Head of Engineering Service Ronald Buiting
“Our Engineering service has extensive skills.”

“When I think about the factory, and reflect – then what really fascinates me is the machinery. How a thin metal sheet transforms into an ATM safe. Punching shapes and holes, using a laser to cut parts, the bending and bonding of steel, filling – and the machines that require this. For us as an Engineering service, the cranes, and the related hoists and lifting tables, are important in terms of maintenance. They have a vital role during production. In that respect, they are production resources, not just tools. If a crane malfunctions, there is a direct decrease in the production output. Equally, the filling systems and the concrete mixer need to run continuously. Relays, cable breaks, torches – those are the usual items when maintaining cranes.”

“The factory can be seen as a project with a constant evolution. So many things change. Like the current automation programme, Gunnebo 2020. All these developments ensure our current team of 8 men is always busy. And maintenance – it’s an expanding task. With machines, well, they just used to run, and apart from greasing and cleaning, it was merely waiting until they malfunctioned, and then you repaired them, or replaced them. Now, our ISO certifications require a preventive approach, where you frequently replace parts and perform tunings. Deviations in product specifications, albeit in millimetres, are to be eliminated, and even the replacement of a machine can cause these small differences in your end product.”

“If someone would magically offer me an enormous budget, to use for whatever I would deem wise – it would spend it on automation, just as we are doing currently. Our present technical infrastructure is in good shape. But with automation, you also invest in better working conditions. Because, at some points within the assembly line, it is physically demanding work. Manual work, like with the cleaning off of concrete residues from the safes. Naturally, automation also means less employment, but it does improve physical conditions. I’ve been a production worker, and I’m aware that the attitude of past days, when you were young, and picked up the doors of safes without aids, or used heavy machinery – that this has had an impact on my body. I’m chairman of the works council (Ondernemingsraad in Dutch) and we constantly look, together with our company management, how we can effectively, and economically justifiable, further improve the working conditions. I’ve worked here for over 30 years, and during that time I’ve witnessed a constant improvement in that respect. I would definitely say Gunnebo is a company which feels responsible for its workers. We don’t try to maximise work pressure in order to produce more – I would say a fair balance exists.”

“But if I did have that sack of gold – I would probably increase the size of our working area, the shop floor. We have managed well, and use all available space efficiently, but still, it’s tight. We have over 200 workers in the factory. After working hours, when you watch how many people come out of the factory, its amazing. So yes, a larger venue, and maybe a little more of 5S – that would fit the bill. ”

“I was 20 when I started working at Martens Brandkasten. After school (KMBO – ) I was drafted, and from there on I went straight to Martens. Because, from my 16th I had already worked there during holidays. I’ve become really intertwined with this company, being familiar with its history, from Martens to Gunnebo, its operations, its developments. Originally as a construction fitter, than as part of a team which constructed vaults and safes – and finally, as head of Maintenance. I’ve always had an interest to learn, to develop. Trainings in electronics, welding, management – that’s what has helped me reach this point. ”
“Head of the Engineering Service (Maintenance), currently supervising 8 men under permanent contract. We take care of maintenance, of improvements of the assembly line, and also support the implementation of the automation programme Gunnebo 2020. Part of the engineering thereof is done by contractors, but we provide the foundation for the expansion of the factory, and install the electricity system. Both mechanical and electrical – as an Engineering service, we have extensive skills. In part due to the fact that our factory has very specific requirements.”
“I’ve never worked for any company other than Gunnebo. But despite the offers, I’ve never had any urge to leave. I think that’s really special. Provisions, amenities are excellent, you have a voice, there are extensive opportunities to learn. And if you have a civilized, cooperative attitude towards promotions, there are sufficient opportunities. People have left the company – but nearly all of them returned. This company is open to so many things. It’s responsible, has a social approach. People are important. And if you are serious about working, and do your part, than in return, you will be rewarded with help if you need it. Give and take. And I must say – I feel I’ve been given a lot.”
Cherry on the cake
“To transfer my and our knowledge to young people, I find that very rewarding. We offer internships, presently a lot from the Graafschap college nearby. We are a ‘Leerbedrijf’ (a company offering training services for young people). We get students in Mechatronics, and I always try to involve them with the complete extend of our daily operations as soon as possible. That’s why there here, to learn the trade. Welding. All aspects of machine maintenance. Electronics. At the end they usually are very happy to have gained a very broad experience. Just like the regular and skilled professionals.”

Read the next article in the series on The Factory:
Shift Leader Alfons Geurts.

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