“Previously, all Tana's prototypes were assembled in the premises of our contract manufacturers. Because of the distance, our designers couldn’t always be there to monitor production. If any production or design anomaly occurred in the manufacture of the prototype, we didn’t hear about it until later”, says Kari Rautakoski, Vice President, Technology from Tana.
Now that the prototypes are put together in the R&D Center, designers and mechanics can work side by side. That further increases the quality of both the design work and the end product.
“The mechanic informs the designer of the smallest problem. That way we can eliminate quality anomalies and production issues immediately, before they end up in production”, Rautakoski says.
“Our designers no longer have to travel to monitor the manufacture of prototypes in our contract manufacturers’ premises. That frees their time for the development of the best possible product.” – Kari Rautakoski, Vice President, Technology
The new process significantly speeds up the assembly and testing of prototypes. Testing the ideology and functions of a new model now goes hand in hand with the design and production process. This is a major step in Tana’s effort in developing more customer-centric operations.
“We no longer have to wait for a new product to be designed and fully assembled before we get to test it. Now we can see much earlier if the design is successful or if something needs to be altered”, Rautakoski explains.
With the prototype production in Tana's own hands, it is possible to react to customers’ needs even faster.
“Whenever our contract manufacturer had our prototype in production, it meant lower capacity for serial production. Now that prototypes don't take up time on the actual assembly line, we can produce machines faster for our customers”, Kari Rautakoski says.
“Hydraulic hoses and wire harnesses are difficult to design in CAD for perfect fit. In our R&D Center, we can size, route and test the equipment with precision and make sure that the wires don't scrape against anything, for example. This allows us to further improve the quality of electronics.” – Kari Rautakoski, Vice President, Technology
One of the main purposes of the R&D Center is to help train Tana's dealers, own sales and purchasing personnel, and new employees. When people can see the machine close up and test drive it, they get to experience firsthand what the machine is about and how it is used and serviced.
“In this center, our designers can deepen their practical experience. When they see these products, they can design them even better in the future. That has an impact on product quality.” – Kari Rautakoski, Vice President, Technology
“We have virtual reality equipment in one of the conference rooms. That allows us to train people on products that we don't currently have present in the premises. The user can enter the virtual world and see how a certain valve is adjusted, or learn how to measure different things, or experience the dimensions of the machine”, says Rautakoski.
The virtual world will be connected to Tana's CAD system, as well. Before a single part of a new machine is manufactured, the designers can enter the virtual model and inspect the machine to see if everything is in place and looking good.
Tana is looking forward to having customers visit the R&D Center and hearing their precious views on Tana’s waste processing equipment.
“It is crucial to hear customer feedback on our machines, as customers know their needs and the use of the machines better than anyone. They are the reason we strive to further develop our products and quality”, Rautakoski concludes.