In the previous part of our series you learned how to reduce costs through partial automation and at the same time increase efficiency and flexibility in control cabinet construction. The experience of an Italian automation company shows how all this can be realised in practice. The company's verdict: Harmonised processes and optimised work processes significantly accelerate their production process.
“Our customers receive first-class solutions and products from us”, say the employees of the Italian automation specialist AEPI proudly. This is also the case when working with partners: “Weidmüller has always supported us in this respect - be it through quality and service or technologies that have been specially developed to meet our needs. Everything fits together perfectly.”
Since the 1970s, AEPI has relied on components from Weidmüller. Today, the products from East Westphalia are used in almost every step of the control cabinet manufacturing process. The company, founded in 1969 and based in Imola, employs around 230 people and implements customised solutions for industrial automation.
Optimally matched to each other
In times of global competition, all companies need to optimise the cost and time aspects of the production processes of control cabinet construction. The fierce pressure of international competition requires constant improvements in efficiency: from planning to installation and operation of the systems. Weidmüller, as an experienced and long-standing partner in control cabinet construction companies, knows how to support users in this.
It is important to streamline production processes in the factory and to synchronise the use of tools and marking systems typically used in these tasks across portfolios. “We have successfully optimised time-consuming processes such as mechanical assembly, marking and wiring by streamlining all work steps with Weidmüller's workshop solutions,” say the specialists from the AEPI technical team. “This is reflected in our entire manufacturing process, which has been accelerated significantly in this way.”
Reduced inventory requirements – improved planning security
The solutions developed for AEPI are especially practical and sophisticated. Therefore, Imola opted for Weidmüller's marking system. The compatibility of these systems has certain benefits. Cables and components from different manufacturers can be marked with just one device. Instead of several special marking devices, a single one does the job. Inventory costs are reduced in this way. The fact that not only Weidmüller's products can be used in the production flow, but also those of other companies, reduces throughput time considerably. Expensive tool changes no longer interrupting workflows. “Advantages like these show that Weidmüller knows our daily challenges very well,” AEPI notes with satisfaction.
The M-Print® PRO marking software verifies the data to prevent errors during installation and commissioning of the control cabinet. The software is connected to the CAE program via an interface, which generates the texts for marking the components. The AEPI team says unanimously: “Transmission errors are virtually impossible. Each component is provided with the correct designation.” Thanks to this digital consistency, AEPI reduces media breaks within its processes. This means that every employee can create and print the markings for the individual components directly at their workstation. No one can accidentally use markers that are intended for other components.
Improved efficiency in every step of the process
AEPI is highly impressed by the perfectly tailored workshop solutions from Weidmüller. In addition to the marking system, the Italian automation company uses more than 30 different products from the Workplace Solutions portfolio across all work areas - including products such as the PrintJet ADVANCED printer, various hand tools, control cabinet infrastructure materials and a large number of automatic stripping and crimping machines. “Especially machines like the CRIMPFIX LS facilitate our daily work. Despite advancing digitalisation, the construction of a control cabinet still involves many manual steps, many of which are repeated frequently”, the AEPI team is amazed because Weidmüller's automatic stripping and crimping machines take a noticeable load off workers and speed up the process. “Our employees can carry out several work steps in a very short time, without having to change the tool in between,” AEPI concludes. The automated process also ensures consistently high production quality, despite high cycle rates. The AEPI team is convinced: “The results are as accurate after 500, 1000 or 5000 units as they were after the first pressing.”
When selecting its partners, AEPI relies on the attributes “fast” and “economical”, because safety and tested quality are particularly important when designing and equipping the working environment. Weidmüller has always kept its quality promise for the products and solutions the client has been using for decades - even if it was urgent, we could rely on Weidmüller's service. The AEPI team is confident: “This is what we continue to rely on in the future.”
In the 6th part of our series “How to optimise your control cabinet construction”, Dr Christian Dülme, Business Development Manager and responsible for the area of automated control cabinet construction at Weidmüller, explains how future trends and developments can further increase efficiency in control cabinet construction.