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FactoryNet in use at Möhling

New connections, better technology

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Revolution in work scheduling: At the MÖHLING Group, almost 7,000 production steps are optimally harmonized with each other at the click of a mouse on the computer for the current line of approx. 2,400 fastening elements. Thanks to a consequent networking of the manufacturing process, the FactoryNet, the classic planning board has gone into a well-earned retirement. But not only the processes are running smoother: The networked manufacturing process also saves hard earned cash.

A rush order that must be handled immediately, disturbing the entire manufacturing process? A nightmare for work scheduling. Especially when a staff of 500 employees has to produce 18 million fastening elements per day - just-in-time. Nonetheless, Friedrich Janssen remains calm. He enters a few commands on his computer keyboard, waits a few moments and the overall planning is updated. „We do not endanger any other deadlines due to the new order. We can implement this without a problem“, says the director of work scheduling at the fastener technology specialist, MÖHLING.

The company with a rich tradition is active in markets worth billions of Euros, influenced by predominantly medium-sized companies. Two-thirds of these active companies have less than 100 employees, and merely 11 percent have more than 500 employees, such as MÖHLING. In 2008, the German manufacturer produced 702,000 tons of fastening elements with a value of three billion Euros. Like MÖHLING, more than a half of all German companies have their headquarters in the southern Westphalian region between the Ruhr and Sieg rivers. Nevertheless: „With the depth of its networking, MÖHLING is a pioneer in cold massive forming“, also confirmed by FactoryNet expert, Franz Saliger, company official at BRANKAMP, the market leader for ProcessMonitoring systems.

Thanks to the new technology, Friedrich Janssen at MÖHLING has as good a handle on the manufacturing process as ever: around 250 different presses and just as many automatic machines for grinding, drilling, turning, bending, milling, stamping or swaging. At the same time, it is irrelevant whether the machines are located at the two parent plants in Altena in the Sauerland or at the branch factory in Haan near Duesseldorf. Janssen can also call up onto his screen the current status of the subsidiaries in Schmalkalden on the southwestern edge of the Thuringian forest, in Kropa in Slovenia and in Warley in Great Britain with just a few clicks.

This information originates from modern ProcessMonitoring systems by BRANKAMP. These systems not only protect the machines and tools. By using them, the operator can access current order planning for the respective machine. Changes are immediately and automatically accepted. At the same time, the system provides Friedrich Janssen with the data in real-time. In this manner, Janssen has an overview of the plant situation at all times via the BRANKAMP DC 5000 BDE system. This data is automatically taken over into the heart of the network, the control station for production planning, several times a day. „I can now get a virtual view of the manufacturing process, even from at home at the breakfast table“, says Friedrich Janssen.

The director of work scheduling is automatically informed about unplanned machine stoppages directly via e-mail. „This degree of networking is not yet widespread in the cold forming process“, Hans-Peter Gierke, graduate engineer and Plant Manager at MÖHLING remarks. Only last year, the company committed itself to networking the manufacturing process, but now there are over 100 machines directly connected to the BDE system. All the departments at MÖHLING as well as at BRANKAMP were particularly committed to this. The cooperation functioned without a problem. The goal: All plants and machines should be capable of seamless acquisition.

Deadline adherence is imperative in today's world

„Quality is no longer an issue“, confirms Gierke. „The customer simply expects top quality at all times. Today, points are scored only with market-conforming prices and the highest degree of adherence to delivery deadlines.“ Daily fluctuations in call-up numbers, tighter and tighter deadline windows and orders directly via remote data transfer continually pose new challenges to the production planning process.

This not only applies to the automotive industry, for which almost half of the bolts, rivets, screws and other fastening elements that come off the MÖHLING production lines are produced. The highest levels of quality are demanded by other industries this traditional company supplies, as well - from the furniture industry and the medical and electro-technological industries to the toy industry. The fastener technology specialist from Altena, the center of the German cable industry, has found the right response to this and gained a competitive advantage through consistent networking of the manufacturing process.

