ASPÖCK - Highly optimised assembly in the automotive industry with SAP MES - IGZ, the SAP project House

ASPÖCK Systems GmbH was founded in 1977. ASPÖCK design, develops and manufactures the latest and best possible complete solutions of vehicle lighting for vehicle manufacturers in Europe. The flexibility in the development of tailor-made solutions in the entire range of wiring and lamps for each individual customer is the successful trademark of the company. ASPÖCK Systems GmbH resident with the main factory in Peuerbach, Upper Austria, constantly opts for growth and innovation in production and warehousing in all locations. Due to sustained growth, Europe's leading manufacturer of automotive lighting systems invests sustainably also in the Polish production plant location Kluczbork near Breslau. After ASPÖCK already successfully displays logistics and production processes with SAP ME and SAP EWM at its headquarters in the Austrian Peuerbach and has integrated these systems into the company software SAP ERP, both SAP systems were also introduced in the course of the new factory building in the Polish Kluczbork near Breslau. 

At this modern production site in close proximity to the VW factory, the company implements projects for customers from the automotive industry. For this purpose, ca. 13,300 goods movements are required, where 70,000 sorts of material are accessed. Order processing takes place in a 3-shift operation on 40 assembly places with connection to the existing SAP ERP. The focus is on the process areas of injection moulding, metallisation, assembly and logistics. Increasing customer demands with influence on the processes in production and material supply were taken into account. With SAP ME and the tight links with the material flow in SAP EWM, errors are minimised, throughput time shortened and material inventory kept significantly low by high transparency and continuous process improvement.

Continuous traceability 

The central process control is achieved through direct SAP ME and SAP EWM integration with SAP ERP. All process and logistics data are available in SAP ERP, so that ASPÖCK can update production orders inclusive work schedule, for the production in the Polish factory in Kluczbork, directly in the Austrian main factory Peuerbach. 

Online feedback about the respective production state of an order takes place "just in time" from SAP ME and SAP EWM in the SAP ERP system. For this purpose, all operating data are recorded directly at the employee terminals and fed back online to the SAP systems. Through SAP standard interface are the stocks kept in the current state.

A PDC recording of process data directly on the plant terminal guarantees a continuous process data traceability over the entire manufacturing process. In addition, each individual production step can be traced back to identify, for example, the cause of a faulty batch. For this purpose, inspection lots, data acquisitions and QM audits were integrated directly in SAP ERP, which automatically trigger a corresponding work flow in the system.

Error minimisation with IT-based acquisition 

SAP ME offers the company the opportunity to prioritise production orders or to set the order of individual operations in the work plan. The individual configuration of production orders allows every employee to visualize only the information that is relevant and important to him, on the factory terminal. Workplace-specific information include, e.g. documents such as work instructions, circuit diagrams or product and component illustrations, packing specifications, integrated in SAP ERP as links in a production order. In this way, the master documents remain central in the SAP ERP system. An automatic version management in the background ensures that the employee always receives the current revision level of the associated documents. It is ensured that all documents are always updated and are automatically electronically available in the correct version and quantity. 

Today, SAP ME controls the complete 40 assembly workstations with online acquisition of production data, paperless. Pending jobs are displayed on touch screens. Upon award of a contract to an employee, material supply is automatically triggered via SAP EWM. 

The active process control using the production routing or via work schedules is represented by SAP ERP in the SAP ME. In the process, the included process lock ensures that further processing at the subsequent workstation is blocked until all current production and test steps are fully processed. A process lock prevents inspection and control steps being forgotten and therefore defective parts are passed on through different manufacturing stages. A largely automated acquisition and evaluation of process and logistics data prevents a high error potential in manual processes. For container label printing, for example, data must not be entered manually by an employee. Due to the integrated SAP MES solution, the information for labelling is automatically transferred to SAP EWM and the appropriate label is printed without any further action by an employee. This automated label printing prevents faulty pallet or packaging due to false QR or bar code. 

Uniform template for future rollouts 

For the implementation of the project in the Polish Kluczbork, ASPÖCK used the extensive know-how of IGZ, the SAP project house for production and logistics the town Falkenberg. "IGZ has already taken over the successful introduction of SAP ME and EWM at the main site in Peuerbach", explains Wolfgang Aigner, head of IT at ASPÖCK Systems GmbH. He is not only convinced about the competence and experience of IGZ employees. "Thanks to IGZ, we were able to reduce the throughput time and the material stock by 25 percent in Peuerbach and the amount of work for the planning of a construction contract by 50 percent. Another important point is that SAP ME + SAP EWM by way of the SAP expertise from the SAP ERP area, available at ASPÖCK can now be adapted by the IT manager himself", explains Aigner. 

To achieve these results also for the plant in Poland, the company has intensively trained its employees. The experience from the project in Peuerbach, as well as an extensive testing resulted in that already after a short project duration, the productive start of the SAP MES solution in Kluczbork could take place. IGZ took over the project specification, implementation and integration of the systems and the provision of specific SAP ME best-practice functionality and the training of key users. The specialists of the project house stood side by side supportively in the productive start. Via a service level agreement, the highly available SAP application continues to be supported around the clock, by IGZ specialists. 

During the project phase, it was particularly important to ASPÖCK to operate as closely as possible to the SAP standard processes, on the one hand in order to be able to react flexibly, if the manufacturing processes or machines changed due to new products. On the other hand, they wanted to keep customising as low as possible, to control other production sites centrally from Peuerbach by means of a template. By SAP ME and SAP EWM for highly optimised assembly with automated production logistics and direct integration with SAP ERP, ASPÖCK demonstrates how companies can optimise their production to come closer to the target of the Smart Factory.

Standard integration in SAP ERP 

The scalable and configurable production control software SAP ME offers high performance and flexibility for maximum standardisation. Typically for SAP, this MES solution is fully configurable and flexibly expandable by upgrading. With the introduction of SAP ME, ASPÖCK have expanded their own SAP strategy now to another level of production and must not worry further about ERP integration or also release capability. Only SAP offers a complete solution with standardised direct integration of production, logistics and ERP. Also, future improvements can thus be implemented easily, future-proof with the SAP standard software SAP ME/SAP EWM.

Equipped for the future 

The standard software SAP ME/SAP EWM guarantees as "Works system" the maintenance of the production even with temporarily planned ERP down times. SAP ME at ASPÖCK has convinced, since only SAP offers a complete solution with standardised direct integration of production, logistics and ERP. Also, future improvements can thus be implemented consistently and future-proof with the SAP standard software SAP ME and SAP EWM. 

SAP MES – vital component for Industry 4.0 

The further development and increased use of MES functions in all producing sectors will have a central significance on the route to Industry 4.0. 

The familiar MES subjects, such as transparency and traceability as well as efficient employee management will be increasingly expanded to plant integration and evaluation of sensor data for simultaneous flexibility and adaptability of production. 

Open systems with decentralised, service-oriented architectures and standard machine connectivity options are important prerequisites for this. The MES systems of SAP have also these properties from the beginning as well as extensive function standards.

SAP MES, the standard production control software of SAP SE, is the solution for SAP user companies for a modern production based on Industry 4.0 with consistent, site-comprehensive information and data flow in real-time and standard integration from the machine level up to the SAP ERP system. SAP ME offers extensively configurable options both for the data acquisition (PDA) as well as the machine connection (MDE) on the basis of common industry standards such as OPC, TCP/IP, etc. Also, the SAP MES-system includes all standard MES functionality such as order fine control, OEE, SPC, etc. established NON-SAP MES systems.

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