Series: How to optimise your control cabinet construction[Sponsored]

Part 4: Partial automation reduces costs and ensures flexibility

A workstation in the switch cabinet construction that is optimized for all actions should not be underestimated as a cost reducer in the production process.
A workstation in the switch cabinet construction that is optimized for all actions should not be underestimated as a cost reducer in the production process. (Source: Weidmüller)

The average control cabinet manufacturers have to reduce costs if they want to remain competitive. They should coordinate their production processes holistically and harmonise them in the best possible way. To produce even batch sizes of 1 quickly, it is necessary to make changes along the entire process chain, as shown in the series "How to optimise your switch cabinet construction". Since you have already learnt about the importance of data consistency, norms and standards, you will now discover how thoroughly designed partial automation can bring about noticeable efficiency gains.

Especially small and medium-sized companies can benefit from semi-automated manufacturing in control cabinet construction. A look at the assembly of cables clearly shows these benefits. A comparison of the three possible production processes - manual, semi-automated and fully automated - shows where savings can be realized. Participants in the study "Control cabinet construction 4.0" consider the semi-automated pre-assembly of cables to offer particularly high potential for cost savings. If you balance the advantages and disadvantages of all three production types, the following results can be expected: Mid-sized investments, excellent quality, high flexibility and reduced production time are the main arguments in favour of semi-automated production. Moreover, manual assembly takes a lot of time and requires considerable investments and fully automated assembly offers limited flexibility.

How to optimise your control cabinet construction – Part 1

Workplace Solutions

How to optimise your control cabinet construction – Part 1

04/09/2019 - Control cabinet construction makes up a considerable part of mechanical engineering. In times of increasing international competition and rising cost pressure, manufacturers of control cabinets need to coordinate their processes in a holistic and optimised manner. Only then can they react flexibly to inquiries and ensure speedy production even for batch sizes of 1. read...

Packaging system increases efficiency

The software-controlled Wire Processing Center from Weidmüller, WPC for short, illustrates how this can be done in practice. It provides medium-sized control cabinet manufacturers with ample opportunities to minimise production errors and increase efficiency by up to 80 % - while maintaining maximum flexibility.

This modular assembly system consists of cable processing machines and industrial printers. A special software communicates with the respective modules via the existing interfaces. A planning tool ensures optimal data consistency: The CAE data from engineering is adopted and used to execute cable processing orders. Manual transfer errors can be avoided in this way.

The WPC gives users maximum freedom in data entry, process control and component integration – e.g. cable feeding, cable sorting and additional printers.

This allows scheduled projects to be processed in a simple and flexible manner.

Part 2: Digital data consistency accelerates control cabinet construction

Series: How to optimise your control cabinet construction

Part 2: Digital data consistency accelerates control cabinet construction

27/09/2019 - In the first part of our series, you learned that an increase in the productivity of control cabinet construction can only be achieved if all aspects of the value-adding process are considered holistically. If the optimisation potential of the interfaces connecting individual process steps is fully exploited, the costs of production automatically decrease. read...

Small savings make themselves felt as a whole

Not only software and automatic machines can save expensive production time, but also improvements in ergonomics and efficiency at the workplace can contribute to this. In classic control cabinet construction, 72 % of the working time is spent on mechanical assembly and wiring. By improving the efficiency of these steps by 10 %, the manufacturing costs can be significantly reduced. A tool chest developed according to 5 Sigma and Lean principles and specially designed for control cabinet construction allows just that. The four "small" measures of standard tools, special tools, tidy workplaces and daily tool control quickly add up to a 10 % increase in efficiency. Studies have shown that in this way, total savings of 40 minutes per day are possible.

The following does not only apply to control cabinet construction: Everything has its place. In the workshop, this means that every tool, be it a standard tool or a rarely used special tool, should have its own fixed position on or in the tool chest. Standard tools should be positioned within easy reach, and tools that are frequently used together should be placed close to each other. Compared to a workplace that has not been optimised, individual work steps can be carried out more quickly: The worker needs less time for searching, accessing, tidying up and checking.

Part 3: Standards and standardisation improve safety

Series: How to optimise your control cabinet construction

Part 3: Standards and standardisation improve safety

21/10/2019 - In the of our series “How to optimise your control cabinet construction” you learned that productivity can only be increased if all aspects of the value-added process are considered in their entirety. The second part of the series illustrates the importance of ensuring digital data consistency in control cabinet construction. In this third article, we show you how standards and standardisation help to increase safety and efficiency. read...

Mobile workstations in the factory

There is another detail that reduces unproductive idle times during a working day: Recesses in foam inserts provide a clear overview at the end of each shift: Is a tool missing? And if so, which one? Additionally, it is useful to mark devices with MultiCard markers and QR codes. They allow users to forward data to the online catalogue with additional information. And: Such a tool chest can be equipped to meet individual requirements and can be additionally fitted with automatic machines and printers. In this way, intelligent mobile production stations in a factory can be designed to suit the respective processes.

Conclusion

The cost reducing potential of a control cabinet workplace that has been optimised in all respects should not be underestimated. Together with the work steps of semi-automated wiring and pre-assembly, such as cutting to length, stripping and crimping of cables, expensive work and time expenditure required for recurring activities can be significantly reduced.

In the 5th part of the series "How to optimise your control cabinet construction" you will learn how to further improve the work processes in the control cabinet.

For more information please visit: weidmüller.com/workplace.