Ideas worth millions
Little strokes fell great oaks. For Volvo Aero, having the cooling water in the wrong place caused problems throughout the delivery chain. Aided by Coor, a unique solution to the problem was found.
Volvo Aero in Trollhättan produces parts for aircraft engines. Precision and quality are key. Tomas Odelius, department manager at Volvo Aero, says that a lot of work has gone into streamlining the system in order to speed up the feed rate of products as orders increase.
But something wasn’t right.
“Despite replacing a machine, our operation times were no better. That’s when we realised that the problem lay elsewhere.”
Volvo Aero approached Coor, which supplies production service to the site, to find a solution. Perhaps the personnel working on the machines could see what was wrong?
In component grinding, cooling water is absolutely vital. The problem proved to be a poorly adapted cooling water nozzle. The cooling water ended up where it should occasionally, but most of the time it didn’t. The result was parts with burn damage, sometimes so serious that entire parts had to be scrapped, while other damage could be polished off.
“The loss in the machine’s lead times is estimated at around 2,000 hours a year. Moreover, several different parts are ground on this machine, which became something of a bottleneck for all our deliveries,” Tomas Odelius explains.
Electrical engineers Terho Klaavuniemi and Jan Östenberg took up the challenge, along with Arne Nyman, a maintenance engineer at Coor. The solution was an automatically adjustable coolant nozzle which made sure grinding could be carried out in the right way.
It took two years from idea to functioning component, and today the new solution works without fault. It is estimated to save two and a half million Swedish kronor a year for Volvo Aero thanks to shorter lead times. Furthermore, not one of the half-million-kronor parts has had to be scrapped.
“To my knowledge, we have the only machine in Sweden with a washing nozzle that follows a pre-set programme. Coor has played a key role in this improvement work, says Tomas Odelius.
In addition to all the obvious benefits of the new nozzle, it also extends the life of the machine’s diamond grinding wheels. The wheels cost around 10,000 Swedish kronor each, so this represents a serious annual saving.
“It is invaluable when we can work together and draw on each other’s knowledge in a project, and work towards the same goal. The improvements may be in the client’s production methods, but we gain too in terms of experience and reputation,” says Lars Johansson, group manager for Coor at Volvo Aero.
Four years ago, Coor established an internal Contest for Progress to inspire and draw attention to personnel’s improvement work. This year’s winners are Terho, Jan and Arne for their work at Volvo Aero.
This is the jury’s verdict:
“The machine maintenance group has managed to develop a ‘bottleneck relieving machine’ so that the client, Volvo Aero, can handle future volume increases without further investments, and also with higher quality at a lower cost than before. The group has combined knowledge of the client’s operation and professional skill with innovation and creativity, which truly has developed the service delivery to create value and success for the client. This is intelligent service!”
Do you have any questions or would you like to know more?
Contact Lars Johansson, email@example.com or by phone +46 520 936 63