On August 24 and 25, 2010 there was a BOSCH supplier potential evaluation (LPB) at our Vác (E2V1) and Satu Mare (E3S) locations. This procedure was an occasion for us to welcome the BOSCH Global Purchasing Management Team (GPMT), which is responsible for strategic purchasing in the Bosch Group in the area of circuit boards.
The main focus here was the evaluation of printed circuit board production at both production centers and the related processes. The production process in the E2V1 (Vác) production center was demonstrated using BOSCH Rexroth modules. The E3S production center (Satu Mare), which previously did not manufacture BOSCH printed circuit boards, was also evaluated for strategic reasons. Due to the positive evaluation results, Chairman Johann Weber received the BOSCH “Preferred Supplier 2010” certificate from Mr. Bomberg (Director of Purchasing Robert Bosch GmbH).
2010/12/17, Increasing safety and quality standards represent a market challenge for us. With this in view, the Zollner management system has been expanded over the past few months in the area of railway and medical products.
Certification for IRIS
The international IRIS standard was developed through the collaborative effort of leading railway system manufacturers. It is based on the ISO 9001 and lays out some additional railway-specific requirements. This should be viewed as a parallel standard to the ISO/TS 16949 for auto manufacturers. As one of the original EMS providers, Zollner Elektronik AG has once again confirmed its high productivity with this certification.
Since November 2010, the electronics department E1/E1Z has been the first department in the company group to be successfully certified based on the “International Railway Industry Standard (IRIS)”.
The main focus of the supplemental IRIS requirements addresses structured, detailed plans of product and process development, risk evaluations, and comprehensive quality assurance measures.
After the successful introduction of IRIS in the electronics department E1 at the main Zandt plant, certifications are also planned for 2011 at the Altenmarkt (E2/E2A) and Vác/Hungary (E1V) locations.
Medical standard EN ISO 13485
In the electronics department E2, the production center E2V1 in Vác (Hungary) is now also compliant with the requirements of the medical standard EN ISO 13485, thus satisfying the requirement for manufacturing high-quality medical products in our Hungarian production location.
These certifications contribute to process safety and improved quality, thereby offering added value to our customers. Another word of heartfelt thanks for their deep commitment goes out to all employees who participated in this.
2010/12/15, Due to the rapidly increasing size of the staff and the ever increasing technical requirements of our Romanian location in Satu Mare, the management decided in 2010 to begin planning an IPC training center based on the Zandt model and to set it up as quickly as possible. It should be a place where our Romanian employees can receive instruction and training in the standards IPC 610 and IPC 7711/7721. This training had previously been given at the Zandt/Germany and Vác/Hungary plants. The completion of the IPC training center is planned for May 2011.
Several Romanian employees have already successfully completed their training in the past year. Otto Grosshardt and Enikö Pleth completed their training as IPC Trainer for IPC 610 under the direction of Dr. Arens; the next level will follow in calendar week 11 of this year: training sessions in IPC 7711/7721 Rework.
2010/11/22, On November 18 and 19, 2010, the Zollner Group successfully passed the audit, being the basis for the certification according to IRIS [International Railway Industry Standard] which took place at the headquarters in Zandt.
The internationally applicable standard IRIS was developed in co-operation with leading producers of railroad systems, following the quality management systems of train manufacturers and in particular their suppliers. It was founded on the basis of ISO 9001 and includes additional requirements which are specific to the railway.
Based on the railway business, the standard focuses on the project management. Processes such as RAMS, LCC and obsolescence management are observed more closely than those of other standards.
We are one of the first EMS-providers keeping this certification and thus are able to prove our capability. It is a solid basis for our partnerships with customers and suppliers and a tool to meet our high demand for quality. After the successful implementation of the IRIS standard in the electronics division of the headquarters in Zandt, further certification procedures at other international sites are planned for 2011.
2010/11/22, On November 20, the “Manfred Zollner Award” was once again awarded as part of the yearly academic celebration “Dies Academicus” at the University of Applied Sciences Deggendorf. As is the custom, the event was held in the finely decorated Deggendorf City Hall.
