versiondog Simplifies Change Management for this Automotive Supplier
With standardized version control with versiondog, there is no longer any need for searching, guessing, or asking unnecessary questions at ELWEMA Automotive. This saves them a great deal of time and effort while delivering projects for vehicle manufacturers worldwide.
When Karl-Heinz Büchel talks about the benefits of versiondog he speaks of greater transparency, less time spent searching, a clearer rights structure, improved reliability, and a reduced workload. versiondog is a fast and reliable version control and automated backup software for automated production environments, and the suppliers that support them. Büchel is the Director of Control Systems & Automation at ELWEMA Automotive GmbH. Based in Ellwangen and Monschau, Germany, the company specializes in innovative and customer-specific manufacturing solutions in the areas of cleaning, testing, and assembly, particularly for engines, steering, and gearboxes in the automotive sector. Its list of clients reads like a “who’s who” of vehicle manufacturers worldwide.
ELWEMA is a technological leader in the cleaning, testing, and assembly of cylinder heads, crankshafts, and connecting rods. The company provides complete components that are then integrated into assembly lines in the automotive industry. It is part of the ELWEMA philosophy to use innovative solutions to continuously improve the standardization of work processes in the field of engine production – a philosophy they also apply to their own in-house projects. Engineering lies at the heart of ELWEMA, with 80 workers currently active in this area.
ELWEMA has stringent requirements for its systems and for data and program management for PLCs, HMIs, robotics, and configuration data. versiondog delivers the much needed clarity and transparency they need.
versiondog Brings Clarity
ELWEMA uses versiondog in the engineering and system production departments. In this environment, project-specific program versions are required to control the individual systems. Program versions include network lists, EA lists, PLCs, robot programs, configurations for frequency converters, and specifications for safety interlocks. Around 35 employees currently have access to this data, and it is extremely important that they are always aware of the most recent versions.
versiondog makes this possible by allowing users to create documented versions of changes and to easily keep track of all project data. versiondog’s automated functions help users easily manage the flood of data and project versions in their production environment. versiondog not only manages data centrally, but also identifies, records, and tracks all changes, providing a complete change history for any component. Users can also see exactly which program is running in production, and setpoints and parameters can be checked and restored at any time.
Perfectly Suited to Project Work
Before versiondog came along, ELWEMA found it difficult to maintain order and clarity. “There was no clear file structure. Simple tasks such as the naming of files were dealt with in many different ways, and changes were not always synchronized. We wasted a lot of time searching as a result,” explained Büchel. He decided to look for a better solution and found versiondog.
At first glance, it seemed as though the software and data management system was only suitable for automation technology in a production environment, and not for project work in machine and system production. Before long, ELWEMA realized that versiondog could suit their needs too.
ELWEMA has been using versiondog for almost a year now and the benefits are clear to see. Above all, versiondog has created greater transparency and sped up engineering and production processes, as everyone now has access to the most recent software versions. Financially, the benefits are also obvious.
Improving Internal Processes
“Working with versiondog has allowed us to develop as a company and helped us to standardize internal processes,” says Büchel. “We now have a centralized data storage location, a clear structure for user rights, transparency about who changed what, where, when, and why, source code control, and the ability to compare versions, which helps with standardization. It is now easy to deal with changes: we Check-out the file, set the lock state, make changes, and check it back in. This is all fully documented and can be traced at any time, which also facilitates standardization and contributes further to our development as a company.”
For ELWEMA, the versioning process does not end after projects are in customer hands. After a system has been assembled and commissioned, the customer conducts an acceptance test. The system is then disassembled and subsequently reassembled at the customer’s premises. ELWEMA components are often installed after a CNC machine because, after work has been carried out (on a crankcase, for example), the finished parts must be cleaned, assembled, and checked for leaks that may be present in the oil and water chambers. For the process to run smoothly, versions must be created of the relevant data and program versions. This version is sent to the customer as a deliverable. Why? Even after a system has been delivered, changes may be made or components might be added.
Throughout this entire process, it is important to adhere to the most recent data and software versions. With versiondog, this is now very simple. From both a technical perspective and a safety and warranty perspective, everyone must have the same information and be working with the same program versions. versiondog can be used to ensure complete documentation of what exactly the customer has done with the system after it has been delivered. With versiondog, ELWEMA Automotive can see exactly when a change was made, which is important for warranty considerations. All in all, versiondog provides a consistently reliable source for clear data.
“Working with versiondog has allowed us to develop as a company and helped us to standardize internal processes."
- Karl-Heinz Büchel, Director of Control Systems & Automation at ELWEMA Automotive GmbH