Buying and pad printing connectors with Hitaltech has saved combustion engineers ETC hassle, labour, storage and thousands of pounds.
Energy Technology and Control (ETC Ltd) designs and manufacturers innovative electronic burner controls for industrial applications to cut energy costs and emissions, and to ensure the high pressure steam boilers in breweries, hotels, hospitals, petrochemical sites, power stations and more can operate safely.
The safety control systems are critical. “If you get it wrong, it’s the quickest way to get a big hole, no building and a swimming pool,” says Julian Newton-Turner, ETC’s manufacturing and supply chain manager. “It’s dangerous stuff” (as this footage from ABC TV testifies).
ETC’s CE and UL approved controls regulate temperature, pressure, water levels and the firing up process of an industrial burner. Each controller unit is bespoke, hand-crafted to the individual requirements of their global burner manufacturing clients .As the company has expanded, so has its requirement for a wide range of pad printed connectors.
“We were buying in connectors, sorting them out and then sending them out again, 1000 a time per different type, to a local pad print company to print them,” explains Julian. “Once they arrived back we would hold them in stock – but then minimum runs went up to a minimum of 5000 total pieces. We use 23 different connectors – although some of those may only be needed once a year. For a business that runs lean, that was an awful lot of stock to be carrying.”
In search of an alternative, Julian visited the Southern Manufacturing Show in Farnborough 2016 . 24 hours later, he had a new connector supplier.
“When I met with Hitaltech they told me ‘we have approved connectors AND we can pad print’,” he says. “They keep them all in stock, and I know they can restock us quickly, which makes us more responsive – which is important as we’re part of other people’s supply chains.”
What Happened As A Result
Julian has also seen a big reduction in costs. “I was paying £2 per connector and 25p for printing. Now I get the printed connector at less than the previous cost of the connector alone. When you get through a couple of thousand a year for most lines, and have 20+ lines, that soon adds up.”
Julian estimates the switch has saved ETC £8-10K per year in pad printing alone. Then there’s the additional savings on the connectors themselves, “and also,” he adds, “it’s saved us the hassle and the labour and the storage. I just order from Hitaltech with our own unique code for our connectors.”
“It isn’t simply about costs,” Julian clarifies. “Our contract partnership with Hitaltech fits the way we work, and enables us to run lean, meet our supply chain commitments and avoid the hassle and inefficiency of carrying large stocks. When the connectors arrive, we just use them – I don’t need to think about anything else or pay a premium for short order parts. So, in a multitude of ways, Hitaltech have helped make us more efficient.”