Case Study at Georg Jordan Co.

Testimonials

"I cannot imagine scheduling without Asprova anymore...”

Bernd Wacker, Head of IT

 

Company Profile:

The Georg Jordan GmbH, a traditional, medium-sized company based in Siegburg, operates as an international manufacturer of insulators and insulation fittings for the electrical and rail industry with a combined 380 employees in Germany and its subsidiary in Malaysia.

 

Products:

Electrical insulators – with more than 2,000 product variants

 

Processes:

Two types of production processes exist: A vacuum process for small quantities (lot sizes of 1-250, manual processing) and a pressure gelation process for large scale production

Bernd Wacker, Head of IT at Georg-Jordan GmbH

The process chain: from resin production to 100 %-quality checks

Initial Situation

  • From the late sixties, production has always been manually scheduled by an employee. The results have thus been completely dependent on man, with no standardization.
  • Available shapes, cavities, machinery, employees and various routes can not be managed efficiently in this way.
  • Due to the high number and variety of orders, it is impossible to synchronize processes.
  • This resulted in push-production, because the number of orders started with the first process (pressure gelation) was maximized. Downstream process capacities were not considered.
  • Further, high capital commitment developed with high numbers of semi-finished products, which were stored in aisles.
  • And long stagnation periods led to long processing times.
  • Finally, large amounts of raw materials needed to be kept as a result of inaccurate planning, often containing expensive core parts - while other parts went missing!

A Vacuum Area

Challenges and Planning Complexity

The vacuum casting process with four manual production lines:

  • Most of the aforementioned challenges apply to vacuum process as well.
  • Vacuum casting processes need to be synchronized with downstream processes, which vary depending on product.
  • Pressure gelation forms are limited in capacity due to standardization. Iin scheduling a pressure gelation process, capacitiy needs to be considered on four levels, including the pressure gelation machine, molds, cavities, and workers.
  • Increased work load needs to be considered in scheduling for post-processing of vacuum castings over pressured gelation parts.

The heat treatment process includes twenty ovens:

  • Pressure gelated parts that have cured until 4:00 pm may be transferred into the annealing oven for further processing. Such are available and ready for further processing on the next day at 6:00 am.

Prioritizing Orders:

  • Customer orders are of higher priority than warehouse orders for popular catalog products.

Pressure Gelation Process on Thirty Machines:

  • Every item can be processed on alternative and prioritized machines. Repositioning an order to a suitable and available machine is a difficult matter.
  • Pressure gelation molds are identical at some points, and only available in limited numbers. This needs to be considered during scheduling.
  • Processing times differ vastly, depending on shape.
  • Pressure gelation machines require long set ups (four to eight hours), depending on the molds used.
  • During operation of pressure gelation machines, the operatore needs to forward finished parts, clean the mold, assemble head and foot plates, and then insert new core parts. This needs to be considered in scheduling.
  • Maintenance intervals and resulting unavailability of pressure gelation forms need to be considered in scheduling, too.
  • Curing time varies for each product.

The Solution with Asprova

The above mentioned process and planning restrictions are registered in Asprova by parameterization without any programming.

  • The bottleneck process (mechanical production) determines the starting time of upstream processes and of pressure gelation- and vacuum casting processes.
  • Schedules created in Asprova are based on finite resource capacities, including those of machines, molds, cavities, devices, and employees.
  • Necessary machine and mold maintenance times (duration, capacity, etc.) are considered automatically by the fully customizable and adjustable scheduling logic.
  • Asprova takes buffer times for all resources and products into account.
  • Asprova is connected to the ERP system. Order, work instructions, and inventory stocks are managed therein, and then exported to Asprova.
  • Process restrictions and planning restrictions that cannot be mapped in the ERP system are mapped in Asprova.
  • After establishing a connection with the production data feedback system, production status from pressure gelation process machines can be exported to Asprova. At the end of a shift, manual procedures are booked in the PDA system and then automatically exported Asprova.
  • Production results can be mapped in real-time.
  • Dynamic production planning allows for daily updating, which helps manage delays that may be caused by disturbances in a production process.
  • The planning method becomes completely automated.
  • Detailed sequence diagrams are issued for all resources, which is the basis of process synchronization.
  • Material provision for up to 4,000 casting parts (core parts) is considered.

Employees receive meaningful and accurate information regarding daily routines in their teams, as well as status messages from previous shifts - all graphically displayed on flat-screens.

Results

  • Reliable delivery dates
  • Superior delivery performance over competitors
  • Reduced inventory stocks by 45 %
  • Drastically reduced production lead time
  • Improved resource efficiency
  • Simulation of existing and planned orders
  • Simulation of past, current and future orders in arbitrary logics and views
  • Bottleneck process identification through visualization and evaluation. Push production is eliminated through bottleneck-oriented planning.
  • Early problem recognition through dynamic simulation.
  • Preparation of detailed work orders (sequencing) for all resources
  • Timely provision of forms
  • Significant reduction in raw material inventory stocks and high-quality core parts
  • Increased spacial efficiency (clean hallways)
  • Resource and order prioritizing
  • Employee-indipendent, standardized planning method
  • Automated planning