It was the ninth presentation of the award, which was founded by our Chairman Manfred Zollner. Each year, students in the fields of Electronics and Information Technology are recognized for their outstanding achievements in their thesis project. Manfred Zollner presented the award, including a stipend, to the young engineers and wished them well in their future careers.
2010/11/22“Hands-on experience” is the motto for the vocational course “corporate founding, governance, and succession”. Thus the [prospective] entrepreneurs in the course of studies were delighted to be invited by Zollner Elektronik AG. A visit to the main plant in Zandt gave participants the opportunity to take a close look at the successful family-run company.
Company visits are a regular part of the study program for the entrepreneur MBA. Since the topic of the instructional block this time was “corporate succession”, the visit to the family-owned Zollner company was perfectly appropriate. After arriving at Zollner Elektronik AG in Zandt, the students were given an extensive company tour, followed by the speech given in the company rooms.
The highlight of the visit, however, was the personal meeting with company founder and senior director Manfred Zollner, who is now acting Chairman of the Supervisory Board, and company successor and eldest son, Ludwig Zollner, who is Director of HR & Automotive at the company. Both devoted more than two hours of their time to answer the questions of the Deggendorf students to share their extensive experience as successful company owners.
The participants of the Deggendorf study program either have years of professional experience, are company successors or founders, or already own small companies. The students were therefore excited to have the opportunity to speak with two experienced entrepreneurs about topics like corporate succession, expansion abroad, and personnel management.
The MBA course “corporate founding, governance, and succession” is offered by the Continuing Education Department at the University of Applied Sciences in Deggendorf. The program provides students with all of the important knowledge and skills they need to manage small- and medium-size companies. It is designed for working professionals and also scheduled to meet the needs of busy owners and managers [only one 4-day block per month from Thursday to Sunday].
2010/11/19, On November 18, 2010 Zollner Elektronik AG was selected and recognized for the second consecutive year as best supplier by Knorr Bremse SfN GmbH - Aldersbach plant. The Aldersbach plant is one of the largest production sites world-wide at Knorr Bremse SfN GmbH. Zollner Elektronik AG supplies this customer with electronic modules for truck braking systems in a safety-critical application area, for which there is a seamless tracking of all material and process parameters during production at Zollner.
In the course of the supplier selection, the criteria of quality, logistics, and price performance were evaluated, and Zollner Elektronik AG achieved the best results of all the suppliers with the top score in quality [well under 50 ppm] and supplier performance [nearly 100%].
The award was presented by plant director Mr. Birkeneder and global purchasing director Mr. Fehl to our employees Manfred Simeth, AZPC, and Klaus Wittmann, AZPCA, in front of the audience. Mr. Birkeneder especially praised Zollner’s outstanding achievements in a year of dramatic transformation in the world automotive industry. He also stressed the strong partnership and support during developments as so-called technology providers.
This award is all the more valuable for Zollner because the results we have achieved will serve in the future as the benchmark for competition between globally operating suppliers and we have already proven our productivity. With its production capabilities in China and North America, the Zollner group is also very well positioned here to continue growing along with this manufacturer of brake systems for utility vehicles, the largest in the world.
These terrific results were only possible thanks to the commitment of the team working over many years on this project. The managers of SGF Automotive expressed their heartfelt thanks to all the participants.
2010/11/15, Global expertise meets keen interest - the characteristic feature of the world’s leading trade fair electronica.
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2010/11/08, The presentation of the key on November 5th could not have been more symbolic. A robot built by students was given the task of handing over the entrance key to the technology campus to the professors at the Deggendorf University of Applied Sciences. Dr. Reinhard Höpfl and his team are thereby now officially the landlords in the blue building on Badstraße in Cham. Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch, Bavarian State Minister of Science, was on hand, along with 200 invitees, for the official dedication. He praised the “extraordinary drive of the Bavarian Forest region” and predicted a successful future for the campus.
All of high-ranked officials gathered in the foyer of the new technology campus. In just one year of construction, the old supermarket building was converted to a modern university. It’s a “blue jewel”, observed Klaus Schedlbauer, economic advisor for the county. The city spent 4.2 million euros for the renovation, said mayor Karin Bucher. It had not been an easy decision for the city council during a time of economic crisis”, she recalled in reflecting on the origins of the project. The mayor thanked the many supporters and primarily emphasized the achievements of University President Höpfl (“The real engine of the project”) and Minister Heubisch “You were here four times. You could have just taken over as site supervisor while you were at it!”, she joked). All of Bavaria will benefit from the new campus, said Bucher, clearly impressed. Bucher: “It is a project from the region for the region”.
