Whether a specific product can be manufactured as the customer wants, is something that has to be clarified before an offer is submitted. Depending on the specifications required, this process may range from a simple technical assessment to an extensive FMEA. A test setup may also be created with the customer if we are dealing with a completely new set of requirements.
Potential suppliers are evaluated during the offer submission process. Short paths and fast reaction times are guaranteed, as KUK has long-term and close relationships with suppliers. Queries may also be executed directly by the local subsidiaries, which ensures global sourcing.
Offer submission / contracts
In addition to material prices, the calculation also incorporates value added and investment prices. Furthermore, detailed information from preceding production lots is available in the internal software system for similar value-added processes. Investments are compared with Development's machine concept. In this way, the firm is able to offer individual parts, as well as millions of coils a year.
KUK can supervise the entire product development process on request. Thus, all production aspects are taken into account for series production, guaranteeing a stable process. KUK has a wealth of experience gathered over many years in connection systems and in designing coil bobbins, assembly parts and electronics.
Countless tools and gauges emerge during development to make the production processes as efficient as possible. These are either produced in-house using 3D printing or are outsourced. The focus always lies on ergonomic and efficient production.
Internal plant engineering is the core competence of Development. Every machine is designed and built specifically in line with the requirements of the product. The aim is to achieve efficient, high-quality and cost-effective production, which can be up and running after six months at the latest. Automated plants are always manufactured at the main site in Switzerland and are only transferred to the subsidiary sites after a successful running-in period.
The Development department is involved in the sampling process from the outset. The necessary tools are manufactured as close to series production as possible, ensuring the production process can be assessed in this phase. This is done internally or by selected external service providers.
In many cases, coils are still sampled so as to enable customers to test actual performance. These samples can be produced very quickly. Simple tools are created to achieve this, allowing significant findings to be gathered for the series production process even at this stage.
Each sample is supervised by the engineer who previously defined the production process. This ensures that all critical features are recorded straightaway and the process is modified directly wherever possible. The customer receives a detailed initial sample test report (EMPB), covering all the features defined as critical by the customer or KUK. A PPAP process is performed as standard for products in the automotive industry.
Once approval is received from the customer, all measures are undertaken to ensure series production starts as smoothly as possible. This also includes detailed discussion on drawing alterations, packaging and logistics definitions, the production location or on capacity planning. Implementation of production is monitored continuously by the Development and Quality department.
KUK establishes flow production if a continuous decrease has been established contractually with the customer. Such a material flow may be defined and operated across several locations. KUK is also responsible for materials planning in this context, conducting this planning based on the customer's demand forecasts. KUK may also undertake complete procurement for the end product at the customer's request, such as for mechanical components or additional purchased parts.
Automation makes particular commercial sense for large quantities. KUK Electronic has vast experience in this regard. Customised machines are built for this purpose based on the product. Automation can be applied to processes like production of air coils or coils with bobbins, injection moulding, bonding and many others. The corresponding plants are used and serviced at all KUK locations.
The KUK Quality team audits suppliers at regular intervals. The qualifications and necessary measures for improvement are updated in the internal production data management system. This ensures that all KUK locations can access all suppliers and exploit synergies accordingly. KUK's aim is to maintain long-term relationships with suppliers. This means that standards of quality, delivery deadlines and prices must always be met.
All staff can access the production data management software (PDM) developed in-house via tablet PC. This allows them to define test criteria during production for any work phase. As a result, productivity and quality are measurable at every step of the value added chain. Production monitoring is ultimately completed by the profitability calculation.
Training / certification
A certification matrix is used to document where and how each employee can be deployed. Regular training and testing ensure that individual qualifications are always being enhanced. In terms of new products, staff must first undergo visual training on their tablet PC as a preparation, before they can start work. This visual training is conducted with the same software at all locations.
Global supply chain
Depending on the type and volume of the raw materials or parts required, it makes sense to procure these on the global market. Optimised procurement is guaranteed thanks to KUK's own network of locations and suppliers. Logistics costs are also reduced by means of regular transports between the locations.
Management of raw materials plays a big role in safeguarding optimum delivery reliability. This is why production batches are planned automatically using the customer's consumption forecasting, which are then used as the basis for raw material scheduling. This entire process is managed using software developed in-house. The resulting inventory management benefits KUK and the customer alike.
Products must be packed appropriately to make sure they are not damaged by the time they reach the customer. KUK can handle packaging design and procurement on request. Aspects like ergonomics or automatic removal may be incorporated into the packaging, depending on how the products are going to be used by the customer. In terms of samples and small-scale series, KUK is in a position to produce optimum packaging in-house too.