Continental benefits from real time notification of breakdowns with the help of WERMA’s SmartMONITOR monitoring system.

Who is Continental?

Continental based in Regensburg Germany is the location for the Group’s largest electronics manufacturing business.

The Supply Chain centre established in 2001 processes around 1,500 goods inward receipts and 390 despatches per day.

Employing an automated handling system and optimised handling between manufacturing and warehouse the “Just in Sequence Logistics” system offers the best in safety, reliability and quality.

“Just in Sequence – the king of supply chain management

The principal of “Just in sequence” (JIS), itself a development of “just in time” is being deployed more and more by supply chain management and automotive suppliers in general. It ensures that quite simply the right parts are delivered to the right location in the right sequence of the manufacturing process.

“Black Box” on the tracks

12 electric AGVs transport material from warehouse to manufacturing on floor guided tracks continuously in a process where the optimum time from requesting material to delivery line side is set as one hour.

The 130 m long track between warehouse and manufacturing is under the surveillance of a kind of black box idea, as all along the track the status of the AGV is unseen and unknown. If there should be a breakdown on the track in the past it could take up to 10 minutes for the AGV controls to report back the breakdown.

Looking for the right solution

Mathias Meier Team Coordinator Industrial Engineering at Continental had been searching for a solution for some time. “Working on JIS principals means that every minute we lose on the track is costly”. During a Lean Workshop roadshow the Regensburg team became aware of the SmartMONITOR system offered by WERMA and were immediately impressed. “After just one discussion with WERMA we received a sample wireless monitoring kit from them and installed it” comments Meier and goes on “it was so simple to install without any prior knowledge and was up and working straightaway.”

Continental has installed the equipment on all 12 AGVs deployed at the Regensburg site moving material from warehouse to manufacturing.

The WERMA SmartMONITOR equipment consists of a green and yellow lights on a signal tower complete with a wireless transmitter which acts as a monitoring and data collection system and thus is ideal for the optimisation of logistics and manufacturing operations.

The WERMA signal tower acts as the interface

The key to the solution is the signal tower fitted to each AGV which acts as the interface. A transmitter element is simply fitted to a WERMA signal tower with its unique twist and fit locking arrangement. The transmitter transmits the status change of either of the lights on the tower instantaneously to a receiver unit connected to the network or hosted by a local PC.

In the installation at Regensburg the receiver is connected directly to Mathias Meier’s PC and whenever there is a breakdown on the line he receives an immediate warning notice on his screen. The system will also deliver an e-mail message to staff on their smart ‘phones advising them of the breakdown, enabling them to react to and resolve the issue.

Breakdowns reported in real time

Meier has been very pleased with the positive developments since the introduction of the WERMA system. “It is clear that one of the big advantages of the WERMA system is the speed – we get notification of a breakdown immediately as it happens.” The data collected by the system is held on an integral database supplied with the software. The comprehensive software modules offers comprehensive analytical and report creation possibilities as well as excellent visual displays.

A whole range of other benefits

Meier comments on the ease of installation and operation of the system, “The WIN software and step by step installation guide make it really easy for anyone to install.” No programing knowledge is required to install the software. In addition Meier was very pleased with the investment cost required –“the standard “out of the box” system offered by WERMA cost about £4000 compared with other systems which would have had to have been to a large degree customised to our requirement and would have cost between £25,000 and £30,000”.

Improve transparency, increase productivity, become more flexible, reduce breakdowns as well as saving time and money are just a few of the advantages of the SmartMONITOR system from WERMA. In no time at all Continental were able to improve the efficiency of the supply chain process, protect resources and reduce costs.


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