Efficient material handling and a high degree of flexibility and ergonomics – these are just some of the requirements that the assembly system for agricultural and industrial mixers and pumps at Franz Eisele und Söhne GmbH & Co. KG has to satisfy.
As existing structures no longer supported efficient operations, Eisele took the decision to fundamentally reconfigure its assembly systems. It also decided to pursue the principles of lean production to make economical use of both time and production equipment. That is why Eisele opted for the stable Profile Tube System D30 from item Industrietechnik GmbH. Besides ensuring that large and bulky components can be handled and moved more safely and securely, the item Lean Production Building Kit System also guarantees clear organisation and rapid access to tools and materials. What’s more, thanks to the versatility of Profile Tube System D30, the standalone work benches and assembly lines required at Eisele can be installed and subsequently modified to meet the requirements of various work bench configurations – all in a few simple steps and with very little outlay.
Franz Eisele u. Söhne GmbH & Co. KG is a market leader in Germany for the manufacture of mixers, pumps and accessories for use in the agricultural, biogas, industrial and construction sectors. Its products are manufactured from start to finish at the company’s Sigmaringen site – from CNC milling, in-house motor manufacture and assembly to painting, welding and the winding of electric motors, whether by hand or using state-of-the-art winding machines. The primary aim is to keep as much production work as possible in house and maintain quality assurance standards. As the pumps and mixers will, in some cases, be used with aggressive media over a service life of many years, they must be reliable and robust. To ensure it can make the best possible use of its production capacities, a family-run company like Eisele also needs lean production processes.
Completely reconfigured assembly area
Due to the growing demand for customised product solutions, made-to-order production has become an increasingly important focal point for Eisele. To ensure the company could be flexible in responding to fluctuating market requirements, it had to completely reconfigure its assembly facilities. The existing system, which comprised long wooden work benches with drawers that workers had to root through to find the tools they needed, was completely outmoded and not fit for the future. “In our old system, which had grown organically over the years, staff spent a lot of time looking for things, which made the assembly process itself much more costly. Given the growing pressures from tough competition, it simply was not economical for things to stay as they were,” explains Dominik Eisele, a senior executive at the company. Eisele also saw room for improvement in terms of ergonomics, as assembly staff had to lift heavy materials weighing up to 30 kg out of crates. Over time, this kind of activity represents a not insignificant physical burden. The new system would need to meet some very specific requirements. Firstly, in line with lean production principles, it would need to offer a great deal of flexibility, transparency and ergonomics and simplify and streamline material handling. Secondly, the profile tubes used would have to carry heavy loads and ensure that heavy components could be handled safely. After all, the fully assembled pumps and mixers can weigh up to 320 kg. Eisele found the perfect solution for meeting these requirements in Profile Tube System D30 from item. “item offers the ideal building kit system for Eisele. The product’s quality, stability and extendibility have all impressed us,” he explains. Despite its robustness, Line D30 is very easy to use, allowing a single person working alone to assemble stable factory equipment in next to no time and make subsequent modifications with outstanding flexibility. As Profile Tube System D30 is fully compatible with the item MB Building Kit System, users can utilise a whole range of additional combination options when designing structures. Another advantage is the use of aluminium, which makes the profiled tubes of Line D30 much lighter than steel alternatives and means they can be fitted in various positions and angles.
Improved material flow and reduced throughput times
Eisele is using Profile Tube System D30 to configure lean-optimised factory equipment, such as racks that ensure even heavy components can be removed with ease, thanks to the use of roller conveyors. These racks and the material and tool trolleys that ensure everything is clearly organised and in easy reach are constructed using item components. By also using Line 8 profiles from item, Eisele can enhance the stability of the factory equipment it builds, thereby accounting for the higher maximum loads. The system gives assembly staff the freedom they need to adjust and reconfigure their workplaces to suit their specific personal needs. As a result, staff benefit from being involved in designing their own ergonomic work benches. What’s more, Eisele has used the Lean Production Building Kit System to establish a U-shaped assembly line that is subdivided into five stations. Productivity has thus increased significantly. “Thanks to these changes, material flow has improved and throughput times have dropped in the various assembly processes. We’ve also become more flexible, without having to compromise on quality,” Eisele says. Another advantage is that the assembly line can now be staffed to suit demand. For example, the company can be flexible in how it deals with its order list, which is an important factor for Eisele, as this ensures it can respond appropriately to potential external influences such as political and economic events. The assembly system can now also cope with assembling different product variants without having to bring the whole process to a halt.
The company will continue to make good use of the item product portfolio. “We have used the item products to implement a standard at the company and we are going to stick to that standard in the years ahead,” Eisele emphasises.