“Nobody would have thought 20 years ago that the Cham district would become a university town”, noted Franz Löffler with satisfaction. He saved his highest praise for the companies that helped to cover the personnel costs for the technology campus in the amount of 2.4 million euros – among them Zollner Elektronik AG.
2010/10/29, Each year, the presentation of the end-of-year training reports represents the high point. The trainees from all years and plants gathered to receive the fruits of their efforts during the past year – their end-of-year reports.
The event is also intended to motivate each trainee to remain focused and work hard during the next vocational school year so the program can be successfully completed.
To emphasize the importance of making good grades during vocational training, our Chairman Manfred Zollner and Head of Human Resources & Automotive Ludwig Zollner also took part.
In his talk, Ludwig Zollner stressed the concept of “life-long learning”. It’s becoming more and more important to meet the challenges we will face in the future. He also noted that the achievements of the past year are something that we can be more than proud of. The grade point average among all of the trainees, 1.99 (A-), was an impressive demonstration of that.
2010/10/29, By using the LINERECORDER software, the company Handke Industrie Software has solved the challenge to even connect assembly workstations to data backup systems in order to document and evaluate processes.
The documentation of quality key figures in regards to assembly lines is subject to high requirements. In order to receive data from all stations of the assembly line “HX 402 Relais”, a process visualisation application was developed. The respective manual work stations are equipped with keyboards with integrated displays. In the event of faults, bad parts etc., the operator can enter fault codes. The codes are collected by a controller, transferred to the LINERECORDER system and stored in a database. During the set-up operation as well as during the malfunction mode, the respective downtimes / data are recorded. OEE figure, key performance indicators, key quality indicators and availability figures are determined from the status of the machines and the code data of the assembly workstations and then visualized.Key performance indicators and important characteristics of the manufacturing process can be viewed on large screen monitors. The LINECORDER also provides further functions such as traceability functionalities, statistical evaluations etc. A detailed analysis about which failure occurs in which process step is possible via the OEE levels in the line. Thus, processes can be optimized, costs can be reduced and quality requirements can be met.
“Quality assurance, process visualisation and process optimization in terms of production cells have been a desired target for many years. Being an EMS provider, the focus lies on quality”, said Johann Weber, CEO of Zollner Elektronik AG. “The LINERECORDER solution enables us to integrate the assembly islands and the operator workflow into process visualisation and process optimization what, in turn, is a benefit for our customers.”
2010/10/29, With regard to process optimization at the plant in Satu Mare (Romania), the EMS provider Zollner relies on the Linerecorder Software from the company Handke.
Quality assurance certificates and process reliability are becoming increasingly important for EMS providers. Well-known industrial customers place high demands on their suppliers and on the German EMS provider Zollner as well. Now, the company has geared the process optimization in the factory in Romania towards the Linerecorder Software from Handke.
“The Linerecorder Software documents and evaluates all manufacturing parameters; This provides a high level of transparency in production. A detailed analysis about which failure occurs in which process step is possible via the display of the OEE-level in the line. “Thus, processes can be optimized, costs can be reduced and our requirements in terms of quality can be ensured”, the company points out.
2010/09/24, On September 22, 2010, Zollner had the pleasure to welcome important guests at the headquarters in Zandt: The last stop on a business trip through Saxony and Bavaria for the member of the Bundestag Ernst Hinsken and the subcommittee for regional economic policy. Here, discussions with regional politicians and representatives from the industry took place.
It had always been about the same issue: What can be achieved by means of the funding of the so-called “Improvement of the regional business structure” programme.
Following a company presentation and a company tour, CEO Johann Weber took advantage of the committee member’s visit to talk about the problem of double taxation. He asked the representatives to reconsider the double tax agreement which has been in force since 2007 along with the provisions for taxing of corporate transfers [for parts being developed in Germany and produced abroad] and eliminate the causes of disadvantage for the German companies. Otherwise, he fears that not just the production but the entire development will be transferred abroad what means a significant loss of valuable know-how.
