Showcase SWISSTECH 2019

More competitive due to high "First Time Right" rate

Huf UK intended to achieve a particularly high "Right First Time" rate. Find out how the company made its operations more efficient and competitive through the cooperation with Zehnder Clean Air Solutions.

Reducing inclusions and protecting employee health

One of the main challenges in the automotive industry is meeting tight turnaround times. Most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are demanding and expect parts manufacturers to deliver quality goods ‘yesterday’ at highly competitive prices.

To remain competitive in these tough economic times Huf UK had to meet customer demands. The company went on a mission to constantly improve their ‘right first time’ rate, by reducing inclusions. Every part that was sprayed and did not meet Huf UK’s stringent quality requirements was immediately disposed of.

However, this waste delayed the company’s production process and came with unnecessary costs. To achieve efficient production and reduce waste – absolute cleanliness in the paint plant was critical.   

To work out where improvements could be made, Huf UK monitored the air in their paint plant. This enabled them to assess the quality of air and determine the level of airborne particles. The measurements they took confirmed that the dust levels had significant scope for improvement.

Huf UK understood that high dust and airborne contaminant levels in the paint plant were the cause of its inclusion rate. In addition to this, management was concerned for the wellbeing of its valuable employees. Employee health and safety is of paramount importance to Huf UK; it’s a priority KPI for the company as a whole, and senior management is committed to providing all staff with a healthy working environment.


Achieving a high right-first time rate through clean air

Huf UK was searching for a solution that would help them reduce the quantity of airborne particles. They’d tried lots of methods without success. The Zehnder Clean Air Solutions team heard about Huf UK’s challenge and suspected that what the company really needed was an air cleaning system. Zehnder contacted the Huf management team and set up a meeting to explore options and solutions. They liked what they heard and immediately saw the potential benefits of Zehnder’s service concept.

Zehnder got to work on improving conditions at Huf UK’s paint plant. First, Zehnder sought to understand the airborne dust concentrations in the paint shop and then, working closely with the Huf UK team, designed a solution that filtered the air both before and after the paint process.

To achieve optimum results, Zehnder installed three air cleaning units – everything came on time and as agreed and was installed without disruption.

“The effortlessness of dealing with Zehnder impressed me the most. In this industry, we’re constantly changing and installing things. Suppliers often let us down and we often have to chase them. When we don’t have to do any of that it makes my life easier.” – Peter Gwilt of Huf UK. 


Enjoying the benefits of clean air

After the installation of Zehnder Clean Air equipment, subsequent air quality testing revealed a dramatic improvement.

“The air quality improvement was almost immediate and more than we could have imagined. I was amazed and very impressed.” – Peter Gwilt of Huf UK.

The most significant improvement was a reduction in inclusions. This meant the production process was substantially more efficient.

The company enjoyed some unexpected benefits from the installation of Zehnder Clean Air Solutions. These included a reduction in extraction systems maintenance and the elimination of extra daily cleaning regimes.

Clean air also has a positive impact on automated equipment, which is another benefit Huf UK was glad to see as the automation is really important to the company. Owing to the clean air generated by Zehnder Clean Air Solutions the company’s automated equipment will need much less maintenance, increasing the business’ competitiveness.

Overall, by investing in Zehnder Clean Air Solutions, Huf UK is able to run its plant more efficiently and invest in other areas of the production process.

In fact, Huf UK was so impressed with the results, it ordered a fourth air cleaning unit six months after the initial three were installed. The company is also considering installing Zehnder units in other areas of the factory.

“The plastics department is a likely candidate for Zehnder Clean Air Solutions. Their work involves regrinding plastics which creates a lot of dust. I am interested in monitoring the air in that area to see if we need units there too,” said Peter Gwilt. 

Clean air is, and always will be, very important to Huf UK – and Zehnder is looking forward to helping the company achieve more of its goals.

Peter Gwilt also remarks: “To remain competitive, we need to keep getting better and better – and improve our right-first-time rate. Clean air is one of the ways we can do that.”