News about WERMA

30 Jun 2015

10% increase in efficiency – but how?

Marquardt GmbH converts every signal tower into a machine data collection and monitoring system

Automotive suppliers are under extreme pressure to develop ever more efficient manufacturing methods and shorter production cycles. With less operating space, less infrastructure and shorter development times as well as highly automated processes it is crucially important to provide high-quality products on schedule. Marquardt GmbH from Rietheim-Weilheim has made the leap to "Lean Management" with a simple trick. The mechatronics specialist has converted every signal tower deployed on its machines into a machine data collection and monitoring system. The innovative call and reporting system lays the foundation for daily production monitoring as part of the shopfloor management system, thereby creating maximum transparency of the operation.

10% increase in efficiency – but how?
MDE signal tower at Marquardt GmbH

"It was so simple", explains Stefan Wetzel, team leader of prototype/pilot production at Marquardt GmbH. "Our own electricians got the data collection and monitoring system up and running within a very short time", he adds. The "monitoring system" he talks about is the most successful system currently available on the market.

Daily shopfloor meeting at Marquardt

It all started when the large family company converted their operating system to Windows 7. The new system could not be launched successfully because it was not compatible with the data collection system then being used. The entire injection moulding operation faced a major challenge: They needed to find a modern and simple solution quickly, because there were over 100 machines needing to be monitored. The sophisticated product range of the Marquardt group, which has 8,000 employees around the world, could not allow any disruption to productivity. There were various providers and production control systems for optimisation of internal order processing available on the market. But Stefan Wetzel found what he was looking for on his own doorstep.

Installed in the morning, evaluated in the afternoon
Today the injection moulding machines at Marquardt GmbH are fitted with a "WIN slave" radio transmitter, which was simply retrofitted to the existing signal tower fitted on the machine. The abbreviation "WIN" stands for "Wireless Information Network" and is a wireless based machine data collection and monitoring system designed for use in the optimisation of production machines, logistics and workstations. The manufacturer is WERMA Signaltechnik GmbH + Co. KG, located very close to Marquardt. "Naturally the close proximity is a clear advantage, but it wasn't the main reason for choosing this signal device manufacturer" explained the team leader who supervises all pre-production of injection moulded components. With 20 years’ service with the company, Stefan Wetzel knows what is important and is a real expert in the field of machine data-collection.

"WERMA has fulfilled all of our expectations", he explained. As the data collection system is compatible with Windows 7 it could be quickly and simply retrofitted to the existing equipment. Being essentially “plug and play” installation was self-explanatory and didn't require any external support. With cooperation from in-house IT staff and electricians, the new "WIN slave" units were retrofitted to existing signal towers and were immediately ready for use. There was no disruption to production and the first monitoring reports were ready that same afternoon.

Signal tower as interface
Virtually any machine, irrespective of age or type can be fitted with the data collection system WIN, requiring only a signal tower from WERMA to provide the interface between machine and monitoring system. Marquardt even went further, and in May 2014 retrofitted over 100 injection moulding machines which had by then been equipped with "WIN slave" with an alternative “WIN slave performance” unit which offers the additional functionality of counting units of production. The WIN slave transmitter devices transmit data collected to the software program through a master receiver unit USB’d into a host PC.

The data collection system is ideally suited to large machine shops where many machines may be out of sight of supervision. Machine stoppages can be detected immediately and the data collected form the machines is stored on a database in the software which can then provide detailed reports with just a couple of mouse clicks.

10% increase in efficiency in a short time
"We didn't have to wait long to see the increase in efficiency", explains Marc Mächtel, responsible for process improvement at Marquardt. After only a short time the automotive supplier saw a clear increase in efficiency of 10% compared with that obtained under the previous system. "That's an excellent result!” remarks Mächtel. With WERMA, the international company can now identify stoppages and faults within seconds. Large screens in central locations of the Moulding Department display an overview of all injection moulding machines, and are particularly helpful to the night shift.

With over 100 machines it's not always easy have an overview of the operation: The visual displays from the system give the production team a basis for their daily shopfloor meeting. "Even if more than 50% of the pie charts on a machine show machine stoppages we can still take action immediately", adds Mächtel. He recommends the user-friendly WIN system to any company wanting to streamline internal process control, material flow obtain improved transparency of the operation and improve productivity. The impressive visual displays make every employee in the company aware of the current situation and where action is required and data collected is stored and available for review at any time. Despite some initial scepticism, employees now welcome the system most enthusiastically.

Learning from each other, continuously improve
The manager of plastic production at Marquardt, Dieter Stais comments further on his positive experience with the WIN data collection system. He values in particular the co-operation with WERMA and the two family companies from Rietheim have an active exchange of ideas from which both benefit. There is another good reason that Stais refers to the neighbours as "development partners": User feedback has been integrated into the further development of the WERMA system on many occasions and the two companies plan to continue their close co-operation.

The future is secure
Thanks to the positive experiences with the machine data collection and monitoring system at the Marquardt headquarters, other locations in the group are also planning to incorporate the system into their operations. As a result of this their injection moulding machines will produce more efficiently, and the automotive supplier will be best prepared for the future. Often enough even a simple solution is enough to improve long lasting improvements in the efficiency of the production process, conserve resources, reduce costs and reduce strain on the company in the long-term and, as Stefan Wetzel said at the start: "It's so simple".

Press contact

Udo Skarke
General Manager • WERMA USA

Tel. +1 (470) 361 / 0600