2010/09/20, Carl Zeiss, the world’s leading manufacturer of optical systems for chip fabrication has designated Zollner Elektronik as a Carl Zeiss SMT Supply Chain Partner. Zollner Elektronik manufactures and tests complete sub-systems for electron microscopy from Carl Zeiss SMT. Furthermore, the company delivers additional single components that are used throughout Carl Zeiss SMT.
Zollner Elektronik has been a particularly close supplier of the Nano Technology Systems Division of Carl Zeiss SMT for many years. As a global partner, Zollner supports the company in the construction of complex systems, allowing Carl Zeiss to fully focus on its core competencies. Johann Weber, President of Zollner Elektronik AG, emphasizes that “Our company has been successfully working with the Carl Zeiss Group for years. We are honored and very proud to now be a Supply Chain Partner of Carl Zeiss SMT. From the beginning, our efforts have focused on utilizing mutual synergies on the basis of a real partnership.”
Dr. Dirk Stenkamp, Member of the Board at Carl Zeiss SMT and Managing Director of the Nano Technology Systems Division, underscores the importance of the partnership: “Designating Zollner Elektronik as a Supply Chain Partner is an expression of our trust and recognition for the outstanding partnership over the years. With Zollner Elektronik, we have an internationally present partner on our side that delivers high-quality products at competitive prices.”
Markus Buse [SCM, Carl Zeiss SMT AG], Rainer Knippelmeyer [Senior Vice President, Carl Zeiss SMT Inc.], Peter Schlindwein [Manager SCM, Carl Zeiss SMT AG], Johann Weber [CEO, Zollner Elektronik AG], Dr. Dirk Stenkamp [Management Board, Carl Zeiss SMT AG], Markus Weingut [Project Account Management, Zollner Elektronik AG], Thomas Pehl [Manager Operations, Carl Zeiss NTS GmbH]
2010/09/17, On September 15, our founder Manfred Zollner was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in Munich. Bavarian Minister President Horst Seehofer presented the award to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Zollner Elektronik AG in the main hall of the state chancellery.
Horst Seehofer recognized Manfred Zollner as a “highly committed entrepreneur and energetic honorary official, who for decades has upheld a high level of social responsibility and loyalty to his native region in both his business and official duties”. The company he founded 45 years ago, he noted, has rapidly developed into a leading global firm under his leadership. The corporate group is a competent design and production partner to leading global companies.
Numerous awards attest to the company‘s reputation, he observed. “In addition, Mr. Zollner has shown himself to be a generous patron, a reliable partner, and creative thinker in the scientific and business community in Eastern Bavaria”, noted the Minister President in his laudation. Manfred Zollner, who accepted the award just before his 70th birthday celebration, has for many years and in many ways supported and promoted academic, scientific and cultural projects, as well as local associations.
Manfred Zollner with premier Horst Seehofer
2010/09/16, Zollner Electronic Co. Ltd. in Taicang notes with pride the recent successful final exam results by the first group of mechatronics engineers at the Chamber of Commerce Abroad [AHK] in Shanghai.
In 2008, our plant in Taicang decided to sponsor a practical training program for five trainees. They completed a training program in mechatronic engineering at the Chien-Shiung Institute in Taicang under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce Abroad in Shanghai. To ensure that the training program was as practical as possible and thus comparable to the dual professional training system in Germany, suitable companies were sought as training partners.
The Chien-Shiung Institute has a comprehensive SPS lab and CNC lathe- and milling machines.
Trainees are taught established knowledge during the three-year mechanics and electronics training program. In addition, the trainees are required to complete a practical project. The Zollner trainees chose the following topic to work on: "Designing an illuminated Zollner logo for the main entrance". The project contained mechanical technology [laser metal housing] and LED lighting with a controller.
2010/09/03, On Wednesday, September 1, 2010, 48 young workers began a new phase of life: They began their training program at the Zollner company group, the largest employer in the district of Cham.
After a few words of greeting from Ludwig Zollner, head of Human Resources & Automotive, training director Manfred Huber introduced the trainers and the Zollner company to provide the young employees with an introduction to their new training environment.
