50000 machine at Reims plant

16 August 2011

Divisional director Gerard Doyeux.

Divisional director Gerard Doyeux.

Having opened in 2000, Haulotte's factory in Reims, France has just produced its 50000 machine. The plant specialises in the Star vertical mast machines which are available in 6, 8 and 10m working heights, Optima 6 and 8 (6 and 8m scissor) and the Compact range of narrow electric scissors in 8, 10, 12 and 14m working heights.

Currently the Reims factory is also supplying parts for the Optima 8 (8m working height scissor) to Haulotte's Chinese plant as the new Asian facility ramps up production and these and other parts to the US.

Over the last few years production volumes have fluctuated - around 10000 machines in 2007, to one fifth of that amount in 2009. Divisional director Gerard Doyeux says that production volumes are ramping up again and this year the facility is coming closer to its peak production rhythm of 2007.

The plant employs a Kanban manufacturing philosophy of continual improvement to ensure the quality of the machines. Production is flexible and can respond quickly to orders, from receiving an order to dispatch is just 15 days less if it is a standard machine now available from a small stock.

There are two lines at the plant one for scissors and one for mast machines and an on-site powder coating facility.

Operators are multi-skilled and highly trained able to work across a number of operations and machines. New employees undergo thorough classroom training, then shadow an experienced operator for a few days before working alone.

On receipt of an order all the required parts are assembled on to a cart - the paint facility allows the Reims plant to accommodate customers' requirements for their own livery colours. A machine can be painted in up to three different colours from 50 different shades. When all the parts are assembled production can begin.

The paperwork moves along the line with the machine, at each step the operator, machine, date and time are recorded for absolute traceability. Quality checks are made at every step so problems can be corrected when they occur and are less likely to be repeated. At the end of a stage, such as completion of the scissor chassis the whole assembly is inspected.

After final inspection the masts and scissors undergo further PDI (pre-delivery inspection) checks and tests for operational quality before being prepared for dispatch.

The powder coating paint line consists of cleaning and painting operations. Fabrications, which come from specialist European suppliers are sand blasted in one of 3 speeds -dependent on the part's wall thickness. Next the parts are degreased and dried at 120degC, then air dried. The paint booths have 8 automatic pistols and two manually operated to ensure total coverage. Paint is baked in ovens at 220 to 230degC for 20 to 30 minutes.

Using the Kanban philosophy Mr Doyeux employs a policy of continual Improvement, every year each one of the management team is assigned a project to drive forward although this is completed through cooperation between all the departments. Ideas for these projects are welcomed from all parts of the company although Mr Doyeux does like to prioritise those which will be implemented.

Mr Doyeux's policy is "Resolve the problem today."

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