Precision that results from experience
Whenever Stefanie Franke – the Managing Director of MEWA GmbH since January 2008 – turns her attention to digitalisation in her company, she usually finds herself thinking about the automated sequences for the company’s machines and the management, networked devices and digitalised processes. The medium-sized company from the Magdeburg suburb of Börde in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt is rising to the challenges posed by digitalisation on a step-by-step basis.
Rising from the ashes of the former Einkaufs- und Liefergenossenschaft des metallverarbeitenden Handwerks (ELG) – the GDR-era purchasing and supply cooperative for the metal processing trade – the company MEWA GmbH specialises on the manufacturing of precision components in the area of metals processing, primarily rail vehicle construction and medical technology. “We do not go in for mass production or one specialist product,” explains Stefanie Franke. The family-run company processes raw materials into precision products in accordance with its customers’ specific requirements. Its portfolio encompasses all of the standard metal processing services: from turning, milling, lasering, cutting and trimming to the processing of inserts, welding at the highest level of certification, pressing, CAD/CAM, gluing, anodizing, galvanizing and zinc-coating, through to painting according to DB specifications and powder coatings. “Since we come from the area of trade, we have experience when it comes to materials. We are able to assess what is feasible and can also directly offer alternatives. Despite all of the production planning that we manage, since we are a family business, we are also able to respond on a flexible basis. That is what distinguishes us from our competitors.”
Digitalisation on the basis of small steps
At the medium-sized company in the charming village of Klein Wanzleben, the process of digitalisation is long since under way. Its initial step along this path was the investment in a new machine park. “In response to the expanding requirements, we decided to completely renew our machines,” explains Stefanie Franke. Among others, this includes the blank-forming press and the plate shears, which have now been in use since the end of last year.
With the new machines, the company’s work processes have also changed. In the area of quality management, the company focuses on process optimisations, the reduction of throughput times and the more cost-efficient manufacturing of the precision components. “The re-certification of our quality management is much more than just a document to us, it is part of our day-to-day business,” explains Uwe Franke, Project Manager for Quality Management.
A journey which is far from over
The company MEWA GmbH views the increasing pace of digitalisation as an opportunity, and already has plans for how it can configure its working processes in the future: “With our supplier of inserts, we are currently researching the extent to which we can use digitalisation in our collaboration and during the processing of inserts. This could involve, for example, the weighing of the parts and the automatic triggering of an order when the minimum quantity is achieved. In terms of digitisation, this is a very important area for us.”
The company is set to present its individual precision components at the trade fair HANNOVER MESSE for the first time. “We still don’t see ourselves as being a manufacturing company. We are also retailers. Strategically, we are planning to increase the share of our business accounted for by manufacturing over the years to come. For this purpose, we want to use the Hannover trade fair as a springboard,” explains Stefanie Franke.
Image caption: with the portal milling machine, the effective processing of products made from aluminium, plastic and wood is possible.
Author : Jennifer Koch