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Issue October 2015

Poppe + Potthoff Präzisionsstahlrohre
100 % Safe. Accurate. Reliable

‘Internet of Things’ in tube manufacturing – integrated process chain data analysis

A company-wide project is currently under way to create a data technology network including all production, media supply and testing systems at P+P Präzisionsstahlrohre GmbH.

The underlying SPS, database, analysis and front-end technology also links process and quality data obtained during manufacturing to business and planning data contained in the ERP systems. The network allows systematic, cross-system process analysis based on online TARGET and ACTUAL data to be carried out. This will, in turn, make a huge contribution to reducing unscheduled down times and increase process reliability, productivity and product quality. In addition to this, the project will create an important addition to P+P’s successful energy and environmental management system.

P+P places great importance on the cross-company roll out of ‘Internet of Things (referred to as Industry 4.0 in Germany’ being carried out gradually and in cooperation with employees and workers’ representatives. Fears and reservations about the process are being taken seriously, with the company working to alleviate them in the run-up to the project by organizing workshops and information events and by ensuring that the project’s content and goals are communicated to all concerned on an on-going basis. The corresponding company agreement, jointly drafted and signed by the workforce and company management, will provide a solid foundation which is supported by both parties for the “Tubing manufacturing of the future” project at P+P.

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Continuous improvement of compliance with delivery deadlines makes an impact.

Although our customers already classify us as ‘very reliable’ when rating our delivery performance, we ourselves were not satisfied with the rate we were achieving.
“We have far greater ambitions! We want to be better than the industry!” says CFO Konrad Fischer. Compliance with delivery deadlines was thus a declared goal within the scope of an in-house improvement process which we have been focusing on strongly in recent months.

Since August 2014 we have not only been able to achieve a significant improvement but also to maintain a rate of 97%. This excellent result benefits both our customers, who continue to receive exceptional delivery performance, and also provides additional benefits for us in-house. A good rate of compliance with deadlines, for example, facilitates better production planning and reduces the number of special measures required to comply with deadlines. In the final instance this in turn leads to faster manufacturing processes which allow us to meet shorter-notice delivery deadlines.

Our successes to date have motivated us to improve compliance with delivery deadlines even more. The bar has been raised.

Poppe + Potthoff delivers precision steel tubes with safety features

Steadily increasing pressures in liquid-carrying pipes and ever tighter safety regulations mean that today’s piping systems must meet significantly higher requirements. Raw materials must be stronger and have particularly fine surfaces, while protective pipes must safely absorb minor leaks or, should a pipe burst, also larger volumes of escaping liquids. This not only makes it possible to prevent accidents but also actively protects the environment.

Poppe + Potthoff protective tubes fulfil this task in an ingenious way. They are designed to match the media-carrying section of the pipe and have an internal profile. This special form ensures that the discharge bars for piping systems with bends allow liquids to pass through safely, without the use of additional spacers being required. In addition to this, the internal and external tubes have uniform contact in the bends, resulting in the risk of vibrations in the system, which causes these areas to wear through, being significantly reduced.

Family event at P+P – A great success

A special event was held in September as a big “thank you” to all our employees for their hard work and in recognition of their excellent performance. And, of course, we also wanted to give the families of our approx. 200 workers the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes at P+P.

Numerous tours around the plant were organized to show the children where their parents work. The tours also enabled all our visitors to learn about how we manufacture our tubes. Interesting demonstrations at several work stations showed the process from the tube shell, the so-called “hollow”, to the finished precision steel tube.

A generous buffet in our canteen ensured that there was plenty to eat and drink during the afternoon. We also arranged activities for our youngest visitors, who were able to enjoy a bouncy castle, football goal-shooting contest and a chocolate marshmallow-throwing machine. The entertainment programme was rounded off by two rodeo riding competitions for adults and children.

Thanked their employees (from left): Bengt-Henning Maas (CEO), Ursula Potthoff-Sewing, Rainer Schöwerling (Manager Production) and Konrad Fischer (CFO). Picture source: Westfalen-Blatt