News from hotset

In fact, the goals of the customer decide

Com­pa­ny CEO Ralf Schwarzkopf: “The guid­ing prin­ci­ple of our project busi­ness is the com­pre­hen­sive no­tion of tech­no­log­i­cal­ly ori­ent­ed out­sourc­ing, in which hotset as­sumes over­all re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for en­tire val­ue chains.”

In ad­di­tion to the rapid de­liv­ery of heat­ing el­e­ments and ther­mal sen­sors and the re­al­iza­tion of in­no­v­a­tive sys­tem so­lu­tions, cus­tomer-ori­ent­ed project busi­ness is one of the high-growth dis­ci­plines in hotset’s port­fo­lio. In this area, the com­pa­ny acts as an out­sourc­ing part­ner and as­sumes re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for en­tire val­ue chains of its cus­tomers. In the in­ter­view, com­pa­ny boss Ralf Schwarzkopf ex­plains which ser­vices hotset’s project busi­ness cov­ers and which fur­ther ex­pan­sion stages are tar­get­ed here.

Mr. Schwarzkopf, what does it mean in con­crete terms when you talk about “project business”?

Schwarzkopf: In the project busi­ness, our cen­tral con­cern is to re­lieve our cus­tomers of com­plete pro­duc­tion and as­sem­bly process­es. Be­hind this is the very com­pre­hen­sive idea of a tech­no­log­i­cal­ly ori­ent­ed out­sourc­ing, where hotset takes over the over­all re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for en­tire val­ue chains. This gives the client new free­dom, which he can use in a va­ri­ety of ways: To ex­pand its core busi­ness, to op­ti­mize its in-house process­es or to in­tro­duce lean man­u­fac­tur­ing struc­tures — to name just a few pos­si­ble goals.

In the mean­time, are there any prac­ticed ex­am­ples of this type of val­ue-added outsourcing?

Schwarzkopf: But yes. We have set this line of busi­ness about four years ago on the track and op­er­ate since then for quite a few cus­tomers in var­i­ous in­dus­tries in­di­vid­u­al­ly co­or­di­nat­ed process chains of pre­fab­ri­ca­tion and fin­ish­ing. For ex­am­ple, for a man­u­fac­tur­er of gas mea­sur­ing equip­ment. We man­u­fac­ture tem­per­a­ture sen­sor sys­tem so­lu­tions in a pro­duc­tion line set up es­pe­cial­ly for him — in­clud­ing in­stal­la­tion, hous­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion, qual­i­ty as­sur­ance and pack­ag­ing. The cus­tomer has placed this process of its com­po­nent pro­duc­tion en­tire­ly in our hands. We have im­ple­ment­ed a com­plete as­sem­bly line for a renowned man­u­fac­tur­er of con­trol cab­i­nets; here, too, we are re­spon­si­ble for a large sec­tion of the val­ue chain. Cur­rent­ly, we are in talks with com­pa­nies from the ar­eas of fu­el cell tech­nol­o­gy and e‑mobility — here it is al­so about the de­vel­op­ment of man­u­fac­tur­ing struc­tures for ther­mo­dy­nam­ic solutions.

Is your out­sourc­ing ba­si­cal­ly al­ways con­nect­ed with hotset’s own core business? 

Schwarzkopf: Our mot­to is “con­trolled en­er­gy flow”; in this re­spect, our out­sourc­ing projects are al­so pri­mar­i­ly con­cerned with tasks re­lat­ing to in­dus­tri­al ther­mo­dy­nam­ics and ther­mosen­sor tech­nol­o­gy — but in the broad­est sense. Af­ter all, the prob­lem of mak­ing a de­fined tem­per­a­ture avail­able at a pre­cise point in time or over a lim­it­ed area — for heat­ing, cool­ing or tem­per­a­ture con­trol — plays a cen­tral role in many in­dus­tries. In tool­mak­ing as well as in sur­face tech­nol­o­gy or in plas­tics pro­cess­ing, in pack­ag­ing tech­nol­o­gy, in food tech­nol­o­gy, in foundry en­gi­neer­ing and many oth­er areas.

Which prin­ci­ples or guide­lines does hotset fol­low when set­ting up the val­ue chains?