Manfred Zollner, chairman of the supervisory board, was on hand to greet the new trainees and was pleased to see so many young faces. In his talk he focused on the looming shortage of trained workers. Based on his experience, it will only be possible to correct this deficit through active training and on-going continuing education for workers. For this reason, he has always been deeply committed to his young employees, as was the case, for example, while he was expanding the company in Germany, establishing the foreign plants, with customer service, or more recently while developing the Furth dragon. The Furth dragon is the best proof of that, because trainees were able to successfully participate on the project alongside the development team.
Addressing the trainees, he noted that though it will be a real challenge, they can be proud to begin their training at Zollner Elektronik AG. To be prepared to meet the demands of the rapidly changing electronics industry, they will need to be ready to continue their training on an ongoing basis.
2010/08/27, At this year’s international Hannover Messe trade show, for 60 years the leading market showplace for leading technologies, materials, and ideas with over 4,800 exhibitors from 64 countries, Zollner Elektronik AG was awarded the Special Vector Award for “bold power supply solutions” for the project “Tradinno – new Furth dragon”.
Along with the first three prize winners in the area of classic automation and system technology, a special prize was awarded to Zollner Elektronik AG in recognition of the outstanding and impressive dragon application.
According to the laudation: “A robot as character in a play”: “Tradinno”, playing the star role in the longest-running German folk play, the slaying of the Furth dragon. The jury recognized the remarkable creativity of this application with the special vector®. Despite the narrow space in the office and the difficult surrounding conditions [hydraulic oil, temperature], the power transfer during the open air festival was managed safely. One of the specific challenges was the large three-dimensional area of movement that is required for each of the joints. The E-Chain® systems are sturdy and simple to install and also offer the lowest minimal bending radius. Multi-dimensional mobile igus® E-Chain® systems from the Triflex® R series in the dragon robot’s trail, neck, and legs provide a memorable stage experience”.
2010/08/09, On August 7, 2010 Josef Pielmeier [personnel management] welcomed 38 graduates on behalf of training director Manfred Huber, along with the trainers, in the training center of the Zollner main plant in Zandt. As a representative of the company management, Ludwig Zollner, head of Human Resources & Automotive, expressed his congratulations for the outstanding exam results.
Along with the business graduates, graduates who will occupy the job areas of electronics technicians for devices & systems, industrial mechanics, and IT specialists attended the official presentation of the skilled worker’s certificate. The written and practical final exams at the IHK Hannover were held between May through mid-July 2010.
The above-average overall results confirm our company’s standing as one of the foremost training facilities in eastern Bavaria. In his address, Ludwig Zollner focused on the central importance of solid vocational training. “With a willingness to commit to lifelong learning, workers of the future can avail themselves of a great many career opportunities in our global companies”, noted the board member.
2010/07/09, The graduation, in which 93 graduates from the first training class at the Chien-Shiung Institute in Taicang participated, was the very first of its kind. The trainees thereby officially completed their qualification as trained technicians in the machine tool technician and mechatronic engineer career tracks, roughly the equivalent of the German IHK standard.
On July 7, 2010, just after assuming office, the Minister President of Lower Saxony, David McAllister, was on hand to personally award the graduation certificates in a festive ceremony and he made sure to express his fondest wishes for future success to these pioneers of a new generation of Chinese technicians with a hand shake.
Under the mentoring partnership of the Chamber of Commerce Abroad [AHK] in Shanghai, young secondary school graduates for the first time successfully completed a three-year training program at the Chien-Shiung Institute Taicang to become qualified technicians. The training program, which is comparable to a German vocational training qualification, was certified with support from the IHK Hannover and is based on the system of dual training, in which the ratio of practical experience to theoretical training is around 2:1.
The project remains unique in China and thus offers German companies with operations in Taicang a clear competitive advantage over other business locations in the recruitment of qualified workers in the local area. Although there are certain initial professional training sites across the country, in most cases these lack a roughly equivalent practical component. The sustainability of this model of dual training in Taicang is ensured not least through the active participation in the training board of directors, which includes our own general manager. In addition, our production manager participates in the testing committee. Due to his enthusiastic participation, the other trainers have also gained experience that will be valuable for future final exams.
