The best way for manufacturers of control cabinets to increase their yields, is to optimise the efficiency in their workshops. Since this involves a multitude of possible measures, this calls for a holistic approach like that offered by Weidmüller’s Workplace Solutions.
It seems remarkable at first glance: The choice of tools, control cabinet infrastructure and marking systems has a direct influence on process times and quality standards - and thus also on a company's profitability. This is where control cabinet manufacturers can reduce the time pressure and gain competitive edge in an industry that is strongly driven by costs.
The industry’s current boom confronts control cabinet manufacturers with additional challenges. Full order books are just one side of the coin. The other side is an increasing international competition with its associated cost pressure. Apart from the tight calculation, there is hardly any time to complete accepted orders. A lack of qualified staff makes this situation even more difficult. This dilemma cannot be solved by a single measure. A holistic and comprehensive optimisation of the entire workflow of control cabinet construction processes is imperative.
Time saving potential - from planning to commissioning
Many existing processes in control cabinet construction are already perfectly organised. In order to achieve a further increase in productivity, it is necessary to examine both external factors and the possibility of using new methods and media. But how can control cabinet manufacturers further increase the productivity of their workshops? The company Weidmüller Interface GmbH & Co. KG from Detmold has dealt with this topic intensively. The expert in connectivity offers a complete solution for increasing productivity in the workshop that makes processes up to 80% faster and provides 100% planning reliability. Starting with a faster shopping process for all the necessary tools, machines, printers and markers, the control cabinet infrastructure can also be ordered from a single source, e.g. from an online shop. This reduces storage requirements and avoids downtimes caused by missing material.
"Our comprehensive approach covers every single step in the workshop and contributes to the process reliability of our customers by ensuring a perfect coordination of the product range. Thanks to the use of intelligent software, a one-stop-shop philosophy, high-quality standards as well as a wide product range, we are able to accelerate the work processes in control cabinet construction by up to 80%," explains Sune Mellgren, Business Unit Manager Marking & Tools at Weidmüller. "If, for example, customers decide to switch to our MultiCard markers and our PrintJet ADVANCED printer, they can significantly reduce the number of different marker types that have to be in stock. "This is because Weidmüller's marker portfolio includes more than 700 types of components, conductors and cables as well as devices and systems from all kinds of manufacturers. If a control cabinet manufacturer uses components from other suppliers in addition to Weidmüller products, it is not necessary to purchase compatible markers and printers from all manufacturers. The customer can use the Weidmüller version and still mark all products.
The M-Print® PRO marking software developed by Weidmüller controls printers directly and ensures that the right marker is printed on each component. In this way, errors during installation and commissioning of the control cabinet are a thing of the past. "Our marking software can also be connected directly to the existing CAE system. This offers the advantage of automating component marking. The result is reduced processing time in the planning process and a further reduction of possible causes of error," says Mellgren.
The "Weidmüller Configurator (WMC)" simplifies the planning and configuration of assembled mounting rails and marked terminal blocks: The user imports the data sets from the CAE system via an interface and transfers them back again after they have been processed in the WMC. Thanks to the Fast Delivery service, control cabinet manufacturers receive their individually assembled terminal strips in the shortest possible time. This is made possible by intuitive configuration processes, prompt offers and automated order production starting from batch size 1.
But how exactly does the Wire Processing Center achieve this improvement? Weidmüller's various automatic machines such as the Wire Processing Center (WPC) help to reduce the time spent on recurring tasks such as cutting, stripping and crimping cables to a minimum. Evaluations have shown that mechanical processing and assembly are the most time-consuming process steps. Control cabinet manufacturers spend up to 70% of their working time on these processes. Obviously, there is a great deal of potential to increase efficiency, because software-controlled, semi-automated cable assembly accelerates the process considerably and at the same time meets the highest quality standards.
To help create an optimised workplace, Weidmüller has also developed a tool chest according to 5S and Lean principles. Mechanical assembly and wiring of a control cabinet project amount to approx. 72% of the required working time. The standardised design as well as optimally arranged tools and working materials are intelligently organised according to the intended use or configured individually. This design improves ergonomics and makes work processes more efficient. Altogether, this results in an increase in efficiency of up to 10%. In addition, a QR code takes users directly to the online catalogue with many useful information and how-to videos, thus saving additional time and costs.
Hand tools also make an important contribution to process reliability. Weidmüller's tool certification service, including regular maintenance, ensures that tools are always ready for use. The development follows ergonomic principles - right up to individual adaptation to hand sizes – and reduces the daily workload in terms of effort, time and costs. In this way, Weidmüller's hand tools, automatic machines and digital engineering solutions help increase yields: Orders can be completed in less time and without additional work. Altogether, more orders can be completed in the same time.
Value-adding and sustainable: Cross-process solutions from Weidmüller
In summary, Weidmüller's Workplace Solutions demonstrate that considerable increases in efficiency can be realised - from the start of planning to commissioning. Perfectly coordinated solutions ensure long-term support of all stages in a workshop. This increases productivity and improves profitability. For more information on Weidmüller Workplace Solutions, the complete solutions for the workshop, please visit our website.