This is #newtk: Idea for material recycling wins first place in the Solutions Factory in Brazil

For the future of thyssenkrupp our colleagues around the world are working to make our company more flexible, efficient and enhance process performance. In our new strategy #newtk we are focusing on this performance idea - for example in the Solutions Factory in Brazil, a competition for process optimization projects: This year's winner was a project for material recycling in shot peening plants.

The aim of the "Solutions Factory" competition from thyssenkrupp Springs & Stabilizers is to find new solutions for everyday production and thus make processes more efficient. At the last award ceremony in December 2019 in São Sebastião, Brazil, the trophy went to Cesar Oliveira and his team "Economia de Granalha". Oliveira and his colleagues worked to reduce the waste of shot in shot peening equipment. This was an important step towards sustainable and economical material processing.

The team "Economia de Granalha" from thyssenkrupp Springs & Stabilizers poses as proud winner of the performance competition in São Sebastião for a photo

Shot in shot peening plants

Imagine components that are subjected to strong forces during their service life and have a high wear factor due to constant movement. Examples include leaf springs, stabilizers, camshafts, clutch springs, crankshafts, rock drills or turbines and high-performance blades.

The components are bombarded with small spherical parts that cause compressive stresses. This surface tension strengthens the material and ensures that the finished product resists fatigue fractures, corrosion, cracks and erosion. thyssenkrupp uses shot as ammunition for the method. The problem is that the shot that ends up next to the shot peening machine during the process has to undergo manual separation and be returned to the machine before being reused. This is a work step that involves additional effort.

As a competition, the “Solutions Factory” motivates many thyssenkrupp employees to think about new approaches to production: Just because you have always done it this way does not mean it is the most efficient way.

Automated recycling saves time and resources

Oliveira and his team have made it their goal to put an end to this manual "recycling". Together they are working on a solution to automate the process. As part of the Solutions Factory 2019, they developed a device for the shot blasting machine that collects the rebounding and falling shot. The yield is automatically returned to the shot blasting equipment.

Ready for the challenge of the automotive industry

The result: The new process saves time and resources and enables the team to run the process more efficiently and economically - more components can be made resistant in less time. With a view to the future of the automotive industry, increasing the efficiency of the production processes for automotive components such as camshafts and clutch springs is of great added value.

Workpieces, such as leaf springs and stabilizers for cars, are exposed to great stress. In order to avoid premature wear and breakage, they pass through the machining processes within the shot peening machines.

The automotive industry is in a turnaround and must become greener within the framework of the climate guidelines. Efficient production of components makes a positive contribution to the climate balance of new vehicle models. This also has a positive effect on shot peening systems, which Oliveira and his team have made fit for the future of industrial manufacturing and process engineering with their automation solution.

Solutions Factory: Good ideas that can be implemented

And this is precisely the aim of the Solutions Factory competition in Brazil: to find new efficient solutions that can be implemented in everyday production. Not only Oliveira and his team were able to realize such an idea. In the past, the competition has already produced various optimization solutions that have now been implemented in production plants and are already making processes more efficient. The prerequisites for integration into the daily production routine are cost savings and the ability to actually optimize processes and products.

“Several solutions have being implemented that brought good financial results to the business. In addition to cost reduction, process improvements and opportunity to improve the quality of our products, we also focus a lot in the development of our people. 2019 projects are integrated in the overall performance initiative “turn it!”. We are always looking for opportunities to expand best practices from the plants for a global approach”, explains Sergio Savazzi, Springs & Stabilizers Division CEO in Brazil and creator of the program.

More than 180 ideas have been implemented during the program existence, since first edition, in 2012. 2019 final event was very positively acknowledged by Mr. Mario Gropp, Springs & Stabilizers global CEO, and judge for the program, in order to promote our performance culture.

"All solutions are implemented during project development and monitored monthly, so that at the end of each round the teams are evaluated according to their actual results," says Cesar Oliveira, explaining the competition procedure.

Thus, the Solutions Factory focuses primarily on inventiveness and innovation. The team finds that this is an exciting incentive to participate - regardless of who is on the podium at the end.