Buchholz & Cie. Iron Foundry GmbH
Buchholz & Cie. mainly cast grey and ductile cast iron in a range of different qualities. Ni-Resist, Ni-Hard, SiMo and newer Siron materials are also part of their range to meet the large variety of their customers’ requirements.The product assortment comprises cast parts for engines, gear boxes, pump compressors and is mainly oriented at customers from the fields of construction machinery and general mechanical engineering. The average component weights range from 10kg to 2t. Buchholz is the sole supplier for 98% of the parts they produce. Prototype developments, e.g. pilot series for turbochargers, also increase the challenges the Buchholz company has to face as they demand high levels of wide-ranging expertise. The most complex parts can consist of core assemblies with up to 60 different individual cores which they all produce themselves. In just one week, it is not unusual for more than 500 cores to be guided through production, including 300 different ones. For example, if two housings are cast in one week, up to 120 individual cores have to run through production. Pattern equipment and moulds for cores are also stored for customers on site in Zweibrücken. Like at other foundries of this size, the core process is also carried out internally (melting, cores, molds, casting, cleaning, priming and heat treatment).
Depending on the type of casting, this means a wide variety of external service providers are also involved in the process, and they also need to be planned and scheduled with regard to production and costs. “For companies of our size and with our batch sizes (average 5, editor’s note), the trick to justifying our existence in this sector is being able to know precisely what the parameters are, recognizing when you need to adapt and being able to prove it all with real figures. This gives us the financial security and planning capability which nobody can do without these days”, explains Stephan Buchholz, Managing Director of this family run foundry, founded in 1907. In advance of this implementation, in a short workshop phase, RGU and the user departments worked together to define the requirements and to put them down in writing as specialist concepts. This ensured that the requirements and the expectations of the company Buchholz were clearly defined and covered by the system which was to be introduced.
By setting milestones it is possible to monitor and control the success of the project at any time – cost drivers don’t even have a chance to arise and the risk of running down dead-ends is minimised. Introducing a multi-step resource plan forms the first step on the way to introducing a complex foundry solution. The sales module also helps Buchholz & Cie, as it includes reliable offer generation, order processing, dispatch organisation and billing. Different types of order, such as test and sample orders as well as one-off, series and call-off orders are also provided for. If an offer actually becomes an order, then the production order data are handed over to the PPC system so it can be scheduled. The complete quality assurance is also carried out in FRP.kompakt. For example, the values from a spark spectrometer are automatically fed into the system. Sending Y-tests to the IFG (Institute for Foundry Technology) and the test planning are all processed in the system. At the end of the process, certificates according to norms or customer requirements are also generated automatically when the delivery papers are printed so it can never be forgotten.
Introducing FRP.kompakt, which kept within the agreed budget, took half a year. “Our ambitious target for all of our orders, including those with complex parts and many cores, was that it should never take more than five working days from receiving an enquiry to sending out a robust offer. We have already achieved this for the majority of our enquiries”, says Stephan Buchholz.
The traditional company Buchholz & Cie. GmbH based in Zweibrücken was founded in 1907 and is now specialised in grey and ductile cast iron. As a component supplier, Buchholz & Cie. Giesserei GmbH casts high quality complex castings for well-known mechanical engineering companies, the automotive sector, construction machinery and large diesel engine producers.They also provide expert advice on questions about materials and help with any problems regarding pattern or casting procurement. Their products and services ensure their customers can then run their own production cost-effectively. Products from the Buchholz foundry are held in high regard by the industry.