NTN: an international group
NTN Global Group, headquartered in Osaka, has 29 plants worldwide (Japan, United States, Canada, Europe, Asia) and 4 research and development centers. NTN is an abbreviation of New Technology Network and is one of Japan’s leading manufacturers of bearings and transmission seals under the NTN, BOWER and BCANTN brands. The group has more than 25,000 employees worldwide and generates sales of USD 6.8 billion (2017 figures, fiscal year ended 31 March 2018).
NTN Transmission Europe, with whom we work, is an entity of about 700 people belonging to the NTN group and specialized in transmission parts, with Allonnes in the Sarthe as its main site. In the field of transmissions, NTN also has offices in Germany and Sibiu in Romania. NTN also produces steel forgings in France in Crézancy (Aisne): tulips and transmission bowls which are then machined and assembled at other sites.
The beginnings with NTN
The activity started with transmission bearings manufactured in Joigny (today Joigny still has an NTN bearing in production for Suzuki). But the real start of the collaboration was in 2013. An NTN supplier who was producing machined bars in France for the NTN site in Allonnes was experiencing financial difficulties and was therefore unable to respond favourably to NTN’s request to start production in Romania. NTN then assigns Bronze Alu for its BAC site in Pitesti an order for a line of turned bars. A second line completed the first in May 2017, doubling NTN bar capacity at BAC.
NTN transmission bars are machined from steel bars, knurled at each end, heat treated by induction over a certain length, and then packed after various controls. A “bar line” is called a production island comprising 4 turning machines, 1 roller (knurls) and a heat treatment induction machine. There is a wide variety of bars: with diameters up to 35 mm and lengths generally between 400 and 700 mm.
It is important to note that for each new bar to be manufactured, a validation process must be scrupulously followed: manufacture of EIs with dimensional control and control of hardening depths with the realization of different cuts following a precise procedure. A batch of approximately 300 parts is then manufactured and sent to the NTN assembly site for assembly tests before the bar is launched in series.
2018: collaboration with NTN expands
NTN’s new production strategy then plans to outsource machining operations on components such as bars and tulips, in order to refocus on its core business: transmission assembly.
Thus several outsourcing consultations are launched by NTN. Bronze Alu is nominated before the summer holidays on 2 projects: a line of bars machined and treated in France, as well as a line of tulips to be machined in Romania.
One of the advantages that Bronze Alu offers NTN is a production flexibility between France and Romania on both product families: bars and tulips.
More recently, Bronze Alu has been asked to provide various subcontracting machining services on bowls and tulips and has also produced prototypes in HPDC for bearings from a “small series” mould that can later be used to produce series parts.
NTN – Aluminium Bronze: good prospects for collaboration
The NTN-Alu Bronze collaboration continues to develop in a spirit of mutual trust. NTN regularly consults Bronze Alu on starting business, but also on projects where they themselves are in the consultation phase. The exchange is also technical: on the choice of tools, machining ranges and industrial orientations.
In addition to the numerous quotations made, Bronze Alu meets all NTN’s requests as far as possible for specific or rapid parts requirements (prototypes, validations, subcontracting operations, etc.).
Bronze Alu was ranked last year by NTN as a preferred supplier, with a 100% recurrent service rate and no quality incidents. This result was achieved through the rigour, professionalism and service of the people at Bronze Alu who work on NTN projects.
NTN celebrated its 100th anniversary in June 2018 in Annecy and invited Bronze Alu to this anniversary: it was an opportunity to get to know the group better and to learn more about it.