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Lecture at Acatech

acatech
Lecture of Kai-Uwe Weiß

Acatech has invited LESER to give a lecture on “Digitalization in Manufacturing”. Acatech is "The German Academy of Science and Engineering" and has the task to advise politics and society in an independent, fact-based and public welfare oriented way. The focus is on sustainable growth through innovation.

LESER has attracted attention through its permanent measures for the digitalization of workflows, processes and machines. During the presentation, Mr. Weiss presented best practices on behalf of LESER. In addition to the better known ones such as LESER Digital ID, web services or remote inspection, the focus was primarily on manufacturing topics. 

Two milestones LESER has achieved in recent years are LESTRAC and Shopfloor.

LESTRAC

For safety valve manufacturers, quality plays a central role. The safety valve is a serialized product, so it is manufactured individually for each customer. LESER has developed data structures for a "digital twin" for customers and quality assurance.

A multitude of "quality data" is generated across all value chains, e.g. tests, inspections, certificates and similar information. An end-to-end, automated, digital traceability process was designed to capture and provide this information. The data model extends from the foundry's melt, e.g. from India, to the production of components at the plant in Hohenwestedt and the subsequent order-related assembly, all the way to the delivery of the safety valve.

LESER has created data objects and structures that collect all production information without manual activities in SAP and clearly assign it to the respective valve. In this way, LESER can provide customers at any time quick and targeted information on the properties and components with which a safety valve was delivered. The customer can also access the valve-specific data independently. Information on the individual valve, spare parts lists and certificates can be accessed at any time and from anywhere.

 

Shopfloor

As part of the "smart Factory" project, LESER has digitalized the "operating states of the production facilities". Previously, it was necessary to derive the focal points for the continuous improvement process (CIP) from SAP through time-consuming manual evaluations. 

Is the project team working on the right issues to improve our production processes? Are they really improving the overall optimum or "only" suboptima of individual production areas? To answer these questions in a targeted manner, LESER needs real-time data and automatic evaluations. 

To this end, LESER has integrated almost all production machines into a single network with the help of a software. The machine control system provides almost automatic real-time information on the various operating states, such as "production running", "malfunction", "preventive maintenance", "setup", and others. This allows the team to transparently display the so-called OEE per machine at the click of a mouse and in real time. OEE stands for Overall Equipment Effectiveness and represents the degree of utilization of a machine.
Based on this real-time machine data, the Industrial Engineering Department determines the focal points for LEAN activities in order to tackle the biggest levers in production. Due to the "live states" of the production, the team reacts much faster e.g. to process disturbances. This makes LESER more reliable in terms of delivery.

All machines for machining are connected to the system. In a potential bottleneck work area consisting of four machining centers, LESER has increased OEE by about 12% in just one year. "We are currently looking into implementing this visualization in China and India as well to facilitate our global LEAN activities," says Mr. Weiss, “only if we can measure something, we can improve it”.