What makes mass production so flexible that it can meet individual demands?
The cosmetics manufacturer Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. KG can manufacture different products on one single machine thanks to Siemens technology, enabling individual demands to be met.
The future of manufacturing. Today.
Small production volume – high flexibility
Fast and efficient – or customized and flexible. When it comes to consumer goods production, “either/or” used to be an unbreakable rule. Hard- and software from Siemens offers a new generation of machines no longer limited to strict either/or scenarios.
Cosmetics maker Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. KG uses an advanced solution from Siemens and OPTIMA to maximize filling and packaging production efficiency.
In the past 1 product = 1 machine was the rule for filling and packaging lines. At best, a machine retool could be done to adapt new products, but this meant long, costly, and idle set-up times.
The machine builder Optima Consumer GmbH now uses advanced technology from Siemens offering a radically new approach to flexibility: one machine that can produce low volumes with increased productivity, and which is quickly and easily converted to accommodate the next product. Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. KG, the first user, was able to dramatically reduce set-up times. The single machine currently manages five different products at one time and is continuously learning to accommodate more.
This radical advance in mass production is made possible by two innovations:
1. The Multi-Carrier-System, which functions to more intelligently convey goods through the line compared to a classic production line. Where required, each single product may be modified individually.
2. A smart software concept from Siemens that provides the necessary intelligence for this type of dynamic control. Making it possible for the entire system to be highly automated, yet very flexibly.
Together, these innovations comprise a revolution in mechanical engineering.
New standards were also set in the planning, development and commissioning of the machine by the Optima Consumer GmbH, Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. KG and Siemens teams: The plant was largely developed and tested virtually. This way, the complex interplay of all the components is rehearsed and optimized on the digital twin long before the machine is actually built. The result: The time from concept to production-ready machine is considerably decreased.
Everyone wants to have an individual solution. It goes without saying that this requires us to think in a completely different way regarding machine building issues.
Intelligent software and modern control change the game in mechanical engineering.
Producing different varieties of a product on one production line – the multi-carrier system that Siemens has developed for OPTIMA makes this possible.
Smart and flexible factories
Production lines with the multi-carrier system can be flexibly set-up to create different product variants.
The modular design and individual control of the carriers make this happen. The production process can be adapted to each customer's order, quickly and more efficiently.
Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. KG fills bottles of varying sizes with different ingredients for various brands. Thanks to the Siemens Multi-Carrier-System, all of these variations can be manufactured on the same line. Each individual bottle is transported through the production process on an individual carrier. This increases line throughput and speeds up production.
Integrated RFID tags ensure that each individual carrier in the Multi-Carrier-System is trackable via a unique ID number. This way each carrier can be individually controlled as it makes its way through the manufacturing process. Each carrier can be grouped or isolated so that they are synchronized with the overall production process.
The future of manufacturing is speed, flexibility and variability. Companies like cosmetics manufacturer Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. KG must handle different product types in different sized batches at any given time. With the Multi-Carrier-System that Siemens integrated into the OPTIMA machine, manufacturers can accomplish this very quickly and with greater flexibility – because the system is adapted to the products and not the products to the system.
The intuitive operation of the system ensures fast and convenient set-up. This makes it possible to economically produce different product types, enabling companies to grow with new product types and serve customers individually.
The production of different product types used to mean different equipment or costly set-ups. Now, with the Siemens multi-carrier system, customer specific product variations are no longer a problem. Custom versions of a product can easily be produced on the same line in a much shorter time.
Step into the future of manufacturing
Industry software solutions from Siemens link the virtual and real worlds. They enable efficient and networked production environments, shorten time-to-market for innovative products, and dispense with the need for costly prototypes.