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Networking early pays off

The company Knoll Maschinenbau purposefully started planning for the future early and exploited all opportunities to have enough storage capacity to meet future requirements while increasing productivity. This foresight paid off.

25%

Increase in productivity

Was the result after four years of optimization with regard to Industry 4.0.

70m

Automation solution

Consisting of a fully automated STOPA store with 1,200 storage locations and 13 loading and unloading stations.

1000

Employees

Working for the family business in Bad Saulgau.

Smart networking step by step

Knoll Maschinenbau has grown year on year since it was founded 45 years ago. One hall led to another. This is why, in 2007, the team started to plan a completely new factory for sheet metal processing. The aim was to cut transit times and speed up processes.

Knoll profile

Industry

Knoll is one of the leading suppliers of conveying systems and filtering installations in metal processing and is based in Bad Saulgau in the south of Germany. The company's positive displacement pumps are used in sectors such as the chemical and food industry. Highly flexible assembly and transport systems round off their portfolio.

Year of founding

The family company, Knoll, was founded in Bad Saulgau in 1970 and has grown continuously over the years.

Company size

Knoll employs around 1,000 employees at the Bad Saulgau site.

Machinery

The machinery that Knoll uses includes the TruBend 5130, TruBend 5230 and TruBend 7036 bending machines, as well as the TruLaser 3030 2D laser cutting machine and the 70-metre long STOPA large-scale storage system, including LiftMaster Linear as well as the TruTops Fab Storage, TruTops Fab app, and TruTops Monitor software products from TRUMPF.

Insights into production

Bearing in mind the Smart Factory vision

1st step: Defining requirements

The first task was to produce detailed specifications, which the experts from TRUMPF and STOPA have gradually worked through with Knoll. However, the store capacity wasn't the only challenge – Knoll produces components and assemblies that are made of up to seven different materials for its systems – in quantities from one to 20. The speed at which the materials are always brought to the right machine at the right time was therefore also crucial.

2nd step: Fully automating the store

The fully automated STOPA store at Knoll is 70 meters long and has over 1,200 storage locations and 13 loading and unloading stations. The pallet picker crane is the heart of the store. It rapidly travels vertically and horizontally through the storage locations, picks up the unprocessed material, and brings it to the system to be processed just-in-time.

3rd step: Intelligently controlling the material flow

The TRUMPF TruTops Fab Storage Module production control system controls and monitors the material flow, initiates the required pre-storage of the material based on the orders entered and provides precise information about the inventory and machine utilization rate at any time. Machine operators barely have to intervene during the two day shifts at Knoll. The night shift and the weekend shifts also run unattended.

4th step: Optimizing the entire process

TruTops Fab is connected to the superordinate production planning and control system (PPC) from Knoll via an interface. The company mainly uses this interface for materials management. Knoll has taken a significant stride towards achieving a Smart Factory by implementing this tool. The results of the previous steps are clear for all to see – in the last four years, productivity has increased by around 20 to 25 percent.

Other images

Optimized material flow

Due to the TruConnect consultation, Knoll Maschinenbau is now benefitting from a space-saving large-scale storage system and a new material flow concept.

Intelligent material flow due to TruTops Fab Storage Module

Both the night shifts and weekend shifts are now completely unattended at Knoll Maschinenbau.

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