Zollner Elektronik AG
New Takt module in „TiCon für SAP“ about to go live
Zollner Elektronik AG has been relying on the MTM method to determine times and optimize process transparency since 2008. Efficient and end-to-end IT solutions play an important role here. The MTM software TiCon3 was replaced by “TiCon für SAP” in 2015 as the client/server solution with its own database. Following successful tests in the SAP consolidation system, the onward development process is continuing with “TiCon für SAP Takt” – a module for assigning work content to employees and work stations – which is being introduced live at Zollner at the moment.
Even in the early stages of introducing MTM, Zollner was looking for a solution, which interacts with the Siemens PLM software known as “Process Designer.” The MTM software TiCon3 was initially a viable option here, as it is linked up to Siemens Process Designer via the TiConXP interface. However, as the same MTM process building blocks were also required in the SAP PP module (production planning) to determine the time in working procedures, taking over the MTM data to SAP was the obvious solution.
While the exchange of data between TiCon3 and Process Designer took place automatically and efficiently, the standard times had to be transferred from TiCon3 to SAP and managed manually. The user wanted to minimize the associated work effort and any errors that occurred during the manual transfer. Based on this motivation, Zollner took a closer look at “TiCon für SAP” – the SAP add-on for use with MTM, which was released in 2010. The corporation finally decided to switch from TiCon3 to “TiCon für SAP.” This also involved placing an order with the MTM Software Center to develop a standard link to the Siemens Process Designer program for the SAP add-on. This project was handled on the basis of TiConXS, the universal interface layer within “TiCon für SAP.”
By developing the standard interconnection, it was possible to successfully plug the gap in the system between the Siemens tools for digital factory planning and SAP: Both worlds now work with the same MTM process building blocks.
This provides obvious benefits:
- The work involved in the manual data transfer has been significantly reduced.
- The planners can work directly in SAP without having to change the customary user interface.
- Any redundant logging of MTM times is now a thing of the past.
- It is possible to use the SAP infrastructure and SAP standard analyses.
Following the successful implementation of “TiCon für SAP Base,” the follow-up project entitled “Building block generator” was launched at Zollner. This enhancement made it possible to prepare a “plan/operation world” in the TiCon transaction automatically and therefore perform preliminary planning work before the production schedule existed in SAP at all. The “TiCon für SAP” tool therefore provides planning support in the industrialization phase, as it makes it possible for engineers to already plan products during the development stage.
However, calculations in advance were not the only thing that Zollner viewed as a pressing issue. It also needed to determine the capacities that it required at an early stage by line balancing – i.e. distributing the work elements in the form of MTM process building blocks to stations and workers and thereby determining their workload. To achieve this, it was necessary to extend the line balancing module in “TiCon für SAP” – which in the past had been an isolated solution within the TiCon transaction in SAP. Starting from the current version 1.05, it is now possible to couple line balancing and SAP work procedures and therefore take over the line balancing results directly. The project was handled during the course of 2016 and is now about to go live.
Manfred Laier, Head of the Software Business Segment at MTM, knows from experience that the procedure for line balancing is different from one customer to another. “It’s therefore been our aspiration from the outset to create a programming basis that is as flexible as possible and universally adaptable. Each corporation can set the input and the output parameters when using “TiCon für SAP Takt” or introduce additional parameters. The advantage is that the relevant key figures can be calculated in this way and only the figures required on an individual basis are then transferred to the SAP work operation.”
Frank Brandt, Team Leader for SAP Development at MTM, explains matters as follows. “Each customer can store its own coding in order to transfer the input parameters for line balancing to the output parameters. Line balancing operations can be interlaced with time building blocks. The jump from the work operation to the TiCon transaction takes place via a technical process building block that is invisible to the user directly to the line balancing; the return message to the SAP work operation takes place using the same path.”
This has paid dividends for Zollner Elektronik AG. By implementing “TiCon für SAP,” developing a standard interface to the Siemens Process Designer program and the opportunity of passing on the line balancing results to SAP work procedures via the “TiCon für SAP Takt” module, the corporation has created the conditions for all-round and efficient production process planning. The successful cooperation between Zollner and MTM is due to be continued in 2017 too. This year’s development issues at the MTM Software Center with regard to “TiCon für SAP” 1.06 – time studies, connection to the SAP variant configuration and generating working instructions from SAP – are also interesting for Zollner. A beta test for the new “Time Study” module has already been agreed.
Patrick Sperl, Production System Realization / Project Manager:
“Zollner as a corporation has been in constant, close contact with the MTM Software Center since 2012 – from the introduction of TiCon for Windows to the introduction of “TiCon für SAP” and its constant, ongoing development. The next stage of being able to map the production processes completely and fully in the system was the introduction of a line balancing module. As extremely complex processes take place at Zollner because of huge and varying customer demands, this kind of line balancing module is essential for visualizing things better and more efficient process planning. One essential requirement for the “TiCon für SAP Takt” module involved connecting the line balancing feature with the SAP work operation, which was also linked to other in-house requirements and therefore formed the basis for launching the project. Thanks to the excellent and successful cooperation with the MTM Software Center during the past few years, Zollner has decided to continue developing the “TiCon für SAP Takt” module in conjunction with the MTM Software Center and introduce it too.”
Christoph Feicht, Manager Production System Realization:
“During a joint one-day workshop, the rough concept was worked out and refined at other coordination meetings held on a regular basis. Zollner’s requirements were accepted by the software center and successfully implemented. Despite our specific corporation requirements, the MTM Software Center maintained the product standard by using flexibility settings in a customized environment and it therefore created value added for its customers. We’re already looking forward to successfully helping to develop the next software enhancement in the product portfolio of the MTM Software Center in a similar manner – the 'TiCon für SAP' Time Study, a module for recording times – and being able to introduce it.”
© Zollner Elektronik AG