Material Efficiency Center makes its mark in Berlin

Aicher Präzisionstechnik GmbH: discovering unused potential

The Steinbeis Transfer Center Material Efficiency Center (MEZ) in Gosheim has successfully supervised 16 projects to improve the material efficiency value chain in the Lake Constance, Black Forest, Neckar-Alb-Danube and Upper Swabia areas. The Gosheim consultants have been awarded one of the largest ever sponsorship programs from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.  

The center’s projects focus on product, technique and process improvement. Set up over the last two years, they received a positive reception from the German Material Efficiency Agency (“Deutsche Materialeffizienzagentur” or demea) in Berlin. Agency manager Mario Schneider inspected how the projects were put into practice in two different firms. At Aicher Präzisionstechnik GmbH in Königsheim, the local demea-accredited consultants showed the agency some of the measures from the potentials analysis which had been successfully implemented so far. Aicher, a mediumsized automotive supplier of machine-cut precision components, has been optimizing its internal materials flow and plant structure since February 2007 using the sponsorship program “Improving material efficiency” (“Verbesserung der Materialeffizienz” or VerMat).

During a company tour, commercial manager Franziska Aicher told the impressed head of demea about Aicher’s accomplishments since establishing an improved production and process chain. With technical help from the MEZ consultants, they were able to inspect the company production flows quickly and precisely for potential sources of error and loss, and rearrange them where necessary. Franziska Aicher says that as well as the savings this achieved, Aicher was also able to improve its core skill – machining.

The company, which has 124 employees, has used VerMat to perform a potentials analysis, as well as run two follow-up projects for implementing the process and product improvements deemed necessary. With the program set to continue until the end of 2008, managers are already wondering whether to expand the process optimization in further projects.  

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