The demand for aluminium precision products continues to grow. This growth meant that Mifa's current location became too small. ‘Fortunately, we were able to buy a production facility of over 5,000 m2 right next to us,’ says director Rob van Oene enthusiastically. ‘This was much needed, because we are now really struggling for space. Having purchased the new space, we also critically analysed our current logistics strategy. We realized that there was a lot of internal transport. To optimize logistics, we designed a new configuration for the factory that ensures that products are processed smarter and more quickly.
‘Having started 42 years ago in one single production facility, Mifa's growth trajectory has been so strong that we constantly need to expand,’ says director Rob van Oene. The new building is an addition to the expansion completed back in 2016, when we built two new production facilities: one for extra CNC machines and one for the Deburring and Assembly departments. With Mifa growing as quickly as it is, we will need to expand again – just two years since the last expansion.
We are not only expanding space-wise. In 2018, before the summer, we will also have commissioned three new machines: a new advanced sawing machine, a CNC machining centre with pallet system, and a robotized twin-cell CNC machining centre. A major advantage of this is that it will create extra capacity, putting us in an even better position to meet customer demands. If you are interested in how this looks in practice, watch the clip below.
Improvements in logistics
In 2017, Mifa was able to purchase a production facility measuring over 5,000 m2. The factory needs to expand further in order to accommodate future growth. In addition, we have introduced a new planning system as a response to the rapid growth in the number of requests. During the expansion, we looked at how we can improve our logistics. Given our constant growth, we want to know how products travel through the factory, so we analysed the current state of affairs. Based on the advice that came back, we designed a new configuration for the factory that ensures products are processed smarter and more quickly.
Along one single line
In the new situation, the order moves along on one single line. The process always starts with a profile that comes onto the presses. Having the presses closer together is a logical starting point for all products in the production facility. Most products then move to the Sawing department, followed by machining and possibly coating. The product then moves to assembly, after which it is packed and leaves the factory, on its way to the customer.
The central entrance will remain where it is now. Employees and participants in training courses will enter via the entrance at the new production facility. The new production facility will also house office space and the Mifa academy. The latter has been equipped with a large screen and designed with a spacious layout to make it more suitable for training courses.
Scope for knowledge development
Every year, Mifa organizes several in-depth masterclasses aimed at structural and other engineers. There will soon be a great space for these masterclasses. ‘Mifa believes in the importance of knowledge sharing,’ says Van Oene.
Markets and customers are changing, and demands are becoming ever more complex. ‘That is why we continue to train our own people, so that we can deploy them flexibly,’ says Van Oene. We ourselves want to constantly improve our level of training and education. Thanks to this new space, we have professional facilities for this training on-site and will look to provide this training ourselves.
This was needed knowing that, in the future, it will be increasingly difficult to find employees with the right qualifications for the type of jobs Mifa offers. ‘We recruit people based on how driven they are. We want to know whether they have a genuine interest in the work. We then offer the technical knowledge required to perform the job properly ourselves. Mifa's work is so specialized that students will not have learnt about it during their degree programme. We have to educate and train people ourselves to learn the technique.’
‘Customers do not always have this specific knowledge either. That is why we regularly organize masterclasses,’ adds Roel Sloesen, marketing manager. There is a great need for that knowledge: the sessions are quickly filled up, and participants come from various companies. ‘Employees from Philips, GHD, and other companies have also taken part in our masterclasses,’ says Sloesen. The separate academy space provides opportunities to give this a more prominent position.
Continuing to innovate
Besides expanding space-wise and machine-wise, Mifa continues to innovate in technology. In recent years, we have added bending and belt grinding to its portfolio. Belt grinding is normally intended for other work. However, Mifa uses the technique to make many different and more complex profile shapes and achieve more refined applications. Both have been added so that we can better serve our customers, supply even more comprehensive products, and work on vertically integrating various technologies.
Mifa continues to develop
These developments help us achieve our mission of offering customers the best experience, both now and in the future. Would you like to know more about the possibilities that Mifa has to offer in the fields of precision extrusion, machining, surface treatment, magnesium technology, or assembly? Then have a look at our Whitepaper or take part in a Mifa masterclass.