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Konrad Hornschuch AG – Maintenance Strategy

Plant availability and product quality are improving: This is achieved through a risk and cost-optimized maintenance strategy developed by InfraServ Gendorf Technik.

Initial Situation

Konrad Hornschuch AG, headquartered in Weißbach near Heilbronn, was experiencing difficulties with a plant for manufacturing synthetic leather: on the one hand, customers from the automobile industry had highest demands on quality and on-time delivery, on the other hand the linked plant had a tendency to malfunction, and the reject rate was relatively high. In view of these difficulties, Konrad Hornschuch, retained InfraServ Gendorf Technik (ISGT) to systematically optimize the maintenance approach.

Solution

After analyzing the maintenance and inspection schedules, the downtime and maintenance costs, ISGT initially brought together all teams at Konrad Hornschuch that worked on the plant. ISGT conducted a workshop to develop a comprehensive list of significant weaknesses and identified the root causes during a physical inspection.
Equipped with this baseline information, the ISGT experts then conducted a systematic risk analysis to identify the next steps toward an optimized maintenance strategy. This methodology (RCM – Reliability Centered Maintenance) involves determining the risk for a malfunction for every technical location, and using this baseline to decide how each risk should be addressed. Is it sufficient to have a spare part in stock and to replace the wear part after it has failed? Or is it better to replace the part in fixed intervals, therefore preventing failures in the first place? The correct answer to these questions calls for an assessment of the direct maintenance costs versus the consequences of a malfunction for each technical location.
The recommendations made by ISGT were designed to increase the share of preventive maintenance activities, to focus the plant inspection on two dates during the year, and to eliminate all unscheduled downtime between these with updated maintenance and inspection schedules. To accomplish this, the ISGT maintenance practitioners developed a series of optimization activities that partially achieved significant results with simple means. For instance, ISGT engineers determined that an unsuited lubricant was used on the chain drives for the large rollers. By using an adhesion chain oil, product contamination due to dripping oil was completely eliminated. This individual measure alone had the result of significantly reducing the reject rate as well as downtime.

Result

Implementing the maintenance strategy and optimization measures recommend by ISGT can reduce annual downtime by as much as 30 percent. Christian Wrubel, Head of Maintenance at Konrad Hornschuch, about the project success:

"After completing the RCM project, we are much more aware of the real problems of our mission-critical plants, and, more importantly, we have a much better understanding of the risks. The proposed action plans have made our maintenance activities much more efficient, specifically with respect to avoiding malfunctions. Wirth InfraServ Gendorf Technik, we had a partner, which speaks the language of supervisors and engineers, because the company also maintains its own plants. This has greatly simplified the collaboration."