The highest possible degree of standardisation forms the basis for customised as well as more cost-efficient production solutions for installations, customised machines and complete automated assembly lines. Allowance has to be made for even the smallest components if this concept is to function overall. This is the background behind Preh Engineering’s use of mechanical components from Misumi.
The Japanese specialist for mechanical standard parts, purchased parts and parts-as-per-drawing, does not stand out because of unusual products. It is the diversity of the range of over one million articles from a single source, as well as the distribution concept which matches the needs of the users, which makes the service it provides so effective. Mechanical components may be relatively insignificant during design and development, but they are indispensable in each and every machine, as well as a not inconsiderable time and cost factor given the large volumes involved. Preh Engineering knows this from its own experience. The product department at Preh GmbH, Bad Neustadt/Saale develops and manufactures equipment, customised machines and fully-automated assembly systems. The best selling products include the modular, space-saving PrehCell assembly system which is used in production lines as well as stand-alone solutions. The basic design consists of a protective cabin, processing station with a defined intersection to the table, transport system and the table itself, as well as the composition of the basic frame, form the platform for application-specific PrehCell variants.
The basic version as well as all customised versions require countless mechanical components. “We therefore make very wide use of the Misumi range,” reports Martin Findeisen, Mechanical Design Department Manager at Preh Engineering. It is practical for many reasons to purchase as many components as possible from a single source: when one has one provider which delivers a good service – i.e. the product portfolio matches the demand, deliveries are reliable and punctual, and when all of the quality requirements are satisfied – one saves time by no longer having to search for other manufacturers. The customer first checks whether Misumi can supply any new components which may be required. The supplier has convincing arguments here on the cost side with its USPs, including accepting orders with no minimum numbers of pieces or order value. “Making customised versions in particular means that we also need components in very small quantities in some cases,” says Findeisen. “The next machine, for instance, may contain completely different components – it therefore makes no sense to have stocks of unnecessary parts.” This is also not needed because Misumi supplies even just one single part without minimum volume surcharges – if this were not so, a relatively cheap mechanical component could become very expensive. Another factor is also looking after the machines when they have been delivered to the users because this gives rise to additional costs: “When preparing and updating master records and price lists, it makes a big difference if you have one or six suppliers.”
Component procurement without limits
In addition to the main catalogue, users also have access to the Misumi 24/7 online service at www.misumi-europe.com – a complete eCommerce solution. This is split into the technical section eCatalogue for product searches and CAD configuration, and the commercial section Web Ordering System (WOS) for handling inquiries, preparing quotations, and ordering. Just as with the annually updated edition of the comprehensive print catalogue, new components are regularly added to the eCatalogue, which also provides all necessary information quickly and reliably at a glance. After finding and selecting the necessary component, users are given an overview on the most important technical specifications of the product as well as the CAD configuration option. The CAD configurator has been further developed for Misumi 24/7: in addition to neutral data previously available, it now also includes native data for all standard CAD programs. WOS is equipped with a comprehensive quotation and order tracker to satisfy all commercial requirements – so that a quotation can also be called up at a later date and checked to see if anything has changed in terms of prices or delivery times before placing an order. Unlike a conventional ordering system, this can also be done in the evenings or at weekends – users therefore work more flexibly and receive the information they require around the clock.