Architects of the future

The digital networking of commercial vehicles and complete logistics chains has revolutionized the transportation industry. SAF-HOLLAND’s ability to utilize this trend and achieve its growth targets as part of its “Strategy 2020” can be illustrated by three of the Company’s current projects. Behind each project is a team of dedicated employees, who are already working on making future ideas a reality.

Service

Alex Schöpf
Team Leader Backoffice Sales
Fleets DACH Region
Bessenbach, Germany

“I see moving ahead as designing the digitally networked future. The continued development of the ‘SAF-HOLLAND Connect’ app is an important element in making sure we profit from the changing world of digitization.”

The App Connection

In the eyes of Alex Schöpf, an app is never complete. With his specially designed ‘SAF-HOLLAND Connect’ app, he offers fleet operators, repair shops and spare parts dealers real added value. All of whom can use the app to register for repair workshops and spare parts sales training, retrieve spare parts catalogs and maintenance instructions, and receive the latest news feeds. His goal is to further minimize the downtime for trucks and trailers through digitization and faster processes. Since all service processes are linked together, Schöpf’s app pays special attention to interlinking the individual functions.

“We see moving ahead as driving forward tomorrow’s technologies. With new ideas and new digital approaches, we strive to exceed our customer expectations. One example is the Holland ELI-te™ system, which makes coupling safer for the driver.”

TECHNICAL INNOVATION

Andrew Wallner and Rich Sibley
Senior Project Engineer & Senior Project Manager
Holland (MI), USA

Mechanisms with sensors = Putting the driver in full control

If a trailer is not correctly coupled to a tractor, it greatly endangers the other drivers on the road. This is the reason drivers are required to check the fifth-wheel coupling to make sure the trailer is attached properly before driving off. Andrew Wallner and Rich Sibley intermeshed mechanical and opto-electronic sensors to an effective digital solution which now supports the driver with the new ELI-te™ (Electronic Lock Indicatortechnology enhanced). When the trailer is coupled safely, the sensor system gives a signal, and four white LED lamps light up, making it much easier to do a visual inspection; when not, red lights flash a warning. The two developers placed a high value on simple installation, which is why they deliberately avoided putting the display in the cab and opted instead to place it near the fifth-wheel coupling for an on-site check – a precaution that is already legally required in the United States.

Production

Thomas Holy
Project Manager Operations / Industrial Engineering
Bessenbach, Germany

“To me, moving ahead means moving the Company forward competitively and thereby making a contribution to the future. To achieve this, we have optimized the availability of materials in the axle system assembly process, streamlined and digitized this process and in doing so we have noticeably raised the productivity.”

Equipped for the future: Heavy axles assembled easily

There were just ten days to completely dismantle the old assembly lines and set up an all new line based on “lean” principles. When looking back, this is what Thomas Holy believes was the biggest challenge in redesigning the axle system assembly line and the process optimization at Plant 03 in Bessenbach. For this foreman and quality specialist with a Six Sigma black belt, it was the structured preparation and intense team work that made the project a success. The result has been much more efficient processes and cost savings leading to a step up in the location’s competitiveness. Production data are now transmitted directly to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and attached to the axle digitally as it moves its way through assembly. There is a permanent exchange of data among the IT systems ensuring that all the important information is available at all times on the assembly line.

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