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[IN]side Introducing INDUS projects

HAUFF-TECHNIK - aiming high with a new logistics center

MILESTONE FOR FUTURE LOGISTICS

HAUFF-TECHNIK, a manufacturer of cable and pipe feed-throughs, has every reason to celebrate. After just 18 months of construction, the company has put its future-proof, fully automated and expandable logistics center for small parts and packaged pallet goods into operation at its headquarters in Hermaringen. The building increases throughput, delivery performance and capacity to meet rising order volumes and solid growth in the construction industry.

Several hundred items from all product groups will be available ex stock in the future.

SMART STORAGE

The new L-shaped construction is connected to the neighboring production plant, which means that the goods can be transported quickly to storage using digitally controlled tugger trains. In addition to storage and commissioning areas, the new building also has 55 new office workspaces. The heart of the new logistics center is the fully automated consolidation area with an SAP-controlled conveyor line,
assigned packing stations and an order combination system with 580 containers. The twoaisle, automated pallet high-bay warehouse, measuring 25 meters, has 4,900 storage spaces and the automated small-parts storage area has 8,120 containers. Not only storage, but processes, too, have become more efficient and streamlined.


AURORA - individual testing device development

AURORA, a manufacturer of heating and air-conditioning systems for commercial vehicles, produces around 500 heat exchangers a day. Each and every one has to be tested for leaks before it leaves the plant. The conventional testing method takes up time and resources, with soldered heat exchangers being checked in water baths like bicycle tires. Moving to differential pressure testing was the obvious solution. This method is easily explained: If the pressure in the heat exchanger differs to a reference pressure figure then there is a leak. There are differential pressure testing devices on the market, but these are too big, and likewise too expensive, to be deployed at AURORA. So, AURORA decided to develop its own testing devices – with great success. The devices, which significantly simplify the processes in production and quality assurance and cost a fifth of the devices available on the market, are now being used at three of AURORA’s sites.

  • Digital
    • Computer-aided differential pressure testing
  • Fast & efficient
    • Testing time reduced from two minutes to thirty seconds
    • No drying times
    • Parallel testing of several heat exchangers possible
    • Testing fully integrated into the production process
    • No warehousing for unfinished goods required
  • Sustainable & transparent
    • No expenses for disposal of dirty water and no energy required for drying
    • Direct labeling
  • Flexible & user friendly
    • Testing can be done after installation
    • User-friendly interface

IEF-WERNER - ALWAYS ONE STEP AHEAD

IEF-Werner, a manufacturer of automation components and systems, is working on predicting the future. Or more specifically, the point in time at which maintenance work will become necessary. Roland Wertz, Head of Research & Development, gives us an insight into the project.

MR. WERTZ, UNTIL RECENTLY MACHINE LEARNING WAS MORE OF A SCIENTIFIC PLAYGROUND. HOW DID AN SME LIKE IEF BECOME INTERESTED IN THE TOPIC?

Roland Wertz heads up a project on predictive maintenance.

The motivation behind our project is easily explained – unplanned downtimes cost our customers money. Knowledge about the state of the plant and the ability to plan maintenance and repair work are very valuable. But so far, plants have not been able to diagnose themselves – they cannot go to the doctor and say what is wrong like we can. This is the starting point for our project.

IN WHAT WAY?

Wertz —

We aim to have the machine interpret existing data by recognizing patterns and correlations, thereby constantly monitoring the state of its own health. It should notify us of anomalies before they cause a problem.

WHAT KIND OF DATA IS THIS AND WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

Wertz —

The evaluations are related to use, e.g., vibrations and electricity consumption. Previous attempts at predictive maintenance have worked with additional, occasionally expensive, sensors. IEF nows its components inside out, so we can take the sensors into account in the basic design or even replace them with mathematical models. This will allow us to significantly reduce the number of sensors we use.

IS THIS ALREADY HAPPENING IN PRACTICE?

Wertz —

We are currently evaluating the data collected in testing as part of an INDUS development bank project and in partnership with Fraunhofer IPA. We use an iterative cycle to arrive at the mathematical models needed for predictive maintenance. It’s an exciting process.


