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Sitting pretty

Sitting pretty

01/02/2011 | Channel: Manufacturing, Automotive

Koki Technik Seating Systems operates at the forefront of automotive seating safety

Operating within the automotive industry, the Koki Technik Group is divided into two core divisions – Koki Technik Seating Systems, which specialises in seat mechanisms and Koki Technik Transmission, which focuses on gear shifting systems. Initially the company produced stamping parts and tools, becoming a pioneer in the development of a specialist high precision stamping technology known as fine blanking. In 1987, Koki Technik became a specialist in production technology, with a strategy for bringing additional value to stamped parts, particularly internal or complex parts, for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across the automotive industry. Moving into the 1990s Koki Technik expanded its capabilities into engineering and new technologies in terms of product function, leading to the creation of its two specialist divisions.

Today Koki Technik Seating Systems (KTSS) is the leading specialist in all moving parts on a car seat, with the company offering a wide range of systems and components for both front and rear seats. “Although many people don’t think about it, the mechanical parts are at the heart of a car seat,” says Fritz Senft, managing director. “Within the frame, these mechanisms control all the functions such as back rest tilting, seat tilt and height adjustment. Alongside the seatbelt, the seat itself is a safety item, yet needs to be easy to handle and well fitting within the vehicle, so our objective is to combine all three of these requirements in a system that is as low weight and cost effective as possible. Over the years we have added more value in order to arrive in the position we’ve held for many years – a full service and technical leader.”

These capabilities have benefited KTSS as the progression of the automotive industry means that increasingly OEMs are looking to incorporate special functions and additional comfort into car interiors, with features such as collapsible seats. KTSS’ expertise in this area is well known with the company supplying and working on projects with all OEMs in Europe, as well as clients in the US, South America and even the Middle East. Following the trend in the 1990s for outsourcing, in recent years OEMs have changed their strategy and taken the responsibility for the engineering and content of car seats back in-house. With these OEMs looking for specialist suppliers in mechanical components, KTSS is continuing to lead the market having applied for 18 new patents in the last 12 months for new advanced technologies.
One of these breakthroughs is a complete set of hybrid seats, which are built from a combination of plastic and steel. Although technical advancements have been incorporated into all other car parts over the last 30 years, the basic structure of a car seat has remained the same. KTSS has optimised its new hybrid seat technology, providing substantial weight saving and addressing the demands of the market. The ergonomic design provides higher levels of comfort, as well as the option of climate control. Another key development has been a completely new tilt and height adjustment mechanism, which is a new generation technology offering both weight and space saving within the car seat. This technology means that it is possible for the adjusting mechanism to be directly integrated into the tube during construction, reducing costs and visibility of the mechanism.

In terms of its production methods and supply chain, KTSS implements a unique system of ‘mini factories’ within its overall facilities. A new mini factory is created for each new contract and product, with its own team and optimised machinery, in order to meet the company’s aim of zero defect and zero backlog of customer orders. “This unique approach means that we have a very efficient material flow through the factories. There is no overall stock supply in the company, raw materials are delivered directly to the individual mini factories, processed and then dispatched. So there is no internal transport or cross-over in production, the entire process is carried out in the specific mini factory,” explains Fritz. “Each client contract specifies the number of units required, which we use to calculate our investment in machinery and this investment is then incorporated into the final cost of the product. As well as increasing efficiency, these long-term contracts also translate into long-term agreements with our suppliers, which enables us to consistently meet our high standards of quality.”

Through incorporating the values of creativity and flexibility, KTSS continues to operate at the forefront of automotive seating technology. With ambitions to double its sales over the next four years, Fritz concludes with KTSS’ strategy for achieving this substantial growth: “I believe our continued success within the industry is based on our status as technical trendsetters and expertise within seat mechanisms. In terms of taking the business forward, these 18 new patents for breakthroughs and developments will be a key driving force behind our future growth. We are continuing to look at projects for the next generation of cars, and the number of booked projects is growing monthly, because more and more OEMs recognise the advantages of advanced technology for their new cars.”

Koki Technik Seating Systems GmbH
Employees: 300
Products: Car seat mechanisms