Munsch Plastic Welding Technology has specialized in the manufacture of handlable tools for welding thermoplastics for around 40 years and is now regarded as the world’s leading supplier. The products are developed, produced and tested in Ransbach-Baumbach in the Westerwald region of Germany. The plastic hand-welding extruders and hot wedge welding machines are used all over the world.
In addition to production, the range of services offered by the family business includes the repair of these devices. In order to automate the repair process in the sense of more efficiency and higher customer satisfaction, the various process steps have been digitalized. The entire process from the submission of the defective extruder, the analysis of the need for repair, the preparation of the cost estimate (CT) and delivery to the customer, the initiation of the repair after approved CT, to packaging/goods issue of the repaired unit was mapped. The booking of the individual steps is supported by barcodes and corresponding scanners by the employees in the workshop.
The next step is the visualization of the information.
“We started with a so-called card board, a magnetic board on which the various stages of the repair process are displayed. Each repair order was depicted on a kind of business card, printed out, attached to the card board and forwarded depending on the processing status. However, the board was almost never up to date because the repositioning of the cards was done too late or not at all. With this method, we missed the actual goal of providing more transparency in the process,”
explains Oliver Herz, Head of Application Development at the MUNSCH Group. The media break between the digitized recording of the process steps and the manual method of visualizing the process progress had to be eliminated by introducing a digital visualization solution.
Oliver Herz own boss brought Peakboard GmbH’s visualization solution into play – an installation-free all-in-one solution in the form of a WLAN-capable, smartphone-small aluminum box with complete technology for the aggregation of data from various sources and their visualization in real time. A central server is not required, as Peakboard visualizes the data independently. Peakboard accesses a data source, for example an ERP or inventory management program directly via WLAN or LAN, aggregates the data for visualization and transmits it via HDMI cable to the desired screen, for example in the production hall. Data and visualizations can be adapted independently at any time, without external support via PC or notebook.
“I had never heard of this solution before, so I looked it up on the Internet. The idea behind the product excited me”.
Within just one day, the leading application developer of the MUNSCH Group developed and implemented a dashboard with two screens for use in the workshop.
“The support from Peakboard was also very good,” adds Herz. “The response time questions is less than one day. Also: during the implementation period, the support team regularly asked proactively if there was a need for support.”
The Microsoft SQL Server-based ERP system APplus serves as the database. The tables accessed by Peakboard are updated every five minutes. A 65-inch monitor is used as a screen. The chronological goods receipt of extruders which are in need of repair is visualized. The mechanic can thus see whether he has more new incoming goods or more approved cost estimates and prioritize what he’ll do first: Repairs or analyses of repair requirements as a basis for new cost estimates. “Or whether, if both the value for incoming goods and the value for released CTs goes up, another mechanic will have to be deployed,” adds Herz. The processing time of an order is also displayed – both the average of the year and the average value of the last completed calendar week.
In a two-minute alternation with the incoming goods screen, a list of all service orders with service number, customer, model, date of incoming goods and most recent booking is displayed – in other words, every process step in the repair process as well as the number of days since the last booking.
Thanks to Peakboard, MUNSCH not only benefits from time savings, as Herz explains:
“Our colleagues complained about the manual effort involved with the card board variant, which we had previously visualized. The elimination of the additional work by moving the cards was of course immediately well received.”
Transparency has also increased significantly.
“We are now easily visible in our process, which enables the employees to work in a structured way without having to look at any lists first. A quick glance at the screen and they know how things are currently going.”
Peakboard also contributes to the external image, as Herz reports:
“Our company philosophy includes a clean, tidy, structured workshop, where we often welcome trading partners and customers. We see the large display with the current repair status as a perfect complement to the positive appearance of our workshop. We always experience a small ‘wow-effect’ with the visitors of the workshop.”
The sister company MUNSCH Chemie-Pumpen GmbH plans to use Peakboard for process visualization in the future.
“I hung up the screen in the morning the day before my vacation. In the afternoon I already had a colleague in the office who wanted to use Peakboard for his department,” Herz concludes.