The Industry 4.0: a sure thing - but how? The company JS Lasertechnik GmbH, which is based in the town of Stendal in the Altmark region of Saxony-Anhalt, has found an appropriate answer to this question: an innovative enterprise resource planning system (ERP system) which supports and links together all of the running business processes in the company.
From the smallest cutting orders through to complete sheet metal cladding of shunting locomotives, the specialist for professional stainless steel and metal processing manufactures practically everything that the areas of mechanical engineering, motor vehicles and shipbuilding, as well as other sectors, require. The range of products and services offered by the Stendal company ranges from fully automatic flat-bed- and pipeline laser cutting through to sheet metal forming, to assembly group and large-scale series manufacturing The range of products and services is complemented by collaborations with innovative partners that allow the company to offer a customized solution for any problem.
Panels with a thickness of between 0.25 and 25 millimetres and a length of 6.0 metres are brought into shape with considerable precision and high quality craftsmanship. The CNC-supported laser cutting technology allows for the implementation of contours to within one tenth of a millimetre. Four lasers process panels with an XXL size up to 6.0 x 2.5 metres while a tandem folding machine enables the processing of panels with a maximum length up to 8.0 metres. There are few other companies that can handle dimensions of this kind. “Our team is highly qualified and receives training on a continuous basis so that we can provide our customers with professional support and considerable experience from the first idea to the large-scale series production,” explains Managing Director Jens Schumacher.
The company’s innovative tube laser is particularly impressive. The 5-axis cutting head of this laser is able to process round tubes that are up to 254 millimetres in diameter with different cuts, openings and bevel cuts of up to 45 degrees, as well as square, U and L profiles. In this way, pipe joint systems for flexible cable routing or pipe plug systems for scaffolding are created, for example. The cutting machines process steel, stainless steel and aluminium. The best reference project for this special production technology from JS Lasertechnik: the dome of the Zeiss large planetarium in Berlin, the frame construction of which was made using the company's tube laser.
To be able to implement this broad offering, the company has given its internal processes a clear structure. Hundreds of different components run through the production process each week. In this respect, an ERP system provides for the necessary overview. It networks all of the computers and machines and tracks every order until its delivery. An example: when the company receives a new order, first of all, it is created in the system. On the basis of the current backlog of orders, the personnel capacities and other factors, the ERP system automatically determines the degree of capacity utilization in the company, from which it is then able to calculate a reliable date of delivery. "Above all, this serves the purpose of adherence to deadlines. We can then plan our capacities well and make reliable deliveries," emphasizes the Managing Director.
For this to work, the ERP system always needs to know what is happening in the production halls at a given moment. The laser specialists achieve this with the use of light. Each workstation in the production halls is equipped with a hand-held scanner which is connected to the internal network. The hand-held scanners serve as a means of communication. They provide the ERP system with feedback about which order is currently being processed at which station.
Managing Director Jens Schumacher has been using this innovative system ever since the company was founded in 2007. In the beginning, the business only had a few modules, since when it started life, JS Lasertechnik had just three employees and mainly operated as a service provider for smaller, regional metalworking companies and locksmiths. "The bigger we got, the more tasks we transferred to our ERP system. The software grew along with the company, so to speak," explains Schumacher. Today, the company manufactures for companies located all over Germany and is considering expanding its presence to foreign markets as well. Its number of employees has increased to 66, and in the summer of 2015, the Stendal-based business launched another production location in Gommern near the city of Magdeburg.
Incidentally: at this year's HANNOVER MESSE, JS Lasertechnik Group will once again be bringing along its very own “Roland of Stendal”, which it will put on show at the joint stand for the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The miniature steel reproduction of the knight’s statue which stands before the Town Hall in the Hanseatic city of Stendal is made out of 200 individual steel sheets that have been placed on top of each other and attached to a tubular skeleton. "Our Roland isn’t just an ornament with which we want to express our love for our home town, it’s primarily an exhibit that perfectly combines the many attributes of our vertical range of manufacturing," explains the company's marketing director, Mats-Milan Müller.
Author: Beate Hagen