Thanks to close collaboration between engineers from Henkel and HydraForce, the manufacturer of hydraulic valves has been able to use the principles of lean manufacturing to help improve process efficiency. The project also created opportunities for HydraForce to enhance the quality of its Loctite adhesive application and assembly procedures by taking full advantage of an innovative Loctite retaining compound.
HydraForce designs and manufactures hydraulic valves, manifold systems and electronic controls used in off-highway vehicles such as tractors, excavators and harvesters. In 30 years, it has grown to become a market leader.
HydraForce is striving to improve efficiency and quality through lean manufacturing. By making a few units at a time instead of large batches, the company achieves low reject rates and reduced turnaround time, especially for custom valves. This has enables HydraForce to gain market share in a progressive manner and build a reputation for quality in the hydraulic market.
As part of Henkel's technical support, company engineer Chris Powers conducted a line survey at HydraForce to identify opportunities for process improvement. Powers collaborated with HydraForce engineers to design validation tests for a new, upgraded Loctite 648 retaining compound. Henkel's technical customer service engineers conducted the validation testing in Henkel's labs and provided a detailed report. HydraForce agreed with Henkel's recommendations to begin using the upgraded Loctite 648, which enabled a faster processing time to be achieved.
Jesse Arias, a HydraForce design engineer, states: "Chris and the Henkel staff brought some good ideas to the table about improving our processes and reducing batch size." By using Loctite 648, parts can now be tested after five minutes instead of waiting for hours.
Another benefit to HydraForce is the global availability of the upgraded Loctite 648. The company has manufacturing plants in China, the UK and the USA, and there is a network of global systems integrators who adhere to HydraForce's high standards. They all obtain the same Loctite 648 formula and quality worldwide.
Throughout its 30 years in business, HydraForce has relied on innovation to become an industry leader and maintain its global position. Arias concludes: "We appreciate having a partner like Henkel that values innovation as we do, and who can provide solutions to help us improve our processes."
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