SŽ Oprema - Ravne na Koroškem
Case Study SŽ Oprema - Ravne na Koroškem

Outsourcing Bottlenecks Eliminated With Leica Portable CMM

Over the past decade, myriad technological advances, including quantum leaps in industrial metrology, have lead to increased accuracy requirements by manufacturers not only in the metrology-heavy industries such as aerospace and automotive but in the general precision industry as well. As the ceiling of what is technologically possible gets pushed farther, deadlines get tighter and business partners increasingly set higher expectations on the parts delivered by subcontractors. In this cut-throat, make-it-or-break-it environment in which the question "When do you need it?" usually gets "Yesterday" as the answer, the room left for smaller companies is rapidly shrinking. Yet it is precisely this highly specialized marketplace in which SŽ Oprema from Ravne na Koroškem in Slovenia is thriving.

When this country of merely 2 million people on the sunny side of the Alps joined the European Union in 2004, the following became apparent: not only is the country strategically located at one of the major North-South and East-West arteries, its workforce is highly skilled and the infrastructure is in place to offer top-quality products at prices that are extremely competitive on the pan-European level. Unlike other new EU countries, Slovenia was never behind the Iron Curtain, and its strong cultural and trade ties to the German-speaking countries made the transition into a free-market economy all the smoother. Drive from Austria into Slovenia by car, and you'll hardly notice a difference.

The tradition of steelmaking in the Carinthian area, encompassing present-day Austria and Slovenia, dates back to the 14th century. SŽ Oprema Ravne, a medium-sized company with about 120 employees specializing in the manufacture of pneumatic and hydraulic tools, was formed in 1997 when different parts of a former state-owned steelworks were broken up into separate private entities. Over the years, the company's management, lead by Darko Jevšnikar, its Managing Director, realized that in order to grow and stay competitive, the business had to diversify. They have gradually broadened their product portfolio to include welding cells for car body subassemblies for Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Volvo and others, offering these heavyweights top-notch quality without the premium price. Accuracy was assured using an in-house small-volume CMM or by outsourcing larger jobs to a competitor with a large-volume stationary CMM. . . . .

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