Hydraulic cylinder manufacturer boosts factory optimisation

18th October 2019

Hydraulic cylinder specialist Hytec Engineering is the latest in the group to optimise its manufacturing and repairs operation.

The acquisition of an additional 1 000 m2 of floor space, upgrades to shop equipment and an optimised process flow of the factory that includes improved visibility of the shop floor are new investments that are enabling Hytec Engineering to enhance the operational efficiency of its production capabilities.

The additional 1 000 m2 of adjacent workspace has enabled the company to move most of the initial cylinder refurbishment facilities to this dedicated area. Here, cylinders sent for repairs from mining and industrial sites across Southern Africa are cleaned, stripped and assessed prior to refurbishment.

New equipment, such as an upgraded, high-quality stripping bench delivering 1.35-million Newton metres of torque, has enhanced the efficiency across the inspection and assessment process.

The main area of the workshop is now dedicated to component manufacture, assembly, testing and painting of the company’s hydraulic cylinders through a redesigned production flow.

From rod manufacture, welding and barrel manufacture, the process flows to a preassembly area where the quality of the components is checked before entering the assembly line. At the end of the assembly line, the company’s high-tech, in-house designed cylinder test bench verifies the quality and conformance of cylinders to precise design specifications. Once tested, the cylinders are ready for painting in the company’s new three-stage painting booths.

Another new piece of equipment in the factory is the company’s sponge blasting facility, which is among the first applications of this technology in South Africa.

It is faster and far safer than traditional chemicals in removing paint and other superficial contaminants from repaired cylinders, while also not generating the hazardous quantities of combustible dust associated with shot blasting.

The fully containerised sponge blasting facility is a critical part of this modern, optimised factory. In addition, this technique enables Hytec Engineering to provide special surface finishes on new manufactured cylinders as required by customers’ specialised applications.

In addition to the company’s investments in new equipment and modernised production methodologies, is its desire to gain greater visibility of the factory floor, and Hytec Engineering is the first of the Bosch Rexroth South Africa Group companies to introduce the group’s new, sophisticated job tracking system to its workshop.

This system automates and integrates information on the company’s complete production chain, from the availability of materials and original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, to the administration of the various tasks of the production floor onto a central, in-house developed platform that integrates into the group’s enterprise resource planning system.

This provides far greater intelligence in understanding the status, progress and predicted delivery dates of each project, down to a component level.

For customers, this means greater accuracy and transparency in predicting the final quotation timeframes, manufacturing lead times and delivery dates of their cylinder order or repair. This is based on algorithms considering longest lead time of materials, labour availability and machine availability. Customers will be able to receive automated reports about their products at their request.

These investments have produced a modern factory process that is tailored to the company’s current operations, as well as towards meeting its expectations of future growth, especially in the African markets.

With a revamped, modern production floor geared to delivering new production efficiencies for the company’s renowned cylinders, Hytec Engineering is ready to meet the needs of mines and industries across Africa with the highest-quality fluid power solutions.

These are the innovations that will ensure the company maintains its position as one of Africa’s leading hydraulic cylinder OEMs.