Improvement of up to 15%​ through a Lean approach

The Rettig site was founded in 1966 near Zonhoven in Eastern Belgium. The site together with the Radson NV business was acquired by Rettig in 1990. It has since become the home of Rettig's 50mm production platform - the basis of both Radson and Finimetal panels.

One of Europe's most modern and efficient steel panel factories

It is certified by TÜV for ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 since 2003. Today, it is one of Europe's most modern and efficient steel panel factories with Euro 50 million invested over the last 7 years. Production capacity lies at between 7,000-10,000 radiators per day.
Zonhoven has 4 production lines, producing standard types of radiators for the European market. The site represents a significant proportion of the total volume for the group with 15 production sites within 11 countries.

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The challenge

Rettig group defined a pilot project case to focus on line OEE improvement. They were looking for a pragmatic and hands-on partner to realize this ambition. ‘’On the floor’’ presence during the shift operation was a key condition for the choice of the partner and the success of the project. The external support team should be able to fit within the operator environment since close working relationships with them were part of the approach. Listening and cooperating with the shop floor and local management was part of the pro- active project way of working.


OEE improvement of up to 15%

Team work and focus on the main drivers for the efficient operating of a several welding lines was the main objective for the PDM team. Rettig wanted to challenge their organization on a significant OEE improvement of up to 15% for these lines. The sustainable OEE improvement was achieved during 1 year resulting in a significant cost reduction. This programme has been rolled out at three other plants in Europe.

The main themes were TPM related through a SMED approach creating a proven showcase. It also increased awareness on first line maintenance, identifying the major efficiency drivers. And developing the appropriate actions with the line operators and supporting services such as the technical services.

Tackling root causes

The PDM project team developed the standards with local management to tackle the specific OEE losses, identifying the root causes and defining the appropriate actions. Through daily focus on the operational results and OEE variances, the operators worked with the PDM project team on the appropriate solutions and required behavior changes.

Challenge: from 28 minutes to 4 minutes

After realizing the SMED showcase the management challenged the operator team to reduce an existing change-over from 28 minutes to 4 minutes.

The operators were not convinced this was possible but took up this challenge. The final outcome of the SMED showcase was a changeover completed in 4 minutes and 8 seconds! The motivation created by this achievement led to the identification of the possibility to further reduce the time down to 1 minute with some small investments. The success of an applied SMED method and increased operator motivation were examples to other plant managers of the Rettig group.