2010/06/18, Wednesday June 16, 2010 was the third supplier day at Carl Zeiss SMT. 42 suppliers from all over the world accepted the invitation to come to Oberkochen, including Zollner Elektronik AG.
The Carl Zeiss Group is a leading international company group in the optical and opto-electronic industry with sales revenues of approx. 2.1 billion euros in 2008/09. Carl Zeiss offers innovative solutions for such markets of the future as “Medical and Research Solutions”, “Industrial Solutions”, and “Lifestyle Products”. The company group has just over 13,000 employees world-wide, over 8,000 of them in Germany.
Carl Zeiss SMT AG is the semiconductor technology division at Carl Zeiss Group and is one of the leading manufacturers of lithograph optics, as well as light-, electron-, and ion optical inspection-, analysis-, and measurement systems. The company offers a wide range of application- and service solutions for the semiconductor technology, nanotechnology, material research, and life sciences application fields. Carl Zeiss SMT AG is headquartered in Oberkochen.
2010/04/26, In the district of Cham, some 600 girls took part in the Girls Day event for the district of Cham to get a taste of the future. For the tenth time, several companies let young up-and-coming talents get a behind-the-scenes look. The girls got a peek at wood-working and metal professions and visited the labs and factory halls. More than 30 different activities were offered at various locations all around the district. “The demand for this event is growing from year to year”, said one of the organizers.
Zollner Elektronik AG also participates in this yearly event. 20 girls interested in the electrical, mechatronics technician or industrial mechanic professions visited our training center in Zandt.
2010/05/31, The primary aim of a “career fair” is to provide a communication platform for students and companies. Such events are the place to be if you are offering or looking for graduate and post-graduate internships and job offers. For years, Zollner Elektronik AG has been represented at several university and college fairs.
Having participated for the tenth time at the “First Contact” in Deggendorf, the company representatives [PMB] received a certificate and were honored with a gift basket this April. This year, some 120 companies attended the event in Deggendorf to introduce themselves to interested students –
a clear signal from employers in terms of their demand for highly qualified personnel.
As before, our company was also there to attend the “Careerday” at the University of Amberg-Weiden [HAW]. Two representatives [PMB] were there to represent Zollner and inform fairgoers on the latest internships and career opportunities. Nearly 60 companies in attendance was proof that companies were still looking for specialists and managerial staff even in the crisis year of 2009.
2010/03/12, On 10 March 2010 the “company association of mid-sized companies in the region of Upper-Palatine and Central Franken” invited people to the Exam Forum for the trainee cycle 2009/2010. Representing Zollner Elektronik AG Dr. Josef Weber as promoter as well as two trainees took part. The trainees presented their project work to complete their trainee cycle. The following topics were part of the cycle:
„VOIP – creation of a communication platform in globally operating companies”
“Knowledge management - know- ledge transfer”
The results of these projects were shared in the forum as part of a presentation.
The two new trainees for the 2010/2011 cycle were also present to receive their project assignments.
With the objective of “qualification of juneor professionals to achieve sustained increase of innovative power” emz Hanauer, Grammer AG, Hueck Folien, and Zollner Elektronik AG founded the company association in 1991. Later other small and mid-sized businesses from the Upper-Palatine and Middle Franconia joined, so that the association is now made up of eight companies. Each year approx. 15 trainees from the participating companies deal with their assignments for 12 months, handling current topics from daily operations.
The insight that small and medium-sized businesses are confronted with the same problems regardless of industry has lead to this process as such topics can be solved more effectively within the framework of the association.
During the renovation work taking place at our works in Taicang, China, somebody had the unusual idea of designing an illuminated Zollner logo to be mounted on the wall.
Since a project management seminar for trainees had been planned for a considerable while already, it seemed to make sense to pass on the task to third-year mechatronics trainees, in consultation with the head of the Taicang training centre and the AHK [Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abroad] Shanghai. This was the first activity of its kind since the college was founded.
Technical supervision was provided by the Strategic Purchasing and Production departments at Taicang as well as trainers at the college. The first step was for the trainees to organise a kick-off meeting to answer the following questions: what appearance should the logo have? What material should it be made of? What technical requirements does it need to fulfil?
