Manufacturers’ analogue business processes are being converted into digital-focused “web shops,” based on the market-leading sheet metal software, RADAN.
RADAN’s German reseller, 3D Concepts, who are renowned for their innovative CAD/CAM solutions, have worked with a number of their customers to analyse the digital change philosophy of Industry 4.0, and developed individual concepts.
Thomas Menholz, from 3D Concepts, says digital building blocks such as CAD/CAM, MES, MRP and ERP can all come together in SQL-based systems to form data-driven Smart factories. “Every company needs to find its own unique path on the basis of a dedicated digitalisation strategy.
“An important aspect of the digital trend is the introduction of a web shop for the procurement of sheet metal parts, where customers can request components online, be provided with an offer, and place the order. Web shops operate autonomously, and are accessible 24 hours a day.”
As an increasing number of products are being developed in 3D CAD systems, web shops are based on 3D sheet metal parts provided in STEP and other similar files, along with 2D cuts from files such as DXF format. “The digital twin is created as a forerunner to the real product which comes later. Also, it’s likely that 3D data will replace 2D data in future, and that will simplify the processing without the need for further queries.
“At the moment, additional queries prevent seamless process handling, which is why this paradigm shift is very welcome for many suppliers and contract manufacturers in the sheet metal industry.”
3D Concepts has recently implemented a web shop for Trio Metall und Design GmbH, in Luhe-Wildenau. Trio is a contract producer of sheet metal components, providing a complete service from consulting, designing and planning, through to manufacturing ‘ready-for-assembly’ components, ranging from single parts and small runs, to large quantities. Using latest laser technology they also work with non-ferrous metals such as copper, brass and titanium.
The digital strategy began early last year, focused around digitising internal processes and creating a web shop, Trionline 24, for the procurement of sheet metal parts. “At the same time, we linked these new processes to their existing ERP system, and controlled their new laser machine tools with RADAN.” Trio’s workshop runs an Amada EML-3610 NT combination machine, two Aada Ensis AJ 3015 laser cutters equipped with storage towers, and a number of Amada press brakes.
The web shop delivers the orders digitally to the ERP system, which transfers them to RADAN’s Ordermanager MRP module for production processing. Completed orders are passed back from the MRP software to ERP, triggering the subsequent processes for shipping and invoicing. “This means that the horizontal logistics are now digitally mapped, as well as the vertical manufacturing operations,” says Thomas Menholz.
Trio’s Key Account Manager Christian Weinberg says the web shop automates their quotation preparation, which was time consuming when carried out manually. “We’ve also noticed that larger inquiries, such as for complete welding assemblies, are now sent directly to us via the web shop, which led to us investing in RADAN’s offline quotation module, Radquote, for calculating complete assemblies. This almost halved the time taken in preparing quotes.”
Managing Director Robert Käs says: “To pursue a complete digital strategy we invested in machine tools, software, and new employees. The solution we now have puts us in excellent stead for the future. We’re currently advertising the new web shop intensively and expect it to generate additional sustainable revenue.”
Trio’s RADAN-focused web shop was set up as TrioOnLine24: https://www.trionline24.de/
Schönberg Technikhandel + Service GmbH, based in Erfurt, is another company that set up a RADAN web shop, and sent 32,000 letters to customers introducing the digital service. Managing Director Stefan Schönberg says they already used RADAN to program their Mazak laser cutter and Dener Puma XL 30220 press brake for production of heating technology storage tanks, and felt a web shop would be ideal for filling capacity with contract manufacture.
Last year the company invested in RADAN’s web shop technology, and now processes orders for production using Ordermanager.
The Schönberg Technikhandel + Service web shop: https://www.schoenberg-laserzentrum.de/
For Böbingen-based Röhrle GmbH, it was watching how two major suppliers of sheet metal parts used their web shops, that prompted Managing Director Frank Röhrle to go down the same route. The company has many years’ experience in sheet metal processing and plant construction, producing components with a unit weight of up to six tons.
RADAN drives their Trumpf TruLaser 5060 laser cutter and EHT VarioPress 400-40 Tandem press brake, so the software was the ideal choice for their next digital step. “As there are only a handful of functioning web shops in Germany I regard our company as being one of the pioneers in the digital procurement of sheet metal parts.”
Röhrle GmbH’s marketing strategy was based on a new brand, and the web shop has now been introduced at: https://www.sheetmetal24.de/.