SYN] Magazine
#3 | 2019

ENERCON opts for holistic Approach to Switchgear Cabinet Production

ELEKTRIC-Schaltanlagenfertigung GmbH produces electrical components for ENERCON wind turbines. ENERCON is one of the world’s major manufacturers of wind farm equipment and has been the market leader in Germany for many years. About 200 screw connections are needed for the inverters installed on the turbines alone. Depending on the design, about 20 to 30 percent of these joints are classed as safety-critical. In order to ensure production quality, ELEKTRIC-Schaltanlagenfertigung GmbH therefore opted for a holistic approach and ordered service products from Atlas Copco Tools in addition to tightening tools. During a discussion with Mr. Wienekamp, production engineering, we talked about production requirements and presented our new “Data Driven Services” approach.

Mr. Wienekamp, your company has been cooperating with Atlas Copco Tools since 2007. That was when the first Atlas Copco controller was installed. How has the cooperation developed since then and what are the key factors in this long-term partnership?

„We have grown significantly over the years, as has our tool inventory. We were looking for a partner who could ensure that we were doing everything right. At that time, the topic of process security was especially important in order to ensure that the worker did not overlook any screws. In view of high failure rates in the test section, there was a need for action. We opted for Atlas Copco to supply products and services, as it was the market leader.“

Why is process security so important for you?

„Because of the significant variation in our products, it is very important for us to ensure that 100 percent of critical joints are properly tightened and to provide evidence that this is the case. We need to be able to defend ourselves in the case of a complaint. Where does the problem lie? What action can we take? The tightening systems make it easier to recognize these issues at an early stage so that we no longer need to take action in the field. After all, action in the field is really expensive.”

How do you ensure optimum process security?

Among other things, with our preventive maintenance approach. We have chosen short maintenance intervals, with maintenance followed by machine capability analyses. This way, we ensure the process capability of our tools. This approach has really proved itself in practice. In the intervals between scheduled maintenance, there are virtually no more tool failures. We have reached a high level of stability

So you were able to achieve a marked improvement?

„Before we introduced our preventive maintenance approach, we always sent faulty tools in for repair. This was a considerable cost item which called for a large amount of logistics work. Preventive maintenance means short throughput and reaction times, a fixed budget, planned costs, no surprises and, of course, fewer tool failures.“

Apart from preventive maintenance, have you taken any other action to optimize production? 

„In addition to the maintenance of our tools, we have also concluded a maintenance contract for the software used to document our production data. Furthermore, we use a torque wrench for quality assurance. This torque wrench is sent in for calibration once per year. Recently, we also had the parameter settings of our controllers analyzed and optimized. Our employees were sensitized to the topic of tightening tools during a training seminar. This way, we were able to significantly improve their knowledge in the field of tightening technology.“

You have adopted a holistic approach. What is your objective?

„Our target for 2019 is to introduce a “quality driving license” for our products. This also includes all tightening systems and topics in the field of production monitoring and process security. These areas still pose considerable challenges. However, when everything works properly, the benefits are clear. You have a good overview of processes and can evaluate data effectively.“

Going forward, what are your views on trends over the next five years?

„In production, the main trend is Industry 4.0. There are fewer and fewer stationary computers and everything is controlled by apps. Processes such as worker guidance and production monitoring are developed for smart phones and tablet computers.“

Industry 4.0 is the key word. What have you got to say about our new service approach “Data Driven Services“?

„That’s a quantum leap. It’s just what we need.“

What do you find so attractive about this solution?

„If a process does not run smoothly, for example because a worker has made a mistake or a new batch of components is used in production, an app like this would help me obtain up-to-date information on deviations within the process. If errors of this type are only detected at a late stage in the process, considerable reworking expenses may arise. Atlas Copco is doing very well and recognizing the trends. With the new solution, Atlas Copco is keeping abreast of the times. A clear advantage is close proximity to us, the customers. Here, Atlas Copco has the edge over its competitors.“

Learn more about the new EP3-series from ENERCON: