Competitiveness and productivity have always been topics that machinery builders and automation specialists have had to contend with. The economic downturn from 2009 has had the effect that lean and productive processes have become an even greater focus. But practical experience has increasingly shown that off-the-shelf solutions are not suited to sustainable leverage productivity potential. This is why the trend is toward increasingly customized machinery and systems that help to accelerate processes and reduce costs – a development that has also not spared component manufacturers. This not only involves accurately fitting products, but also short delivery times, long service lives and the ability to flexibly adapt to new requirements.
igus® read the writing on the wall as early as 2007 and started fundamentally rethinking the chainflex® cable production product range.
One basic tenant was the introduction of the modular design of chainflex® cables. The technical design of chainflex® was updated in such a manner that many individual components can be produced in a modular fashion, permitting their use in a variety of chainflex® series. This allow us to address the demand for more customized products without incurring increases in costs. At igus®, we call the principle that permits this the "Semi Finished Product" system (SFP)." Today, all cables are comprehensively manufactured in accordance with this principle.
This involves the manufacture of many components in large volumes, which are then temporarily stored and ultimately combined into a finished product within a few short weeks after orders for certain cables have been received. The rule is: time and cost intensive production steps are produced in large volumes and in a time and cost optimized manner.
The "SFP Process" has put igus® in a position to keep the costs for finished products the same, in spite of considerably higher raw material prices.
This system enables igus® to ensure a 97.2% on-time delivery, and therefore to keep its delivery commitment "within 24 hours" for more than 1,000 chainflex® cables.