Bergen Engines, a key Rolls Royce manufacturing facility, produces large scale engines for use in Marine and land-based power generation applications. Located just outside of the bustling city of Bergen on the western shore of Norway, Bergen Engines uses the sea to transport its behemoth goods. In addition to numerous small components, the facility manufactures and assembles four key larger components: con-rod (control rod), cylinder head, engine block and flywheel (via supplier). With engine blocks as large as a rail car, machines and machining are specific, applications are long and critical, and cutting tool consumption is significant.

To aid with this demanding business, Bergen Engines/Rolls Royce has worked closely with Seco for decades to support its widely-varying and challenging applications. The result has been years of a cooperative relationship with optimized productivity, and something extra – Inventory Management. Just as optimizing machining processes was important, so too was the control and use of the products used in the process.

Why Rolls Royce Bergen Engines chose Seco Inventory Management? “There were three key reasons, to simplify administration and purchasing, (to provide) better product overview and phase out of unused tools, and to avoid stock out, which was the primary objective”, said Tommy Halseth, Materials Manager, Bergen Engines. Avoiding stock out means no downtime due to unavailable tooling (as well as maintenance and measurement items). This fundamental issue is important to all shops, but especially so to this Rolls Royce facility which had its first Inventory Management installation beginning in 2006, which now controls nearly 2500 different products. Excess inventory as well as unused and unneeded items were the first inefficiencies to be identified with the installation. This is very often the case, and evident by something as quick as a simple visual inspection.

“Inventory Management provides one solution for not just Seco cutting tools, but for other tools and many other suppliers, so we only need the one system, making it an easy choice to manage suppliers and workflow”, said Helge Lotveit, Manufacturing Engineer, Bergen Engines. In the years since 2006, Bergen Engines has grown their Inventory Management use to 17 cabinets and two virtual locations and two remote locations on the shop floor. Everything tooling related is connected to a single system. Access at varying levels is granted to users, administrators and team leaders for ease of communication and control.

Bergen Engines looks at stock items across departments, making it possible to locate items such as tooling, measurement and maintenance, and encouraging a spirit of cooperation as well as a high level of efficiency. For example, departments are able to share measurement gauges, considered a check-in/check-out items, so fewer total number of gauges are needed. Remote locations are used in the facility to simply place high volume items at the point of use for operator convenience.

Another important functionality for Bergen Engines is Seco’s virtual storage capability. “We have applied this now in two ways, to a traditional tool crib as well as to a locker setup”, said Halseth. “This was to avoid long queues that we use to have and also to provide simple automated control of larger and varied shop items”, Halseth continued. Another main benefit seen by Bergen Engines is the streamlining of the ordering process. With Inventory Management there are no orders done manually, all orders are automated and placed automatically to all suppliers, again removing any need for secondary systems. Simple reporting allows for review of consumption patterns as well as to find available products in the system. The effect on uptime has been significant, and currently exceeds 99%.