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Survey MARKTSPIEGEL WERKZEUGBAU German Tool, Pattern and Mold Makers: Success is Measured by Productivity

Editor: Nicole Kareta

In order to ensure the competitiveness of German-speaking tool, model and mold making companies, the cooperative MARKTSPIEGEL WERKZEUGBAU eG conducts an anonymous company comparison across the industry. The initiators started in 2019 with the aim of systematically making the companies better with industry knowledge. This article presents the key figures report from January 2021.

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"Increasing productivity is primarily about ensuring that workflows and processes function properly and that even expensive equipment such as CNC machines are utilized as effectively as possible."
"Increasing productivity is primarily about ensuring that workflows and processes function properly and that even expensive equipment such as CNC machines are utilized as effectively as possible."
(Source: gemeinfrei / Unsplash)

Tool, model and mold makers are facing enormous pressure: The aim is to manufacture ever faster and ever more cost-effectively, ideally with even better quality. The high customer requirements are therefore bringing the important topic of productivity into focus. But how can productivity in the industry be measured and increased in a targeted manner?

In the cooperative "MARKTSPIEGEL WERKZEUGBAU", German-speaking tool, model and mold manufacturers are analyzed annually on the basis of a strictly anonymous data collection and evaluated according to their competitiveness. The aim of the initiators is to make the results of the data analysis available to the industry in turn, in order to be able to derive trends in the industry from concrete key figures and to create a valid basis for future decisions.

Personnel Effort too High

The data evaluations of the member companies from 2019 have shown that the average personnel expenditure for generating a spindle hour is 1.41 hours. A characteristic value by which the productivity of a company can be judged very well, as Jens Lüdtke, board member and expert in the analysis field of production, organization, processes and strategy in the MARKTSPIEGEL WERKZEUGBAU eG, explains. This looks at how much manpower must be spent on operation, programming and planning in order to generate a productive spindle hour. According to Lüdtke, this value is too high and an indicator of how standardized and automated the process chain is and how unmanned the machines in the companies produce. He advocates that no more than one hour of manpower should be required for one productive spindle hour.

Too Few Standardized and Automated Processes

Speaking of unmanned: The average proportion of operators in the tool, pattern and mold making companies analyzed by MARKTSPIEGEL WERKZEUGBAU is 75 %. This characteristic value is also clearly too high. "Conversely, in many companies in the industry, only 25 % work unmanned," clarifies Lüdtke. "I strongly recommend that every company develop concepts for generating unmanned machine hours and increasing machine productivity in their own company by the end of 2021 so that the proportion of operators is reduced to at least 50 %."

Alarming Result in Terms of Productive Machine Running Time

High unmanned running times have an enormous impact on the annual productive machine running time per machine. Here, the average in the market mirror in tool, model and mold making is only around 2000 hours. The range extends on average from 600 to 5400 hours per machine. An enormous range, which for Lüdtke makes the huge potential in this area clear. "Increasing productivity is primarily about ensuring that workflows and processes function properly and that even expensive equipment such as CNC machines are utilized as effectively as possible," explains Lüdtke. "The result in the market survey is really alarming and the value is far too low. Especially when you consider that each production machine is available for 8760 hours a year." Companies should increase productive machine running time to at least 3500 hours over the course of the year, according to the industry expert. This requires a concrete implementation plan.

High Utilization of Fewer Machines

The long-standing industry specialist also reports a discernible trend in the companies. This is clearly moving away from having many machines in operation. The emphasis is on higher utilization of a small number of machines, which results in higher efficiency and productivity as well as lower machine hourly rates.

Degree of Networking Correlates with the Success of the Company

To round things off, let's take a look at the degree of networking of the existing software systems in the companies. This also has a significant influence on the standardized and automated process chain and thus on the key figure for personnel costs per spindle hour. On a scale of 0 to 1, the key figure for the industry average of the companies taking part in the toolmaking market survey is 0.48.

The top five companies, on the other hand, achieve a 67 % higher level of networking. This suggests that the more successful and productive companies place much more emphasis on strong networking of their software systems and processes.

In times of digitalization and automation, the result of the industry average is far too low, according to Lüdtke. "The degree of networking provides the basis for an efficient and partially automated manufacturing process," says Lüdtke. "That's why my advice to companies here is to urgently draw up a plan on how they can sensibly and systematically increase their own networking degree to 0.75."

Concrete Approaches to Optimizing Performance

So anyone working on higher productivity in their company should focus on standardization, automated to partially automated programming with knowledge databases, aim for a high level of process reliability, create good organizational structures and attach importance to a high degree of networking of the software solutions.

MARKTSPIEGEL gives entrepreneurs in the industry concrete approaches to this and they can see what effects they have achieved with which adjusting screws.



MARKTSPIEGEL WERKZEUGBAU anonymously evaluates German-speaking mold, model and die makers according to their competitiveness. The neutral data evaluation serves the companies to assess their own positioning in direct comparison to the industry environment.

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