What do companies expect from Industrie 4.0? The intermeshing of industrial production with digital information and communications technology. They want to be able to manufacture products faster, more flexibly, and more efficiently. This is nothing new. After all, Lenze has always worked on producing easy-to-use solutions with added value for its customers. It is not for nothing that our slogan is: As easy as that.
Lenze has been a technology partner for the machine-building industry for the last 70 years. Open, intensive cooperation makes it possible to create the right intelligent automation solutions to meet the needs and demands of customers from different sectors of the industry.
We are one of the few suppliers in the market who accompany customers through every phase of a machine’s entire engineering process, from the initial idea based on our customers’ special requirements through to the commissioning and the aftersales. We supply all the necessary components – whether hardware or software – from our own production lines and we impress our customers with our engineering and IT competence. The result: drive and automation systems that our customers profit from, especially in Industrie 4.0.
Lenze was founded in 1947 near Hameln in Germany and today it has a presence in over 60 countries with its network of production and logistics sites and its sales and service points. The family-owned company employs around 3,500 people who create easy-to-use solutions for the success of its customers. It’s as easy as that.
As a specialist in machine automation we are active in three fields of competence: we supply high-quality mechatronic products, system solutions, and digitalisation services, both in standard and custom-made formats. We offer our customers a comprehensive portfolio of carefully coordinated and scalable system components all from one source: from electric drives, motors and gearboxes to controls and visualisation, application software, engineering tools and services that create added value. This “construction kit” of products and services enables us to develop solutions that are perfectly tailored to the needs of our customers.
We are especially experienced in dealing with five industries that form the centre of our strategic focus: automotive, consumer goods, converting & printing, intralogistics, and textile. We know a lot about these industries and over the course of many years we have developed appropriate products and solutions that make life as easy as possible for our customers. What else are we known for? For our technological strength and for the sales and engineering competence of our roughly 3,500 employees. They work together in international teams that link our sites worldwide, working together to create the best solutions.
Lenze’s regional home market has always been Europe. This is where we make a good three quarters of our turnover. North America and Asia are important growth regions for us. The machines that are equipped with our automation technology are in use all over the world. Our corporate vision is this: “The best machines and production facilities around the world use Lenze.”
Our network of production and logistics sites means that we are present in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Poland, China, India and the USA. From these sites we ensure global availability and fast delivery. Our sales and service points operate from sites in more than 60 countries, providing a reliable source of customer care.
Lenze automates more that 1,000 innovative machine concepts – every year. We do this by working with our customers through all five phases of the engineering process: from the initial idea to the final concept, then to the finished machine or automation solution and beyond – all the way through the entire life cycle of the machine or solution. In the process we often set new standards, as these current examples show.
Lenze’s extremely broad product portfolio combined with a solutions-oriented sales approach makes Lenze the perfect partner for customers who want to push ahead with intelligent, networked machines and digitalised value-added processes.
There is currently a strong trend towards custom-made products. But any divergence from a set standard represents a real challenge for industrial production. Take, for example, the manufacture of fitted kitchens. The idea: a fully automated sawing system that can saw even a very small number of pieces from the different wooden boards – while at the same time working economically, with a high output and not much waste. Lenze put this idea into effect by working as a technology partner in collaboration with Schelling, the Austrian specialist for cut-to-size saws. The solution used, among other things, the Lenze FAST Application Software for robot applications. This has a fully fledged robotics core which offers everything that the machine manufacturer needs for fast and flexible handling tasks – and without having any specialist knowledge of robotics. And in a consistent move towards networked production, the system is connected to the higher-level production planning system via the Motion Controller 3200C.
“We are thinking more and more in terms of mechatronic modules – consisting of machinery, electronics and software – which we can use again for other projects. This is why we need a full-service provider like Lenze, who also supports us in developing the software.”
Head of Technology and Assembly at Schelling
Industrial job production is today state of the art.
Logistics centres and high-bay warehouses are prime examples of efficiency. Modern materials-handling technology ensures that raw materials, finished products and packaging material are transported to the places where they are needed – and in a minimum of space. To achieve this, we need intelligent, compact and cost-effective solutions, like the systems that Stöcklin, a Swiss company specialising in material flow, has built for chocolatier Camille Bloch at its headquarters in Courtelary, Switzerland. Lenze’s contribution was the integrated drive concept and more than 120 Lenze Smart Motors, which drive the roller conveyors, chain conveyors, position-changing units and infeed stations. The advantage of these motors is that they are compact but have a lot of functionality. They can, for example, vary speeds according to individual requirements. This is very easy to do by using near field communication (NFC) and a Lenze app. Camille Bloch is a growing family-owned company that is demonstrating its vision not only by expanding production and investing in a new logistics centre, but also by creating a new Chocolate World Visitors Centre.
“This drive solution from Lenze is a genuine benefit, because we can build on a smaller scale, use lower-priced drives, and also be more energy efficient at the same time.”
Head of Horizontal Conveyor Technology at Stöcklin
Material flow for a long-established brand:
the Ragusa brand from Chocolats Camille Bloch represents almost 90 years of Swiss chocolatier tradition.