What was certain was that the Zollner logo should be unmissable. So it made sense to select a design that incorporated indirect illumination using the latest LED technology. It also had to have a ticker operated by a programmable logic controller. The front panel and casing were made of high-quality brushed aluminium.
2010/02/26, Each year, Zollner launches approx. 3000 products for around 600 customers with lot sizes starting from 1 - with no upper limit - following the customer’s product cycle. Hence, Zollner has to adapt lot sizes, depending on the quantities, and organize its manufacturing capacities on the basis of the pull-principle.
The system Tecnomatix from Siemens PLM Software supports in terms of software – a platform following the principle of the Digital Factory, which Zollner is going to introduce at all sites after a pilot project has been completed successfully.
Tecnomatix provides flexible planning, analysis and administration of manufacturing processes for entire lines and individual operations. At the same time, the platform supports the intensification of Zollner’s Lean-Management approach.
“We have to control a wide range of branches, products and lot sizes. Meanwhile, price and delivery times determine the market. Achieving this goal will be decisive for success. “For this, we need tools, providing standards and more stable processes, which make us faster and more flexible” said Roland Heigl, Head of Dept. Process Planning at Zollner. The decision in favour of Tecnomatix was taken during a Benchmark project, a live test lasting for several months.
“The successful application of the Tecnomatix Software in a pilot project and the optimization of several, already existing, small production processes at the same time, led to significant savings” Heigl explains. Zollner is going to introduce the platform at the German sites step by step. The idea is that a three-man team, being responsible for the Digital Factory in the headquarters in Zandt, Bavaria, trains the worldwide 50 process planners in how to use the software in order to implement it in each production site in the medium-term.
Convincing pilot project
In order to evaluate the benefit, gained by the use of the Digital Factory, in “black and white” and to exactly adapt the system to the requirements, Zollner implemented Tecnomatix in a pilot project working on a real order.
Based on this, Zollner switched a new production line to the pull principle using the means of the Digital Factory. The customer product, a complex electronic apparatus, consisting of 1200 components was still at the stage of development so that the process planners had to consider ongoing changes.
The planning comprised the reduction of unnecessary stock, a flow production with flexible standing workplaces as well as an external material supply through the logistics personnel. Disadvantages, such as pre-assembly stations, unnecessary storage areas and rigid sitting workplaces had to be eliminated.
„The complexity of current technical changes, new process parameters, highest quality requirements and in addition the pressure of time in regards to the product, have provided optimum conditions to completely exploit the performance potential of the Digital Factory” Heigl expressed.
The result was consistently convincing, we were even able to retrospectively incorporate the obtained knowledge into product design and process optimization”.
More customer orientation through standardisation
“In addition to the efficiency of the production lines, the software platform also helps us to further improve the quality of the core services for the customers”, says Alois Mahr, Head of Dept. Digital Planning at Zollner. Through the possibilities for standardization which Tecnomatix offers, as well as the building up of libraries for the documentation of approved solutions, the experience of the EMS-company goes into each and every new planning project: “Thus, our learning curve shows a steep course. We are able to speed up a project and achieve a high quality level“, said Mahr.
Calculation of cycle times for the customer, MTM determination of times as well as line balance is done more precise and with only little effort. Several different concepts can be compared; the specific advantages can be validated, be brought together and worked out in detail. Since any weak points, being identified already at the planning stage of the virtual line, can be eliminated, the actual installation shall be accelerated. Costly and time-consuming rework as well as delays in the starting up does not occur.
Thus, Zollner can not only identify further saving potential but also provide more precise planning in a much faster way. This makes it possible to further improve the customer orientation and minimize the overall risk. The comprehensive knowledge regarding planning details offers advantages already when making an offer: “A 3D-visualisation simulation of an entire production line also convinces new customers”, explains Mahr.
Even before placing an order, potential customers are provided with detailed information regarding the possible implementation and thus are able to choose the optimal model from several versions and concepts. Hence, they can decide according to criteria other than just costs. “This transparency increases the quality of consultancy, openness and precision and fosters the confidence of our new customers” says Heigl.
Using the possibilities of the “Digital Factory”, Zollner has already succeeded in getting a major order which is of strategic significance.