WERMA Signaltechnik GmbH + Co.KG
Professional factory planning, construction support, and occupation – a new hall for WERMA Signaltechnik
Professional factory planning prepares the ground for shorter cycle times
WERMA Signaltechnik GmbH + Co. KG in Rietheim-Weilheim near Tuttlingen recently commissioned a new production hall. Ingenics helped to manage and support the integrated factory concept from the initial strategic needs analysis to occupation of the building. This investment of around EUR 8.5 million is intended to secure continued dynamic sales growth and to create more jobs in the company’s home location. The additional spare space can be seen as a promise of future development.
- General development planning for a new building
- Strategic needs analysis
- Process analysis
- Production analysis
- Value stream and material flow analysis
- Optimization of logistics processes
- Hall layouts with target variants
- Workshops to define target variants
WERMA Signaltechnik is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of optical and audible signal devices that makes work environments involving machines and systems, factories, and other buildings safer and more efficient. Of a global workforce totaling 310 people, some 270 are employed at the company headquarters in Baden-Württemberg. The idea of an “integrated factory” is a distinctive feature of WERMA. This includes pre-production, plastics manufacturing, electronics mounting, and assembly. Highest demands are placed on assembly and logistics given fast-growing quantities and a very large number of variants of more than 3,500 products.
Fifteen years after Ingenics optimized a finished goods warehouse for WERMA, the consultancy once again managed to fend off competition in a contest between invited service providers. This time, the project was to expand the factory – an inevitable development due to dynamic growth. The management was keen to have thorough plans, determine precise needs, and optimize target processes accordingly. In 2012 the head of production, construction project manager, and general manager worked with Ingenics to begin creating the “Factory 2022” scenario from the bottom up, analyzing production and determining relevant processes. As planned, a new production hall was commissioned four years later.
In the factory and production planning department at Ingenics AG, the first stage of general development planning involved Andreas Ott, project director, and Andrea Zolota , project manager. When it became clear that a new building would have to be developed with ambitious contemporary industrial architecture, Jörg Halbauer took over project management as he holds a degree in architectural studies. General planning was detailed, entailing a systematic analysis of production, value stream, and material flows with respect to elements that add value, including cycle times. At the same time, strategic areas of action were defined so that it was possible to develop an ideal situation and agree on target variants in a workshop.
The company site offered space for a version of the new building that could be developed in a northwesterly direction as far as the adjacent highway. Current space requirements and future needs in terms of specialist workers and machinery were determined based on a variety of scenarios. The first step was to establish six hall layout variants in order to focus on two target variants. Once the final version had been decided, design parameters were so firmly set in stone that it was possible to dispense with a competition and commission an architect directly.
When the first part of the new production area (covering 4,100 square meters) was occupied, it was clear that all construction and relocation work was fully on schedule. Following the relocation of plastic production at the start of 2016, the assembly line, electronics production, and toolmaking departments followed one at a time. Since material flows changed considerably as a result of the move, as predicted, logistics processes were also optimized.
A significant aspect of the planning was to create reserve space – not as a consequence of wasteful capacity planning, of course, but as an important promise of future development. In this way, anticipated growth up to 2022 can be accommodated, and even building technology is prepared for any conceivable expansion.
In addition to thoughts about the future, aesthetic reasons tipped the balance in favor of a new hall constructed all at once. Last but not least, this decision also made it possible to switch to a modern energy management system with a comprehensive heat recovery concept that makes optimal use of waste heat from all processes in the new and old buildings.