Good practice

Digital product key for a one-piece-flow system

Digital product key for a one-piece-flow system
© ktsdesign, #124565545, 2019,
Manufacturing of machinery and equipment
High cost
Resource savings: Raw material:
2600 kg foam and 200 kg aluminium
Size of company:
Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Firm grip on production

  • Leading German manufacturer reviewed its production in search of efficiency gains
  • By introducing a one-piece-flow system significant material savings were possible

The German company J. Schmalz GmbH is a world-leading provider of automation, handling and clamping technology. One of the company's main products is vacuum gripper systems.

With all the different parameters a gripper can have depending on the customer needs (e.g. weight of workpiece, surface, length of the gripper), Schmalz is theoretically able to produce over one hundred thousand different configurations of its vacuum gripper.

The company's traditional approach was make standard grippers first and then stored them until orders and modification requests came in. That led to costly stockage and delivery delays and high material wastage.

Key results

By implementing a digitalised system with an individual product key for each gripper, it was possible to tailor production and rationalise material flows for each product. The company was thus able to introduce a one-piece-flow system matching customer needs to the production plan.

Because of the demand-driven production, Schmalz was able to improve its material efficiency and save 2 600 kg of foam and 200 kg aluminium per year. 

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