Customer focused

We will operate all business activities to ensure the quality of the products and services we deliver to our customers.

Vesuvius quality policy

Troy-price-champaign-usa.jpg

Image: Troy Price — Champaign USA

Quality assured

The vesuvius 8d

Image: The Vesuvius 8D

Our Quality Policy clearly defines our commitments and responsibilities which apply to all aspects of the business. The implementation of our Quality Plan is driven throughout the organisation by top management.

Our Quality Plan features:

  • The application of the Vesuvius 8D methodology to resolve customer, supplier and internal issues. This methodology is built upon the eight Disciplines to follow in order to eliminate problems permanently. It is focused on determining the root cause, implementing effective corrective actions and preventing repeat issues.
  • A commitment to become a true Learning Organisation. Every problem is welcomed as an opportunity for improvement where lessons learned are created and shared in order to leverage the benefits across the Group.
  • The application of Lean Principles to improve shop floor quality, responsiveness, and flexibility. Lean manufacturing methods, such as those successfully utilised in the automotive industry, are adopted throughout the Group.

These principles drive implementation of:

  • strong control plans to detect any defects as close as possible to their point of occurrence to facilitate immediate problem solving;
  • accelerated product flow to allow quicker detection of issues and impact rejects/rework;
  • standardised production methods to ensure excellent quality.

8D in action

Recently a customer had a problem with the shoulder dimensions of glass tempering rolls supplied from one of our North American plants. A multifunctional team was assembled that included the Plant Manager, Production Manager, Maintenance Technician, shop floor Team Leader, Quality Manager and Lab Technician. Each of the eight Disciplines was applied to quickly contain the issue, allowing time to focus on the root cause, determined to be a problem with one piece of equipment. Corrective actions were then implemented to solve the problem and no further complaints were received for this issue. Lessons learned were shared with other similar operations around the world further to capture the benefits.

8D problem solving involves a team approach and requires strict adherence to the eight Disciplines.

Employees quality plan

Image: Left to right, Marshall Davis, James Caulder, Todd Miller, John McColl, Wilbert Hunt, Brian Hays

Partnership — a case study

One raw material supplier in China had a repeat issue delivering non-conforming materials, leading us to reject over 30% of their supply. Through assessments, coaching and implementing agreed quality improvement actions, the supplier's defect level was significantly improved in a short period of time.

Working with a supplier to reduce the
reject rate of the raw material
they Deliver to us

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ISO 9001:2008 certification is an important part of our quality strategy; however, we strive to surpass these requirements in the implementation of the Quality Plan.

Working with our suppliers, we create partnerships to ensure that our requirements, and those of our customers, are met consistently.

Reliability is essential

Reliability is vital to our customers as they use Vesuvius' products in critical areas of their own processes. The level of risk attached to a catastrophic failure is often such that, for people and equipment, no compromise can be taken and reliability therefore is a primary commitment of Vesuvius.

Vesuvius strives to deliver reliability and consistency through best-in-class quality management in its 72 major production sites.

Reliability also results from our close cooperation with customers' operations, from the permanent presence of our engineers and technicians at our customers' locations and from the level of service and expertise we provide.

Reliability is maintained within our global process of innovation and continuous improvement through strict testing procedures and total transparency with our customers on the protocols we follow to validate any change in our products.

Reliability — a case study

In a blast furnace application in Western Europe, our customer was suffering from variable iron stream quality with a competitor's material and was preparing to revamp their furnace. Vesuvius' technical service experts proposed a new high grade taphole clay optimised for the new operating conditions of the furnace to address the current problems and make the process more reliable. The results:

  • safety improved due to a reduction in splashing and spraying
  • over £150,000 savings per year in reduced maintenance
  • overall furnace productivity improved as casting speeds were stabilised with the improved stream

Service is part of the Vesuvius culture

Linna Sun - Suzhou China

Image: Linna Sun — Suzhou China

The quality of our service delivery derives from our deep understanding of our customers' process and expectations, our intimate knowledge of their needs and our efforts to increase their performance at all levels of their value chain.

Vesuvius' plants are close to the customers they serve and can deliver goods and technical service at very short notice.

Our experts are in permanent contact with our customers' operations to provide support with creative solutions and new technologies, based on their access to the unrivalled experience acquired across the world and throughout the industry.

Maintaining our high level of service is part of our commitment to reliability.

Service — a case study

One steel plant was looking to increase the performance of their casting operation (more output, higher product quality, and more operational flexibility).

Vesuvius recommended the Shroud Exchange Mechanism, SEM85 with VPC (Vesuvius Precision Control). This solution combines a system to exchange the tundish shroud without cast interruption and without raising the tundish, automatic mould level control with +/- 1.5 mm accuracy, and automatic clogging prevention (stopper oscillation) with mould level set point modulation (to increase tube life).

As a result, annual caster production rose from 790,000 tonnes to 870,000 tonnes. Quality improved thanks to better accuracy in mould level control (95% of the time working in automatic), and as a result, there was a 56% reduction in diverted slabs on thin plate steel grades. Safety was also improved with the new ability to stop steel flow with a "blank" plate and better working conditions for operators.