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ARNO tool management system increases productivity and competitiveness at Adelmann
“’Where’s the tool? Who hasn’t put it back in the right place? There must be another one somewhere.’” This is how Alexander Böthel from Adelmann Metallbearbeitung GmbH describes the banter which was almost a daily occurrence in the past and which made work unnecessarily difficult. Things all changed in February 2018. That’s when Adelmann procured the StoreManager Duo tool management system from ARNO Werkzeuge. “It was the right decision,” says a delighted Stefan Adelmann, Managing Director. “And the lease-purchase alternative keeps the investment risk within limits.”
Adelmann Metallbearbeitung GmbH in Boxberg is a contract manufacturer specialising in the laboratory equipment sector. Besides CNC turning and milling, the company also offers soldering, brazing, welding work and water jet cutting, although its core competence is metal cutting. The company was a garage start-up in 2001 but today, Adelmann operates on a site measuring 2,000 m² where it manufactures prototypes, single parts, small batches and large-volume runs of up to 5,000 units in diameters up to 240 mm. The company offers a wide range of materials and covers everything from plastic to hardened materials. Of course, many tools are needed for the many different production processes and materials. They are purchased from companies such as ARNO Werkzeuge which manufactures precision tools for parting, turning, drilling and milling. The gratifying increase in business, larger premises and additions to the machine pool also resulted in a considerable increase in the number of tools. However, this also meant a drastic rise in tool search times. A change was therefore urgently needed. The only solution: a tool management system. Three suppliers presented their tool management systems. The factor which led to the final decision was an on-site visit to ARNO Werkzeuge.
A thing of the past: managing lists and a lot of work
What convinced Adelmann most was the flexibility of the StoreManager Duo from ARNO Werkzeuge due to the many possible interfaces and its user-friendliness. Not to mention its multi-functionality. The carousel system has over 360 individual compartments combined with four large drawers for managing measuring equipment and larger items. The other suppliers did not even have this in their portfolios. The system stores and re-orders tools from ARNO as well as items from other suppliers. This is also a unique feature. ARNO Werkzeuge offers the new StoreManager Duo model on lease-purchase. This suited Adelmann very well. “This way, we can test it for two years to see whether the cabinet system and its size really meet our company needs.” The monthly rent already includes service and maintenance costs and a free hotline to respond to urgent questions.
Before the purchase, the ARNO experts took a close look at the actual situation. Previously, tools were stored in a locked cabinet. When an employee required a new tool, the foreman had to unlock the cabinet and issue the tool accordingly. Böthel remembers, “The employee had to explain what job he wanted the tool for. It was bothersome for both the employee and for us foremen. But it was the only possibility to keep at least a little control over the use and location of tools.” Stocks had to be updated by hand in a list so as not to lose track of things. Twice a month, the cabinets were checked – this took about two hours. Machines were down often when the right tool was just not available. Even test gauges or thread gauges went missing. “Who has the gauge?” was a question that was constantly heard the length and breadth of the production shop. As a workaround, tables were posted on a magnet board to indicate the location of test equipment. Of course, this method was highly prone to error.
100% access control by secure individual withdrawal
ARNO Werkzeuge and Adelmann have collaborated for about ten years. The level of trust between the two companies is very high, especially in the advice given by Simon Lang, Sales Engineer at ARNO Werkzeuge responsible for tool management systems. Besides time savings, the main argument in favour of a tool management system is tool traceability. What turning holder do we have in stock? What insert is the right one for my workpiece? Who has got which tool? Every employee can check these parameters on the cabinet itself or on a networked PC. The StoreManager Duo can assign various rights to each employee. The constant availability of tools is another advantage which raises productivity. For example, if a tool breakage or a similar incident occurs, an employee can fetch a tool from the StoreManager Duo at any time.
Since it was introduced, a lot has changed when it comes to restocking. If the stock level drops below a predefined minimum quantity, Böthel receives a message. Once a week, he checks the order proposals and sends out the prepared orders. “Although I still have to order by hand, the whole thing hardly takes five minutes – it’s an enormous work saving,” assures Böthel. The next step would be automated order dispatch. The tool management system at Adelmann works autonomously. This means communication is by email or via the Online Shop. “However, it can be connected to the ERP system at any time. Data is then transferred by csv file,” explains Lang. The storage times and replacement cycles of individual tools indicate whether they should continue to be stored and re-ordered in the StoreManager or whether they should be relocated to an open long-term store.
Storage times also indicate where potential savings can be made, what tools are used the most and where tests for new tools make no sense at all. Simon Lang on other helpful functions: “Storing certain data in the system, for example cutting data for specific materials, is absolutely no problem and is an additional service. It’s a simple aid that really helps employees.” “It saves time in work planning, work preparation and programming; it makes for a smoother work flow,” says Böthel. It ensures reliable work processes in advance and costs are easier to calculate.
Expansion possibilities for increased needs
The number of different tools was grossly underestimated. “We first thought one cabinet would definitely be enough – but we quickly found out we were way off. So, we quickly decided to purchase a second unit.” It did not take long to fill all 360 individual compartments and four drawers. A master cabinet with monitor can connect to and manage two additional cabinets. After only six months in use, there were only 16 locations free on the carousel and two drawers. If Adelmann ever wants to upgrade to the StoreManager Pro with up to 2,160 carousel compartments, it would be no problem to transfer all the previous data and processes. All systems have equal access to the SQL database. Even an expansion at a different location or a different workshop would pose no problem. “An employee who cannot find a drill in his local StoreManager can send a request over the system whether the drill is stocked in one of the other StoreManagers in the network.” Very convenient, says Simon Lang.
Other helpful functions to make work life easier for users are the hit list and parts list features. With the hit list function, each user can create a personal top 20 list of items which he or she withdraws the most. This makes searching for items faster and simpler. The parts list function links an item to other related items such as holder, indexable insert, screw or key. This drastically minimises search times for accessories at Adelmann and there are practically no more errors fitting the tools required.
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