MÖHLING is a networking pioneer

Amazingly, such comprehensive networking of the manufacturing process is still not a given, even in the age of the Internet. In most industrial companies, networking stops where the actual value creation begins: at the threshold to the manufacturing process. Yet computers and networks have already been put to the test in the office world, which can be attributed to tremendous growth and savings potential. Even the most optimistic experts wouldn't have believed this to be possible.

At this time, the MÖHLING team is experiencing the same in their manufacturing process. „We are only just at the beginning and are learning more everyday“, says Friedrich Janssen. „Prior to establishing the network, we couldn't actually foresee where the overall potential was to be found. Even now, we have still not exhausted our system.“ In any case, we can still draw a conclusion today: Networking has had a direct impact on saving money. Hans-Peter Gierke: „Work scheduling can immediately identify bottlenecks in the production process and initiate timely counter measures. The planning process is considerably more precise. Deadline adherence is improved even more and the bottleneck-related costs are reduced. And this helps to save lots of money.“ Exact numbers, however, are a company secret.

Positive experiences with process monitoring

The impetus for establishing the network came from within MÖHLING itself. The traditional company with 167 years of experience in industrial manufacturing has been harvesting the benefits of systematic process monitoring already for decades. „This is an elementary part of the modern production process. The proportion of scrap sinks correspondingly, for example, while the useful tool lives are optimized. For this reason, we developed a program ourselves, with which we were able to monitor our machines for years“, remarks Gierke. But their own system eventually grew old, however, and did not possess modern envelope-curve technology. This made its further development too expensive.

Comprehensive tests preceded its introduction

„For this reason, we conducted comparative trials with the leading suppliers of ProcessMonitoring systems and tested their units directly on our machines, observing which actual errors were identified. Operator opinions were crucial. And the BRANKAMP systems were the most persuasive in all these points“, responds MÖHLING Plant Manager, Hans-Peter Gierke. BRANKAMP is a pioneer and market leader in ProcessMonitoring systems, with regard sensor-based measuring systems for machine tools.

The smooth interplay between these systems due to the BRANKAMP DC 5000 BDE system, as well as the manufacturing control station from the cooperation partner, PSI, provided the exact overall, practice-proven solution that the MÖHLING management had in mind. Currently, the next innovation is already planned: In the future, the Save-and-Rescue module from BRANKAMP will ensure that, when replacing a defective ProcessMonitoring system, the data of the process model is automatically saved. This allows the operator to continue to produce with this know-how.

Friedrich Janssen points to a long wall in his office, on which the classic planning board with production orders is still hanging. „When I started working here, we planned production with a large card index box“, he explains. „Then came this planning board. Now we can also send this board into retirement thanks to FactoryNet.“

The virtual control station for industrial production

The PSI control station is a tool for detailed planning, order control, implementation and monitoring of the manufacturing process or production deadlines, accordingly. The control station serves the processing of large planning data taken over from the PPS system. The software depicts the smallest deviations and enables rapid correction. In addition, this software enables for work scheduling and production control departments to issue statements at any time about production deadlines, as well as machine loading and the degree of utilization. The control station was developed by the software company, PSI AG, the European market leader in energy systems for electricity, gas, heat, oil and water. PSI AG is a cooperation partner of BRANKAMP, the world market leader for ProcessMonitoring solutions.

BRANKAMP: The FactoryNet visionary

The BRANKAMP System Prozessautomation GmbH, headquartered in Erkrath, is a pioneer and the world market leader for modern ProcessMonitoring systems. These systems are used especially as a sensor-supported means of measurement in industrial manufacturing processes. Above all, the systems enable optimum quality and improved levels of utilization. Currently, there are over 50,000 BRANKAMP applications in use around the world. BRANKAMP is also the pioneer in networking the manufacturing process. „A great deal of potential is still lying dormant with respect to industrial networking production“, to quote from an analysis by company founder, Prof. Dr. Klaus BRANKAMP long before the year 2000. The company was developing BDE systems already back in the 1980's that form the backbone for manufacturing networking today. The term, FactoryNet, is a registered BRANKAMP trademark.


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