The need for a reliable supply, service and support of top quality dies, provided on a 24/7 basis was prime among the requirements of the company, according to Plant Manager Csaba Hajdo. “The products we manufacture need a right first time, every time approach, with a fast response should something go wrong. We are dealing with safety products that are part of an intricate manufacturing chain, where a stoppage in one sector can have serious consequences downstream," he says.
The supply agreement, which was negotiated by James Wellsbury, of Rotometrics UK, is based on the diemaker’s commitment to meet ALT’s requirement for JIT production. To serve ALT and other important customers in the region, Rotometrics entered a joint venture with Romanian distributor Graphic Open Systems (GOS), based in Brasov. Rotometrics Southeast Europe, as the facility is known, provides the company with the ability to repair and re-sharpen rotary dies on a "same-day' basis, and is a good fit for ALT’s level of demand.
“The automotive industry in Europe waits for no man, so it is vital that we have instant response from our suppliers to any emergency, as well as a local source to meet our planned programme of die refurbishing, re-sharpening, repair and replacement. No other die manufacturer was interested in making that commitment,” explains Hajdo. The strictures under which ALT works with its customers are an object lesson to many in other industries. Attention to detail is extremely high because the products being manufactured all relate to passenger safety in cars, where there is no room for error, or second chances.
“Many of our dies in use at ALT are cutting metal to metal, so die life can be short. We are dealing with an industry that works in microns - we take drawings and convert them into dimensioned die lines. There must be no deviation at any stage because lives depend on the absolute accuracy and flawless repeatability of the work being done here – and Rotometrics’ dies are a key component,” adds Wellsbury.
Admitting that the contract with ALT was one of the most interesting and challenging in his long career with Rotometrics, he commented, “We are both engineering companies so were immediately on the same wavelength. Today’s JIT production leaves no room for buffer inventories, so we see our investment in the Romanian facility as the type of long term commitment required to build and diversify our business.”
It’s an investment that has already paid dividends in the 12 months since opening, and plans are afoot to expand capacity in Brasov. Typically at ALT, there is a complete inventory turnover close to three times per month – so Rotometrics works on daily shipments to supply customer demand.
ALT Technologies has its headquarters in Utrecht, Netherlands. Established initially in 2002 as part of the Sentega Group through a management buy out from Avery Dennison, the plant in Romania was opened in 2004. In 2008 the company opened a sales office in Shanghai, and in 2012 added a production facility there, as well as a warehouse in El Paso, USA. Today, the group employs more than 350 people across all locations, and is building business steadily in the specialist markets in which it operates.
More info: www.rotometrics.com, www.alttechnologies.com