The term “ambivalence” is currently being redefined in switchgear production. Short delivery times go hand in hand with high cost pressures and high quality demands with a wide range of production variants. So what is the answer? Switchgear manufacturer Meurer-etechnik started by breaking out of the usual mindset in panel building and switchgear – too different, too expensive, too overthought. Managing Director Dietmar Meurer: “However, what’s much more important is considering whether in three, five or ten years’ time, we will still be able to compete or even survive on the market without state-of-the-art automation technology!” Meurer-etechnik will, that’s for sure! Nestled in the Westerwald mountains in Germany, the company has been consistently investing in automation and digitalization. Even the one-off effects are impressive, culminating in 30 per cent higher throughput of enclosures in one year.
Thanks to its new Perforex BC machining centre from Rittal, Meurer-etechnik carries out all drilling, milling and thread tapping work on panels and enclosures on a fully automated basis. Manual activities – the most time-consuming elements of this vital link in the value chain – have been eliminated. Furthermore, while CNC machining has been taken to a whole new level with the Perforex, another striking development is the carefully considered consistency of all data in the product creation process.
Once Meurer-etechnik has received a customer order for a specific type of enclosure, the electrical engineering work is carried out in Eplan P8. Ultimately, Eplan Pro Panel software is used to create a three-dimensional enclosure design – the digital twin. This software tool provides all the information and drawings relevant for manufacturing and transfers this data to both the Perforex for machining the enclosure parts and the fully automated wire processing machine, which churns out ready-to-use wiring harnesses complete with labels and clear markings. “We need consistent, digitalized and, most importantly, networked systems so we can establish lean processes,” says Meurer.