Foot to the floor Innovations help brake-pad maker zoom ahead. ByTom MuddITT Industries Galfer S.r.l., Barge, ItalyAt a glance
Web Exclusive Best Practices ITT Industries Galfer S.r.l., maker of automotive brake pads. By Tom Mudd Benchmarking contact: Riccardo Trossi, president,
[email protected], +39 0175 347 228.
Innovation A revolutionary new curing technique developed by ITT Industries Galfer S.r.l. and the University of Turin helped eliminate the major bottleneck in the manufacturing process by cutting curing time down from 12 hours to four minutes and 30 seconds. Getting rid of that bottleneck allowed the company to change from a batch process to in-line process, with tremendous benefits accruing from the transformation: a 20% cut in direct manpower costs, a savings in energy costs, and a reduction of leadtime from 10 days to just a few hours. The innovation earned ITT Galfer a best-practice citation from the parent company, ITT Industries Inc.
Looking Ahead ITT Galfer was one of the first brake-pad manufacturers to eliminate the use of asbestos in its products, moving instead to a compound of 15 to 20 raw materials, including metallic powders, fillers, organic materials, fibers, and resins. The company aims to remain a leader in the use of green materials in its pads without waiting for regulations that would outlaw specific materials like lead or antimony. Keeping an eye on where its main customers -- automakers and auto parts suppliers -- are headed, the ITT Galfer's R&D department is working to develop brake pads that will last as long as a car.
Technology Development Another bottleneck in the production process was the capacity of the dies that stamp the pads. Trossi says ITT Galfer asked its stamping-equipment supplier to come up with a plan to increase that capacity, with the result that each stamping machine now can produce two pads in the time it used to take to make one.
- 98.9% current first-pass yield.
- Manufacturing cycle time of one hour against an industry average of 10 days.
- Leadtime reduced by 99% in last five years.