Leading automotive OEMs and Tier suppliers participate in Feintool Symposium
Feintool US Operations held its annual customer symposium in Cincinnati on October 16 and 17, 2019. Leading automotive OEMs and Tier suppliers gathered to gain perspective and learn how to enhance productivity in an environment where increased global competition, disruptive technologies, tariffs, and labor disputes are the new normal.
Christoph Trachsler, Head of Feintool US Operations, welcomed participants and provided an overview of Feintool’s leadership in equipment, technology, and parts. He highlighted global investments, including the company’s expansion into electric motor components, and North American investments into additional fineblanking, CNC machining, and double-disc grinding capabilities.
Casey Selecman, Director of IKS Markit’s Powertrain Consulting Practice, spoke on “Navigating the Unknowns” where he provided an economic outlook and shared insights into customer trends. He discussed how the growing demand for trucks and the reduced demand for cars would continue, as well as a growing interest in more complex 8- and 10-speed transmissions vs. 6-speed transmissions. He also touched on the increased complexity in driver and passenger comforts, such as seating that requires greater integration, sensors, and technology. He also noted the increased reliance on tier suppliers.
Tim Runyan, VP of Quality for Feintool US Operations, spoke on “Why Traditional QC Control is Obsolete” and demonstrated Feintool’s innovative approach to increase speed and part quality. He highlighted how Feintool maintains and checks quality with the use of Marposs gauges, which have an accuracy of 7 - 10 microns. For one set of customer parts, Feintool conducts 17 critical measurements is just 17 seconds. For another customer, Feintool reduced the time it took to complete CMM inspections from 45 minutes to 15 seconds.
Liam Cassidy, Partner Lean Management at Altix Consulting, discussed “Lean as a Competitive Weapon.” Through extensive and global experience in lean management, Cassidy spoke on the need for a lean approach, barriers to success, and provided informative case studies. He emphasized that lean initiatives must have full management support and how a lean culture can lift the entire organization to higher levels of quality and productivity.
Rick Kennedy, Communications Consultant, Writer and former media relations leader of GE Aviation, spoke on “Cincinnati’s Remarkable History of Innovation.” From German immigrants and highly skilled craftsmen, Cincinnati is home to P&G and the birthplace of Ivory soap and Tide. Play Doh and the Cozy Coupe toy car were invented here, and Cincinnati was the birthplace of the first professional baseball team. He also celebrated Cincinnati’s medical breakthroughs, including the oral polio vaccine and the popular antihistamine Benadryl. Kennedy also pointed out Feintool’s 40-year plus commitment and its innovative apprenticeship program.
On day two, participants were able to see Feintool’s manufacturing, secondary operations, and quality capabilities up close through plant tours.
Customers were highly complimentary. They shared comments, including:
“Great presentations. I particularly liked the Lean presentation.”
“I always enjoy getting a glimpse of where the marketing is heading, and the economic presentation helped me do that.”
“The QC presentation was informative, and the Cincinnati Innovation presentation was fun.”
“Christoph’s Feintool presentation gave me a better understanding of Feintool’s breadth of capabilities.”