With the increasing use of schwartz’s roller hearth furnaces for press-hardening in North America, a relocation helps the US subsidiary to meet demand
The globally active schwartz Group, the world market leader* in heat-treatment equipment for press-hardening, has evolved into a key supplier to the automotive industry. In order to provide fast and comprehensive service to customers in North America, the US subsidiary schwartz, Inc. has recently relocated to Naperville, Illinois.
For more than six years, the schwartz Group has had a site in the US. This was opened in Oswego, Illinois, in early 2012 in order to minimise the times for any necessary customer services. Since then, service technicians no longer need to set off from Germany to visit customers in North America but arrive on site within a few hours.
With the increasing use of schwartz roller hearth furnaces for press-hardening in North America, the service business continued to grow, meaning that the service location had to meet ever new challenges. As a result, the site moved to Naperville, Illinois, a few miles away, in the spring of this year. Thus schwartz, Inc. remains close to its customers from the automotive and supplier industry in the US and also central to its customers in Canada.
More offices are available at the new location for the growing number of permanent service technicians. In addition, the much larger storage area can hold more spare parts needed for production, which can be delivered to the customer, fitted and commissioned by experienced service technicians, in minimum time.
An internal workshop was also set up in the middle of the year, enabling certain repair services for various system components to be carried out in-house.
The location of the new site is in close proximity to the highway, which is a further improvement in terms of time for supplying customers with services and spare parts.
Serving from a single sourceIn addition to on-site commissioning, schwartz, Inc. offers user-specific services and a wide range of spare parts, thus helping its customers to benefit from the full performance of their schwartz heat treatment system at all times.
This is extremely important for schwartz, Inc. customers in the US and Canada. Time is money. Especially in the service business.In addition to the services required to maintain plant availability, schwartz also offers numerous upgrades to optimise customers’ equipment or its components. A few weeks ago, for example, a new unloading roller conveyor was installed at a major automotive supplier. This was manufactured according to the latest state-of-the-art and tailored to the customer’s production requirements.
The customer now benefits from a faster, more precise and even more reliable method of blank lifting and thus from a much more efficient unloading process. Moreover, with the new unloading roller conveyor, the customer is perfectly prepared for future requirements, since retrofitting of additional centring units is possible without any problems.
In addition to a wide range of services, the Naperville site also has its own sales department. The US sales staff ensure that customers receive comprehensive personal advice on site. As well as the site in Naperville, Illinois, and the service centre at the group’s headquarters in Simmerath, Germany, schwartz’s worldwide service network also includes five other service locations in China. These include the service centre for the Asian region at the headquarters of schwartz Heat Treatment Systems Asia, in Kunshan, as well as four pure service sites with an attached warehouse for spare parts. This enables schwartz to offer customers the shortest service times and the highest availability of their systems.
Steadily rising demandFor more than 30 years, schwartz has been manufacturing heat treatment systems for the automotive industry, mainly for aluminium forgings and press-hardening blanks. Both of these fields of technology are essential in lightweight automotive construction, benefiting both auto body and suspension design.
Press-hardened steel body parts, while protecting occupants from severe injuries in the event of a crash, also enable auto manufacturers to build lighter vehicles that emit less CO2 as they consume less fuel. In addition, various aluminium parts also save vehicle weight and thus help to make driving more eco-friendly. These are the main reasons why more and more manufacturers are relying on these components and place their trust in schwartz’s special furnace lines for their production.
Since its formation in 1984, schwartz GmbH has grown into a global-scale industrial group. In the course of its history, the company has built more than 1,000 heat treatment systems, including over 300 just for press-hardening steel components. Today, the group that has evolved from the original single enterprise employs a workforce of more than 200 people at ten sites worldwide. Two of these are in Germany, four in China, two in Sweden and one in the US. The entire group has a production area of 25,000 sq yd for manufacturing and hot testing its equipment. The fact that all equipment is designed exclusively in Germany ensures that they are all made to the same quality and “Made in Germany” standards. In line with this commitment, every schwartz system is carefully matched to the customer’s production needs.
Heat treatment plants for press hardening
The use of heat-treated steel parts is an indispensable part of modern body construction and is becoming increasingly important.
Increased vehicle safety with reduced fuel consumption and thus lower CO2 emissions due to reduced weight. These are the requirements that the automotive industry must meet. This requirement is implemented by high-strength steels, which are processed by means of press hardening process into safety-relevant structural parts of the vehicle body, for example, to A or B pillars, side impact beams or door frame reinforcements. For this, we supply the automobile manufacturers and their suppliers with the right heat treatment system and thus help them to build their vehicles in a safer and more environmentally friendly manner.
We design each system according to the requirements with indirect gas heating, electric or hybrid heating. The heat treatment can be carried out under normal atmosphere, inert gas or dried air.
So far we have manufactured more than 300 roller hearth furnaces for press hardening worldwide and delivered them to our customers.
*Source: University of St. Gallen www.weltmarktfuehrerindex.de