cutting warehouse stock. All-in-one systems would be delivered that were tailored to particular machines and specific needs. This would avoid wasting time handling individual components on site and reduce procurement costs. The goal was to slash installation times at TRUMPF
from days to hours. In order to work within the new SYNCHRO production system, the supplier had to be able to provide modules and a large number of individual components – including spare parts – and produce large volumes of assemblies.
Machinery installation from a single source
At the end of the 1990s TRUMPF found the right system supplier – from the start, LQ Mechatronik-Systeme GmbH was keen to build a close relationship with the company. To begin with, LQ just supplied TRUMPF with simple cables. But by ensuring above-average quality and reliable deliveries, LQ soon built a sound basis for future business. TRUMPF asked LQ to supply assemblies, and later modular control cabinets. The LQ Group combines specific components to create functional modules for controlling and installing machinery. They are supplied to the customer ready to install and fully function-tested. LQ's services also include engineering, design and equipment installation, along with logistics and after-sales service.
Right from the start LQ had the goal of working with TRUMPF's SYNCHRO concept and implementing it in the company. The working relationship has gone from strength to strength. Both sides bring their expertise to the table and work together to ensure processes are optimised on an ongoing basis. Today LQ belongs to the elite group of TRUMPF's premium suppliers.
Cut time spent looking for parts, reduce maintenance time
"There are plenty of companies that can manufacture cables. But today relationships with suppliers are all about the service they provide. Flexibility is the key", stresses Elbert. A number of components serve to illustrate the benefits that LQ brings as a system supplier. From a SYNCHRO point of view, the two companies designed a cable trolley and adapted it to suit the needs of individual factories. Shortening distances, reducing maintenance time and cutting the time spent looking for parts – these were the goals of the design team. Now all the cables are positioned so that they are easy to use. No cable trolley is the same as the next. The equipment is fitted to order at LQ and delivered directly to TRUMPF.
The just-in-time delivery of the total systems and the just-in-sequence products also play a vital role in order to keep the assembly line running.
Trust and quality ensure efficiency and sales
Another key benefit is the reduction in machine downtime thanks to the 100% function-tested systems. The responsibility for serial delivery lies wholly with the system supplier, so they supply assemblies for the machines that are ready to install and fully tested. LQ also places high priority on TRUMPF's quality management.
LQ has established a number of design services in order to ensure that change is managed smoothly and implemented across the whole supply chain.
LQ is one of the largest suppliers in the production association and ensures the organisation works smoothly across locations. Elbert: "The factories supply each other, so we need a supplier who can deliver to the sites and keep an overview of the whole chain. This is the case with LQ, because the system supplier is directly linked to us. This means we can guarantee complete and up-to-date records on both sides."
A partnership with real added value
Talking regularly, sharing experiences and learning together – these are the key principles behind the collaboration between the two companies. The fact that the high-tech company and the mechatronics experts have worked together so successfully for many years is due to the trust that has been built up and their transparent ways of working. "Partners who refuse to rest
on their laurels are worth their weight in gold", says Elbert. So TRUMPF not only values LQ's range of services but also involves the supplier in advising and assisting in product development. LQ has deliberately set itself up to be a systems partner that is always in a position to implement TRUMPF's concepts. Elbert: "We recognise ourselves in LQ."