Efficient Plant June 2018 - 12

feature | plant profile
under way. When it came to modernizing
electronics manufacturing, Festo opted
for 3D laser scanning. This enabled the
future workstations to be planned
quickly and in detail. Surprises after
the planning phase, expensive
adjustments, and deadline extensions were all avoided because the
technical building systems were
based on real data. Any missing
dimensions were quickly and easily determined.
The placement of all the machines
began in 2013 and the area was ready
for production within 11 months. "One
of our targets was to automate with Festo
products," Kubis explained. "We have our
own automation concept. For example, in a
30-meter assembly line we developed cells.
We gave the cells to our suppliers so they
could design the process inside the cells.
This is an advantage because we can give
the orders to different suppliers so they can
build the same cell. Each cell requires the
same maintenance so this makes our maintenance plan consistent across the plant. The
look and feel of each line is the same, but
the processes may be different. Even though
they produce different products, they have
the same automation concepts."
Thirty-six percent of the facility is automated, but the bulk of Festo's business is involved with customized customer solutions
that are very specific.
"We grow the automation day by day,"
Kubis said. "There is a gray zone between
the custom orders and the high-volume
automated production. For it to be economical to invest in an automated line, you need
to produce more than 500,000 pieces per
year. Our manual-assembly systems grow
as customers want custom solutions." To
close the gap between manual and automation, Festo developed a Flex Line, which is
automation designed to produce a smaller
number of units.

12

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

The Learning Plant as an integral part of Festo's
technology plant. Employees earn qualifications and
receive training in a practical and
needs-based manner in the factory.

CREATING VALUE STREAMS
The technology plant uses "swim lanes"
that produce quick, flexible, reliable value
streams of production. The idea is to have
a production process that is harmonized
without unnecessary waiting, transport, or
idle time. Festo experts analyze the value
streams systematically in interdisciplinary
teams that span all divisions. Idle times
during the throughput of an unfinished
part-from goods received to the finished
product-can be tracked and minimized.
"In our planning process we spent a lot
of time thinking about our value streams,"
Kubis explained. "Nearly all the value
streams-or swim lanes, as we call them-
begin on the North side and flow through
to the South side with short waste in mind.
There are 140 meters for the flow of materials. We reduce our waste with material flow.
These swim lanes represent our philosophy
of production-not only for products and
product families, but also for engineering."
Design of the facility also considered

Festo's desire to plan the production before
bringing the product into the assembly and
production lines.
"The raw material comes into the
building on the North side," Kubis
explained. "It then goes through
the sawing (cutting) department
to be made into special lengths
for special orders, using a first-infirst-out technology. The material
then goes to the Machine Park. Then
it goes to the second floor for the
assembly stations. Our target is that
this value stream is very short. Transporting between stations is very short. Before
redesigning the plant, there were long and
narrow spaces with much distance between
departments."
The right design and environment is
needed to effectively use lean-manufacturing philosophies, Kubis noted. "In the past,
we had storage in another building in another village. Material had to be picked up
and transported to the production facility.
The cutting machines were in a different facility in another village and then transported back to the main location for assembly.
The material was being transported more
than it was in production."
So-called "tugger" trains ensure the
smooth flow of materials between production and logistics. These are small electric
vehicles with trailers that stop at defined
points in the production department in a
fixed cycle-similar to service buses.
To prevent bottlenecks, the factory
experts apply physicist Eliyahu Goldratt's
Theory of Constraints. Instead of improving
each partial process individually, the focus
should be on the bottleneck, according to
Goldratt. The bottleneck is specifically optimized and the process steps that preceed it
only feed material that can be processed.
From the planning stage, the Festo experts ensured a high-energy-efficiency level
on the assembly lines. The energy consump-

JUNE 2018


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant June 2018

Efficient Plant June 2018 - Cover1
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Efficient Plant June 2018 - 1
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