GNOSJÖ WITH THE OLLE SPIRIT
Most people in Swedish industry have probably heard of the “Gnosjö spirit”. The region is renowned for drive, small businesses and informal networks where companies help each other. The “Olle spirit” is less well known, though, but all the more important for us and our customers. Olle Fransson, who founded Gnosjö Automatsvarvning in 1974, has been an innovator right from the start and cares a lot about sustainability and the environment, both inside and outside the factory. So what Olle likes and doesn’t like is important.
CUTTING OIL FOR COLD FEET
You shouldn’t make things complicated. Naturally, a lot of cutting oil is used when, like us, you turn complex, mechanical precision components in metal. So we killed two birds with one stone when we built a closed system for cutting oil; on the one hand we took a real step forward in our work for a waste-free industry, and at the same time we created very pleasant underfloor heating in our dining room.
GEOTHERMAL HEATING – AGAINST ALL THE ODDS
”No, it will need too many bore holes”. The experts were unanimous. They shook their heads at our ideas about geothermal heating. But we made our own calculations. The investment was paid back in four years, instead of 20 years as the experts thought. The number of wells was half that recommended. It is not that we are mean. But if there is almost free and clean energy around us, it is better to spend the money on more efficient production instead of fuels. It benefits both our customers and us. Not forgetting our children, too.
We have also invested in wind energy, which provides us with 300 MWh every year.
SAVINGS BOLD AS BRASS
Improvements are often made by daring to question old habits. So when Olle discovered that the brass bars we were using were 12 mm in diameter when we only needed 11.5 mm, he naturally asked himself the question: Why? The answer was that it had always been done like that. Not any longer. By that reduction of 0.5 mm we now save a great deal of brass. On top of that, both transport costs and wastage have decreased. It doesn’t have to be more difficult than that.
LEAD-FREE METALS IN THE FUTURE
If you are a specialist in turning complex details with demands on the highest precision, tolerance is very low for all types of wastage and swarf. Metals containing lead are the best to use in this respect. Lead-free metals, unfortunately, wear tools and give rise to swarf damage. Up until now, that is. Together with other companies, universities and research institutes, we are involved in a project to develop tools and machines capable of processing lead-free metals while maintaining quality and efficiency. And we are well on the way.
A reduction of 0.5 mm of brass gave a saving of hundreds of kilos per year.
6SS ARE BETTER THAN 5
Yes, we realise it is usually called the 5S method – Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. But we have added a sixth S – Search. Our business is based on routines, but it also needs everyone to search for improvements in production. Basically, it is about managing and using resources in the best possible way. To do this, everyone must feel responsible for keeping their eyes and ears open for new ideas.
45 ITEMS WHICH CONSOLIDATE AND IMPROVE
In our company, everyone has viewpoints and ideas. Unfortunately there is not always enough time to communicate them to each other or develop them, so we gathered all the personnel together for a workshop. The result was a list of 45 items, covering everything from car-pooling to new services. Perhaps we will carry out all of them; perhaps some will change over time. But to improve you must have goals and visions, in both large and small areas, in the short term and the long term.
The goals are ambitious for carrying out our improvement ideas. But without visions you don’t make progress.
DIFFERENCES THAT UNITE AND DEVELOP
Skills, knowledge and professional pride are important aspects of our work for sustainability. The mix of personnel at Gnosjö Automatsvarvning is wide: women and men from 20 to 65 with different nationalities. This variety provides a stimulating work environment and an exciting exchange of experience that promotes the development of individuals and the company alike. Virtually all our staff have the Green Certificate in CNC technology. This means that we have high levels of skills in 14 areas, including quality, environ-ment, safety and measurement techniques.
WHAT IS QUALITY?
”Quality should be aimed at the needs of the customer, present and future”, said Dr Edwards Deming, one of the leading authorities in the area of quality. This is certainly true. We must live up to the needs and expectations of our customers. But for a future sustainable society, our product life cycle is of the utmost importance; manufacturing must impact as little as possible on the environment and the life of the products must be long. Olle likes that. We like that.
At Gnosjö Automatsvarvning we machine precision components for the motor vehicle industry. All aspects of sustainability are important in this context.