What is your company’s core activity?
VBG Truck Equipment is part of the VBG Group. We are a world leader in coupling systems for trucks with heavy trailers. In addition to the components, we offer
complete, customized preassembled truck rear end systems (see illustration). Our main markets are Europe, and also New Zealand and Australia, where they use multi-trailer vehicles.
What are the consequences if the quality of the treatment process isn’t high enough?
The risk is component breakage. The correct functioning of a trailer coupling is crucial to road safety.
About the GH-VBG partnership, how long has VBG been working with GH? How did you find out about GH?
VBG has been working with GH for approximately nine months. We found out about GH when a GH
sales person contacted us a few years ago. At that time, we didn’t have any need for induction equipment. When the need appeared, we contacted GH.
For Fredrik, visiting the facilities belonging to potential suppliers is mandatory
to get a firsthand overview of the personnel, organization and management. All of these details help give a more realistic picture of a company.
What is your impression of the VBG-GH relationship?
GH and VBG have established a very good relationship especially between the GH Engineering people and the users of the machine at VBG.
In your opinion, what are GH’s strengths and weaknesses?
A highlight has been the support we have received from the whole GH organization in order to understand the solution they were offering us. If we needed more information about cooling, someone
from the cooling department met with us immediately; if we had a control question, the GH employee responsible for that was with us right away.
Another very important factor was the application laboratory. Although the product they were offering was good, GH needed to show us they were capable of developing the application.
Information integrity between sales and project manager.
A further strong point is the integrity of the information exchanged between GH and VBG, since the GH sales person works very closely with the GH project
We’re in the honeymoon period, though. Let’s talk again after the equipment is installed.
And what about the machine we supplied?
Different parts in same machine and tooling management.
The key benefit for us is that we can treat bolts and bushings and the management using RFID for inductors and tooling identification.
Reduction of inductor complexity and cost.
The treatment was performed previously using the single-shot method; now it’s performed with the scanning method, resulting in a significant reduction in inductor complexity
We’ve been able to reduce their number from 18 (one per type), to 6, since one inductor can harden several types of bolts.
This machine gives VBG technological independence, because we can try different profiles and treatments per zone
for the same parts due to the scanning functionality and power
control. In the past, we had to constantly ask our supplier to provide a new inductor adjusted for the part.
GH’s new values are: commitment, cooperation, innovation and passion. How did GH demostrate them in their interactions with VBG?
Regarding the values you mentioned, you can see them in:
About industry 4.0
At the end of the interview, we discussed Industry 4.0, and how each company needs to find the appropriate way to implement it. It is often confused with automation, but they are not the same thing. In VBG’s case, Industry 4.0 technologies could be extremely beneficial in the area of maintenance. Having the ability, for instance, to check in real time from the machine or other platform if there are spare parts in vendor stock, and buy them. Other examples are the use of augmented reality to facilitate operator maintenance, and being able to monitor the status of a machine or production on a wireless smart device