Knorr-Bremse SteerinSystems GmbH (“Knorr”) is an expert in the field of braking and steering systems. Located in Wülfrath, Germany, their production facilities have set high standards when it comes to production and quality assurance. However, their plants are still relatively self-contained within their production processes. This is partly due to the substantial difference between the functions performed by each plant.
The Need: Reduced Production Downtime
Knorr wanted a way to reduce the number of interruptions and any associated downtime during their production process. They also wanted a way to be more transparent in their process by reducing project redundancies between personnel. Even with their plants being relatively self-contained, their number of production interruptions was not above average. However, it was easy to see there were two outstanding factors causing downtime to be longer than necessary: the search for the latest version of the control program, and the process of then comparing it with the one currently running on the controller.
- Central management of all data including circuit diagrams, user guides, etc.
- Less production downtime
- Reduce redundancies of personnel working on the same project at the same time
Prolonged downtime brought on by the search for the latest version is now a thing of the past with versiondog. “We weighed the pros and cons and made the decision to go ahead with introducing versiondog,” says Maintenance Coordinator, Marvin Lindemann. Bit by bit, all devices, including their program states, were integrated into versiondog. “By doing this, we were able to gain an overview of our devices, centralize the latest software versions, and make them available at all times to those with the necessary rights.” The fact that versiondog can support a wide range of different manufacturers is a great advantage for Knorr. “With this system, we can manage our Siemens and FANUC controllers, our KUKA and Stäubli robots, and our SEW and Siemens drives.”
Thanks to this integration of versiondog’s documentation functions, the company is saving time and has achieved a greater level of clarity. It is clear to everyone working at Knorr WHO changed WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY. With versiondog, it is not possible to create new versions of a program without following the proper storage and documentation procedures. In production plants like the ones in Wülfrath, where three different shifts are running, this transparency is a factor not to be underestimated. The change history is automatically stored in versiondog, and the number of backups retained can be customized. Although, 20 backups are still carried out manually, according to Lindemann: “As soon as we introduce automatic backups, we will test to see whether this number needs to be changed.”
At present, versiondog is being used to manage around 400 components. The diverse range of different controllers reflects the ongoing gradual renewal of the production equipment. There are different types of PLCs, drives, CNCs, and robots from numerous different manufacturers. In line with the process of centralizing data, device documentation has also been integrated into versiondog. In regard to the estimated return on investment, Knorr-Bremse SteeringSystems GmbH has calculated numerous possible scenarios, all of which conclude that the investment will definitely pay off.