OFA - CUSTOM-MADE INNOVATION

Discovering trends and developing innovative products is part of day-to-day business for OFA Bamberg. An interdisciplinary team made up of members from R&D, production and product management handles the development of new products for the manufacturer of surgical stockings, bandages and orthotic devices. But how does this team come up with ideas that have what it takes to become innovation champions? Through design thinking. This approach turns initial “problems” into concrete prototypes as quickly as possible – following a defined multi-stage process. In the final testing phase, test subjects and experts evaluate the design with regards to fashion, medical efficacy and wear comfort. The ease with which the product can be put on and removed, along with its feel, is thus directly tested in everyday situations. Feedback from the test subjects goes straight back to the development process so that user requirements can be directly included in the development of new features. With this design thinking approach OFA developed its Lastofa Forte range. This included the first flat-knitted medical compression quality stockings made of Merino wool that provide support in treating edemas, scars and burns.

The innovative Lastofa Forte has already received a Red Dot Award for product design.


M. BRAUN UND MIGUA - AT A GLANCE

Taking their name from vehicle displays, dashboards collect and visualize data from various sources within a company. This makes the order backlog and KPIs, for example, easy to access at any time – keeping company employees well informed. In 2020, two companies in the INDUS Group introduced new dashboard solutions.

TRANSPARENT ORDER PROCESSING

At MIGUA, a supplier of customer-specific joint profile systems, several employees from a number of departments work on one project simultaneously. Because many of the project steps are based on the preceding ones, a cockpit was developed in partnership with RWTH Aachen where the status of each order is shown in real time from input to shipping. To achieve this, production and sales planning lists, and order-processing ERP data were overlaid. Now employees can see what tasks are currently pending on two large, centrally positioned monitors, while passing by. Key figures such as lead time and adherence to deadlines are also automatically tracked. The next development stages are in the pipeline, with the inclusion of the network-independent sales force and expansion to all MIGUA product groups on the agenda.

PRODUCTION PLANNER AND DASHBOARD ALL IN ONE

With this project, the INDUS portfolio company M.BRAUN aimed to increase transparency in order and resource planning, especially in production. The manufacturer of inert gas glove box systems and gas scrubbing equipment had already exhausted the possibilities of the ERP system. Intensive work was completed in-house to develop a dashboard that built on the existing system in the most effective way possible. The end result is a tool with functions that go beyond simple visualization. The new solution significantly improves coordination between material provision and production. Workflows can be logged in a user friendly manner and errors can be systematically recorded and monitored. And more is planned. The dashboard and production planner are to be made available on mobile devices in the future.


BETEK - WORLD'S MOST HIGH-TECH ROAD MILLING TOOL PRODUCTION PLANT

INVESTMENT IN HIGHLY EFFICIENT PRODUCTION

The Black Forest town of Aichhalden has gained a new attraction that is passing tourists by. At the end of 2019, BETEK put a high-tech, fully automated soldering conveyor for road milling tools into operation in its new production hall. The carbide specialist is now able to produce an additional 90,000 milling tools each day. This equates to an impressive total weight of 30 tons per day. The milling tools produced are primarily used in
road construction – for instance, to mill off the road surface. “This plant’s output alone can cover 30% of the annual demand for road milling tools,” states Dr. Marc Siemer, the company’s managing director. “This puts BETEK in an ideal position to expand further in the coming years.”

Fully automated

BETEK engineers worked on developing this highly efficient plant for three years. It was then built in collaboration with an automation company. What makes it special? The three- step processing of the milling tool is now completed in one fully automated step. The plant can also be quickly adjusted to produce different types of milling tools. “In the last 30 years, milling tool production automation has increased by a factor of 22,” says managing director Tobias Hilgert. “This keeps us one step ahead of the competition.”

20,000,000
ROAD MILLING TOOLS A YEAR
223
TRUCK LOADS (WITH TRAILERS) A YEAR
3
YEARS IN DEVELOPMENT
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