AGT is one of the leading international wood-based panel manufacturers in terms of product quality and management philosophy. The 1000 employees of the company have set ambitious goals which they want to achieve until 2020. Thus, the company aspires e.g. to receive the award "Best place to work", it intends to enthuse its customers by service components of the augmented reality field and at the same time to achieve a reduction of the manufacturing costs of 6 m € per year.
To implement the cost reduction objectives, AGT mainly relies on the forming optimisation by the GreCon FORMATOR. Only few months after commissioning of the FORMATOR, 1 m € material savings could be realised already.
Since AGT did not only want to implement material savings with the FORMATOR but also quality improvements, the production team first had to build up confidence in the FORMATOR. After having this confidence, for example the safety margins which were usual before were abandoned and the savings and quality improvement potentials which the FORMATOR offers could be fully exploited.
"We have achieved our original objective to realise 1% material savings already after a short period of time. We are confident that 1.5% material savings are also possible, especially for material thicknesses of 16 mm and 18 mm."
Mehmet Semih Söylemez, CEO of AGT
For AGT, the people are the most important success factors. Therefore, it is not surprising that AGT applies for the "Best place to work" award this year which presently is only granted to international groups in the Turkey. "We, at AGT, do not talk about human resources, we talk about human values. Our employees have to use the resources made available to them efficiently. Therefore we need employees who are eager for knowledge, who permanently want to learn new things and who are open to continuous improvements", Mehmet Semih Söylemez says.
AGT is patiently looking for these persons. The management board invests approx. 50% of its time in topics as leadership or further training. It does not surprise that today AGT is characterised by an exceptionally young and innovative team. With this team, AGT feels excellently equipped to be able to continue on its road to success.
To stand its ground on the market, AGT aims at developing products and services that enthuse the customers and the price-performance ratio of which convinces. In order to meet this goal also in the future, two large company projects were launched: Total Productive Management (TPM) and Digital Transformation.
In August 2016, AGT started the company project TPM. In 2020, the company wants to reach the status “Excellence company” in an audit conducted by a Japanese company. These 8 columns provide for the starting points to eliminate most different types of losses, as for example losses due to machine standstills, reduced cycle times or waste of material.
The FORMATOR plays an important role to reduce these types of losses:
1. Thanks to the considerable material savings, the yield improves
2. Thanks to the quality improvements, the costs for rework reduce for example
3. As the presently usual safety margins are not necessary anymore, we need less capacities for grinding, the energy costs are consequently less and the throughput can be increased, if applicable
If you enter the AGT premises as visitor, you immediately feel to be in a special company of the wood-based panel industry: spacious entrance hall in modern design, open and transparently equipped office space, a production area which is extraordinary clean and tidy.
“Looking at the production capacity, we are not one of the largest wood-based panel manufacturers in the Turkey, but looking at key figures as for example the rate of return or the export ratio, AGT ranks first. We cannot protect our market position through the price, we have to stand out from competition by quality and services.”
Kurtuluş Topaloğlu, Director of AGT
Sort out. Everything which is not necessary for the work at this place is sorted out.
Arrange everything tidily. A specific and correspondingly marked place which is defined under ergonomic aspects is assigned to the things which are actually needed.
Clean. Everybody cleans his/her place of work and his/her equipment. Defects are identified, marked and constantly worked off. Cleaning serves for inspection.
Standardise. This means use of uniform identification, labelling and marking in the whole working area - anytime. Continuous tidying prevents that new appliances are at the place of work without plan.
Self discipline and continuous improvement. Discipline is necessary so that tidiness and cleanliness are maintained. If a special place is defined for a tool, it must be stored there - always. Regular checks are carried out and deviations are documented. If deviations are detected, they must be removed.
Avoidance of waste is one of the core objectives of TPM. To achieve this TPM objective, AGT wants to reduce conversion costs of 6 m € per year. Thanks to the forming optimisation of the GreCon FORMATOR, the company nearly reaches this objective. In less than one year the investment amount could be recovered. "With this relatively small investment compared with the savings, which are possible with the FORMATOR, we do not only save valuable raw materials; also the downstream process steps become more efficient," Kurtulus Topaloglu says. Due to the material savings, of course, also the relation of input and output improve. Also the expenses accruing in the grinding line reduced due to which also the energy costs could be reduced and the system efficiency increased. Following Toaloglu "our product quality improved quasi as a side effect; the price-performance ratio for our customers is better; and higher prices are accepted."
Today, I personally have more confidence in the FORMATOR data than in the lab values. By the lab samples I only check a small percentage of our production; the FORMATOR registers much more. With the FORMATOR I see the material flow online and can adopt the parameters accordingly “
Oguzhan Ötztürk, factory manager of AGT
"Despite the good quality of our products, we, at AGT, had the vague feeling that it could be possible to do it even better. We relied on it and in 2015 we decided to use the X-ray scanner GreCon DIEFFENSOR. Already beforehand, we made very good experience with the raw density profile gauge GreCon STENOGRAPH and wanted to win other data for an optimisation of production", Oguzhan Ötztürk explained. With the DIEFFENSOR, the system operator receives a meaningful idea of the material distribution directly after forming. These data were so convincing that only few months later the DIEFFENSOR was converted by installing the segmented scalper into the FORMATOR.
This system expansion became more difficult than originally expected due to the AGT specific specialities. Thanks to good cooperation between Fagus-GreCon and AGT all problems could be solved and the project could be completed successfully. "We always had great trust in the technological competence of Fagus-GreCon. We always had the feeling that Fagus-GreCon cooperated with us in solving the problem. Whenever we needed support, a service technician was on site. We never felt left alone!" the factory manager Oguzhan Ötztürk said.
During the implementation phase of the FORMATOR, the values determined in the lab were compared regularly with the values recorded by the FORMATOR. Already after a short period of time, the correlation of both values was impressive. The team gained confidence and reduced the set value step-by-step. The investment for the FORMATOR amortised in less than a year.
Completely new optimisation potentials are opened up with the manufacture of wood-based panels. "In the last years, the machine manufacturer focussed on the optimisation of existing systems which meanwhile have become standard in the wood-based industry. With the FORMATOR GreCon offers a groundbreaking innovation in the industry that allows considerable savings!" Ötztürk explains.