Armbruster Engineering in "Discover Germany:

Assistance systems in manufacturing environments – a guidepost for industry 4.0

In order to avoid defects during an increasing number of variants in manual production processes and to secure globally consistent quality, electronic assistance systems are increasingly required for production today. The Bremen-based company Armbruster Engineering offers an industry 4.0–solution which is well-reputed on the market: its ELAM-platform.

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The ultimate goal of each manufacturing company is to constantly produce quality products – even under difficult circumstances. For this reason, more and more interactive, electronic assistance systems with corresponding assistive devices, such as a scanner or a pick to light display, are deployed at workplaces. Through this, production processes become notedly more reliable and efficient and the obligation to provide information about product results can be guaranteed.

The interactive assistance system from Armbruster Engineering with its range of functions, as well as its tailor-made operating instructions, complies with the most difficult but, at the same time, the most important part of a secured process execution – the gradually monitored assembly. Employees get directed through various visualisations with text, pictures and drawings on their screens and in their languages.

The ELAM-system is suitable for all industrial manufactories in which employees manually assemble components into products. It is especially profitable when fluctuant quantities and several versions get manufactured. “The ELAM-platform works everywhere where processes can’t at all or can only partly be automated,“ explains Henning Vogler, the technical manager. The ELAM-system gives employees the right information in the right place and at the right time – throughout the factory and at all required locations. Thereby, the ELAM-system is easily adjusted to a clients‘ needs.

The company foundation and the ELAM-system (Executive Level for Assembly Manufacturing processes) resulted from the need of many clients to control manual assembling processes. “A crucial success factor for us was and still is the strong focus on innovations,” stresses Norbert Armbruster, founder of Armbruster Engineering.

At the beginning of developing ELAM, linking tools, process documentation and traceability were focussed. Today, comprehensive assistance functions and document presentations for paperless production are available in the ELAM-platform.

In order to further design and shape the ELAM-system in the future, Armbruster Engineering constantly works on innovating all components to always be one step ahead of the market. For this, Armbruster Engineering falls back on its long-term experience which it gained through many nationally and internationally successful projects throughout different sectors.

The ELAM-system is able to control a company’s entire production process from order picking in the warehouse, over the assembly at the workplace, to quality control and complete traceability through the saved production data. This helps employees to also orientate themselves during difficult processes and creates an ideal production environment for accurate and error-free operations. The system can be used in companies of every size as it is very adaptable. Airbus, Daimler, Voith and Volkswagen rank among Armbruster Engineering’s most known clients but also much smaller businesses chose Armbruster Engineering’s IT Systems.

“A total changeover to a digitalised and paper-free assembly department is a huge investment for many companies. That’s why we often start off with pilot projects and begin with individual work steps,” says Henning Vogler. Thereby, ELAM can be set up at different levels - from compact assembly solutions with simple assistance systems up to industrial manufacturing systems for the factory-wide equipment of workstations. Armbruster Engineering acts as general contractor during these projects. From Bremen the company provides its own software and hardware from selected manufacturers, adjusts this with the processes on-site and integrates it into existing IT infrastructures if wished. Additional workshops and training courses help employees to deal with the software and prepare them for independent adaptions after the system got put into operation.

“Today, more and more manufacturers demand the entire documentation of the production process from their suppliers,” tells Vogler. “At the same time, error rates and the need for training efforts decrease with the ELAM-system and efficiency increases. We have already been on the market with ELAM for 15 years and have established ourselves in everyday production processes.” One of the biggest challenges for every producing company in digitalisation, according to Vogler, is the handling of rapidly growing data volume. However, due to its connectivity to production planning systems and to software, such as SAP, the ELAM-system is optimally prepared for the challenges of industry 4.0.

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