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Bosch Rexroth’s Fountain Inn Facility Named Assembly Plant of the Year

The world-class plant was chosen for the 13th annual award in September for a robust combination of lean manufacturing principles, technological advances, environmental initiatives, employee training programs and community involvement. The plant assembles hydraulic pumps and motors and is driven by metrics to continually improve quality and productivity for customers. Over the past four years, they made significant advancements in key areas such as assembly technology and the lean logistics that support it, while doubling the size of the facility.

Associates as the Most Valuable Resource

At the Fountain Inn plant, associates aren’t looked upon as just another production factor, but as a valuable resource enabling the organization to grow and be more competitive. Employees are encouraged to share ideas for improvements in safety, process, workplace organization and quality. In 2015, the associates generated more than 1,200 ideas to improve the performance of the facility. The plant also views Associate Training as a key factor to their success. The Fountain Inn plant has a nationally recognized Apprentice Training facility on site with both Machinist and Mechatronics programs. With this commitment to employees, safety is of utmost importance. The team engaged in multiple parallel efforts based on designing safety into the process, especially as they re-located and upgraded equipment. As of today, the Bosch Rexroth facility has achieved an campus record of 3.8 million man-hours with no lost time injury.

Assembly Line Efficiencies

The Fountain Inn team was able to increase assembly line efficiencies through a sequence of measures that included restructuring the material flow and developing an assembly Sequencing Program that guides the operator through the assembly process. The result was an improvement in the ratio of attended work time vs. products and an 85% reduction in customer complaints. The team also rethought their value stream design, especially with respect to information flow. Products that were once ordered with a lead time of 3-4 months are now able to be ordered via mobile phone apps within 10 days. The assembly lines also use numerous advanced technologies to simultaneously reduce cost and improve quality, including electro-servo torque drivers for fasteners, numerous vision systems, and sophisticated transport and related data tracking systems.

Reduced Time to Market

The plant’s time to create new variants began to increase in direct conflict with the market expectation to reduce lead time. To address this challenge, Bosch Rexroth used their well known BPS (Bosch Production System) and CIP tools from production to map the value stream and re-design this very complex indirect process. In 2014, a cross-functional team from engineering, sales, logistics, production, and manufacturing engineering completed a complete re-design of the process. Over a period of months, the team systematically cut the process time by over 80 percent. An urgent engineering change request (ECR) can now be completed within a few days.

Environmental Efficiency

The Fountain Inn team has also implemented numerous waste reduction and environmental initiatives in the past four years. Wastewater recycling efforts were implemented that included the recycling of fluids such as coolant and hydraulic oil through the use of a membrane filtration system to reduce the amount being discharged or treated off-site. A total of 75 tons of waste is now recycled onsite instead of being sent off-site for treatment and disposal. Zero Landfill status was achieved by harvesting waste for re-sale, re-use, or waste-energy conversion rather than sending it to the landfill.

Community Involvement

In parallel with internal improvements, the Fountain Inn team has doubled their engagement with the local community. With a main focus on STEM education, together with local education leaders, they have invested nearly $500k in primary, middle, high school, and the local technical college.

Along with the recent recognition, The Fountain Inn team’s commitment to their customers, employees, environment and community also proves that they live up to the Company Motto: We are Bosch, Invented for life.

Bosch Rexroth’s Fountain Inn Facility Named Assembly Plant of the Year

Responsible for the content of this press release: Bosch Rexroth AG

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Bosch Rexroth AG
Bürgermeister-Dr.-Nebel-Str. 2
97816 Lohr
Germany
(+49 9352) 18-0
(+49 9352) 18-39 72

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