Software Increases Process Reliability

Metabowerke GmbH manufactures professional power tools and accessories. As a premium supplier, offering customers optimum quality is an absolute must. This company has a long tradition extending back to the first decades of the 20th century and is located in Nürtingen, Germany. With the acquisition of ZEISS PiWeb quality data management software, Metabo was able to optimize its measuring and manufacturing processes at the end of 2016.

How Metabo succeeds with ZEISS Solutions:
ZEISS CALYPSO
ZEISS PiWeb
Success:
  • Up-to-date inspection plans
  • Cable-free measuring systems
  • Quicker troubleshooting
  • Faster process control
  • Shorter set-up times

Metabo reduces sources of error with ZEISS PiWeb

The challenge: Smooth processes

In the Housing Manufacturing area at Metabowerke, various hand-operated measuring tools are in use that were previously connected via cables. Not only did this limit employees' mobility, but the cables often broke, further reducing system reliability. On top of this, data captured on the 'old' system could not be cached, which significantly increased the inspectors' workload if the measuring process was interrupted for any reason. Equally problematic was the fact that it was relatively time-consuming for employees to statistically evaluate any measurement errors. This made troubleshooting difficult and further prolonged the measuring process. The measurement plans created for each of the approximately 500 manufactured workpieces were printed out specially for employees. These printouts were then brought to the individual workstations, which meant there was sometimes a substantial time delay before measuring technicians could implement the changes.

Up until the end of 2016, employees only had access to printed versions of the inspection plans. If any characteristics were changed and the measurement plans were not altered immediately, then employees might continue the inspection using the outdated template.
Up until the end of 2016, employees only had access to printed versions of the inspection plans. If any characteristics were changed and the measurement plans were not altered immediately, then employees might continue the inspection using the outdated template.
In ZEISS PiWeb, the operator can see immediately whether or not the characteristic is within tolerance. This enables them to begin troubleshooting more quickly.
In ZEISS PiWeb, the operator can see immediately whether or not the characteristic is within tolerance. This enables them to begin troubleshooting more quickly.

The solution: ZEISS PiWeb

"Now these problems are a thing of the past," says Achim Schmid, Quality Coordinator at the Housing Technology Center. These days, if an employee is measuring the gearbox housing of a flat-head angle grinder, they just open the corresponding measurement plan in the ZEISS software. The employee moves the cursor to the appropriate field in the table and, with the push of a button, transfers this data from the manual measuring tool to the system. If the value is within the stipulated tolerance, then a green dot appears immediately. If a red dot is displayed, the measuring technician works on identifying the defect. It used to be the case that the employee would have to change software and then search for the corresponding data set in the statistics solution. Now they can view the measurement values for the previous 500 measurements just by using the report templates in ZEISS PiWeb. "This way our team sees immediately if this is an outlier or if there is a trend towards exceeded tolerances," says Schmid.

“This way our team sees immediately if this is an outlier or if there is a trend towards exceeded tolerances.“

Achim Schmid, Quality Coordinator

The benefit: Increased competitiveness

In addition to keeping the measurement plans up to date, employees no longer have to collect the necessary data for controlling their processes from differentsystems. "Now all our data are stored centrally," says Schmid. "Moreover, the layout of the ZEISS PiWeb reports are easier to use as compared to the previous solution, so we can see where the problems are more quickly." And that's not all. The ZEISS solution has also helped this mid-sized company improve machine uptime. As part of a pilot project, the company analyzed the measuring data in ZEISS PiWeb and identified four process-relevant characteristics for a workpiece, enabling them to speed up the set-up time for the manufacturing machines. If these are within tolerance, then serial production begins immediately. For the Head Foreman in Production, Uwe Forschner, one thing is clear: "The shorter setup times are already a big step towards the efficient manufacture of very small batch sizes, which would definitely increase our competitiveness."  

Forschner inspects the gearbox housing of an angle grinder, an injection-molded part that is also manufactured in Nürtingen.
Forschner inspects the gearbox housing of an angle grinder, an injection-molded part that is also manufactured in Nürtingen.
About Metabowerke GmbH

In 1924, Albrecht Schnitzler constructed the first hand-held drill, laying the foundation for today‘s Metabowerke GmbH. This company with a long tradition was acquired by Hitachi Koki, part of the Japanese Hitachi Group, in March 2016. Globally this manufacturer of professional power tools and accessories has 1,900 employees, 1,100 of whom work at Metabo‘s headquarters in the German city of Nürtingen near Stuttgart. In 2016, this mid-sized company generated revenue totaling 423 million euros. The export quota for 2016 was 80%. Metabo holds more than 700 patents and trademarks.