„Play it safe – and lean“

Products and solutions for lean production - made by Schmersal

There are many facets to lean production, and there are lots of optimisation opportunities on the route to streamlined, efficient production.

One important element that is sometimes undervalued is ergonomic workplace design. If all the workpieces and tools are perfectly aligned to one another and the operator, one of the key prerequisites for productive concentration and work has been met. It also avoids unnecessary or one-sided strain.

Work on the (production) island

For this reason, the "streamlined" design of the workflow in the sense of lean production is an important element to ensure health and preventative industrial safety. This is exactly why the Schmersal group has put such focus on this area.

It also applies to its own production.

An example: In the Wettenberg factory, which largely produces control systems and safety controllers, we have restructured production and set up production islands based on the principle of lean production.

Safe work in optimised ergonomic workplaces

To start with, we carried out comprehensive analyses in each workplace and recorded the typical movements and processes.

These processes were then optimised, initially at the planning level. This considered the principles of ergonomic workplace design (the reach height and width of the operator, room for movement, seating position, etc.)

These plans were implemented and have proven their worth in practice, with measurable results we are happy to show you in detail.

A comprehensive program for the human machine interface

It goes without saying that this optimisation work utilises control systems from our own ranges which are ergonomic to operate and ensure transparency and information in the human-machine interface.

Some examples from our product range:

  • Foot switch and safety foot switch (F, LKF and NKF range) for ergonomic, non-fatiguing actuation of operating functions by foot.
  • Control panels (BDF range) for direct fitting to the conventional profile systems
  • Knee switch as a completely new kind of switchgear (see below)
  • Control and command devices (N & R ranges, etc.) for industrial use in different formats and with massive variety (push-buttons, indicator lights, toggle switches, emergency off buttons, key switches, etc. all produced in-house)
  • Control elements with really low actuation force for the ergonomic operation of machine functions (control and command devices, foot switches, etc.)
  • Two-handed control panels for presses and other machine/assembly systems with manually operated loading stations
  • Safety switching mats to trigger/stop machine functions
  • Wireless "handheld" operating systems, including for safety-related functions

    A new type of operating device

    As part of the optimisation project, we developed a completely new kind of control element:

    the knee switch.

    It allows actuation of control functions, e.g. during the assembly of electrical components and gives the operator both hands free for holding workpieces or assembly, allowing them to trigger another machine function without lifting their foot from the floor or the foot support.

    The workers using the first knee switches at their workstations have confirmed that it makes work easier.

    Our know-how: optimisation of workstations

    How can you benefit from the know-how we have obtained during the optimisation and design of "lean" workplaces and utilising our wide range of "control and monitoring" products?

    It's very simple: As part of our "Safety Services", we and our specialist consultants can advise you on site and optimise your production and assembly workstations.

    We have a systematic approach and can also refer to our comprehensive practical expertise. After all, there are several hundred production and assembly workstations at the seven Schmersal Group production sites around the world. And we make sure that your employees can work at workplaces which are just as well organised as in our factories, where they have all their tools and equipment to hand and where the production systems can be operated simply, safely and intuitively. This creates an environment for focussed, productive and safe work.

    The best example: The lean island

    How can the results of our consultancy look in specific terms in your company? We can give you a completely non-binding demonstration at our Wuppertal works, the lead factory in our global production association of seven factories. Both here and in our Wettenberg works, we have set up example "lean islands" to give you ideas on optimising your production and assembly workstations and show you how we can implement lean production projects for and with our customers in practice.

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