Backer EHP is a leading manufacturer of heating elements for the North American market.
Most of the production takes place in Mexico.
NIBE Element has some 30 manufacturing units in Europe, Mexico and China. The main reason for spreading production between so many countries and factories is that our ability to supply small and medium-sized series with short lead times is one of our key competitive strengths. However, the various units are also gradually becoming more specialised when it comes to large series and unique products.
Many of our production units already use our standardised business system, which facilitates coordination and integration within the Group, and the reach of the system is continually being extended to include new production units.
Measures to increase efficiency and raise quality levels are continually being introduced to improve competitiveness. In China, for example, we have started work on restructuring our local operations in order to expand capacity and boost productivity.
A number of projects undertaken in recent years have sought to reduce working capital and the cost of logistics. One result of this has been a substantial increase in the proportion of directly invoiced sales from our low-cost units, leading to improvements in customer service and reductions in costs.
The acquisition of Emerson Heating Products introduced new technology into the NIBE Element business area. One example is heating systems for air conditioning units for the North American market.
The development process at NIBE Element can be divided into four stages.
Product development focuses on new types of elements or embedded functions, such as control and regulation. R&D work also aims to improve the properties of heating elements as regards temperature ranges, insulation, etc. In 2011, for example, new products were developed to heat electric and electronic control cabinets.
Product adaptation is usually conducted in close collaboration with customers to arrive at a solution that suits their specific needs, or, if required, to assume responsibility for the entire system, as with the introduction in 2011 of complete new system solutions for heating car seats.
Process development is carried out with the aim of optimising production as regards the choice of materials, the quality and the technical performance of a product. In 2011 we launched an advanced new welding technique, which has led to improvements in both productivity and quality.
Production engineering development seeks to develop methods and machinery that will rationalise the manufacturing process and reduce environmental impact. In 2011, for example, a number of production stages were automated.