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Surface specialists from Kerpen

The AHC group’s main plant

AHC was founded by Ulrich Reininghaus and Herbert Friebe in Cologne-Mülheim in 1960. It took months for the first orders to come in, but then things started to take off for the company. A new, spaciously designed production site was needed and it was located in Kerpen in the Rhineland. Since then, the Kerpen plant has been regarded as the AHC main plant and at that time was joined by the administration, EDP, research and development and plant design.

Today, the Kerpen plant has 115 employees and coats technical components for around 2,700 active clients, primarily in the mechanical engineering and automotive industries. Standard processes are hard anodising (HART-COAT®) and electroless nickel (DURNI-COAT®). Special features of the Kerpen plant are the SILA-COAT ® 5000 process, an anodic dip coating to increase alkali resistance, and the HC large part unit (HC-GTA). Work is done on five days of the week in 3 shifts with Saturday as a back-up day. Three apprentices are accepted per year, of which two work in surface coating and one for example, in the workshop or shipping.

In the past, the components to be coated came more from mechanical engineering but now the trend is more towards the automotive industry. Nevertheless, 60% of turnover is still generated from mechanical engineering and 40% from the automotive sector.

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In the HART-COAT ® (HC) area, all types of housings are coated: for example, valve housings, filter housings or fan housings for washing machines. In addition, there are components such as transmission and engine pistons, cooling units for exhaust gas recirculation, clutch parts, guide rails for goods distribution systems or rollers for the paper and film industry.

In the DURNI-COAT ® (DNC) area, there are components such as clutch hubs, carburettor needles, female rotors for compressors, automotive air-conditioning pump parts, technical springs or wheel rims.

"We have a relatively large workshop that keeps the equipment in good condition and also builds most of the frames that are required for the coating," says plant manager Ralf Nott. "That gives us the necessary availability, flexibility and speed. Special frames are also designed, for example, to cool castings where they could overheat during coating. The competence of our workshop allows us to react faster to customer requests."

Die HART-COAT<sup>®</sup>-Großteilanlage, in der Bauteile bis etwa acht Metern Länge hartcoatiert werden können.

The HC-GTA was rebuilt almost 10 years ago. Here, large parts such as rollers, tubes, profiles or the previously mentioned guide rails for goods distribution systems are hard coated. "The handling, covering and clamping of large components is very demanding," explains Sales Manager Olaf Igelbrinck. "In addition, we have hardly any competitors who are able to hard anodise parts up to 8m in length." A large warehouse allows the storage of large parts as well as call order parts, e.g. for automotive suppliers.

QA manager Helmut Lohmar explains that 35,000 orders are processed each year. He is proud that the complaint rate is below 0.5%. "Awareness of good quality work runs through the entire team. The work of documenting the coating processes has increased steadily in recent years, not least due to more orders from the automotive industry. You have to be able to fully rely on your team. Any complaint requires even more effort than the care taken when processing orders, "sums up Helmut Lohmar.

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