Schwarzkopf: In fact, the customer’s ob­jec­tives nat­u­ral­ly de­ter­mine how we or­ga­nize and struc­ture the process chains. From our side, how­ev­er, we al­ways bring au­thor­i­ta­tive as­pects of process op­ti­miza­tion, ef­fi­cien­cy im­prove­ment and re­source con­ser­va­tion. Fre­quent­ly, the con­sult­ing dis­cus­sions, fea­si­bil­i­ty and val­ue analy­ses from our sys­tem de­vel­op­ment de­part­ment form the point of de­par­ture for an out­sourc­ing project. It is not un­com­mon for the de­vel­op­ment work and pro­to­typ­ing to lead to an im­ple­men­ta­tion phase, at the heart of which is the re­al­iza­tion of the cus­tomer-spe­cif­ic sys­tem so­lu­tion, as­sem­bly or spe­cial de­sign. At this point, the ques­tion aris­es whether the cus­tomer should build up its own pro­duc­tion ca­pac­i­ties or whether the trans­fer of de­fined val­ue chains to hotset is more advantageous.

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Flex­i­ble and de­cen­tral­ized: Un­der the name D‑System, hotset pre­sent­ed its new da­ta log­ger for in-situ record­ing of flu­idic process­es in the tem­per­a­ture con­trol cir­cuits of in­jec­tion molds at K 2019 in Düsseldorf.

With the new con­nect­ing sleeve HPS 400, hotset has re­cent­ly ex­pand­ed the range of ther­mo­cou­ples and re­sis­tance ther­mome­ters in its hot­con­trol prod­uct line. Thanks to its heat re­sis­tance of up to 400° C and a ten­sile strength of more than 120 N, it gives the sen­sors very good ther­mal and me­chan­i­cal sta­bil­i­ty at the tran­si­tion from the mea­sur­ing tip to the com­pen­sat­ing leads.

Suc­cess­ful sys­tem so­lu­tion: While a weld line re­mains vis­i­ble in the con­ven­tion­al­ly in­jec­tion mold­ed hous­ing part (left) and the thin-walled pas­sage is “torn,” the hous­ing mold­ed with the Z‑system (right) shows a flaw­less sur­face and the thin-walled pas­sage could be re­al­ized with­out any problems.

Where does hotset draw its ex­per­tise for set­ting up pro­duc­tion and as­sem­bly lines?

Schwarzkopf: The tech­no­log­i­cal ba­sis for this is 46 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­ture of ready-to-in­stall heat­ing el­e­ments and sys­tem com­po­nents, in­clud­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate sen­sor, reg­u­la­tion and con­trol pe­riph­er­als for many dif­fer­ent key ar­eas of in­dus­try. Based on this, we are to­day in a po­si­tion to call up in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary know-how across all in­dus­tries and to in­cor­po­rate it in­to the struc­ture of cus­tomer-spe­cif­ic val­ue chains. Added to this is the in­ter­na­tion­al in­ter­ac­tion of hotset and its sub­sidiaries in Amer­i­ca, Chi­na, Sin­ga­pore, In­dia and Mal­ta. If one of our sub­sidiaries gen­er­ates a cus­tomer project, prob­lem solv­ing and en­gi­neer­ing take place at the hotset head­quar­ters in Lü­den­scheid. The tech­ni­cal re­al­iza­tion again­rum takes place lo­cal­ly in cus­tomer prox­im­i­ty — if nec­es­sary then even­ly in­clud­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of pro­duc­tion and as­sem­bly lines un­der our direction.

Where are then de fac­to the bor­ders of the cre­ation of val­ue out­sourc­ing of hotset? 

Schwarzkopf: In prin­ci­ple, we have an open ear for all the wish­es and ideas of our cus­tomers, and from a process point of view, we cov­er the en­tire chain from pro­cure­ment and in­com­ing goods in­spec­tion to the ware­hous­ing of the com­po­nents re­quired for pro­duc­tion to man­u­fac­tur­ing or as­sem­bly. Qual­i­ty as­sur­ance and de­liv­ery or “just-in-time pro­vi­sion” are al­so part of the range of ser­vices of­fered by the project busi­ness. Tech­no­log­i­cal­ly speak­ing, val­ue-added out­sourc­ing should al­so be in touch with our core com­pe­ten­cies, i.e. heat­ing tech­nol­o­gy, sen­sor tech­nol­o­gy, con­trol tech­nol­o­gy, elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing or in­stal­la­tion technology.

And how do you en­sure that the whole thing is al­so eco­nom­i­cal­ly worth­while for the customer?

Schwarzkopf: Well, that’s ul­ti­mate­ly the whole point. Our project busi­ness has the goal of con­serv­ing the customer’s cap­i­tal com­mit­ment. To en­sure this, the client has un­re­strict­ed in­sight in­to the cost cal­cu­la­tion of the en­tire out­sourc­ing project at all times. We at­tach great im­por­tance to this trans­paren­cy. For us, it is an in­dis­pens­able el­e­ment of a trust­ing collaboration.

Mr. Schwarzkopf, thank you for the interview

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