“An optimised material flow without shortages or excess supply of material was the object of the exercise” comments Erhan Kaya, Logistics Manager at Höft & Wessel. “ Wastage, poor communication, errors and rework needed to be reduced to a minimum” he continues, recognising however the enormous challenge being set. The Hanover based company rose to the challenge and within a short time an expert system called WIN developed by the signal technology manufacturer WERMA was brought in.
Using a signal tower as an interface
WIN stands for “Wireless Information Network” and is in fact a very low cost easy to install wireless based system to monitor and optimise machinery and equipment efficiency and optimise workstation operations. A WERMA signal tower provides the basic interface and an additional slave transmitter is fitted quickly and simply to the existing signal tower to provide both electrical and mechanical connection in a matter of seconds. The WIN slave transmitter sends status change information to a receiver, the WIN master which is connected by a USB plug to a PC. An unlimited number of clients in the organisation can view the data collected and displayed on the system. The Horst & Wessel group has installed this equipment on several workstations.
WIN as a material flow optimisation tool
The leading manufacturer of ticketing equipment uses the WIN system in its Service and Repair Centre. Originally the company was looking for a visual display system to indicate the capacity utilisation of the workstation. It was hoped that material flow could be controlled better because “ our staff could hardly, if at all, estimate the work flow at any one station which led to over and under delivery of work and material all the time” explained Erhan Kaya. Since the WIN system was installed at the beginning of the year the workflow has become much more transparent and with now a complete overview of the process available the work flow has improved dramatically. WIN has helped Höft & Wessel reduce process time and eliminate wastage.
Information on workflow provided quickly
Information on the workflow status is transmitted by WIN which signals changes in material flow – if a repair is finished a signal is sent by WIN to logistics. The logistics staff member uses the pull principle to supply the required material to the service Centre. In this way the “first in first out” principal is upheld and material flow optimised. The repair cells determine the rate of work and demand new repair jobs according to their available capacity. Using this methodology Höft & Wessel can evaluate productivity, secure the process and save time.
Quick and simple to install
Installation of the system is very simple and no expert knowledge of the software or programming required. This was a big “must” for Erhan Kaya who had acquired good knowledge of other available systems and was able therefore to value very quickly the user friendliness of the WIN system. “The combination of their reliable signal towers and the excellent customer service offered by the company puts WERMA right up front in the market” comments Kaya.
Limitless application possibilities
Erhan Kaya can recommend highly WIN as a lean process improvement tool to any operator. Even though some employees may have viewed the installation of signal towers sceptically or even as unnecessary today nobody wants to be without them.
No wonder really as WIN can be installed in other applications, not just as a workstation call for action system. It is also a machine data collection system (MDC).
In larger machine shops where there are many machine tools or pieces of equipment the WIN system will often be installed in order to identify machine breakdowns or disruption to production quickly. With the WIN slave transmitter permanently powered with a 24V feed a machine status changes can be collected by the WIN software thus giving the machine shop operator a comprehensive overview of the machine shop activity and efficiency.
As a lean production tool WIN can help reduce wastage significantly and improve productivity not forgetting also the improvements in quality, stockholding and delivery performance which can be realised with the system deployed effectively.
The example illustrated here shows only too well how simple solutions can make a significant improvement to processes, improve use of resources reduce costs. This has been the experience of Höft & Wessel who have been able to improve the competitive edge and react even more quickly to changing market trends, so for both WERMA and Höft & Wessel a real WIN-win situation!
Company Profile: The Höft & Wessel Group is a leading solution and service partner in the field of systems for recording, validating and processing data. The technology company automates, processes and ensures enhanced efficiency of transporting passengers, goods and services in the sectors of trade & logistics, railway & cargo and parking & public transport. In doing so, Hoeft & Wessel focuses on the global megatrend of mobility. With headquarters in Hanover, Germany the manufacturer of ticketing systems, data collection systems and parking ticket machines has a history of over 35 years activity and over 400 employees.