Easy communication via a touchscreen has become an indispensable part of our everyday lives in such devices as smartphones and tablets, but it is still a long way from becoming a commonplace feature of machine manufacturing. Monforts, the specialist for textile machines from Mönchengladbach, Germany, has worked closely together with Lenze to develop a completely re-thought kind of operator guidance for its new generation of Montex stenters. Lenze supported Monforts in this project through all the phases of visualisation for operating a textile machine Easy communication via a touchscreen has become an indispensable part of our everyday lives in such devices as smartphones and tablets, but it is still a long way from becoming a commonplace feature of machine manufacturing. Monforts, the specialist for textile machines from Mönchengladbach, Germany, has worked closely together with Lenze to develop a completely re-thought kind of operator guidance for its new generation of Montex stenters. Lenze supported Monforts in this project through all the phases of the engineering process. In particular, Lenze sketched out some initial implementation scenarios in the brainstorming process, so that the initial idea could be turned into a concept and then finally developed into an innovative visualisation. Machine-manufacturing projects like the new generation of stenters at Monforts demonstrate Lenze’s competence in creating solutions, from the actuators to the automation software and the human-machine interface.
The visualisation opens up a new world for the machine operator: functions such as swiping, zooming and scrolling on a multi-sensor display are now possible on the machine. The screen layout can be adapted to meet individual needs and then saved, because a shift supervisor and a machine operator need to see different information. The new visualisation also supports the fast teleservices via the internet. In addition to the easier operating functions, other benefits include faster set-up times, faster process monitoring and faster data management. We are convinced that a self-explanatory visualisation using tried-and-tested smartphone multi-touch functions will become the standard in industry.
“If our stenters can be used more easily, especially when there is a frequent changeover in operators, the textile companies will save time on the set-up work and on bringing in new products. Faster set-up times give our customers the highest level of productivity from the very beginning, and that makes good economic sense for them.”
Klaus A. Heinrichs
Authorised Officer at Monforts
Making communication easy in the industrial environment:
a new form of operator guidance for a textile machine.
Saving energy is not only popular because it is good for the environment, but also because it saves money. This is why energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important in the research and development work done by the manufacturers of machines and systems. Take BHS Corrugated, for example, who supplies the packaging industry worldwide with its corrugator systems. The company has completely changed its drive technology for its newly developed SteadyLine corrugator, moving from direct current to three-phase AC drive technology, a solution that was developed in close project partnership with Lenze. At the core of the SteadyLine are the Lenze Servo Drives 9400 HighLine and an effective DC-bus connection. China in particular is keen on saving energy these days, but technical solutions first have to be evaluated before any investment decisions are made. Lenze has the Drive Solution Designer for this purpose, a software tool that makes it easier to design drives – and to optimise the energy balance. This tool can also compare drive alternatives in terms of their energy efficiency. Lenze offers the expertise and all the components that are needed in order to significantly improve the energy efficiency of machines and systems.
“The corrugated cardboard market is more than ready for ‘return on investment’-calculations when it comes to investing in saving energy, but we need clear evidence. The green mentality is taking hold in China. Thanks to Lenze’s drive technology, our new SteadyLine corrugator is a pioneer in terms of resource efficiency.”
CEO of BHS Corrugated in China
Increasing the energy efficiency of corrugator systems by changing the drive technology.
At Lenze we think long-term, also on behalf of our customers. This is why we also want to know precisely how our products perform under certain conditions. We therefore monitored and analysed the process reliability of more than 5,000 electromechanical drives and 2,200 frequency and servo inverters in the central warehouse of the German supermarket chain Edeka Rhein-Ruhr from 2006 to the end of 2014. This provided valuable findings for us and for the maintenance team of Witron, the warehouse operator – for example, findings about service life and the causes of defects and damage. We also found indications of when the technical equipment should undergo preventative maintenance, and we discovered, for example, that geared motors should be replaced in certain areas because their design did not correspond to the actual operating conditions. The results can be used to make targeted investments in new technology as part of system refurbishments. The findings were also incorporated into special product adjustments for the central warehouse and also into modifications of large-scale series production. In short: they contributed to investment safety for our customers and for us.
“We plan for the long term. Thanks to the long-term study with Lenze we now know how much money Edeka must invest to be able to keep the system operating just as productively in ten years’ time as it is now.”
Head of Maintenance for Witron in the Edeka central warehouse in Hamm
Making investment decisions for the logistics centre based on the results of a long-term study.
Lenze was again an exhibitor at the world’s biggest industrial trade fair in Hannover in 2017 and maintained important contacts. The company’s exhibition focussed on Industrie 4.0 applications and presented, for example, ways of using Virtual Reality in training and in the construction and engineering phases of machine manufacturing. Visitors to the stand were also able to experience the new Easy Machine 4.0, an automation solution with the Lenze FAST applications software at its core.
There was also a positive response to the cloud application that we demonstrated with our American business partner ei3. It retrieves relevant machine data, makes it available via the safe cloud, and allows detailed data analysis for the purposes of efficient machine utilisation and preventative maintenance. One highlight for us was the visit of two top politicians, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Beata Szydło from HMI Partner Country Poland, to the Lenze stand. They both showed great interest in our company’s innovations.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is Lenze’s guest at Hannover Messe 2017.