Simplex-Turbulo tour of Parker Kittiwake factory

The manufacturing process of Parker Hannifin filter elements

By Matthew Gibson, Director, Diesel Engine Products

I’m responsible for the diesel engine components that we sell at Simplex-Turbulo. We’ve been supplying Parker filters for nearly a year now and I wanted to see for myself the quality procedures that are used in these excellent filters. I was impressed by the factory I visited in the Czech Republic – a 4,500 m2 filtration manufacturing facility in Chomutov, Prague, which incorporates the latest production technology where a range of products for three filtration divisions is manufactured.

Parker’s commitment to ensure high quality and reliability was clearly evident during our visit, which has led to them being ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 18001 certified.

Parker operates a continuous improvement manufacturer process which continuously monitors and involves all employees to improve quality, reliability and safety.

Stock of tin plated steel cylinders, a vital component, was not allowed to run low.

The manufacturing process employs a cell production system, which allows Parker to gear the line for a variety of products in both small and larger quantities. On a daily basis, the Parker team review the Daily Safety Update, Customer Complaints, LISC (Line Items Shipped Complete), Material Shortages, Current Engineering and Maintenance Actions, Value Stream and Financials. Any matters arising from these daily meetings is then quickly rectified and preventative actions are put in place to improve performance. On the day I visited there was a concern about the slow supply of tin plated steel for making the support cylinders. Measures were immediately taken to ensure a buffer stock was put in place so that delivery times could be maintained.

I’ve worked in the Diesel Engine and Marine Industry for 24 years and sometimes the simple things work best. We asked why the daily meetings were all conducted on hand written flipcharts. “It’s because we find that if people physically write down the main issues to be dealt with they internalise it better” Michal Vafka who runs the plant at Chomutov told me. They make creative use paper cups too at this factory.  Each workstation has a series of red and green cups which enables the team to quickly visualise across the factory if production is behind or on track, so that immediate action can be taken.

Parker’s safety record is exemplary (Peśl presented the figures to us, and we were impressed – over past few years only a couple of minor accidents had occurred and intelligent action was taken as a matter of urgency). And it’s not just management that the shoulders the responsibility for safety – all employees play an active and enthusiastic part to ensure that safety standards are implemented and adhered to.

Header image: Matthew Gibson, Paul Dekker Kleyn and Natalie Grayson with Česlav Vávra, Value Stream Manager