KLINGER Switzerland with company-own steel priming solution
Steel priming facility and innovative steel primer enable full control of value creation
KLINGER Switzerland is best known in the automotive sector and among brake manufacturers for Polystrat. This rubber-coated steel material is used to produce noise-absorbing shims for disc brake pads as well as cylinder head gaskets. Following the erection of its own steel priming facility and the invention of a revolutionary steel primer, the Swiss company is ready to push its Polystrat offering to the next level.
“Steel plays a fundamental role in our Polystrat production process,” states Eckhard Steeger, Managing Director of KLINGER Switzerland. The company has been producing this rubber-coated steel product for the automotive sector as well as for industrial gasket applications for more than 25 years. Preparing the metal prior to the application of the rubber layer, however, is also the most cost-intensive part of the procedure: “During rolling, it is covered in oil and grease. It has to be thoroughly cleaned, and then coated with a primer, which ensures that the rubber will bond,” he explains. In the past all the necessary steps up to and including priming, were carried out by one of the few steel suppliers offering this service – not an ideal value chain for KLINGER Switzerland. This is about to change.
KLINGER Switzerland erects steel priming facility for Polystrat production
“A range of benchmark tests convinced us that it would make more sense to be able to manage the process ourselves. The deciding factors in this regard were quality and supply chain considerations,” explains Urs Aschwanden, Head of Production and Logistics at KLINGER Switzerland. Having received the go-ahead from the Group management, the Swiss KLINGER company contracted a German plant engineer. Acting as prime contractor, the company was charged with the development and erection of a state of the art steel primer facility in a factory hall on the Egliswil premises. The pilot manufacturing line, which has in the meantime been completed, is approximately 50 meters long and spans three levels. It holds all the necessary programmable logic arrays and modules to first clean and then subsequently coat the rolled steel. Standing in front of the impressive in-house solution that has brought the Polystrat production fully home to Egliswil, Mr. Aschwanden specifies: “The new facility gives us the ability to carry out and control all the steps required prior to application of the rubber layer: Treatment and cleaning of the metal as well as priming.” Speaking in practical terms, this means that KLINGER Switzerland is no longer reliant on its former subcontractors. Furthermore, it can improve its already high level of quality by selecting the steel supplier of its choice. Simultaneously, the company’s research and development department has achieved a breakthrough of its own: It has come up with a new primer formula that will replace the third-party solution currently in use. “The invention of our very own primer coating represents the last process component on the road to the completed Polystrat product that we can now also produce in-house,” states Eckhard Steeger.
Polystrat in-house production a win-win situation for manufacturer and customer
The steel primer facility will be moved from trial to standard operation in early 2020. Based on preliminary results gathered so far, Eckhard Steeger foresees a timely start. And he sees benefits on all sides: “Our independence from a limited choice of suppliers will allow us to choose the steel producers we want. This will result in further quality improvements for our customers. It will also enable improved delivery scheduling, due to the fact that we will be able to exert full control over the production process. All in all, I’d say that bringing Polystrat ‘home’ is a win-win situation for all our stakeholders involved.”