Case studies

BENTELER Automotive

AP&T’s first press hardening line in China is still a top performer after 14 years.

Preventative maintenance key to hassle-free operation for BENTELER in China

With 74 facilities in 24 countries, BENTELER  Automotive is a truly major player in the automotive industry and a global partner of a large number of car manufacturers. One of the Group’s Chinese production facilities is located in Chanchun in northern China. Car body parts are manufactured here in the first press hardening line AP&T installed in China back in 2005.

After 14 years of continuous operation, the line is still a top performer. The rate of production and availability are almost on par with completely new lines. One important explanation for this is that Benteler decided from the start to perform regular preventative maintenance on the equipment.

“Investing in preventative maintenance pays off since we can discover and remedy any problems early on and thus avoid lengthy stoppages,” says Mr. Liang Yiping, maintenance manager at BENTELER CAPP.

Annual check-up

"The press hardening line has operated at high capacity from the start 14 years ago. It is in operation seven days a week, all year long. The exception is one week in the summer every year when our service technicians go through all of the line’s parts on site to find potential problems — before they arise." General Manager AP&T Shanghai Kimi He compares the process to seeing your physician for an annual check-up.

Well-planned maintenance minimizes the risk of downtime, unplanned stoppages and production losses.

“Unplanned production disruptions can be very costly. A missed or delayed delivery to an OEM generally results in penalties, so every minute counts", says Kimi He.

“AP&T’s technicians are professional, very familiar with the press system and can help us achieve superior maintenance. When the annual examination is complete, the machines are always in excellent shape and satisfy our demands on production performance,” says Liang Yiping.

Upgraded for top performance

In conjunction with annual maintenance, AP&T's technicians examine the machinery’s status, replace parts that are getting worn out and upgrade the equipment with new components when needed. BENTELER ’s press hardening line has been equipped with AP&T’s new control system and user interface, among other things. 

“As we develop our technology, we naturally make sure our customers can benefit, not only in terms of new products but in terms of existing installations as well. A production line from AP&T that is maintained and updated in the right way is a solid investment in profitable and hassle-free production for the entire life cycle. BENTELER ’s press hardening line is an excellent example. It has become something of a pet project for both AP&T’s and BENTELER ’s personnel,” says Kimi He.

After 14 years of continuous operation, BENTELER’s press hardening line is still a top performer.
Ever since we installed our production line in 2005, we have received excellent technical support from AP&T,” says Liang Yiping, maintenance manager at Benteler CAPP (fourth from the left). He is shown here together with General Manager AP&T Shanghai Kimi He and the service teams from Benteler and AP&T.

Long-term commitment means security

Long-term commitment is also a characteristic of AP&T’s customer relationships in China.

“We have had our own operations in China since 2009 to ensure we can provide our customers with everything from technical advice and support to qualified service and quick provision of spare parts. Many of our customers greatly appreciate the security offered by a long-term committed partner that is always present”, says Kimi He.

“Ever since we installed our production line in 2005, we have received excellent technical support from AP&T, including constructive suggestions on how the equipment should be maintained and improved. Spare parts supply also works extremely well,” says Liang Yiping.

What does the future look like for BENTELER ’s press hardening line? How long can a press hardening line actually last?

“As mentioned, the line is in excellent shape, and with continued regular maintenance it in all likelihood has many more years of productive operation ahead,” says Kimi He.

December 2019

Facts

  • BENTELER Group was founded in Germany in 1876.
  • It was the first company in the world to successfully apply hot-forming technology to car bodies.
  • It is one of the main suppliers of automobile parts in the world.
  • BENTELER Automotive has 74 facilities in 24 countries.